Some services resuming, small steps towards a new normal?
None of us understand just how we might emerge from this lockdown: ‘stay home, save lives’ may have to be in place for a while yet. As the Prime Minister said yesterday, this is the moment of maximum risk; we mustn’t lose patience with the lockdown, as we begin to turn the tide.
In Solihull, we are carefully taking the first steps. We are now able to offer more testing for our staff, which means that many more can return to work, confident that they won’t be infecting others. This will also mean that we can better manage our teams and the delivery of our services, as we move to resume non-Covid-19 work.
Our first “virtual” Planning Committee meeting will take place tomorrow evening. You’ll be able to listen in to proceedings from a link on our Council website and it will be archived in the webcast library as normal. There’s more information available on https://www.solihull.gov.uk/Resident/Planning/searchplanningapplications.
Planning Committee is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is an important council function and we need the process to be as transparent as possible.
On a more sombre note, I would like to personally thank our bereavement services team for the support they are offering people: in normal circumstances this is a desperately sad time; now it is so much more difficult because of the pandemic and the need to observe social distancing. The team have done all they can to be sensitive and supportive in these trying times.
We are now using technology to help people take part in funerals during the pandemic, by offering web streaming of funerals at Woodlands and Robin Hood Crematoria. Our three cemeteries will also be opening at weekends, from 9am to 6pm, for personal visits to graves and memorials, more information on https://www.solihull.gov.uk/news/ArtMID/820/ArticleID/2923/Solihull-Council-starts-web-streaming-funerals
You have probably heard of the planned resumption of garden waste collections, and the bulky waste collection service, from 4 and 5 May respectively.
Of course, any service that resumes will still have to observe the social distancing guidance: please be patient, and follow some simple steps to help us safely manage the collection of garden waste. Please don’t overfill your green wheelie bin and stay at least two metres away from our crews. Also, we cannot take any additional garden waste, only what is contained in your bin. Check your collection calendar (https://eservices.solihull.gov.uk/BinCollectionCalendar/) to find out which week your collection will start.
The Tree of Hope campaign continues to grow, with over 260 entries. It’s great that the Love Solihull team has put a rainbow, filled with Trees of Hope, on Malvern Park gates. I would also like to share with you a picture of the ambulance crews, with the Tree of Hope designs, inside our local Nightingale hospital.
Finally I do hope you will join me and the rest of the country in a minute’s silence at 11am this morning, 28 April, to honour our key workers who have lost their lives due to coronavirus.
My wish to you all to have good health, happiness and harmony: stay home, protect our NHS and save lives.