COVID19 Update from Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE, Leader of the London Borough of Bexley

I hope you are all keeping well, staying at home and helping save lives.

This is an unprecedented time, no doubt about that, but it’s the time to stick together and look out for each other.

In terms of the Council activity, the work to look after the residents in our Borough who need our help is really having an impact.

Every day hot meals are being delivered to elderly and vulnerable residents, with an army of volunteers joining Council staff to prepare, pack and then deliver the food to all areas of the Borough every lunchtime.

Over 200 welfare visits have been made to vulnerable people, and there are also deliveries of medicines to those who cannot get out to collect what they need.

We’ve also worked hard to secure personal protection equipment and get them to carers and other people who need them.

Over 3,000 key workers, carers and volunteers are now enrolled into the free parking scheme.

We’re also really proud to have donated £10,000 to the Bexley FoodBank, funding which will help supply food to those who need our help.

Our Coronavirus helpline which was set up from scratch in just a couple of days is now operating 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Council staff, as always, are going above and beyond the call of duty and working all sorts of hours and into the night to ensure help gets to those who need it, and to ensure day to day services keep running as best they can. The phone number is 020 3045 5398.

Thank you you for staying at home over the Easter weekend.

We were worried that we might have to close parks if people came out in huge numbers but they were all very quiet, and the police were out patrolling the Borough and were reporting back every day that the few people who were out did follow the social distancing rules.

In terms of Councillors, everyone is working together on a cross party basis. I am updating all Councillors and all three of the Borough’s MPs with the latest information, and our Cabinet Members are sharing information with their Labour opposite numbers regularly.

We are working to return to holding Council meetings virtually and in the most productive way possible.

As Councillors, we don’t want to divert staff who are working hard to get help to those in need in order to prepare huge reports so finding the best way to get up and running is important. The Cabinet and I are holding meetings online together regularly.

Sadly, while there are lots of people working flat out to help everyone in our community, there are some who are doing the exact opposite – it is upsetting to report that a member of the Council’s staff was assaulted last week, while out doing their job, delivering services for residents. I can’t say anymore as this is now being investigated by the Police, but it is absolutely shocking that such an incident should have even happened in the first place.

We’ve also seen people trying to scam people by calling at houses and claiming to be from the Council or from the NHS. Please note that anyone calling from the Council or any official organisation will have ID on them and proof of the reason they are calling.

Thank you all for everything you are doing to help us all stay safe, protect the NHS and save lives. When this is over, we can all look back with pride at what we have done together. 


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