There have been reports of a drift with lockdown and there is a feeling that more people are gathering in public spaces. This is the direct result of the Government signalling to the public that lockdown release measures are imminent, without specifying what those are likely to be. It is in my view, very dangerous to imply that a full lockdown release is around the corner when that looks to be quite far from where we are. We have the highest death toll in Europe and the second highest worldwide. We cannot risk another peak. Let me be as clear as possible, the message is still stay home and save lives.
The council has set out plans to restart brown bin collections from Monday, May 25. This will be two months since the Government announced the current lockdown. By suspending service, the council has been able to continue to deliver a reliable and safe black and green bin collection service, emptying over 3.2 million bins and managing up to 20% extra household waste. Although there remain significant council wide challenges, the council is now in a position to plan the restart of and extend brown bin collections for the end of the month. The Council will expand brown bin collections. They will include new and planned housing developments that are eligible for a brown bin. The Council will send households with a brown bin collection a letter a few days beforehand informing them of their first brown bin collection day. Many brown bin collection days will change. Please keep an eye on your post for the letter. You can also the council website and associated social media channels. I’d encourage you to download the handy Leeds Bin app where the Council will provide updates. As part of proposals, brown bin collections will be expanded to include new and known, planned housing developments that are eligible for a brown bin and who may not as yet have received a service.
Social Distance Walking and Cycling
Leeds City Council is implementing new measures to support cycling and walking. This is as part of the council’s response to Covid-19 and in anticipation of the government lifting some restrictions in the coming weeks. The council is taking action to help the public stay safe when walking or cycling. Building on schemes is already underway on: The Headrow, Cookridge Street and Park Row, the Council will carry out temporary pavement widening at: Mill Hill, Call Lane, New York Street, Upper Briggate, St Paul’s Street and Great George Street. Mill Hill will be the first of these schemes rolled out this week. The others implemented over the next few weeks. The 20mph zone around the city centre have seen the first signs installed last week. Many have commented on the benefit of seeing less polluting traffic on our roads. There has been a significant reduction in air pollution.
Small Business Fund
The Government revealed details over the weekend of a discretionary fund. This fund will accommodate certain small businesses outside the scope of the original business grant. The Government aimed the extra fund at small businesses defined as with under 50 employees, with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Local authorities are prioritising businesses in shared spaces and small charity properties. Any business applying for the fund must be able to show that they have seen a significant drop of income. Local authorities will be administering the scheme once the Government releases further detail. Leeds City Council will make a further announcement on this in the coming days. The scheme is currently not available or open for businesses to apply to.
Leeds City Council is seeking exceptional people to become foster carers. New carers would join one of the UK’s largest fostering networks. Leeds City Council offers tailored support from social workers and specialist staff, they will guide cares through both the registration of interest and recruitment process. Over the past three years Leeds has worked hard to recruit some fantastic carers, Leeds now has over 750 foster families as part of the Leeds foster care ‘team’. The council is very keen to hear from people who could foster children over the age of 11-years-old, especially sibling groups and those with special needs. Before coronavirus, the council had a shortage of foster carers, this shortage is now worse than ever. The number of children’s care proceeding across the UK has been rising, this means that we expect the number of children entering foster care to increase. Those interested in finding out more about fostering can register their interest online, visit www.foster4leeds.co.uk or by contacting 0113 378 3538 for advice and an information pack.