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Tribute paid to Covid victims as Norfolk vows to build a better future

22 March 2021

Dealing with Covid has been one of Norfolk’s toughest challenges – but everyone has risen to the challenge and we will build a better future.

That’s the message from county council leader Councillor Andrew Proctor, as he paid tribute to the Norfolk residents who have died of Covid 19 so far.

Cllr Proctor said: “As we mark the national day of reflection (23 March), my thoughts are with those families and communities affected by the death or serious illness of a loved one. It has been so hard to grieve, with numbers limited at funerals and travel restrictions in place.

“I have been consistently humbled by Norfolk’s response to this unprecedented pandemic. People have made great personal sacrifices to follow the rules and try to curb Covid – not seeing loved ones, friends and colleagues. And that’s been a really hard call for everyone.

“The county and district councils, the NHS, schools, the care sector, emergency services and voluntary sector have worked really well to protect the vulnerable and keep key services running. That’s showed the true spirit of working better together.

“Government financial assistance for councils, businesses and the cultural sector has been vital. All have had to adapt the ways they work in this time and now we are starting to see significant innovation, which bodes well for the future.

“The success and progress of the vaccination programme and the expansion of testing has increased everyone’s confidence and I am confident that this will be a better year, in which we can start to take significant steps towards economic and social recovery.

“I want to retain the positives of the last year – strong community spirit, effective partnership working and a resilient, responsive economy – so that Norfolk can build back better.”

Over the last year, the county council has:

  • Led the public health response to Covid, including outbreak control and local test and trace
  • Implemented a contact tracing offer for Norfolk with a success rate of above 90%
  • Kept key services for vulnerable adults and children operating
  • Supported schools, including through the provision of testing and laptops for pupils
  • Through its county councillors, supported local communities across Norfolk and continued to make and scrutinise decisions through online council meetings
  • Worked with district councils and the voluntary sector to support the shielded and provide food supplies – more than 60,000 shielding individuals were contacted
  • Launched Covid Winter Hardship scheme taking applications for practical money and food support for more than 10,500 residents in financial hardship
  • Developed and implemented the “Norfolk Vulnerability Hub” system which allows support requests to be handled effectively across all local councils
  • Secured stocks of PPE for care staff and frontline council staff
  • Expanded its digital services, including adult learning classes and library activities (160,000 visits to bounce and rhyme over the past year)
  • Worked with the voluntary sector, complemented by our librarians working directly to deliver food and medicines to people self-isolating
  • Via library staff, made 36,000 calls since January to support older and vulnerable customers
  • Through trading standards, supported businesses to follow the Covid regulations and supported the food industry
  • Redeveloped the council’s online offer to provide help and information with Covid-related activity, ranging from home schooling to wellbeing and a Norfolk Community Directory to help people find local support.
  • Continued to maintain roads, carry out winter gritting and deal with flooding incidents
  • Continued to work on major improvement schemes, such as extra-care housing, new special schools and Great Yarmouth’s third river crossing
  • Balanced the books, despite the costs of the Covid response exceeding Government funding by around £10 million

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