First and foremost we want to thank you for everything that you have done and continue to do as we navigate these unprecedented times. In our many years of leading this incredible council, we have weathered many difficult challenges, but none so challenging as this. We have always known how fantastic, resilient and kind our partners are, but this week you have managed to go way beyond even that and we are truly grateful.
We want to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to provide the best possible support for communities and businesses across the city and protect our most vulnerable residents. As much as we wish we could, we can’t do it on our own, and it is crucial that the council, its partners and residents all work together and support each other over the next few months and beyond.
A great deal of hard work is going on to ensure the council can continue providing services that protect the most vulnerable and that we know people need the most, while at the same time honouring our duty of care to our staff. This means deciding what we must continue doing, what we can postpone, and what we can do differently.
We know you are all facing similar challenges and we want you to know you are not alone. One of Leeds’s great strengths is how we pull together to support one another during challenging times. Already, Community Care Volunteering, a city-wide volunteer programme to help care for people during the COVID-19 outbreak has been set up and is being co-ordinated by the council and Voluntary Action Leeds. If you’re healthy and low risk, you can sign up to become a Community Care Volunteer and help others across the city. Find out more at www.doinggoodleeds.org.uk
The situation is changing rapidly and we will all have to make significant changes to the way we work and the way we live our lives in order to get through this. We know some of our partners have had to close their doors completely for the foreseeable future. I want to thank you for making that difficult decision and for helping to protect the people of Leeds and reduce the pressure on the NHS. We also know that closing is not always possible, so we also want to thank our partners who are still trying to function during this time to provide vital services to our residents. We couldn’t get through this without you.
When it comes to business, we are looking to support where we can to mitigate the impact on the city’s economy. As the government develops its response to the economic situation, the following contacts for businesses across the city are now in place:
- For more information regarding business support we are directing businesses to: https://www.the-lep.com/business-support/covid-19-support-for-businesses/
- Businesses can also contact the LEP Growth Service helpline on 0113 348 1818
- Enquiries to Leeds City Council regarding business rates should be sent to Business.firstname.lastname@example.org
- A dedicated national helpline has also been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals – 0800 0159 559.
It’s not going to be easy and it’s going to be a long road but we will travel this together to achieve the most we possibly can for the people and communities of Leeds.
Once again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Councillor Judith Blake CBE Tom Riordan CBE
Leader of Leeds City Council Chief Executive, Leeds City Council