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18th March 2020   |   Issue 1  
Good Evening

I know that the coronavirus outbreak is of deep concern to everyone in Westminster. As an organisation or individual that is important to the running of the City I wanted to set up a regular email to let you know how we are responding and also to see where we can coordinate our response and support each other.

We have contingency plans in place to keep essential services running which means, for example, focusing on looking after the elderly and children, as well as continuing to deliver our essential daily services.
 
It’s inevitable that some services will need to change as we follow the Government’s clear advice for people to avoid non-essential contact and we focus our resources to those service areas where you would expect us to, continuing to ensure the most vulnerable in our community are well looked after. We’ll make sure those who are deemed the most vulnerable and in need of support will be proactively contacted and helped.  
 
How you can help
We have been humbled, but not surprised, by the amazing local reaction to this pandemic with so many wanting to help out and wanting to make sure their neighbours and those in their locality are supported. This sense of neighbourliness and community spirit is at the heart if our City for All vision and we will play our part, working alongside voluntary sector and community groups, to harness that goodwill and enthusiasm in to action.

We’ve already started to coordinate local volunteers. If you or anyone you know would like to volunteer please complete our form. If you are involved in a local volunteering group please send the details to us so that we can help publicise your activity to those who need help. We have also set up a dedicated e-mail address so that anyone who needs help can contact us at westminsterconnects@westminster.gov.uk

Backing our businesses
The impact on local businesses of all sizes and sectors is of deep concern to me and my council colleagues. I have seen for myself when visiting Chinatown and speaking with business leaders that they need as much help as possible right now to support them through these unprecedented times.
 
I have already written to the Chancellor imploring him to do as much as he can to support businesses operating in the unique environment of central London and I welcome the further measures he has announced yesterday. It’s vitally important that businesses make use of all the support that the Government has offered and we will do all we can as a council to support you. Your first port of call should be our dedicated business unit who will do everything possible to help and provide practical advice.
 
A way forward

Whilst the situation in the country is very serious, we must do all we can to help ourselves and each other. It’s vital that we all keep following the basic health guidance on how to protect ourselves and those we have a responsibility for and do all we can to slow the spread of the virus. We have lots of up to date information on our website regarding the latest national and local situation and we would encourage everyone to keep themselves informed by regularly checking these pages and sharing the information within their own organisations and networks.

Help us to keep our community connected by signposting people to our website, registering for our daily email updates and following our social media

The important thing is that everyone pulls together – as a community, as the council and public services working together, with businesses and our other partners. That’s the way we will keep Westminster running.

Yours sincerely,




Cllr Rachael Robathan
Leader, Westminster City Council 
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