Good Morning Wednesfield -Wednesday 8th April Still in the Grip Covid-19!

Good Morning Wednesfield -Wednesday 8th April We wake up and its still Covid-19 that is dominating Local and National news. The Prime Minister is in Intensive Care Unit in St Thomas’s Hospital. Been there for two out of the three nights that he has been hospitalised.The sun is still shining outside and it looks like the weather is better than the politics and the living
conditions the nation is facing.

On Monday I contacted the National Express West Midlands bus company- read here about the exchange of correspondence I had. Plus the very much appreciated quick response NXWM made.

I still have a very strong inerest in Public Transport – With many bus drivers that live in Wednesfield North I raised the question of Covid-19 with National Express West Midlands. I am pleased to say that they responded quickly- here is what they informed me.

“The safety and welfare of our employees and customers is our priority. We will continue to follow advice from public health bodies and introduce any additional measures that are recommended or required.
Throughout this crisis, we have worked closely with the union to develop our policy and communicate guidance to our staff. All our safety procedures are jointly agreed with Unite.
All our buses are permanently fitted with full-height perspex screens around the driver’s cab.
All National Express West Midlands bus drivers have gloves and hand sanitiser available to them.
The expert advice from public health authorities – around washing hands frequently, what to look out for and what to do if you develop symptoms – is being regularly shared with all of our staff.
We have enhanced our extensive vehicle cleaning regimes to ensure we maintain high levels of hygiene for both drivers and customers and reduce the risk of contact with Covid-19.
Our drivers can raise any concerns they have with their line manager, the garage manager, their union rep, HR or the dedicated email address we have set up to answer staff queries about the current situation.” I am pleased with the response and note that “enhanced our extensive vehicle cleaning regimes to ensure we maintain high levels of hygiene for both drivers and customers and reduce the risk of contact with Covid-19.”

Latest news from the City of Wolverhampton Food Distribution Hub
Over 200 doorstep deliveries were made by hub staff yesterday, including two urgent deliveries to isolated residents who had called our emergency hotline as they did not have enough food. The hub is now serving just over 1300 residents through the regular delivery rounds, and the facility is able to deliver supplies to vulnerable residents on the next working day following their referral to the service. We are continuing to work closely with neighbouring authorities and offering mutual aid whenever possible. Yesterday, we supplied Walsall food hub with 300 loaves of bread.

Additional training was held yesterday to add just over 100 new operatives to the ranks, bringing the total number of personnel trained to staff the production lines to over 200. Amongst those trained were three Unison reps and Councillor Reynolds.

We are hugely thankful to all those who have supported the heroic effort to get our Food Distribution Hub operational in such a short space of time. We continue to be encouraged by the positive feedback we are receiving from residents, including Maureen from Bilston who has described everyone involved as “amazing” and thanked us for the “marvellous service”.

Calls continue to come in to our business support helpline, with more grants delivered
City of Wolverhampton Council received 235 calls to our business support helpline yesterday and we had received a further 109 as of 2:30pm today. This brings our total number of calls to 1,132 since the line opened on 1 April. This helpline is open to any businesses in the city who need advice, whether that be related to support grants, business rates holidays, or help in finding other sources of support. The helpline can be reached by calling on 01902 290242 between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Thursday, and from 9am to 4.30pm on Fridays.

City of Wolverhampton Council are continuing to process the payment of grants from the government’s Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Fund, with a further £1,510,000 being paid to 134 businesses today. This brings the total number of grants paid so far up to 189, with a total value of £2,165,000. Applications for these grants continue to come through, with over 1,500 received so far. We are processing applications as quickly as possible while ensuring we exercise the due diligence required.

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more