Opinion: ‘Focused on helping vulnerable in Peterborough’

Wayne Fitzgerald, city council leader and Conservative group leader on Peterborough City Council writes...

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 20th February 2022, 1:33 pm
Caring for the vulnerable.
Caring for the vulnerable.

I’ve spoken recently about how Peterborough will benefit greatly from government funding, with every pound spent here accelerating our city’s rapid future growth.

Key developments, such as our new University ARU Peterborough and Fletton Quays to name just two, will have a knock-on effect of boosting the skills, wages and careers of our residents, creating a better future for everyone.

While we look ahead with great optimism, we are also fully focussed on the present, especially when it comes to helping our most vulnerable residents.

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We have a duty of care to help those that need it most, so the news that we are to receive £1 million from the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ programme to support vulnerable families in the city is very welcome indeed. The council will use these funds to build on the success of our Supporting Families Programme to help vulnerable residents and those at risk of neglect or harm.

We will help families to receive tailored support and interventions, including help to leave abusive relationships, support for mental health concerns and assistance to find work.

In addition, the programme will be working directly with children and young people, helping them stay safe online, understanding grooming and the risks of sexual and criminal exploitation and how to deal with emotions and feelings positively.

Dedicated key workers will work with every family member and bring local services together to resolve issues early before they develop into more significant problems.

This is vitally important because we know that getting people the right help at the right time is critical. The earlier help is received, the better the results.

On the subject of helping those in need, a service supporting people with non-emergency assistance has begun operating in Peterborough and is making a positive difference.

The council’s Enhanced Response Service (ERS) keeps vulnerable people safe by responding at any time to a call for help. For example, the service can assist if someone has had a fall, or an unexpected change in their personal care needs.

This reduces the number of unnecessary ambulance call outs and provides people with the support and confidence to live in their own homes, while supporting informal carers.

One of the beneficiaries has been Sheila, a 95-year-old lady, who requires the support of an informal carer. When the carer became ill in November, her GP contacted ERS asking for help, resulting in staff assisting Sheila for three days with morning and lunchtime calls with tasks such as personal care and meal preparation.

The service has made a total of 278 call-outs since launching in November, so a big well done to all involved.

As well as supporting residents, we’re also continuing to reach out to businesses that have been impacted by Covid.

I’m extremely proud of the support we have given to businesses since the start of the pandemic, but we never look to stand still. We are now inviting firms to apply for three funding grants: the Covid-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF), Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant and the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

These are designed to provide support to businesses with funds distributed on a first come, first served basis to those who meet the criteria.

We are fully committed to helping businesses during these difficult times and know how valuable these grants are.

I would urge any businesses that fall within the eligibility criteria to submit an application at the earliest opportunity.

For more information about the grants and how to apply visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/healthcare/public-health/coronavirus/national-lockdown-grant-scheme

A new Youth MP for Peterborough was elected this week, with Eva Woods from Nene Park Academy taking over the role. Eva will represent our city in the UK Youth Parliament and sit on the Peterborough Youth Council, which campaigns on issues important to young people in the city.

I’d like to offer my congratulations to Eva.