Stoke-on-Trent City Council has set out the anticipated financial impact of Covid-19 on council services in an online cabinet meeting which took place today (Tuesday, May 19).
The update, which was provided by the city director Jon Rouse, follows modelling and scenario analysis to establish a range of potential outcomes of the financial impact of Covid-19. The modelling indicates a ‘Best; Most Likely and Worst Case’ scenario of £15m, £24m and £42m respectively, reflecting both additional costs and loss of income.
Cllr Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “Based on high level estimates and expenditure to date, it is expected that around 65% of any additional forecast costs will go towards supporting our Children and Family Services, Adults Social Care Services and Housing Services. This included staffing costs as well as the costs of supporting the adult social care market and frontline staff, support for children social service placements and support for the homeless. It also includes lost income from services such as through our leisure centres or car parking.
“At this stage the government has confirmed additional grant funding allocations of approximately £16m. We are grateful for this support but it suggests that there would most likely be a £8m shortfall in funding based on current forecasts with the worse-case scenario likely to be £26m. While this position will continually be reviewed and updated as new information emerges what we do know for certain is that Government funding to date is insufficient to cover the financial pressures we face and further support will be required to place the council in a sustainable position. We will continue to talk with Government to discuss what this means for Stoke-on-Trent so our city and its residents are supported through these challenging times.”
In other news, charities, voluntary organisations and community groups in Stoke-on-Trent have been celebrating after receiving a share of £100,000 from the city council for covid-19 support
A total of 60 organisations and community groups have landed the cash from Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s voluntary and community sector covid-19 fund with awards ranging from £10,000 to £100.
The scheme, which launched on 22 April and closed on 1 May, was oversubscribed with over 90 organisations applying for a share of the £100,000 funding pot.
The aim of the fund was to secure the best possible outcomes for charities, community groups, residents and communities throughout the city in the face of Covid-19. It also looked to support the continuing work of organisations which deliver valuable services that help to reduce demand for front-line services in the city but which are currently struggling due to income constraints and increased demand pressures.
Details of eligible applications were also shared with the Community Foundation for Staffordshire (CFS), which agreed to provide match funding contributions totalling £15,985 for 12 applications which met its funding criteria. This contribution has enabled the city council to provide financial support to more organisations across the city. Opportunities to use ward budget funding in some cases are also being explored with the relevant ward members.
This approach brings the total allocations from the fund to £100,886 and covers:
- 14 full awards (the entire amount requested)
- 32 partial grants
- 12 jointly-funded city council and CFS awards (9 full awards and 3 partial);
- 2 loan offers totalling £10,000;
Cllr Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council said: “In such challenging times, the amazing response from our community and voluntary sector to support those most in need has been superb. We had a fantastic response to the fund and I’m delighted we’ve been able to support 60 community groups and voluntary organisations which are making real differences to communities across the city and people’s lives during these extremely tough times. I’m also so pleased that we’ve been able to work closely with the Community Foundation for Staffordshire to be able to support even more organisations in the city.
“Many of the applications we received were truly inspiring and I am truly honoured by the sense of civic pride and support that is plain to see in this city. This is going to make a big difference to people across Stoke-on-Trent during these challenging times and ensures that the valuable work supporting communities and individuals through Covid-19 continues.”
Cllr Randy Conteh, cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “From smaller scale operations to larger scale organisations like the Hubb Foundation who are helping huge numbers of families across the city, the difference they make is amazing. The bids were really diverse and look to help the old, the young, the homeless, those who are lonely, families in need of support – the list goes on. We’ve tried to ensure a good spread of funding city-wide that can really help those who need it the most.”
In Stoke-on-Trent, there are 371 registered charities and an estimated further 3,000 voluntary or community organisations. These organisations and groups employ staff and provide volunteering opportunities, as well as contributing to the local economy.
The Hubb Foundation in Burslem was one of the organisations to benefit from the fund with a successful bid for £10,000. Port Vale FC Owner Carol Shanahan who set up the foundation said: "We are thrilled with the news that we have been awarded this funding from the city council. Over the last seven weeks, the Hubb Foundation has delivered over 40,000 meals to families across Stoke-on-Trent. While we know we are making a huge difference to people in the city, this additional funding will help us to go even further with the cost of food supplies, supporting our fantastic volunteers and additional catering to supplement the contributions already being made by JCB and Totally Delicious to support those in need as a result of the pandemic. Our thanks go to the city council."
Saltbox is a charity based in Stoke-on-Trent which has been working since 1983 to strengthen the prospects of marginalised local communities and vulnerable people in need. They are set to receive £2995 through the fund. Chief Executive Lloyd Cooke said: “Saltbox works to tackle problems linked to disadvantage, deprivation and poverty with a focus on supporting local people by actively delivering activities at a grass roots level. It is great news that our bid as been successful. The funding will help us to support homeless men and women through our Restart programme who have been adversely affected through covid-19. It will also allow us to help, through our Carelink befriending service, a number of over 60s in the city who have no other networks to turn to during these challenging times.”
Dawn Reynolds from Ruff & Ruby youth charity said: “We are supporting young people in poverty across the city who are struggling with isolation and mental health issues, such as anxiety, low mood & depression. Many of these young people are vulnerable, marginalised and are in homes that may be 'fractured'– they have told us that they’re really struggling with lock-down. The funding will go some way to helping us being able to continue to offer our ‘YOU MATTER 'TLC TUBZ for TEENAGERS’ program which contains both essential care items and health and wellbeing tools, such as a vision board and self-care sheets, alongside our text response & over the phone support service. We are also helping families with much needed essential items - like the case of a single dad in the city with a teenage daughter who didn’t have a fridge freezer – and delivering 'comfort items 'to families with teenagers who have lost parents to Covid-19. It can be the smallest things that make such a difference. This funding helps to provide more of that essential support throughout the pandemic and beyond.” Ruff & Ruby received £2,500 through the fund.
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