From supporting local businesses and social care providers and delivering meals and practical and emotional support to some of the city's most vulnerable residents to rolling out testing to care homes and launching a fundraising drive for local charities and foodbanks, the council and other organisations have come together "in the most incredible way" in this time of crisis.
Figures show that, since the lockdown began in late March, the council has delivered nearly 380,000 meals in over 18,000 food parcels to vulnerable individuals and families, as well as 17,000 deliveries to Meals on Wheels customers, written to around 80,000 vulnerable residents offering support, and provided help and advice to over 6,000 people through its Stay Safe Be Kind emergency hotline.
More than 1,000 children are being supported each day in the city's schools, including over 800 children of key workers, meaning their parents can help the city in its response to the emergency, while schools are also supporting tens of thousands of families to continue their child's learning journey at home.
More than 140,000 items of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) have been sourced by the council and delivered to care providers who have not been able to get them through their usual channels, including over 45,000 masks, 55,000 pairs of gloves, 40,000 aprons and nearly 150 litres of hand sanitiser. At the same time, £1.3 million has been made available by the council to support local care providers.
The council has received 5,275 calls to a dedicated business support helpline it established early in the pandemic and has already paid out £32.4 million in grants to local businesses. It has also processed £30 million in business rates relief.
Around 100 people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness have been supported with a room and a roof. Meanwhile the new One City Fund, established with Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council, raised an impressive £24,000 for local charities in its first phase – and is now seeking to raise a similar amount to support the city's food banks in phase 2.
As far as possible, the council has continued to deliver its services as usual – with nearly 950,000 bins, including 110,784 garden bins, collected since 23 March – but where services have been forced to change, it has made them available in different ways. For instance, library services have gone digital, with over 3,700 bestselling eBooks and eAudiobooks downloaded in the last few weeks alone.
Residents have flocked online for information and support, with the council's dedicated coronavirus pages - receiving 105,687 views, while social media posts about coronavirus by the council on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have had more than 425,000 engagements. In addition, 21,670 unique users have checked out the range of activities that children, young people and their families can enjoy through the WV Virtual Squad.
Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "We've always said we will do all it takes to get through this national emergency, and the response of colleagues across the council and our partner organisations has been truly remarkable.
“From supporting our most vulnerable to helping businesses and care providers, we are doing all we can to get through this together.
“It is yet another example of Wolverhampton uniting as one city in the most incredible way, and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for their efforts so far, and in the weeks and months ahead."
The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at Coronavirus advice and information. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit Stay Safe, Be Kind.