A positive, inclusive and community driven plan aimed at helping Wolverhampton recover from the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has been unveiled by the city council.

Relighting Our City: City of Wolverhampton Council Recovery Commitment has been developed in partnership with more than 2,500 local people, including residents, young people, the voluntary and community sector, council partners, employees, councillors and businesses. 

The 5 point plan identifies the key priority areas of: supporting people who need us most, creating more opportunities for young people, supporting our vital local businesses, generating more jobs and learning opportunities and stimulating vibrant high streets and communities.

The priorities were identified following 3 months of engagement with local people to make sure the council’s plan accurately reflects the city’s needs. 

Areas of focus included understanding the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19), priorities for recovery, strengths of the city and what people wanted Wolverhampton to look like in the future. 

The council used a variety of methods to gather views from across the city’s diverse communities, including online surveys with businesses, residents and employees and focus groups with representatives from the voluntary community sector and equality groups. 

During August a citizen panel was held, and over 4 sessions local people fed back their views on the Relighting Our City priorities and actions. The 2 plan priorities which most stood out for participants were supporting those who need us most and generating jobs and learning opportunities. 

The panel was also asked what strengths Wolverhampton had to help achieve recovery and answers included a real sense of community spirit, the opportunity to reuse empty spaces in the city for community events and the importance of attracting residents and visitors to the city centre to boost the local economy. 

As a result of the engagement, Relighting Our City was developed and will now be used as a framework for the council and its partners to focus on recovery, enable the city to address key challenges and build on new opportunities. 

The framework will be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure it takes into account any further changes caused by coronavirus (Covid-19) that may be taking place both locally and nationally now and over the coming months. The council will also continue to engage online with local people to feed their views into its recovery plans.

City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “Our city, like many others, has been deeply affected by Covid-19 and the impact has been significant and far reaching.

“But the commitment and strength we have seen demonstrated by local people, businesses and organisations during this unprecedented time has been nothing short of incredible.

“We are still dealing with the spread of the virus in the city and recognise that we have some challenging times ahead. However, we have learned a lot and now it is time to put forward a plan which has been created with the people who live and work here, who truly know the city, to help us build a framework for a comprehensive and compassionate recovery.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts and suggestions to help us draw up the new Relighting Our City plan. 

“I am absolutely determined that we should continue to have conversations with our partners, residents, businesses and the voluntary sector to develop solutions to the challenges we are facing and show that together we can reset, recover and relight.”

Relighting Our City: City of Wolverhampton Council Recovery Commitment was discussed at last night’s (Wednesday) meeting of the city council’s Cabinet. Members are recommending the plan is approved by Full Council at its meeting on 16 September.