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Cabinet sets out plan for £13.3m Contain Outbreak Management Fund

Covid-19 / Thu 10th Jun 2021 at 08:36am

PLANS for how £13.3m of funding from the Department of Health and Social Care will be used to support communities and businesses as they begin to recover from the effects of the pandemic, were approved by Essex County Council’s Cabinet yesterday (Tuesday 8 June).

The one-off funding is part of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund, set up to help further contain and respond to Covid-19 at a local level.

Businesses, communities, young people, low income families and those most vulnerable are among those to benefit from the funding.

For businesses, the Business Adaptation Grant scheme will be boosted by £5m, meaning that businesses will be able to apply for up to £5,000, as opposed to the £1,500 previously available.

To keep people safe while out and about in Essex, £2.5m will fund measures to reduce the risk of the virus spreading at places which see high visitor and tourist numbers. This includes £925,000 to fund measures in ECC Country Parks, Essex Outdoors Centres and Cressing Temple Barns.

At a local level, Community Hubs, which were set up in each district, borough and city of Essex last year to support residents through COVID-19, will receive a much-needed cash boost. £1.08m will be divided equally between the twelve partner councils in Essex to fund an additional 12 months of Community Hub operations, places that have been a lifeline for many.

£1.5m will also be allocated to the Rural Community Council of Essex to administer a grants scheme to support community buildings, such as village halls, community centres, and faith buildings with the costs of being Covid-19 compliant.

Communities and those most vulnerable will also benefit from sustained support from the Citizen Advice Bureaux in Essex, as £680,000 is allocated to manage its increased demand.

The £13.3m will also fund:

  • PPE for Early Years Settings.
  • Communications and Marketing activity including campaigns to reach vulnerable and hard to reach groups.
  • Bottles of hand sanitiser and face coverings which will be freely available to young people and adults with low income.
  • The creation of grassroots clubs to assist with Covid-19 remobilisation costs.
  • The implementation and upskilling of isolated residents to help them become digitally connected.
  • Devices for adults with learning disabilities, autism, carers and older people.

Leader of Essex County Council, Cllr Kevin Bentley said: “There’s no denying that Covid-19 has had an impact on everyone in our county. This funding will go a long way in helping us control the virus at a local level and helping us along the path of recovery.

“We have considered very carefully how the significant funding will be allocated, and where it is most needed. As well as support for communities, early years settings, low income families and those most vulnerable, businesses will also benefit.

“We have a long road ahead of us after what has been a challenging and difficult year for all, however this is another step closer to rebuilding our fantastic county.”

Full details of the allocations can be found here.

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