Update from Patrik Garten MBC Cllr for North Downs Ward

Following from Patrik’s most recent Newsletter, please see below for an update on support in our area during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

If you are aware of any self-help-group in your community, parish / hamlet, could you please register their contact details here:
https://my.maidstone.gov.uk/service/Telling_us_about_your_volunteering

This will allow MBC to contact you directly with updates and help to coordinate efforts.

Secondly, if your self-help-group needs any funding, I may be able to help. £10000 are being made available immediately to all council members on a first come first serve basis. My maximum share of this will be £750.  If you require any funds please contact me immediately.

For example, this could be used for organised shopping or food delivery. While I advertised AgeUK’s activities yesterday, it appears that they may not have the resources to reach the far ends of the North Downs. I spoke to them today and there is scope to piggy back onto their service, if local volunteers could meet half way. Please contact them directly on email info@ageukmaidstone.org.uk or call their office on 01622 753618. By the way, their meal service is now 7 days a week.

Two links which I hope will be of help – as I’m sure you will being asked many questions.

Firstly – we are working hard to set up a hub for the borough – where offers of support and requests for support can be co-ordinated. We have set up a web page – which is being developed – and so you will see changes there every day as we build up information.

At the moment I would like to highlight the link to an on-line form which people and organisations can complete with their details and what they can offer.

Please distribute to organisations which you are aware of or people who want to volunteer.

https://my.maidstone.gov.uk/service/Telling_us_about_your_volunteering

We have also publicised this via other channels of communication – with a call to action.

“Has your local community or area set up a group such as a Facebook or Twitter group specifically to support people during the Coronavirus outbreak? If you have, are the admin of that group and would like it listed on our website please complete our volunteering form<https://my.maidstone.gov.uk/service/Telling_us_about_your_volunteering>”

As you will have heard on the news the government is asking us to provide support for people who have been advised to shield themselves but do not have a local support network and for the wider population eg people over 70 who are at home and may need support too.

The next stage will be to set up a form where people can request support; this will be going live later this week. We are working with our colleagues at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, KCC and across Kent Districts so that we are as clear and consistent as possible about how we can help. We are working closely with the voluntary and community sector including Age UK and Involve Kent and KALC.

Our aim is to co-ordinate as much as we can – and to connect people who need help with groups, parishes and other voluntary sector organisations who can provide that support, with MBC stepping in where this is not possible.

Secondly – help for businesses.

Here is a link to Business in Maidstone – the council’s support service

https://businessinmaidstone.co.uk/

For information – below is the latest update that we have provided about the support that we are distributing – reductions in business rates for some businesses, and grants of £10,000 or £25,000 depending on the size of businesses. The Business Rates reductions will be implemented straight away. We are preparing to distribute the grants – asking businesses for their account details – so that when the funding arrives in our bank account from government in early April we can distribute it asap.