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Crawley Borough Council Leader answers residents concerns over COVID-19

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Crawley Borough Council Leader Peter Lamb has taken part in an online Q&A with residents across the town.

In a question and answer session on twitter Mr Lamb answered as many questions and concerns from residents. Here are some of those answered:

Q: When will the council announce it is not collecting its percentage share of council tax for facilities no longer available?

A: Covid-19 is pushing our costs up. Non-essential services which have shut down tend to be ones which generate revenue, while most staff are being moved to focus on emergency response. If you’re struggling with council tax help is available: link is here.

Q: When are you going to completely close Tilgate Park? As a resident of Worcester Road, I have witnessed hundreds of idiots walking side by side (family members or not), not obeying 2 metres. Also there now seems to be an increase in idiots now exercising.

A: Crawley’s parks don’t have fences or gates and in several cases have roads and paths running through them. There isn’t any way of physically closing the parks. However, we’re using Community Wardens to disperse crowds where reported.


Q: What is being done to help the people who have been sleeping rough in the town centre?

A: We’re working with Crawley Open House. Overflow shelter accommodation has been set up and where necessary we will requisition hotel rooms. There’s a place for anyone on our streets right now. In the past three days we’ve placed an extra 52 people into temporary accommodation.

Q: Will the council ban evictions for properties for the duration of the crisis?

A: Evictions from council properties have been banned. Where arrears have been accrued due to financial hardship brought about by the crisis we will work with tenants to find a solution.

Q: What can the council do to enable and encourage residents to take exercise while respecting social distancing? Closing parks seems like a disastrous idea.

A: Our Wardens are breaking up crowds where reported, but they can’t be everywhere. We need personal responsibility. 1 person ignoring rules is likely to infect 3 others, 10 iterations later that’s 59,000 people or 1,180 deaths they have caused. Stay at home – save lives.


Q: Is there any update on the business grants being offered by government to assist SMEs?

A: Yes, several different types of financial support are available, for more information go to: www.crawley.gov.uk/pw/Community_and_Neighbourhoods/ProtectingCrawley/Coronavirus/Businessesandemployers/index.htm

Q: Any update on the support network you mentioned last week? Have you had many volunteers?

A: We’ve had quite a few volunteers (although we could always do with more) and are working on identifying all those at risk. We’re now mostly waiting on getting the food supply chain from Government.

Q: Why do Kier Group still have construction workers on the new Town Hall site? The Government have asked for all non critical work to cease. This is not critical work. As the client, why won’t Crawley Council force their contractors to stand down?

A: We’re working on it at the moment. I’m in favour of them shutting down work and we told them to ditch our timetable last week, but under the contract it’s not our decision.

Charity

Crawley boy receives pioneering kit to help with his disabilities

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Eleven-year-old Theakston Lee-Watson is among the first recipients of innovative new equipment to provide disabled children with sensory activities in their own home.

Theakston, from Crawley in Sussex, received the equipment from Caudwell Children as part of a UK-first charity campaign to deliver sensory equipment and support to disabled children across the country.

The sensory pack will provide a range of therapeutic benefits for Theakston, who has autism and sensory processing disorder, helping him regulate his emotions and develop his motor skills. 

Theakston’s mum, Kitty Lee-Watson, has already noticed the benefits the equipment brings.

Kitty said:

“He has a lot of anxiety at the moment, I now have the sensory pack out on his bedroom floor so when he has a meltdown it’s easy to guide him to something or distract him. This has been a real help.

“Theakston’s favourite part of the Get Sensory pack is the Fibre Optic Light as it’s both visual and tactile. He likes touching the fibres.”

Caudwell Children has pledged to provide thousands of families with essential sensory equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic – with each family receiving a pack of appropriate and safe toys to support children living with a wide range of disabilities. 

Trudi Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, said:

“Our Get Sensory Packs are designed to support children who are likely to benefit from sensory resources – it’s so encouraging to hear that Theakston is enjoying using the equipment and his family can see the benefits already.”

“We’ve committed to provide thousands of families with a pack, because we know it’s difficult to access resources at the moment.

“To deliver on that we’re now calling for anyone who can to make a difference to the life of a disabled child by donating to our Get Sensory Packs campaign – you can make a life-changing difference from just £5.”

Caudwell Children launched its Get Sensory Packs campaign following consultation with parents to find the most appropriate and safe sensory items – selected by the charity’s Occupational Therapists.

The packs include:

  • A Liquid Cell Timer,
  • Scented Bubbles,
  • A BoBo Massager,
  • Sissle Brush,
  • 4 Ball Massager,
  • Weighted Cushion,
  • Spikey Domes,
  • Space Blanket, and
  • A Fibre Optic Lamp.

Packs are available to children who have a confirmed disability or chronic illness. Families can apply directly to Caudwell Children for support, with the charity providing 80% of the cost of each pack.

Families will be asked to contribute 20% of the cost, which is £20, and to confirm their financial status and their child’s diagnosis. More information is available at getsensorypacks.com.

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