Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge’s Mayor has this week thanked local volunteers who are going the extra mile to help local residents during the Coronavirus pandemic, saying he is “humbled and proud of how our community is pulling together.”

Mayor Andy Brewer told Burnham-On-Sea.com that the Coronavirus outbreak has created an “unprecedented situation” across the country and within our community.

“Whilst many people are undoubtedly facing very difficult circumstances I’ve been both humbled and proud of how our community is pulling together with practical offers of help and assistance to those most in need,” he says.

“The setting up of the new Helpline by the Burnham Information Centre (BIARS) and the Burnham and Highbridge Coronavirus Support Group has provided a focal point for the co-ordination of community support.”

“Over the coming weeks, the Food Banks in Burnham and Highbridge are likely to face a significant increase in demand for their services, therefore at an Emergency Meeting on Monday evening the Town Council agreed to make funds available to give emergency assistance, if required, to the Highbridge-based Food Bank.”

“I’ve also found it really encouraging over the past few days to hear numerous reports of individual offers of help to vulnerable people and those living alone from their neighbours and other people with whom they have not previously had direct contact.”

“Whilst this is a difficult and challenging time for all of us all, we must stay positive and stay safe, whilst offering support to those groups in our communities who are working so hard to fight this virus.”

Council helps Burnham and Highbridge

His comments as Burnham and Highbridge Town Council issued an update on the services it is running locally.

A spokeswoman says: “Although the Town Council office is closed to visitors, we are still very active and working hard to meet the extra demand on our services and to respond to an increased number of enquiries. You can contact us by phone 01278 788088 or email info@burnham-highbridge-tc.gov.uk.”

“In order to keep core functions running and to support community efforts relating to the coronavirus, we have made some changes to our operational systems. All staff are working from home where possible and those who can’t work from home are available for work when needed and can be redeployed outside of their normal roles.”

“Our Projects Officer, Jacqui Strong, continues to work closely with community groups and organisations to build contacts and identify areas of need. Jacqui feeds this information back to other Town Council staff who can help with the work needed to progress projects.”

Coronavirus support helpline

“The Town Council has helped BiARS set up its coronavirus support line and we continue to be an available source of assistance. Local residents can call BiARS on the volunteer managed support line on 01278 787852 and it will link-up those requiring shopping for basic necessities, such as food and medicine, with willing volunteers coordinated by the Burnham and Highbridge Coronavirus Support group.”

“BiARS can also signpost people to a host of other support bodies and sources of help. Please share the details of this support phone line with your family, friends and neighbours, especially if they don’t have access to the internet.”

“There are lots of fantastic community groups, charities and other organisations rising to the challenge of supporting our community through this difficult time and the Town Council will continue to offer its help to those groups.”

“We are in regular contact with the YMCA at its new base in Highbridge. The YMCA is available as another resource to assist community initiatives. If your group would like to talk to the YMCA about how it might be able to help you, then please call on: 0333 200 1616 or email: info@ymca-dg.org.”

“The Town Council is working hard to keep its core functions operating, whilst diverting resources to the support effort. We still recognise the need to keep the public up to date with what we are doing and a new website, with a newsletter function, will shortly be available at www.burnham-highbridge-tc.gov.uk.”

“We appreciate that not everyone uses the internet so we are drawing-up plans to put together and deliver a paper newsletter that will provide useful information on all the local initiatives we are aware of. We also hope to be able to include in it details of the important local support initiatives being organised by Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset County Council. If your group or organisation would like to be included in this newsletter, please contact projects@burnham-highbridge-tc.gov.uk for details.”

Coronavirus financial support

“The Town Council has allocated an initial sum of £5,000 to support the Foodbank and has invited it to call upon us if this fund is required. The food bank has asked that everyone continues to make food donations through collection bins in Tesco and Asda.”

“Cllr Gardiner-White has put us in contact with a fruit and veg supplier who we can use to supply and deliver fresh foods to support-organisations who need it. If you know of a group who are supporting people through the Coronavirus situation and who would benefit from this offer then please contact the Town Council on info@burnham-highbridge-tc.gov.uk.”

“The Council has made its wider grant fund available to local charities, groups and organisations who are offering support services due to the coronavirus outbreak. The process of application and response for the money will be quicker than is usually the case, and we will be able to give financial support to groups, charities and organisations with a formal group bank account. If your group would like to apply for funds and need further information then please contact: accounts@burnham-highbridge-tc.gov.uk.”

“Town Councillors continue to be available to residents for advice and guidance. If you would like to contact your ward councillor, details can be found on the Town Council website here.”

Pictured: An archive photo of the Mayor 


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