Council call to action in difficult times

East Ayrshire has a long and proud history of strong communities and resourceful people supporting each other in times of need. As a caring, kind and connected community, we pride ourselves on these values but over the coming weeks and months this commitment and resilience will be tested to the limit as we come to terms with the effects of the coronavirus on our everyday lives.

UK and Scottish Governments are clear - we all need to change our ways in order to save lives - and as an organisation we have had to adapt how we do business, to make sure we can still deliver essential services and best serve our communities during this challenging time.

Community support

Never before have we been faced with something on the global scale of coronavirus, but we know the people of East Ayrshire are caring and compassionate individuals, always ready to step in when required. We have been overwhelmed and humbled by offers of assistance and support emerging over the last few days, including Arnold Clark, Marie Macklin, Domino’s Pizza, KFC .. and if you can help we’d like to hear from you.  

In recent years we focused much of our effort on tackling loneliness and isolation and we must not lose sight of this as we come to terms with the social restrictions coming our way. Over 50 community groups have come forward to offer assistance – some outstanding work is taking place right now as an incredible team of volunteers joins us in helping to protect some of the more vulnerable members of our communities.

Education

Our Schools and Early Childhood Centres are now closed to children, with the exception of critical provision for certain key workers, from designated key childcare hubs. We are grateful to our colleagues in Vibrant Communities who will be supporting our teaching staff with these arrangements.  It is important to remember that the closure of schools is part of the effort to reduce social contact and they should only be used by designated key workers who have no other options for childcare.  

We have put arrangements in place to ensure that all children who are entitled to a free-school meal are able to access this. We have also made arrangements to support wider community food provision:

  • All pupils attending a childcare hub will receive a hot meal.
  • Online booking form is available for those entitled to free school meals, with details of where they can be picked up. For those in self-isolation, delivery will be arranged.
  • We are working through our communities to provide food where it is needed.

Business support 

We are aware of the impact this is having on local businesses and the local economy. We are working to ensure that recently-announced government grants can be made available and our Economic Development Team is developing new ways to deliver business support online through the use of podcasts and webinars. 

You can visit their Business Support webpage. The team is also issuing regular bulletins with useful links and information through the StayConnected system. Login or register here https://eastayrshi.re/stayconnected  and select Business Support and Coronavirus Updates.

Personal finance

If you have suffered a reduction in income and are finding it difficult to pay council tax or rent, please get in touch with us as soon as possible. We will do everything we can to help. Further details are available on our website.

Service disruption

As you might expect, many of our employees are now working from home or self-isolating, in line with national guidance, and as a consequence, you will start to see some of our more visible services changing as we need to prioritise resources to keep services functioning.

We will keep you fully informed of service changes and we welcome innovative approaches in partnership with communities to deliver services in the challenging time.

Keeping in touch

A new customer call centre has now replaced our previous arrangements for face to face contact. If you need help or advice please call on 01563 554400 – we’re here to help!

Our dedicated Coronavirus Updates web pages, covering all vital topics are updated several times a day with the latest information on changes to our  Council services. You can access these at:

https://www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

You can also sign up to get regular email coronavirus update bulletins and a number of other topics at

https://eastayrshi.re/stayconnected 

These are unprecedented times for us all, but it is so important that we work together to do all that we can to support each other and serve our vibrant East Ayrshire communities. In future weeks we are keen to share some of the incredible stories of our kind caring and connected communities that show us in our very best light!