Saturday, 21 March 2020

Brent Council sets up Covid-19 Steering Group and Emergency Fund

Using her powers Carolyn Downs, the CEO of Brent Council, in consultation with the lead member, has set up a steering group framework of voluntary and community organisations to shape Brent's response to the Covid 19 (Coronavirus) crisis. The response includes the setting up of an Emergency Fund.

As can be seen above the  lead organisations in two vital areas have yet to be decided.

The report states:

The intention of our proposals is that these groups would be able to seek support from the CVS and we will fund the CVS accordingly.

  1.  That the Chief Exec:
    • Approve the establishment of a Steering Group made up of lead voluntary sector providers overseeing implementation of the new approach.
    • Approve the setting up of thematic groups for the areas detailed in this report co-ordinated by the CVS.
    • Approve the administration of small grants of up to £500 and the mapping/monitoring of the thematic groups activity across the borough by CVS Brent.
    • Approve the adoption of a two-phased approach to this work.
    • Approve the establishment of emergency funds.
    • Agree that the council takes a more flexible approach to how it manages currently grant-funded projects.

On the Mutual Aid Groups that were set up a week ago and now serve most of the wards in Brent the report states:
Many residents have self-organised across the borough to create local groups to help support mutual aid for those communities that have been or are likely to become vulnerable. Whilst these are self-organised groups and the council would not expect to manage their activity the council has created the thematic lead to act as key conduits for sign posting, intelligence gathering and disseminating to support the activities of these self-organised groups.
John Healy of Brent Advicacy Concern commented:
Brent Council have identified 7 key groups and have already found leads for 4 of them. Unfortunately they cannot find anyone to take the lead for 'people with disabilities' or for 'older people'.  

If my charity Brent Advocacy Concerns was still in operation mode, I am sure we would have offered to take the lead for disabled people but after closing down last November, this is no longer possible.

And ironically, we had to close down because we could not afford the rent and now the council are offering to pay the rent for charities and community organisations to remain open in order to meet the challenges that we are all facing.

Also the council have issued an emergency number for vulnerable people to contact them but it is only available Mon-Friday.
The Full Report is below (Click bottom right for full page)

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