The Mayor of Doncaster has unveiled a new “restart, recovery and renewal” plan to help the town bounce back from the impact of COVID-19.
The plan, set to launch at the end of July, outlines the measures to get the town’s economy back on track after the unpresented effects of the pandemic.
“The last eight months have stretched Doncaster’s resolve, resources and resilience like never before. Firstly with the devastating floods and then the Covid-19 pandemic which we are now 18 weeks in to,” said Mayor Ros Jones.
“From the start, we deployed our collective resources, networks and expertise and this included the delivery of my multi-million pound 10 point plan which I announced in March to help people, communities, businesses and arts and leisure organisations during these difficult times.
“Central to the efforts was the creation of the DN Community Hub which has supported almost 7,000 residents in various ways, including providing almost 2,900 food parcels and collecting 3,200 prescriptions.
“We also contacted more than 14,000 shielding residents – those people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid19 – to offer support and assistance.
“In addition we have providing over 3,500 residents with council tax holidays and paid out £244,540 in grants to 40 projects voluntary groups who are supporting our communities.
“Our teams have also worked flat out to support businesses with £53.3 million being paid out to over 4,700 businesses, with so far an additional 89 awards have been made to a value of £588,000 to businesses eligible for the discretionary grants scheme.
“Throughout, the focus has been on the safety and well-being of residents and supporting local businesses. This will absolutely continue as we adapt to a new normal and what remains a volatile situation.
“At the same time, now is the time to reassure you that I have not lost sight of our ambitions and the next six months will start the transition towards building a better borough.”
Restarting services safely and opening up the local economy is a critical part of the plan with a focus on services that matter most to local people and those which help to create safe and resilient communities.
Underpinning this is a COVID outbreak plan and the creation and work of Doncaster’s Outbreak and Engagement Board which supports the Test and Trace arrangements locally.
Alongside the ongoing health priorities, recovering from the economic effects of coronavirus is at the heart of the plan. Refocussing resources to support local jobs and helping people to gain new skills and employment is a priority as well as encouraging and supporting a ‘buy local’ economy.
Renewal also remains firmly on the agenda, working with communities and agencies on a local and borough wide level and driving forward the borough’s climate change and biodiversity agenda, continuing to lobby for capital investment to improve of our towns centres and a state of the art hospital.
“Whilst we remain responsive to the ongoing pandemic we must now continue to plan, build upon our achievements and start to look to horizons and opportunities beyond the immediate difficult times,” said Mayor Jones.
“Doncaster Council will continue to invest in building projects which will bring much needed jobs and economic growth to the area. Coupled with that, we are working with other local councils, the Sheffield City Region and partners in developing our economic opportunities and helping businesses and our borough to thrive.
“This planning has not stopped throughout the pandemic and we need to be able to help Doncaster to bounce back well.
“The recent South Yorkshire devolution deal will pave the way for new powers and multi-million pounds worth of funding as we move forward. And of course, I have my eyes set on a bigger Yorkshire-wide deal in the future with even more potential for us and the place.
“There are opportunities ahead of us while we remain realistic, and not complacent, of the challenging times we are all in. By working together as we get through this pandemic and beyond it, I believe we can help to restart, recover and renew the fortunes of our borough.”