Metro Mayor unveils first package of measures to help Liverpool City Region deal with Coronavirus
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has today unveiled an initial package of measures from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority aimed at easing the Coronavirus burden on local people.
Chairing the first meeting of the Liverpool City Region Coronavirus Action Group, the Mayor announced a number of new initiatives:
- The ‘LCR Cares’ COVID 19 Community Support Fund – a new crowdfunding campaign to support community and voluntary organisations on the frontline of helping our communities cope with the spread of Coronavirus.
- Free bus travel to and from school for the children of key workers using existing Merseytravel funded supported bus services.
- Lifting the 9.30am restriction on concessionary travel for essential journeys, such as accessing designated shopping hours reserved for the elderly.
- A fund of £65,000 of business support for community and social businesses to help them cope with the impact of COVID-19.
Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said:
“Tackling a challenge of this scale requires everybody to come together and do all that we can to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, and mitigate the economic, social and health impacts it will have.
“This obviously requires support from government – and we’ve seen the start of that this week, though we await further announcements – but there are things we can do locally as well. I want to do all that I can to help support local people, businesses and community organisations through this uncertainty.”
Mayor Rotheram was speaking as he chaired a special City Region COVID-19 action group meeting.
The group brings together representatives from the Local Resilience Forum, local council leaders, the emergency services, Public Health England, local MPs from all political parties and other key local organisations.
Praising the work of emergency services, the NHS, local councils, and everyone keeping transport, the grocery sector and pharmacies open, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region added:
“We are lucky to have so many brilliant frontline staff working flat out to combat COVID-19 and I want to thank them for everything they are doing.
“I hope the public will be reassured, as I am, that a multi-agency response is under way right across the city region and everyone is pulling together to protect the 1.6 million people who rely on us.
“We all know we are in for an extremely difficult time in the next few days, weeks and, potentially, many months. We know it will be hard, but I also know that if we work together, and look out for each other, we will get through this.”
The LCR Cares COVID 19 Community Support Fund website page is now open for donations from the public. Just go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/ and search for LCRCares or www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/lcrcares
Early next week, a simple and speedy processes for organisations to access those funds will be in place.
Speaking about the fund, The Metro Mayor added:
“There is some unbelievable work going on from organisations at the heart of our communities to help keep those communities afloat in these testing times. I am launching the LCR Cares Fund to give those groups the financial support that they need to carry on their invaluable work.
“I know that some people are unsure of their own financial situations at the moment but, to those who can afford it, I would ask them to give whatever you can. Every donation will help some wonderful organisations continue the brilliant work they are doing to help protect the vulnerable in our region.”
Notes to editors
Liverpool City Region Coronavirus Action Group
Chaired by the Metro Mayor, the task force brings together representatives from the Local Resilience Forum, which includes local council leaders, the emergency services, and Public Health England, as well as MPs from all political parties and other key local organisations.
Its role is not to replace existing resilience structures, but to provide the region with a single voice to lobby government for the action and to support co-ordinated action to help our communities, businesses and public services.
Free school bus travel
From Monday 23 March, we will allow free travel on Merseytravel contracted bus services to provide at least some practical financial support to the families of essential workers. This also supports reducing the risk to drivers of handling cash, given that contactless payments are more difficult/not an option for some young people. This is for Merseytravel contracted services to schools only. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL LIST OF SCHOOLS AND SERVICES
9.30am concessionary travel restrictions
Restrictions will be scrapped from Monday, 23 March and continue until the end of 2020 and will enable people over 60 to take advantage of moves by major supermarkets to open early for the elderly and vulnerable, as well as encouraging them to get out and get active when the current crisis is over.
The announcement comes after agreement was reached with Stagecoach, Arriva, Merseyrail, Northern and Transpennine Express and other bus operators.
Commenting further on the announcement, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“We are absolutely committed to doing all that we can to protect the city region’s residents and make their lives as comfortable as possible during this difficult period.
“As some of the major supermarkets move towards introducing golden hours for the elderly, first thing in the morning, we felt it was only right to introduce this flexibility which will, for example, allow older people to avail themselves of the opportunity to shop for essentials in a safer environment, as well as enabling them to get out and about when things get back to normal.
“The advice remains that older people, and particularly the over-70s, should only use public transport when absolutely necessary and that they should continue to follow the guidance around staying at home and socially distancing themselves.”
LCR Cares COVID 19 Community Support Fund
The Community Foundation for Merseyside will manage the LCRcares Fund on behalf of the Metro Mayor and Liverpool City Region.
The Community Foundation for Merseyside is a registered charity and over the past 20 years has distributed in excess of £40m to grass root community groups and charities across the Liverpool City Region and has a strong track record, expert team and long held reputation for ensuring funding is provided to the most vulnerable.
Chief Executive, Rae Brooke said:
“We are delighted to be managing the LCRcares Fund and will ensure much needed funding is provided where there’s most need and where it will have greatest impact. Many who have the capacity to support financially will want to do that in this exceptional time of need. This is when the best of community spirit can be demonstrated and everyone can make a real difference to the lives of others.”
To donate to the LCR Cares Fund please make payments via:
- Bank Transfer.
Name: CFLM core
Sort code: 09 07 20
- Search “LCRCares” at https://www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/ or visit liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/lcrcares
Social businesses support fund
In October 2019, Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham announced a fund to support Socially Trading Organisations. The Combined Authority has been working with Power to Change and local stakeholders to develop the fund which is due to be launched later this year. Given the huge pressure Socially Trading Organisations are now under, we will be releasing £65,000 in funding early to provide tailored business support now.
Vidhya Alakeson, CEO of Power to Change as Project Sponsor of Kindred, said:
“On behalf of the founding team of Kindred, we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority in these incredibly challenging times to support the City Region’s highly valued socially trading organisations, including community businesses. Kindred is about supporting the needs of STOs working in the City Region’s communities, and this pre-launch Kindred work will provide non-financial collaborating communities business support for STO needs at this time, backed by Power to Change and the Combined Authority. We recognise that the work of STOs, including community businesses, is particularly critical at this time of national crisis as they provide support to some of the most vulnerable communities in LCR.”