Council Responses to COVID-19

We have collected examples of how Councils around the world are supporting their communities through new initiatives and innovating during this challenging time. By sharing this information we can inspire each other to think creatively and foster collaboration and innovation. Please send details of how your Council is responding to kahlias@lgpro.com  

Most Councils have provided local businesses and ratepayers refunds or extensions of permit fees, rent relief, rates assistance packages and quicker payment processing. Here are some other ways that Councils are responding:

Australia


Corangamite Shire – Has a dedicated hub on their website providing ideas and support for their community, including kids’ activity ideas, fitness and wellbeing, ways to stay social, entertainment and community support.

City of Darebin – has developed a $10 million community and local business recovery and support package. The package focuses on supporting local family violence, elder abuse and homelessness services in Darebin and will also redeploy staff to help those organisations respond to the increased demand. Council will also provide funding to existing emergency relief services and increase their capacity to respond to a growing client base, providing food vouchers, essential supply hampers and local pre-made meals. The package will also deliver grants to support community groups and sports clubs and creative organisations to deliver initiatives which support recovery efforts and improving wellbeing. Financial relief for individuals and businesses and business strengthening measures will also be included in the package.

Moreton Bay Regional Council - has created two Grant programs, the COVID-19 Community Infrastructure Revitalisation Grant, which provides up to $50,000 in funding for community organisations to undertake facility maintenance and renewal projects, and the COVID-19 Community Organisation Hardship and Assistance Grant. Community organisations experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 are eligible for up to $10,000 in financial assistance. 

City of Ballarat – The ‘Be Kind’ campaign is a kindness initiative created to help bring the community together and spread kindness. The City of Ballarat have made the campaign information and assets available for other LGA’s to use so that kindness can spread across Australia. Councils that have already adopted the ‘Be Kind’ campaign include Frankston, Baw Baw, Casey, Campbelltown, Moreland, Golden Plains and Yarra.

The City of Ballarat have made the toolkit available here and you can watch the video here .

City of Glen Eira – endorsed a $7.3 million Response and Recovery package to support residents and ratepayers. The package includes programs to support businesses to adapt in these changed circumstances, mentoring and mental health programs, increased capacity in services for the vulnerable such as delivered meals and immunisation, relaxation of parking restrictions and a community kindness campaign. In addition, they have a range of online workouts and guided meditation videos on their website and online Storytime for children.  

Hobsons Bay City Council - has implemented a drop-off service for residents to dispose of their additional household waste at no charge. The Council has also introduced full rental rebates for eligible businesses, community and recreational groups paying rent in Council-owned buildings, fee refunds, planning application fee waivers and the establishment of a business round table comprising local professionals and traders, to advise Council of ongoing business support needs. In addition, the Council is delivering 'Play Kits' to all Playgroup families, online storytime, Youth mental health online counselling service and a library home delivery service.  

Mornington Peninsula Shire – has redirected Shire staff from non-essential services and community volunteers have been enrolled to support the ‘Çaring for our Community’ program. This provides a direct way for community and Shire team members to get involved in helping those most at risk during this challenging time. The ‘Caring for our Community’ initiative addresses the immediate issue of making sure vulnerable and isolated members of the community are looked after by delivering care packages to their door. 

Cardinia Shire Council – has launched Coronavirus Online Help Hub, which includes information on support available for individuals and households, support available for businesses, what to do if you suspect you have the virus, how to protect yourself and others, family violence support and looking after your mental health.  

City of Port Phillip – is supporting people experiencing homelessness through an increase of $500,000 in the social housing fund to go to services. The home library service has been expanded and regular online storytime sessions are being delivered. The Council has been supporting the South Melbourne market traders by providing funds to enable website improvement and online stores and an order and collect service for food. 

City of Melbourne – has created a $5 million grants program for small to medium sized city businesses and non-profit organisations to invest in online and e-commerce capabilities, take part in training and professional development, and undertake capital works. The Grants include up to $5000 for investing in online and e-commerce activities, up to $2000 for training and professional development and up to $10,000 for capital works projects (matching dollar-for-dollar) to adapt to changing conditions. 

City of Frankston – are arming small business owners with information and tools on how they can plan, prepare, adapt and communicate so that they can be proactive during this time. The Council is providing an industry expert video series, business coaching and a business outreach and concierge service to support local businesses. The council is encouraging residents to shop local through the Frankston Food Move campaign and supporting community collaboration by making 'Hi Neighbour' cards available for download or delivery.

Shepparton City Council – has developed a Small to Medium Businesses COVID-19 Quick Response Grant for up to $3,000 to facilitate transitioning to online and e-commerce activities. A Small Business Expert Support Program is delivering relevant training and development activities to assist small business owners to adapt to changing work practices and models. In addition, the Council are developing a suite of virtual seminars to support local business through the COVID-19 pandemic, providing information and advice on deciphering Government assistance packages, adapting and innovating business models in response to the rapidly changing environment, and health and well-being support and advice. 

Hume City Council
– has launched ‘Hume Together’, a campaign designed to reframe the conversation on service delivery and to promote a sense of connectedness and strength within the community. The campaign launched with four broad categories including, 'Together in Business', 'Together at Home', 'Together in Learning' and 'Together in Health and Wellbeing'. Council employees have been live-streaming group fitness classes, storytime, school holiday activities, a gallery walk through and more. The Council has emphasised community engagement by sharing the inspiring and often selfless stories of community members. #HumeTogether is showcasing the activities the council is providing to the community and generating community pride. 

The Council has developed 'Small to Medium Business Quick Response Support Grants' to provide immediate financial assistance to eligible small to medium businesses affected by COVID-19. The grants are designed to assist businesses to retain current employees or support business sustainability.

City of Greater Geelong – has launched four initiatives, a Business Support Package, Events Geelong, Street Cleaning and the Geelong City Kids Challenge. 

The Business Support Package package provides access to professional advice on human resources, financial management and digital marketing as well as expert business mentoring for industry-specific advice, to impacted local businesses. Events Geelong is a new online listing destination for virtual community events and the Geelong City Kids Challenge offers 30 days of artistic inspiration through a new online activity series. The challenge encourages imagination, experimentation and resourcefulness. 

Southern Grampians Shire Council - has responded to the immediate needs of local businesses with a range of support, including free 1:1 consultations with an independent business support officer, subsidised eCommerce websites to get online quickly and a new COVID-19 Portal containing a Business & Tourism Support Hub. The Hub is packed with resources including a Quick Reference Guide to available financial packages and a weekly Bulletin highlighting timely opportunities. A Business & Community Directory keeps residents informed of innovative changes to businesses, services and events, and Council’s cultural and recreational services are delivering engaging online alternatives to their programs. Visit the COVID-19 Portal

City of Moonee Valley – has expanded their delivered meals service to include any resident suffering from financial hardship. The Council has also instated a small business grant scheme and revised a community funding program to become the COVID-19 Recovery Grants Program to support community recovery during the pandemic. 


International


City of Edmonton (Canada) - has utilised their EXPO Centre to create a temporary health facility. The centre provides services for 500-600 homeless and vulnerable people each day. One section of the centre provides food, storage for belongings, showers, cultural and peer support, as well as assistance to find permanent housing. The other side has been turned into an isolation centre for homeless and vulnerable people exhibiting symptoms and provides medical care and areas for isolation and quarantine.

City of London (United Kingdom) – has rented 100 motel rooms to house the city’s most -at-risk homeless, including the elderly and those with existing health concerns. This initiative also allows existing homeless shelters to better enforce social distancing. In addition 26 ‘Portable Comfort Stations’ (portable toilets with hand sanitizer) have been established in the Old East Village and downtown area so that the homeless have facilities available to properly clean and sanitise their hands. 

City of Winnipeg (Canada)
– city employees previously employed in libraries and recreation centres are fulfilling ‘other duties as assigned’, such as stocking shelves for Winnipeg Harvest (a community based food distribution and training centre) or filling sandbags to assist with spring flooding. 

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