INCREASED use of technology and new ways of working, to keep essential services running, were outlined at Hillingdon Council’s virtual cabinet meeting last night (21).

A special report outlined efforts to support residents and businesses since the outbreak of COVID-19.

All parks and green spaces remained open, allowing residents to exercise outdoors.

Weekly waste and recycling services were maintained, with collection teams changing the way they work to remain safe. They collected a record 2,278 tons of green waste in April.

New services, including a community support hub, were created to support residents most at risk, particularly those being shielded.

The hub, run with the charity H4All, fielded 5,314 calls between March 30 and May 6, and handled 1,213 requests for services, including food shopping, emergency food parcels and medicine deliveries.

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Housing teams have also been working to find homes for the borough’s rough sleepers. 

Hillingdon has overseen the distribution of more than 600,000 protective gloves, masks, aprons, eye protectors and hand sanitizers to social care teams.

An average of 237 Universal Credit verification requests were handled each week in April, and more than £30m in government grants to around 2,100 businesses.

The council also mobilised employees to set up a temporary mortuary at Breakspear Crematorium. 

It has harnessed online technology to transform other services, including:

  • A WhatsApp singing group for residents living with dementia and their carers
  • This year’s Hillingdon in Bloom competition to be judged remotely
  • The Rural Activities Garden Centre has a delivery service where residents can order compost and plants and pay over the phone
  • The Dancing in the Streets Exhibition, originally researched as a touring exhibition, going online to mark VE Day 75.