Council leader fears children will be ‘left behind’ due to coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 April 2020

Cllr Don Davies.

Cllr Don Davies.

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North Somerset Council leader Don Davies fears nationwide school closures will mean a generation of children are ‘left behind’ due to coronavirus.

Boris Johnson and Cllr Don Davies.Boris Johnson and Cllr Don Davies.

Cllr Davies said support from Government had been ‘pretty good’ under the circumstances but said the ‘long-term’ impact on education was a worry.

The ward member for Pill appealed for donations of personal protective equipment and praised frontline workers including NHS, volunteers and council staff for their response to the outbreak.

Cllr Davis said: “The more worrying thing is around schools. I worry there’s a generation that will be left behind and they aren’t going to be back in before autumn. The long-term impact on education is a big worry for me, particularly those children who are already disadvantaged.

“In the circumstances, the support from Government has been pretty good. They’re keeping us in the picture and asking for things to be done. They’re reacting as quickly as they can.

“For me, the next question is how this is sustainable for a relatively long period.”

Schools have shut to pupils since the country went on lockdown last week, except for the children of key workers.

Much of the workforce at the council has also adapted to working from home, but key workers remain on the front line.

Cllr Davies said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to all council staff, the NHS and all the volunteers who are out helping, making sure people in isolation are fed and looked after.

“The waste service is getting massive plaudits for making collections and doing it on time. We’re keeping recycling and we’ve got extra staff in.

“I want to thank our social care teams for keeping people safe and we should also thank the back-office staff. Without them, other people would be put at risk.”

Cllr Davies also praised the authority’s homelessness team, which has managed to requisition B&Bs to get more than 20 rough sleepers off the streets.

As of Monday, the council had received more than 35 responses to its request for personal protective equipment, with donations of hand sanitiser, nitrile gloves and handmade masks and aprons.

Anyone with items to donate can email the council at care.connect@n-somerset.gov.uk or call 01275 888801.


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