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Herts County Council unveils £9.6m Covid recovery budget

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Hertfordshire County Council is investing £9.6m to help communities recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The cross-service funding includes a £2m joint Building Life Chances package from adult care, children's and public health services to tackle some of the impacts on families, including crisis intervention funding, community projects and financial advice to support families in, or at risk of, poverty.

Cllr Bob Deering, HCC's cabinet member for resources and performance, said: "We've seen the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on our residents, we've witnessed the disruption to education and we know there's increased demand across social care.

Cllr Bob Deering (48824022)
Cllr Bob Deering (48824022)

"We have to take action now to address these issues before they take on even more significance, which is why we've established this crucial fund. We want Hertfordshire to be a county where people have the opportunity to live healthy, fulfilling lives in thriving, prosperous communities, and supporting our residents as we recover from the pandemic is key to ensuring this continues to be the case.

"As part of Covid-19 recovery, we will continue to progress towards achieving this vision, acknowledging the good practice prior to the pandemic but also building on new ways of working, delivering services and maintaining close engagement with local communities."

The two-year funding package includes £3m for children's services to finance initiatives such as the Coming Back Stronger programme of educational recovery, including mental health support for pupils and mentoring delivered by Herts for Learning.

A further £3m for adult care services will fund programmes including supporting carers of vulnerable adults, residents with learning disabilities and autism, and support for victims of domestic abuse and violence against women and girls.

The county council will also be investing more than £500,000 in apprenticeships for care leavers and support for youth employment, and £600,000 in enhanced support for families through its family centre network, plus other new parent support.

An additional £440,000 has been earmarked for the SaverCard Plus scheme – a three-year extension of the SaverCard scheme to include 20- to 25-year olds – providing half-price discounts on bus travel.

There is also a 50% increase in member locality budgets, from £10,000 to £15,000 a year, for councillors to allocate grants in their communities.

Over the last 18 months, the county council has spent around £144m on its critical response to coronavirus. The new funding, which will boost Hertfordshire's economic recovery, is being outlined in a Covid-19 Recovery Strategy Panel report presented to full council on July 20.

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