Councillors will next week hear how partnership work is helping to support residents through the coronavirus pandemic.

Durham County Council’s Cabinet is being updated on the key initiatives being carried out by the County Durham Partnership.

The partnership is made up of key public, private and voluntary sector organisations that work together to improve the quality of life for people within County Durham.

At the start of the pandemic, partners had to reprioritise their efforts to manage the response to coronavirus and adapt the ways in which services were delivered to the public.

The voluntary and community sector has been critical to this response with the community hub, County Durham Together, being established to coordinate food provision, welfare support, social contact and volunteering. The hub has helped support residents who are clinically extremely vulnerable or socially vulnerable, those who are self-isolating or those who need support to access food and essential supplies. It has also helped those who are isolated or lonely and those who have any concerns linked to coronavirus.

A dedicated £1.4 million coronavirus support fund was shared amongst the council’s 14 Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) at the start of the pandemic. This helped almost 300 community groups and organisations to support the county’s most vulnerable residents.

The partnership has also helped to develop a Covid-19 Community Champions programme to ensure that key messages continue to be shared within communities, and that these messages are trusted, concise and clear.

In order to deliver holiday activities and healthy food across the county, the child poverty working group was awarded £250,000 from the Poverty Action Group and public health to support children, young people and their families through the holidays.

Additionally, multiple services from across the council worked together to provide meals for 10,418 children across County Durham during the October half-term.

As a result of the economic implications of the pandemic, the County Durham Economic Partnership is helping to provide assistance to businesses in the hope of strengthening the county’s economy as well as providing support to young people who are likely to be hit hardest by unemployment.

Partners have also worked together to support World Mental Health Day given the impact of coronavirus and subsequent restrictions on the health and wellbeing of residents.

Meanwhile, the council’s 14 AAPs held virtual events in the autumn to gather the views of residents and businesses on a range of issues and update on what was happening in their area. Residents were given the opportunity to shape the county’s future activities at these events, including how towns and villages across the county could be made more vibrant.

Cllr Simon Henig, Durham County Council’s leader, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on everyone in County Durham. However, the work of the wider County Durham Partnership has been a key strength in ensuring that communities have been well supported.

“The partnership, including our Safeguarding Boards, Better Together VCS Forum and our 14 AAPs will continue to work together with our communities through this difficult time and work to prevent health and wellbeing inequalities widening.

“Our relationships with other agencies and with our communities are built on solid foundations and will continue to provide a basis for improving outcomes for local people to meet the County Durham Vision of creating more and better jobs, connecting communities and helping people to live long and independent lives.”

Cabinet will meet virtually at 9.30am on Wednesday 13 January. Members of the public can view the meeting on the council’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/DurhamCouncil