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COVID-19 residents' survey results 2021

Following the initial COVID-19 survey that the county council undertook in 2020, COVID-19 continued to have a big impact on our lives, including our health and wellbeing, education, jobs and the wider economy.

We ran a follow-up survey during October and November 2021, asking Staffordshire residents to tell us how the pandemic was continuing to affect you and your family, as well as what’s needed to help Staffordshire’s communities and businesses recover and thrive.

More than 2,700 of you responded - thank you to everyone who took the time to take part. We are pleased to share the results of the survey below.

As a council committed to listening and working with individuals and communities, your feedback is already helping to inform how we work with other organisations, residents, and communities to take action. Here is what you said and what we are doing…

 


 

Health and Wellbeing

Access to health care services

  • Supportive Communities - We continue to take a multiagency approach to helping people who need support, working with the voluntary and community sector and NHS, to develop our 18 Community Help Points and help people to access our online advice and support.

  • Social care support - Our Adult Social Care teams continue to work hard to make sure that people can access support where they need it, including working with the NHS to ensure that people discharged from hospitals can access the necessary support to enable them to return home as quickly as possible.

Physical health improvements

  • Health in all policies - We are working with partners through Better Health Staffordshire to help people reach and maintain a healthy weight; working with businesses to promote health in the workplace; and continuing to roll out Warmer and Greener homes Schemes.

  • Lifestyle Service - We adapted delivery of our lifestyle services so they could continue throughout the COVID-19 restrictions, and widened the eligibility criteria to allow more to access support:

    • Stop Smoking (anyone who smokes aged 40+ years)
    • Weight management (anyone aged 18+ with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 28+ with a long-term medical condition, or a BMI of 30+ without)
    • Physical activity (anyone 18+ years with low or no activity levels)
    • Social isolation interventions (anyone 18+ years who feels lonely or isolated).
  • Health App Finder - We launched the health app finder at the start of the pandemic which has recorded 11,311 user sessions up to May 2022. Good health apps can make a real difference to health and wellbeing. We review and select the best apps in the Staffordshire health app library.

Mental wellbeing improvements

  • Mental Health Strategy(all age) - Improving mental health and wellbeing is a key priority and this includes promoting emotional well-being; helping people to develop mental resilience; a focus on suicide prevention; and involving people in improving and integrating mental health and social care services.

  • Loneliness and Isolation - Loneliness and social isolation has become a new challenge for some and made more severe for others. We are working to develop plans which aim to reduce the risk of loneliness and provide people with more opportunities to feel connected in their community.
  • Children and Young People’s (C&YP) Mental Wellbeing - A range of information and support has been made available in this area - Children's mental health support pathway | Staffordshire Connects. Examples of work that is taking place include:

    • Kind Minds e-newsletter - Since September 2020, this e-newsletter pulls together information about children & young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing every half term and is distributed to over 400 schools and over 500 individuals and organisations.
    • Staffordshire Emotional Health and Wellbeing Service (actionforchildren.org.uk) – This jointly commissioned service was established in April 2020 and is aimed at C&YP experiencing low to moderate mental health needs such as low mood, anxiety etc. Children, young people and their families, and professionals, can also access our Silver Cloud digital offer at any time to get support.
    • Wellbeing for Education Recovery - Through the delivery of this project we are providing vital support, focusing on the impact of the pandemic on children under five, their families and the Early Years sector.  

Economic recovery and supporting the local economy

  • Economic Strategy - We are developing a new Economic Strategy that will help to strengthen partnerships with district and borough councils and other organisations, in addition to influencing central Government and attracting investors. Main priorities include the regeneration of town centres, supporting start-ups and growing small businesses, ensuring Staffordshire has a higher skilled and higher paid workforce, supporting development of sites so they’re ready for business, and strengthening transport corridors such as the A50/A500 and A38.

  • Staffordshire Means Back to Business - We continue to support local businesses to survive, adapt and continue to operate as part of delivering the £6m Staffordshire Means Back to Business Support Scheme. This is a unique partnership with Staffordshire’s eight boroughs and districts to prioritise support for small businesses and people whose jobs and employment prospects have been impacted. The scheme includes programmes such as the ‘Apprenticeship 500’, Staffordshire Start-up Loan scheme and ‘Get Started’ to help Staffordshire’s businesses.

  • Staffordshire Investment Prospectus - The Staffordshire Investment Prospectus, launched in March 2022, highlights economic investment opportunity across the county. It presents key major projects that will regenerate and transform Staffordshire over the next five years, including Stafford town centre regeneration and Chatterley Valley West. 

Environment and climate change

  • Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan - We have developed a Climate Change Strategic Development Framework and Action Plan that sets out how the council intends to tackle climate change. We are on a mission to Make Staffordshire Sustainable and ​have made a commitment, as an organisation to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

  • Climate Change Action Fund - Over 100 applications were received for the second round of the Climate Change Action Fund at the start of 2022, which offers funding assistance to local communities to reduce Staffordshire’s contributions to climate change.

  • Anti-idling campaign - In March 2022, a two-week anti-idling campaign was delivered by the council and local businesses, to help raise awareness of improving air quality in Staffordshire. During the campaign, businesses encouraged employees to turn off their engines when they weren’t in use.

  • Doing our bit - We are delivering a ‘Doing our bit to make Staffordshire sustainable’ campaign. This promotes how we can all do our bit to make Staffordshire greener and reduce our impact on the environment by thinking differently about how we live our everyday lives.

  • Countryside estate - The pandemic saw greater numbers of people accessing Staffordshire’s countryside estate, including green spaces – enabling communities to connect with nature and benefit their physical and mental health.  These assets play an important role in our response to achieving net zero carbon and Nature Recovery Declaration ambitions.  An investment programme for key countryside sites will be developed, and a new volunteer offer launched, as part of the future direction for Staffordshire's countryside estate.

  • Nature Recovery Declaration - We have committed to a Nature Recovery Declaration drawn up by the county council and partners, detailing actions to help reverse the decline of wild species and provide a more hospitable landscape for wildlife.  

Financial impact

Although some residents reported being able to save more during the pandemic, some reported financial difficulties, and with the cost-of-living increases that are being experienced nationally, Staffordshire has measures in place to help those residents facing financial hardship.

  • Warmer Homes - One of these measures is the delivery of the Warmer Homes Scheme, which aims to combat fuel poverty across the county and help eligible residents to heat their homes. This will continue to be delivered in 2022/23 through the Sustainable Warmth Competition, which helps local authorities to upgrade energy inefficient homes of low-income households.

  • Household Support Fund - We also administered over £12 million in the last 12 months to assist people facing financial hardship through the Household Support Fund and other grants. These funds have been used primarily to support households most in need with food, energy costs and other bills. The Household Support fund will be extended to 30th September 2022 to continue to support those in need. 

Building public confidence

  • Vaccination campaigns - We continue to promote COVID-19 vaccinations for Staffordshire residents via communication campaigns, including providing myth busting facts to encourage more people to take-up the vaccine and subsequent boosters.
  • Personal responsibility - As we move towards ‘living safely with Covid’, the council continues with its communication campaign to promote taking precautions to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
  • High risk settings - Although there is the shift to ‘living safely with Covid’; we will continue with the ongoing management of outbreaks in high-risk settings and ensure plans are in place in case the situation escalates again.

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