A COUNCIL’S job is really varied are rarely appreciated, things that come into focus around the festive period and when dealing with emergencies such as bad weather.
When people think of “council services”, first to come to mind is often the bin-men, or the waste and recycling service. In Thurrock the teams are working on two consecutive Saturdays to ensure every home gets back to its regular collection day as soon as possible following the holidays.
But there are more services the council carries out too – services which can make a tremendous difference to people’s lives.
For example Thurrock’s hospital social work team managed to get several people home for Christmas, working hard the weekend before.
In one instance an elderly couple wanted to be together over the festive period. One was already a resident at Collins House and on Christmas Eve the team managed to transfer her husband from hospital so they could be together.
Extra equipment, transport and care was arranged at home for another hospital patient allowing her home on Christmas Eve – she had been stuck in hospital for the two previous Christmases.
And another older lady – desperate to get home to cook dinner with her family – was able to go with support from the team.
The council’s rapid response assessment service also saw a number of people – including one on Boxing Day who had her care increased so she could stay in her home.
This team also visited a carer of a man suffering Alzheimer’s disease, offering extra support so she could continue to care for him at home.
At the other end of the scale, two council staff worked from 6.30pm to 4,30am (and then went out again) on the stormy night of 23/24 December tackling fallen trees and branches and during Christmas Eve the team removed or made safe more than 50 incidents.
During Christmas Eve many of their colleagues were out litter-picking as the high winds had strewn little across the borough.
Cllr John Kent, Leader of the Council, said: “People are quick to shout when the council is slow or makes a mistake and that’s fair enough, but the vast majority of council staff regularly go out of their way to take that extra step and help people in need.
“I’d like to record my thanks for those efforts. The street sweepers and the chain saw operators, the social workers and the binmen all deserve our thanks for their efforts over the past few days and weeks.”