Key partners from the district are joining forces with Wakefield Council to play a lead role in driving forward the district’s recovery from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Recovery Board, which was established by the Leader of Wakefield Council last month, has confirmed two key themes of work.
The economy recovery theme will look at identifying local interventions, attracting funding, and creating positive longer term opportunities to rebuild more zero carbon, resilient, inclusive city and towns as well as addressing skills, infrastructure and transport challenges.
Resident recovery work will focus on effective and sustainable support especially to the communities most impacted by COVID-19, enabling universal services, harnessing support from the voluntary and community sectors and developing a refreshed approach to tackling inequalities and building inclusion and equality.
Martin Hathaway, Managing Director of the Mid Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce will lead the economy theme and Simon Topham, Chief Executive of the Citizens Advice Wakefield District and Cllr Maureen Cummings, Cabinet Member for Environment, Communities and Poverty, will lead the residents theme.
Each theme lead will now build a team of multi-agency partners and council representatives to move the work forward. The board is also working to identify gaps in the national and regional provision in order to ensure that all businesses and residents across the district who need support during the recovery can get it.
Cllr Denise Jeffery, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “Our recovery has to be a multi-agency approach and I am very pleased to have the professional expertise of our partners and Cllr Cummings leading the key areas we must focus on. The leads bring with them a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills that will enable the Recovery Board to add real value and impact at a local level.”
Martin Hathaway, Managing Director of the Mid Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “Providing businesses and their employees with the support they need will be vital during this period of economic recovery. I am delighted to be working initially with Wakefield Council, colleagues from higher and further education, and business organisations, as well as continuing to talk with wider public and community sector partners, to put together joint solutions for the Wakefield Recovery Board.”
Simon Topham, Chief Executive of the Citizens Advice Wakefield District, said: “I am delighted to be able to contribute to the work of the Wakefield Recovery Board. I believe that the overall impact of the COVID-19 crisis will be long lasting and hard on our communities. It is so important at a time like this that every organisation, including Citizens Advice Wakefield District, will work together to strengthen the resilience of our communities.
“Our hope is that no resident dealing with long-term health, employment, debt or housing issues as a result of the crisis should feel alone and that we jointly build an open, accessible and sympathetic support structure for everyone.”
The Recovery Board currently includes representatives from Wakefield Council, West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group, Department for Work and Pensions, Wakefield College, Wakefield and District Housing, Mid Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce, NOVA, Citizens Advice Bureau, Federation of Small Businesses and the Wakefield Business Improvement District and other business sector representatives. The members will work together to respond to national decisions by the Government over the coming weeks and months, to support the district in its recovery, and formalise the multi-agency work that is already underway.
The Recovery Board is expected to continue to meet regularly over the next 12 months.