An ambitious roadmap towards strong communities and a resilient, diverse economy for Barrow following the coronavirus outbreak has been outlined in a recently published Barrow Borough Council report.

Named Growing Forward, the document will be discussed at the authority’s executive committee next Wednesday, July 8.

It sets out the way in which the council responded to the Covid-19 pandemic with the deployment of its Business Continuity Plan to ensure vital services could continue to be delivered throughout lockdown while keeping staff and residents safe.

Ann Thomson, council leader, said: “The Covid-19 outbreak was absolutely unprecedented and we had to be agile as an organisation to make sure we could continue to deliver frontline services to our communities.

“I am incredibly proud of the ways in which our teams responded; pulling together, adapting, learning new skills and taking on different roles to make sure the borough council continued to support thousands of residents, families and businesses.

“It’s been a tough time, there’s no doubt about that, but the work going on behind the scenes has been phenomenal.

“During lockdown, efforts continued to go into planning for our recovery so that we come through this stronger than before and with a bright future ahead of us.

“Key to this is bringing to life the priorities listed in our Council Plan, published in January, and the exciting opportunities for regeneration and economic growth the Towns Deal and Future High Streets are bringing.”

The report also highlights how the council will achieve its long term vision for Barrow to become a great place to live, work and visit.

Growing Forward provides a list of actions taken since March including closing venues such as Barrow Town Hall, The Forum and The Dock Museum to public access in a bid to halt the virus, save lives and reduce pressures on the NHS.

Council staff began to work from home where possible with many taking on new roles and responsibilities or being redeployed. Some also volunteered to run the borough’s emergency helpline to provide crucial support to those shielding or self-isolating - including the delivery of food and medicine.

Council staff answered 775 calls during the first week of lockdown and a further 4,500 calls during April and May.

More than 1,000 businesses have benefited from Business Grants totalling £11 million while 830 households adversely impacted by the outbreak have received council tax relief.

Emergency assistance was given to 37 households in need of accommodation while fly-tipping rose by 200 per cent.