'Stay safe - and connected' - South Tyneside council chief reaches out to those left struggling

A South Tyneside Council chief has praised communities for pulling together during the coronavirus lockdown and urged residents to “stay safe and connected.”

By Chris Binding
Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 3:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 4:00 pm

In mid-March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 with people asked to stay at home except for a limited number of reasons.

Read More

Read More
LIVE coronavirus updates: North East death toll rises by 38 as The Queen sends m...

These include to go to work if it cannot be done from home, to buy everyday essentials, to care for a vulnerable relative or attend a medical appointment, or for exercise once a day alone or with people from the same household.

Coun Tracey Dixon

Across South Tyneside, the council and local groups have been working to support people affected by the new rules.

Coun Tracey Dixon, the borough council’s deputy leader with responsibility for independence and wellbeing, has thanked communities for their response.

In a heartfelt statement, she urged residents to look after their mental health and wellbeing and support their neighbours where possible.

“I want to reach out to anyone who is reading this and struggling right now; please know that you are not alone,” she said.

“Life has temporarily changed significantly and if you are feeling anxious or lonely that is a perfectly normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

“The current lockdown will be affecting everybody differently and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been checking on family members, friends and people in the community.

“We may be unable to see each other face-to-face but we can continue to support each other in a safe way, whether this be via a phone call, social media or a rainbow in the window.

“All of these things can, and do, make a huge difference.

“There is nothing we can do about the current situation of lockdown, we all must stay at home, but there are things we can do to improve our mental wellbeing whilst self-isolating.”

The statement was published on South Tyneside Council’s website and wellbeinginfo.org -an online directory of self-help information, services, training and volunteering opportunities in Sunderland and South Tyneside.

Coun Dixon advised that talking about worries with someone you trust, contacting charities such as Mind and daily exercise to “clear the mind of anxious thoughts” can help.

The council boss also urged residents to be kind to one another, adding a “friendly ear can make all the difference.”

“I know many of you are feeling worried, confused and uncertain during these unprecedented times,” she said.

“I want to reach out to tell you that you are not alone and that your council is doing everything it can at this time to support our residents, communities, local businesses, voluntary groups and charities.

“We have faced tough times before and we will get through this in the same way – by looking out for one another.

“I am in awe of the way communities are pulling together to support each other and raise spirits.

“It is heart warming to hear stories about people cooking extra meals for elderly neighbours, postmen going to work in fancy dress to spread cheer, charities working around the clock to check on the vulnerable and a moment none of us will forget – the entire borough coming together to clap for our selfless NHS workers.

“I am truly proud of South Tyneside and the caring people within it.”

Coun Dixon added: “When this is over, we will celebrate and, I’m sure, hold our loved ones closer and cherish those everyday things that we used to take for granted.

“Until then, stay safe and stay connected.”

For more information on South Tyneside Council’s coronavirus response, visit: www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/69129/Coronavirus-COVID-19

Key links around mental health and wellbeing include:

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

How to subscribe to the print edition

It’s easy to subscribe to your local newspaper. We have arranged a special 20 per cent off subscription offer for people to take advantage of. Visit www.localsubsplus.co.uk, choose the newspaper title, the type of subscription and enter your details.