Fermanagh and Omagh District Council
Covid-19 has impacted on every aspect of our lives. Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has, over the last number of months, been forced to adapt the way it delivers its services to the residents of the area, but our response has at all times been driven by the health and safety of both its staff and its customers and governed by NI Executive and Public Health Agency.
In the early stages of the pandemic, the Council’s focus was on ensuring that its critical services were continued as far as possible unaffected. It managed to maintain a high quality, refuse collection and disposal service, with the minimum of disruption and throughout all phases of lockdown, maintained its Registration and cemetery services as far as restrictions would allow.
Despite the closure of its administrative buildings, leisure facilities, arts centres and visitor attractions, almost 250 members of staff remained on site, delivering essential services across the district while just over 300 staff were facilitated to deliver services through home working which was a significant undertaking in terms of logistics and IT support.
The Council was determined that residents could still contact it from 9.00 am – 5.00 pm Monday-Friday either by telephone or online and that we provided support to our residents, local communities and businesses within the restrictions imposed at any given time.
Working in partnership with other key stakeholders, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council managed the Food Parcel Scheme, on behalf of the Department for Communities. Over the duration of the scheme, more than 17,000 food parcels were delivered to households across the district while more than 2,600 people were assisted through the Community Hub helpline.
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council also provided financial assistance to community groups across the district to help communities respond to the impacts of Covid-19. To date, the Council has disbursed £130,000 to groups across the district.
The Council continued to provide support to the business community, by organising a series of webinars, continuing the Business Mentoring Support Programmes and signposting businesses to government funded programmes to help them through the worst effects of Covid-19.
A total of 422 businesses participated in the free online webinars while 120 businesses were referred to the Business mentoring Support Systems.
As businesses slowly reopened, the Council developed the Confidence Mark which was designed to encourage business to adopt practices which would minimise the risk of customers returning to the shops when businesses reopened. More than 1,200 business are currently signed up to the scheme.
More than 1,850 people also participated in the Town Centre Recovery Survey.
The Council examined how it could improve the delivery of its services through online methods, thereby reducing the need for physical contact at this time.
Creative thinking enabled residents to partake in Council programmes, such as summer schemes, online talks and physical activity programmes, while residents and visitors from further afield were able to access the Friday night live programme delivered by The Ardhowen, in conjunction with local artistes who performed live through the medium of Facebook from the Ardhowen Café area.
Measures taken in line with the reopening of leisure facilities, enabled customers to book and pay for classes, gym use and use of the swimming pools in advance of attending the centres.
Businesses also benefited from a series of online webinars.
Councillors were able to meet remotely through the use of online meetings. Indeed, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, was the first Council in NI to hold an online meeting when Council meetings resumed in June.
The creation of a dedicated Covid-19 webpage enabled the Council to update residents immediately on changes to services, closure of Council facilities and signposting to other agencies/bodies for assistance. This was supported by constant updates through social media channels and press updates.
There was almost 240,000 views of our physical activity, cultural, arts and heritage programmes online which demonstrated the success of online activity.
Appreciation to our residents
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council would like to thank you, the residents of the district, for your unfailing support and co-operation throughout this most difficult time. Your support and encouragement for the staff was incredible and was truly appreciated.
As we face an uncertain future, rest assured that the Council is committed to providing a high quality service to improve the lives and wellbeing of our residents and to provide the best quality experience to those who visit the district.