A number of face to face events and services will be reintroduced from Cardiff's community hubs and libraries on a phased basis from next week.
Starting from Monday, December 7, outdoor and indoor community events, recreational activities and learning or training sessions, all which will strictly adhere to the latest Welsh Government COVID-19 guidance, will return as part of the continued recovery of services in the city.
Essential services for people in need of support and advice have been delivered by the Council's facilities throughout the pandemic with provision adapting and responding to the ever-changing situation. More and more services have returned over the months, with a strong focus on digital delivery, and emergency face to face provision when necessary.
The reintroduction of further services, which will include activities such as community litter picks, gardening groups, book clubs, Friends and Neighbours groups and training courses, is in recognition that while digital delivery of services has been a lifeline for many over the last eight months, it is not the solution for all customers.
And with the onset of winter, the impact of social isolation on the health and wellbeing of residents across the city, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, could be hugely detrimental.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "I have no doubt that services delivered by our hubs and libraries throughout the COVID-19 crisis have been an absolute lifeline for so many residents across the city, whether it be the service we've operated for those having difficulties getting food, the welfare calls our teams have made to the vulnerable, or the invaluable advice and information our Advice services have provided to those experiencing the impact of the crisis on their employment or finances.
"We've adapted services to continue to support people with provision such as digital job clubs, virtual wellbeing events, pre-booked PC access and click and collect library services. But many of our most vulnerable residents aren't engaging digitally and we are concerned that the absence of ‘real life' interaction with services will have a lasting, negative effect on the people we want to support.
"The return of face to face services, in a well-managed way that prioritises the health and safety of our staff and customers, is a positive step forward and one that we believe will have a real benefit for our customers, especially those in danger of becoming socially isolated during these difficult days."
To ensure the safety of everyone using the city's hubs and libraries, internal layouts have been amended where necessary to ensure social distancing, one way systems and clear signage is in place and Perspex screens have been installed. Increased cleaning regimes will be in place at each facility and strict capacity limits will be in place for events and activities.