• Olga one of our Library staff selecting children's books for a Library2U order

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

After 106 days of stay-at-home restrictions, it’s wonderful seeing you back at our libraries, aquatic centres, customer service, and other facilities.

While we’re all glad lockdown is over, these are just some of the things we enjoyed doing to support you during this tough time.  

1. Bringing the library to your home

While you couldn’t visit us in our branches, our Library2U service kept many of our locals entertained. A whopping 73,310 library items were borrowed through 33,239 deliveries all across the Northern Beaches. Over 600 Click and Create craft kits kept both kids and adults entertained – some proved so popular we needed to restock them!

2. Supporting local businesses

As our local business community was hit particularly hard we ramped up our Business Support Service supporting over 300 business owners with questions about funding, grants, how to open takeaway and more.

We launched the Back to Business program, which aims to help businesses reopen under the current restrictions, cutting red tape to fast-track recovery. We’ve had 125 ideas come through so far and already we’ve issued a range of permits thanks to these ideas! Submit yours today.

3. Adding natives to your garden and backyard

During lockdown, our volunteers were stood down for their own safety – but that meant many of the plantings used to help regenerate public bushland or as gifts for new Australian citizens at our ceremonies needed new homes!

That’s where our Backyard Habitat program came in delivering over 1,000 native plants to residents’ homes.

Our team matched three native plants that were just right for each backyard or garden. This round is in addition to the 2,200 plants we delivered in lockdown last year!

4. Extending exercise time

During the heart of winter it sure gets dark early and with gyms closed we wanted to provide more opportunities for people to get out once their school or work day was done. So we switched on the lights at selected parks and reserves to extend the exercise day.   

5. Supporting HSC students

Year 12 students have been having a particular tough year, so our library created a new digital program HSC Bright, with specialist subject speakers, time trials, pop quizzes and wellbeing activities like yoga, calligraphy and origami. All of it could be accessed online from home.

6. Helping you get crafty

Create at Home helped local artists connect with our community with online classes on a various mediums, from everlasting floral bouquets to pour painting.

7. Streaming events and webinars to your lounge room

Many of our events and services moved online, including Manly Jazz where a full October long weekend of music performances was streamed on social media for audiences to enjoy. Hundreds of students tuned in to our environment webinar series and over 400 locals learnt online how to grow veggies in their backyards and on balconies, preserve excess fruit and veggies, and how to feed a family for under $10 by using up all their produce.

8. Connecting seniors with our children’s services

The Home Library Service continued to support our vulnerable and older people throughout lockdown. Children from our Children’s Services even created beautiful artworks with messages of hope for our elderly clients to brighten their day.

9. Continuing to deliver Meals on Wheels

While our amazing volunteers were stood down for their safety, staff from temporarily closed Council services made sure our Meals on Wheels service continued when it was needed most. Our in-person welfare checks moved to the phone, and we made sure each of our clients was doing okay.

10. Offering hand sanitizer and masks to local services

Many of the local services and organisations in our area found demand for their services increase during lockdown. To make sure they were supported, we regularly liaised with over 50 of them to identify their needs. We also distributed over 400 bottles of hand sanitiser and 1,000 masks to services and groups who needed it.

11. Keeping our facilities and reserves clean

Our cleansing and waste collection staff increased their rounds to make sure our public facilities were hygienic. Our parks and reserves remained sparkling while more locals were out and about doing essential exercise.

12. Delivering essential childcare

Through the highs and lows of COVID lock downs our incredible educators and childcare staff were there for those families who needed care for their precious little ones.

13. Keeping you informed so we can all stay safe

We hope you enjoyed our regular newsletters and social media updates. Our aim was to prevent you from needing to wade through health orders and government websites to find out you needed to know here on the Northern Beaches. If you're not subscribed to our email newsletters, sign up today

As restrictions continue to ease, keep an eye on our website to find out about upcoming events, and further support for our local businesses.

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