The leader of Rochford Council has issued a message to homeowners and families.

Mike Steptoe, the leader of the council, has addressed and thanked residents in the district. He said: "These are unprecedented times, and I would like to thank Rochford District residents and businesses for the changes you have made to your daily lives.

From the volunteers offering to help others by dropping food at the doorstep, to those in the ‘vulnerable group’ staying home to keep well and take pressure off the NHS, to businesses offering supplies and PPE, this is a collaborative effort.

"I would like to assure you that we have well-developed contingency plans, and are working with our colleagues in the NHS and the emergency services to action these measures and provide support where it is needed.

"Our staff are working hard to provide our core services, and I would like to thank them for their efforts at this time, as well as all our Ward Councillors who are working together to provide support to our communities.

"We have such a strong community spirit in the Rochford District, and it’s wonderful see all the little ‘acts of kindness’ from people who are helping their neighbours at this time.

"In many cases new friendships have even been formed between neighbours who had never spoken before, but now realise they have a hidden support network around them."

Councillor Steptoe continued, and thanked residents for taking part in the Clap for Carers initative. He added: "It was incredibly moving to hear everyone taking part in the Clap for Carers on Thursday evening, I could hear the swell of applause slowly moving along my road like a wave, and it shows the strength of feeling we have for our NHS workers and their efforts.

"I’d particularly like to recognise the efforts of our schools, who have found such innovative ways to support children, and the churches and community groups who have stepped in to support our towns and villages.

"And to our NHS, emergency services and key workers on the front line, thank you for all you do.

"Most importantly, stay at home, wash your hands, and we will continue to provide you with information about the latest support and advice.