Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 24 May 2020

Cabinet and Full Council Meeting Update

 Following the success of the online Cabinet meeting on Tuesday,  the next Cabinet meeting in June will also take place online. An online Full Council meeting will be scheduled for Tuesday 16 June and this will be followed by meetings of the Area Boards to elect Chairs and Vice Chairs.

Further details of the Full Council meeting and elections of committee and Area Board Chairs will be provided in due course.


Reopening of schools

On Friday 22 May I wrote to all headteachers to reassure them that they should not feel compelled to open to all the additional year groups on 1 June.  Whilst it is recognised that it is of the upmost importance for children to resume their education, so they can learn and interact with their peers, it is the council's responsibility to work with schools to ensure that this is done in such a way that we minimise the risks to the school community. The council will support schools in implementing a phased return of pupils and students to manage this situation safely.

 You can read the full letter online


Household Recycling Centre Update

We continue to see large volumes of traffic at our household recycling centres (HRCs) with significant queues throughout the day at some locations. However, queues are being well managed by the on-site marshals and regular updates on HRC waiting times are being provided to residents via council social media channels and local media partners.

We continue to review our guidance and postcode tracker during this initial opening phase to ensure that residents can use the HRCs efficiently and safely.  A change has been made to the number of vehicle occupants that are permitted on site, although guidance remains that only one person from a vehicle can unload materials. Further changes to the guidance may be made over the following weeks, so people are advised to check the FAQs on the council website for the latest HRC updates before they travel.

 Please check that the local HRC is open before visiting as sites are closed on some days.


Wellbeing Hub Update

 The Wellbeing Hub continues to work effectively with partners and voluntary organisations to support vulnerable individuals.

 Headline figures (to 19 May):  

  • We have delivered over 1,174 food parcels
  • We have made 2,595 home visits
  • We have contacted 14,989 people in Wiltshire
  • We have received 2,469 emails
  • We have received 4,614 calls


The Wellbeing Hub can be accessed by anyone in need by calling the helpline on: 0300 003 4576 or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Please note: The Wellbeing Hub opening times will be changing next week as follows:

Bank holiday Monday: 10am-4pm

From Tuesday 26 May (until further notice): 8am-6pm Mon to Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday to Sunday.


Food Bank Appeal

With some residents left particularly vulnerable by the COVID-19 situation, Wiltshire Council is encouraging people to continue to donate to their local food banks if they can.Some of the usual locations where people may have previously donated, such as schools and places of faith, are mainly unavailable at this time, but major supermarkets have food bank trolleys in their stores and people are encouraged to buy a couple of extra items to donate if they can.

Some food banks are reporting an upsurge in demand since COVD-19, with some of the likely reasons for this including some people being furloughed and the increased costs associated with whole families being at home for more time than normal. It is advised that items donated are non-perishable or with a decent amount of time left on the ‘use-by’ date.  Among the items people can donate, and perhaps don’t think to, include shower gel, jam, tinned potatoes, instant mash potato, tinned ham, long-life milk, tinned sponge puddings, tinned custard and tinned fruit and vegetables.

 The council has a local welfare assistance scheme for households who are struggling without funds, and it has also agreed to help food banks re-stock where they are running out of goods.

 A list and more details of Wiltshire’s food banks can be found in the ‘community information’ section of Wiltshire Council’s COVID-19 page at

People can also donate money to local charities such as the Wiltshire Community Foundation, they are providing support to food banks via their Wiltshire & Swindon Coronavirus Response Fund. More information on that can be found at Their website can be found at


Government Business Support and Initiatives

 BEIS working safely webinars

Following on from the Government's recent publication of workplace guidance, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be hosting a series of free webinars to help businesses make their workplace COVID-secure. Webinars for a number of different sectors will run from Wednesday 27 May and will run until Tuesday 2 June. Further information can be found by clicking on the following link


Pick for Britain campaign 

As you may have heard in Tuesday’s Downing Street press briefing, the Environment Secretary has launched a new ‘Pick for Britain’ website to address the fact that we are likely to only have about a third of our normal labour force for this year's harvest. 

 As such, Britain’s horticultural sector needs to rely on British workers to lend a hand to help bring that harvest home. Opportunities are available across the UK for those seeking a second job, particularly those that are furloughed.  Further information on how to find work or advertise job opportunities in Wiltshire can be found by clicking the following link


 Road Safety Campaign

 Wiltshire Police has launched a #SlowDownSaveLives road safety campaign to remind road users in the county to drive safely.

From now until early June, Wiltshire Police and forces throughout the UK and are undertaking a national enforcement operation to remind motorists of the importance of travelling within the speed limit. This operation is deliberately timed as the easing of Government travel restrictions has shown an increase in speeding on roads across the country.

Wiltshire and Swindon Local Resilience Forum (LRF) partners will be supporting this campaign through social media channels. The Wiltshire Police press release can be read here.





Cllr Philip Whitehead


Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 19 May 2020

Household Recycling Centre Update

All of Wiltshire’s household recycling centres (HRCs), bar Stanton St Quintin, reopened yesterday. As anticipated, there have been high volumes of visits to the sites on both days, with significant queues throughout the day in most locations. However, the queues were well managed by the on-site marshals. We have noticed that sites appear to be significantly busier in the morning than in the afternoon so please continue to support our messaging as we encourage people to either wait a few weeks before visiting or visit later in the day to avoid the early morning queues.

Measures to observe social distancing and maintain the safety of staff and public have been rolled out across all sites, and regular updates on the queue times at each site have been provided throughout the day to residents via council communication channels and partner media outlets, alongside key messages to remind people of the new arrangements in place.Initial reports from the HRCs indicate that the postcode tracker system is working effectively and the majority of visitors are aware of requirements around opening times, permissible materials, vehicle types and occupant numbers. We will continue to review and amend the postcode tracker and develop our guidance so please check our website for updates.

We expect demand to continue to be high during this initial opening phase, so please encourage people to delay their visit to an HRC if at all possible to minimise queuing time and remind them to check the FAQs on the council website before they set off.

Highways Update

 Following the announcement of the COVID-19 lockdown by Government in late March, many more people have been walking and cycling for exercise purposes or to access essential services. Because of the reduction in traffic, people have largely been able to do this in a safe manner. However, as the COVID-19 lockdown is eased, increased levels of traffic will make it more difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to safely achieve the 2m social distancing requirement and to travel and exercise safely. The importance of this is heightened by the Government advice for people to avoid using public transport where possible and to instead walk, cycle, or drive.

 In response to the above situation, the Department for Transport (DfT) issued the following new statutory guidance on 9 May 2020; 'Traffic Management Act 2004: network management in response to COVID-19’  which sets out an expectation for local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. The guidance states that local authorities, where public transport use is low, should be considering all possible measures and that these measures should be taken as swiftly as possible, and in any event within weeks.In response, the council has formed multi-disciplinary teams of Officers for each community area who have initially been asked to identify potential sites and measures using their local and technical knowledge. Given the Government’s timescale requirements and the growing on-the-ground need, it is not proposed to carry out an extensive consultation process either with stakeholders or the public. Rather, officers will liaise with local Members (through Area Boards) and city, town and parish councils to further identity potential sites and measures using their local knowledge. In addition, suggestions from members of the public, stakeholders, partners and other bodies will be considered. Ultimately, it is proposed that all potential schemes will be assessed against the agreed criteria by a panel of officers to identify a priority list for design and implementation. Where applicable, measures will also be subject to a Road Safety Audit and accessibility audit prior to implementation.

 Most proposals are not likely to require Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders (TTRO), but where they are required these will be subject to consultation and Cabinet Member approval in accordance with the latest DfT guidance. Members and the relevant city, town or parish councils will be informed of the intention to install the measure. Should you have any queries or suggestions, could you please forward it to Integrated Transport at the following address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  The priority to complete this work will mean that this will be the focus of the teams who would normally complete Community Area Transport Group (CATG) work.  CATG projects will be suspended (unless currently working onsite) until it is practical to recommence.     


Mental Health Awareness Week

 Yesterday marked the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and young people in the county, including Members of the Wiltshire Youth Parliament, have shared their own experiences and wellbeing tips on how to manage everyday life during COVID-19 (click here to read more).

 Mental health issues can affect people of all ages and young people are no exception, so it is vital that we continue to raise awareness of such an important issue and ensure young people have access to the support they need, which includes the following:

The On Your Mind website has online resources and details of the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust  24/7 mental health helpline for children, young people and parents/carers.

9am – 5pm 01865 903777 – 5pm to 9am and weekends 01865 90100

Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services  (CAMHS) 01865 903889

Kooth online anonymous counselling service

Young carer support is available with Carer Support Wiltshire


Cabinet Meeting – Tuesday, 19 May, 2020

 Cabinet held its first virtual meeting today which included a formal update on the council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The meeting went well and thank you to members and officers for their participation and support throughout. You can view the papers from the meeting on our website




Cllr Philip Whitehead


Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 16 May 2020

Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub

The Wellbeing Hub continues to work effectively with partners and voluntary organisations to support the community.

Headline figures (to date):

  • Total number of people on the master list – 22,716
  • Food parcels to individuals – 1,100
  • Home welfare visits made to people not reached by phone/email – 2,229
  • Total people actively contacted – 14,031
  • Total calls received – 4,240
  • Emails received – 2,252

 The council is working with the government to streamline the process of making calls to shielded individuals to avoid unnecessary contact duplication. 

  • The council, with the support of DBS checked volunteers from partner organisations, is undertaking welfare checks at the addresses of individuals who have not been reached by phone/email.

 Business Support

 The Business Support Contact Centre has provided one-to-one support to over 2,500 businesses to date and the council is working with larger organisations to make them aware of UK wide opportunities /initiatives.

  • We are continuing to process the applications and contact those businesses that have not yet applied for their grant. We have paid out over £78m to support nearly 6,500 local businesses.

 Business grant fund schemes

The council is currently reviewing the guidance received from Government on this fund to see how we can roll it out. We aim to be in a position where we can advise businesses on eligibility and how they can apply for this new funding next week. In the meantime, we are advising businesses not to complete the existing application form on our website, which should only be used for those businesses applying for the small business grant or the retail, hospitality and leisure grants.

 Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus can apply for funding. The online application service is now open, with money being paid into bank accounts within six working days of the claim being submitted.

 The grant is paid in a single instalment and is worth 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for three months, capped at £7,500.

 Business support schemes

Please see attached our guidance outlining the various business support schemes available. A printable version is on our website.

Household Recycling Centre Update

As you are aware, all of Wiltshire’s household recycling centres (HRCs), bar Stanton St Quintin, will reopen on Monday with an easy to use postcode entry system to help limit the number of people on site at any time and ensure social distancing.

 Stanton St Quintin HRC will remain closed because parking spaces on site have been significantly reduced and because of the already difficult traffic management issues at the site. This will be kept under review and in the meantime people should use the Purton, Melksham or Lower Compton sites.

 Information about the postcode entry system, HRC opening times, details on the types of waste that can be taken, FAQs, and the restrictions being put in place to protect our customers is available on our website This information continues to be communicated via council comms channels and through local media partners.

 We anticipate high volumes of visits to the HRC’s when they re-open so would encourage people not to visit in the first few days if at all possible to minimise their queuing time.

 Leisure Services Update

With all Wiltshire leisure centres closed at the current time, the council is offering free access to a comprehensive online group exercise class programme. This is a great way to stay active while working from home, shielding or simply not able to access a similar offer in a local leisure centre.

There are fitness classes available every day of the week at different times throughout the day, with the vast majority requiring no equipment. All classes are being provided through Zoom, so residents will need to have this downloaded to the device that they wish to use to join the class.

For the full class programme and details on how to access all the classes please visit


Cllr Philip Whitehead


Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 14th May 2020

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday, the Government has issued a raft of new guidance and advice on its website, some of which can be read by clicking the following links here and in the Business Support section below:

 The reopening of schools and other education settings from 1 June

Guidance for safety of passengers using transport network

Public advice to cover face in enclosed spaces

Guidance on spending time outdoors

Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 12th May 2020

In Sunday evening’s address to the nation, the Prime Minister announced new lockdown advice and phases on how the nation will take its first few steps towards normality.  The speech, which can be downloaded here stressed a new emphasis for the nation to “stay alert” instead of “stay home” with the easing of restrictions dependent on how control of the coronavirus progresses.

The latest updated guidance is available on the Government website and via the following links:

Following the Prime Minister’s speech the council will now work to see how we can support our staff, residents and businesses to ensure these are safely implemented across Wiltshire.

We are still deciding what impact this announcement will have for council services, but in the line with the Government’s latest message for now we expect all staff currently working from home to continue to do so and we would urge local businesses to adopt the same approach. 

Our staff will only attend the workplace where it has already been identified as essential for the council to be able to deliver services. We would also ask that residents continue to only make essential face-to-face visits to our three hubs if they have safeguarding issues which cannot be dealt with over the phone.

It is vital that residents carry on following Government guidance as this will help save lives and ensure we can ease social distancing measures and recover from COVID-19.

We will work with businesses to ensure that they have can safely start to put in place to reopen in the timescales set out by the Prime Minister yesterday.

This is a challenging time for everyone and the way we have all pulled together to look out for each other and protect the vulnerable is truly remarkable. 

Impact of COVID-19 – Cabinet Meeting

Cabinet will hold its first virtual meeting on 19 May which will include a formal update on the council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The financial position of the council will also be outlined including the forecast impact of COVID-19. Having set a balanced budget in February 2020, it is now estimated that the impact of COVID-19, taking into account the £28.8m already received from Government and, will still leave a budget shortfall of between £18.8m and £51.5m. The council's General Fund reserves stand at £15.1m.

The financial impact of COVID-19 on the council’s budget has been significant. It includes:

  • lost income from suspension of car parking charges, closure of leisure centres and other commercial services
  • lower income from business rates and council tax than forecast in the council’s budget
  • increase in residents claiming council tax support
  • additional expenditure on social care, providing staff and care agencies with extra PPE
  • preparations for potential excess deaths
  • planned savings through transformation projects which can no longer be delivered


The council has worked with the Local Government Association, The County Councils Network, and South West Chief Executives to lobby central government, outlining its financial position in detail and made strong representation for additional funding. We are also making plans for if the Government does not allocate any further funding to local government. This includes potential cuts to service provision due to the current forecast budget position.

Since March, Wiltshire Council has been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. With our responsibilities regarding social care, public health, the economy, and our communities and schools, behind the NHS, the council has been, and continues to be, the second main responder in the county to COVID-19.

The report also updates members on the tremendous efforts of staff to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Establishing the Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub which is working to support over 20,000 of Wiltshire’s most vulnerable residents
  • Designing and delivering a £100m grant process for 8500 eligible businesses
  • Managing the construction of two temporary mortuaries capable of holding a total of 1000 bodies across Wiltshire and Swindon
  • Redeploying over 375 staff to business critical roles to support the COVID-19 response.

Household Recycling Centres Update

We are making plans to reopen most of our household recycling centres on Monday 18 May for essential journeys and for waste that cannot be stored at home safely or disposed of safely by other means.

As mentioned previously, there will be a number of restrictions in place when we do reopen the centre to protect our staff and customers, including limiting the number of people and cars that can be on any site at one time. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or who has been asked by the Government to stay at home for shielding purposes will not be able to visit a household recycling centre.

We have 10 household recycling centres in Wiltshire, and each one has its own challenges in terms of traffic management, so we have been working to mitigate against this and ensure the reopening of the sites goes as smoothly as possible. We aim to open the majority of HRCs but due to the limits on the number of vehicles on site, Stanton St Quintin HRC will remain closed until further notice.

To keep staff and residents safe, social distancing will also be in place at all HRCs, so visitors must remain at least two metres apart at all times, and staff will not be able to help people unload waste under any circumstances. There will also be some restrictions to the types of waste HRCs can accept –soil, rubble, plasterboard, textiles or asbestos will not be accepted.


We recognise that the closure of household recycling centres has been frustrating for residents, but the safety of our staff and visitors to the sites is paramount, and we need to implement a significant number of safety measures before the sites can safely reopen.

Please can we ask for your support to remind residents to be patient and respect our staff when visiting sites when they do reopen as we expect there will be delays and long queues. It is also important to check our website for any changes in opening hours before making their journey to the HRCs when they do reopen. We will provide further updates later in the week regarding opening hours for the sites.

Other matters:

Fostering Update – a Thank you to our Foster Carers

Wiltshire Council has issued a heart-felt “thank you” to foster carers across the county for making a positive impact on young people’s lives.

The message of support comes as foster carers have been sharing their stories for Foster Care Fortnight – a national event which highlights how foster care transforms the lives of children and young people across the country.

Our foster carers are there at the most difficult points in a child’s life, ready to provide them with support to make changes for the better. 

The insights into the highs and lows, the challenges and rewards of being a foster career are being shared as Wiltshire Council continues a campaign to recruit 100 more foster carers over three years.

The campaign, with the hashtag #FosterForWiltshire is accompanied by an improved pay structure for foster carers with details of the support and benefits available.

People can foster if they have a spare room, are over 21 and have space in their heart to foster. Wiltshire Council is also considering changes brought in by the Government so that some fostering assessments can be completed more quickly.

To help people find out more about fostering the council will also be holding digital information sessions on 12 May at 1pm and 21 May at 7:30pm.  People can log in and ask questions of the foster care team and have an insight from a foster carer on what it is like to foster. The link to access the information session for 12 May is

People can find out more information by:

  • Calling fostering on 0800 1696321
  • Emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Visiting

Summer Solstice

English Heritage has taken the decision to cancel this year's summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge because of the ban on mass gatherings prompted by the coronavirus.

Traditionally about 10,000 people have gathered at the Neolithic monument in Wiltshire, on or around 21 June, to mark midsummer.

The occasion will instead be live streamed on the charity's social media.

English Heritage has consulted with partners, including the council, emergency services and the druid and pagan community, before making the decision. The council are fully supportive of the decision which is in line with the latest Government guidance around mass gatherings.


Cllr Philip Whitehead

Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 3 May 2020

Please see the latest update regarding COVID-19.

Partners working together to target fly-tippers in Wiltshire

Wiltshire Council is increasing its partnership working with Wiltshire Police to conduct roadside checks on people carrying waste in order to disrupt and prosecute fly-tippers. These people are breaking both stay-at-home government guidance and fly-tipping laws.

Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 1 May 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Visit our website for the latest information about our services and COVID-19 support. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

You can also visit:
Central government COVID-19 updates
NHS updates

Celebrating VE Day at home

We have created a special VE Day at home pack to help residents of all ages celebrate and mark the 75th anniversary of this historic moment in time.

With social distancing measures still in place, the pack contains simple advice and suggestions on how to have a household garden party on Friday 8 May, which this year is a bank holiday.

The pack also contains themed recipe ideas, a World War II/VE Day quiz and wordsearch, some suggested e-reading materials from our library service, craft ideas on how to make bunting and paperchains, 1940s-inspired games and songs to sing to keep the family entertained. 
Read more and download the VE Day pack
Letter of thanks to volunteer groups

We have written an open letter to say thanks and pay tribute to the 400+ community volunteer groups that have been set-up to support Wiltshire's communities during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

The letter is from Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council; Cllr Allison Bucknell, Cabinet Member for Communities; Alistair Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer and Terence Herbert, Chief Executive Officer.

Read the letter to volunteer groups
Partners working together to target fly-tippers in Wiltshire

We are working in partnership with Wiltshire Police to conduct roadside checks on people carrying waste in order to disrupt and prosecute fly-tippers. These people are breaking both stay at home government guidance and fly-tipping laws.
During March there was no significant change in the number of fly-tipping incidents in Wiltshire but the first three weeks of April have seen 63 extra incidents, a 30% rise in fly-tipping in the county on April 2019. More than 50% of the reports received are commercial fly-tips, which indicates that rogue traders or a ‘man and van’ are still operating illegally, even during the lockdown.
Read more about how we are tackling fly-tipping
Are you looking for a volunteer role with flexible hours?

Interested in a role that can make a difference to the lives of children and parents?

We are looking for volunteer members to sit on our Independent Appeals Panel.

For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 01225 718352
Leisure, library, heritage and arts services continue to support thousands

Despite the temporary closure of our leisure, library, heritage and arts buildings our teams are continuing to support thousands of residents, by coming up with creative and fun ideas to keep our communities engaged and connected, and we’ve been delighted with the response.
The library’s e-service saw more than 4,596 eMagazines checked out in March with another 7,046 so far in April – the highest monthly figures since the service was introduced in February 2018.
Rhyme time and story videos also continue to be popular, with more than 44,000 views so far and counting.
Our leisure service’s social media channels have seen a recent 93% increase in page views, while nearly 8,000 residents have accessed the recently created swim, gym, walking sports, ability sports and healthier communities activity packs. There has also been more than 10,000 views of specially made fitness videos.
The Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre saw more than 10,000 visits to its Facebook page on the day that free ancestry resources were promoted.
3,650 calls have been made to older and vulnerable members of Active Health, Get Wiltshire Walking, senior leisure centre members and libraries to check they’re okay at this difficult time.
We have developed an online Active Communities resource page which covers a variety of topics, including opportunities for people to be active and exercise, the various library services available online – rhyme times, story times, e-books/magazines, resources on getting creative through mediums like song, dance, art and literature and opportunities to explore Wiltshire’s history.
View our Active Communities resource page
Daily creative challenges in May

Create to Connect is a month of creative challenges for each day of May, for you to do at home, established by 64 Million Artists.

You can sign up to receive daily challenge emails, or follow 64 Million Artists’ on social media.

They’ve created free downloadable activity packs for community leaders, teachers and families to run challenges locally.

You can also join a Challenge Whatsapp group! If you’d like to share your challenges in a small group with others taking part, you can let us know here.


Local stories in and around the Malmesbury area to keep you up-to-date.


A wonderful place to visit with a wealth of attractions right on the doorstep.


Malmesbury is a beautiful town to visit in its own right and attractions include the jewel in our crown being Malmesbury Abbey, the fabulous Abbey House Gardens, and Malmesbury’s 15th century Market Cross.

For more than two and a half millennia successive generations have populated this hilltop, which forms the centre of the community we now call Malmesbury.


Town Hall, Cross Hayes, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 9BZ

The Council Office is open for Council business from 9am until 5pm Monday to Thursday & Friday 9am to 4.30pm, except for Bank Holidays.

Please call us on 01666 822143, or visit our contact page here to contact a specific councillor or member of the council staff directly.