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. http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus

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  www.wiltshire.gov.uk/household-recycling-centres 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 www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-online-classes

Regards

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 https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus, 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  https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 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 https://join-emea.broadcast.skype.com/wiltshire.gov.uk/cb2ee4251495410cb6171dd7f697c980

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 fosteringwiltshire.uk

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.

Regards

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.

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Latest News from Wiltshire Council 

Minor Injury Units in Chippenham and Trowbridge to temporarily close as part of COVID-19 response 

The Minor Injury Units (MIUs) at Chippenham Community Hospital and Trowbridge Community Hospital will close temporarily from 5pm on Wednesday 8 April 2020 so that staff can be redeployed across the local health and care system to provide vital additional capacity.

Both MIUs have seen a significant drop in patient numbers since the start of the COVID-19 crisis as local people increasingly follow self-care advice and seek help from the online 111 service.  The closures of these MIUs have been put in place as a temporary measure and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis with a view to reopening the units as soon as it is feasible and sustainable to do so.

The NHS and its partners across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire continue to work together to ensure the services provided have the resources and resilience they need to deal with the problems posed by COVID-19.

Patients with minor injuries should visit the NHS 111 online service. This will provide advice on where to go for the best care for their symptoms. People should only phone 111 if they cannot access the 111 online service.

Those patients who feel that they need a GP appointment should call their local GP practice and are likely to be offered a phone or video consultation in the first instance, unless a face-to-face appointment is absolutely necessary.  As per NHS guidance no-one with COVID-19 symptoms should attend any medical setting unless explicitly directed to do by the NHS 111 service or a 999 call operator.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appeal

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is vital to help protect our frontline workers, allowing them to continue delivering critical services in the community, whilst also limiting the spread of COVID-19.

With high demand for PPE across the nation, Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Police have launched a joint appeal for support from local PPE suppliers or any businesses that have stock which could be used.

We are asking local businesses for any support that they might be able to kindly provide with supplies of PPE as a short-term measure whilst national supply chains work hard to catch up with demand. This will help allow our staff and our colleagues in Wiltshire Police to continue to support our most vulnerable residents and ensure we can deliver critical services across the county at this challenging time.

The key items required are water repellent disposable surgical face masks, non-latex gloves, disposable plastic aprons and hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol content).

If you know of any local businesses that can help with the supply of PPE please ask them to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line PPE support.

Wiltshire wellbeing hub

Our Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub, which is available via email and phone, has been working hard to provide support for our county’s most vulnerable residents. Our teams continue to make daily calls to people identified by central government to see if these individuals require support and we have also received 781 calls to our designated hotline from other members of the community requiring assistance.

This virtual hub can be contacted by email; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling our designated hotline, 0300 003 4576.  It’s available from 8am-8pm Monday-Friday and 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday.

Hundreds of food parcels are being delivered across Wiltshire to help older people and families who need additional help at this time.

We’re asking Wiltshire children to make them additionally special by creating a lovely rainbow picture, with a personal message if they wish, which can be attached to the outside of the parcel as they are sent out.

Please encourage children to send pictures to: Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre, Hulse Road, Salisbury SP1 3NR.

Business Support

We are administering the £10,000 grant for businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or rural rates relief. We are also administering the £10,000 grant for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000 and for those businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 a grant of £25,000.

Over 4,400 applications have now been received and are currently being assessed. Of these applications, 50% contain all the necessary information for the grant to be processed fairly quickly. The remainder require further assessment or due diligence resulting in a delay in processing the claim. Further messaging will be issued through the communications channels to remind businesses to provide all the information in order that they receive this vital funding as soon as possible.

So far we have transferred £5m to local businesses with further grants being issued today.

Our Public Protection team have received 59 complaints from members of the public, mainly about social distancing measures in place in those businesses that remain open with a few relating to businesses operating when it’s perceived they should be closed.

The team have also received 23 enquiries from businesses direct seeking further advice.

Interactive map to help you find local COVID-19 support

The Council has created an online interactive map that allows people to see what COVID-19 community support is available in their neighbourhood and throughout the county.

The map, which will be regularly updated, can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus and people simply have to type in their town/village/city name or a postcode in a search box and the system will automatically take them to that location and highlight the support available in that area, which will be marked by red stars. Clicking on the red stars will bring up information about the groups, including their contact details and a summary of the type of support and services they are providing.

The information on the mapping system can also be found in the Council’s regularly updated Community Groups Directory.

This system complements our Community Groups Directory and allows people to find out about the local support available with just a few clicks.

Government WhatsApp service

The government has launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. The new, free to use, service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.

This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow members of the public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government. The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting.

The service will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.

To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.  Please share this information with your communities.

Regards

 

Cllr Philip Whitehead

LOCAL NEWS.

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

ATTRACTIONS
& ACCOMMODATION.

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

MALMESBURY

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.
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CONTACT INFO

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.