Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 16 April 2020

Schools Admissions – National offer day

I’m delighted to announced 99% of Wiltshire families have been offered one of their three primary school preferences for this September with 94% offered their first preference.

Most parents now apply for places online with 96% of the 5,297 applications received doing so. Those who submitted a paper application form have been contacted by email to inform them how they can find out the outcome of their application.

The right to an independent appeal is open to anyone who has not received an offer at one of their preferred schools. Parents who wish to appeal for a place at a voluntary controlled or community school should visit our website for details of how to appeal.

Business support and grants

Many businesses have now been closed for a month, so we are continuing to work seven days a week to issue the grants to eligible businesses, as quickly as possible and to hopefully bring them some relief.

So far, we have received over 5,800 forms which are currently being assessed and over £42million has been cleared for payment to local businesses. Over 3,600 businesses have received a grant, meaning that over half of the forms received have been paid.

We are following up with those businesses who have not yet submitted their form to encourage them to apply for the support that is available to them. The grant is not a loan so it does not need to be paid back.                           

Our Contact Centre has dealt with over 2,300 emails for support and advice since they were set up to respond to Covid-19.

You can contact them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Our third virtual meeting with over 25 business partners including BEIS and other government departments, SWLEP, BIDs, Chambers of Commerce, FSB and Business West will take place on 17 April 2020. We continue to send them emails providing up-to-date information on the government schemes, Wiltshire Council’s additional support and progress on the administration of the grant schemes.

We are issuing our fourth Business newsletter this week giving updates, information and advice on the support available. When the newsletter was launched we had 592 subscribers and to date we now have 932 subscribers.

Early years funding

Wiltshire Council is offering an incentive scheme to cover the additional costs incurred by the early years providers who have remained open for vulnerable children and children of key workers.

In recognition of the challenges of continuing to provide childcare, the council will pay an additional £100 per eligible child, per week, to providers that have remained open since the beginning of April.  Those settings that remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic are ensuring that key workers continue to provide critical services to communities whilst helping our most vulnerable children to receive a continuous education. Currently 25% of the settings are open and some may struggle to meet demand.

Settings that have remained open will have additional running costs and resources including additional cleaning and catering costs as well as bank holiday payments. These settings are not able to furlough staff part time and are also taking in additional children where necessary. To safeguard the sufficiency of the sector at this time all open settings will get 100% of their entitlement plus a further £100 per eligible child per week to offset the additional cost of staying open.

We know for some providers it was not possible to remain open and we are supporting those providers to access the government’s COVID-19 support package as well as receiving 80% of their Early Years Entitlement Funding for 2,3 and 4 year olds. These changes will be introduced in June to help settings prepare. We will continue to review this situation and consider any further announcements from the government.

We are grateful to all of our providers who remain open supporting our families and communities at this unprecedented time.

Closed settings will receive 100% of their early year’s entitlement for the summer term in April and May with the intention of reconciling the 20% reduction for each of these months in June. This approach means they will have sufficient time to plan and access government funding. In June settings which are closed will receive 40% of their funding entitlement. If any setting anticipates a financial hardship as a result of this proposal they are encouraged to contact the council to discuss their situation.

Settings which are closed are able to access the Government’s COVID 19 support package. This includes the Job Retention Scheme which childcare providers can access while continuing to be paid the Early Years Entitlement Funding via their local authority. Childminders can use the self-employment Income Support Scheme and claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next three months.

Walkie Talkie initiative to support walking sports participants

Wiltshire Council’s sports development team has launched a session to support its walking sports participants during this difficult time.

The Walkie Talkie initiative allows participants from the weekly walking football, netball and rugby sessions throughout the county to phone in from home and have a conversation with each other in a group environment – maintaining the social-element that many of the members find so vital.

A walking netball participant said “Social interaction is hugely important to our overall wellbeing and now even more so with the current restrictions.  Any way to try and maintain the friendships that have formed from being a part of the walking netball family is important to us. To have access to a Walkie Talkie group is helpful and beneficial to so many people who may be socially isolated at this time”.

The walking sports sessions are part of Wiltshire Council's adult participation work, which focuses on creating sustainable informal sporting activities. The sessions, which are delivered in partnership with the relevant national governing bodies, are adapted from traditional sports and take place at a slower pace, making them ideal for older participants, people recovering from an illness or injury, and those who wish to take the first steps to a healthier lifestyle. They also provide a great way to socialise with other like-minded individuals and to meet new friends.

Wiltshire has more than 900 participants now signed up to weekly sessions across all sports, highlighting the success of the walking sports programmes across the county. The walking sports participants will also receive an interactive activity pack helping them to stay focused, active and creative from the comfort of their living room.

For more information on the Walkie Talkie sessions people should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Wiltshire Council’s Active Communities online resources also provide support for people during this difficult time. The resource page covers a variety of topics, including 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. The complete list of resources can be found at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-active-communities

Chinese lanterns

Please also help support our Fire and Emergency colleagues by reminding residents that we ask they do not use Chinese lanterns. They are a fire hazard and can kill animals and livestock and emergency services do not need additional strain during this period. Many companies are promoting using Chinese lanterns during the Thursday evening clap for key workers but there’s nothing better than banging a saucepan or just clapping your hands!

Regards

Cllr Philip Whitehead

 

 

Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 15 April 2020

Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub

 Over the bank holiday weekend staff worked hard to support the most vulnerable within our communities. The wellbeing hub has now:

  • delivered over 518 food parcels
  • contacted over 5,063 by letter
  • contacted 5,679 by phone

 So far we’ve had 1,559 calls to the wellbeing hub and 473 emails.

 Don’t forget we have also 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.

Schools open over Easter holidays

 Our schools and early years providers are staying open over this Easter holiday to ensure our key workers can go to work and our vulnerable children have a school place.

 Approximately 160 schools are open – either individually or as a hub.

  • Approximately 400 key worker children attending daily and approximately 140 vulnerable children
  • At least 34 schools opened over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend to allow key workers to work over Easter
  • 130 early years settings open over the Easter period including childminders
  • We also arranged for 1,000 Easter eggs to be delivered to those at school – thanks to Home Bargains
  • Morrisons kindly donated 400 eggs for children attending early years settings

 Carers support

 I’d like to remind carers of all ages that support and advice is still available if they need a helping hand during the current COVID-19 situation.

 Local charity Carer Support Wiltshire and independent organisation Wiltshire Parent Carer Council have produced the latest information and advice and are posting regular updates on social media and their websites, so people don’t feel isolated and can access the right information and support.

For those who cannot access information online, they can call or email Carer Support Wiltshire (0800 181 4118 Monday to Thursday 0930 to 1630 and Friday 0930 to 1600) or the Wiltshire Parent Carer Council (Tel: 01225 764647 Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. anytime).

 Waste and recycling

Our refuse teams are doing an amazing job and we know many are receiving great feedback from residents – we ask residents to bear with them as they continue with new rounds and the challenges of Covid-19.

We have delayed the renewal of the annual subscription for garden waste by two months, so people can apply for renewal from June instead of April. This means our call centres are free to deal with other urgent calls regarding Covid-19.

Although our HRCs are closed we have not had an increase in fly-tipping and we’re grateful to all our residents who are acting responsibly.

Fly tip numbers for March 2020 were 266 vs 262 the previous month so we are pleased there was no significant uplift given the HRC restrictions.

Business support and grants

We’re in this together and our teams are working seven days a week, which included the Easter weekend, to process the forms and answer queries from businesses. We understand that businesses are particularly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. That is why we are working tirelessly to issue the grants to eligible businesses, as quickly as possible.

Over 5,600 businesses have applied for a grant and of those over 3,300 have now had funds released for payment.

It is vital that those businesses who have received our letter come back to us with all the information we require as quickly as possible, including their letter reference number and business rates account number. This will allow us to match their details much faster and quickly process their form.

Further information can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/business-advice-support-covid19

Lastly please can I thank you and all residents and communities who heeded the advice and stayed home over the bank holiday weekend - helping to protect the NHS and save lives.

Regards

Cllr Philip Whitehead

Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 8 April 2020

Elections and referendums postponed in Wiltshire due to COVID-19

Government legislation has now been published to confirm the postponement of national and local elections, by-elections and referendums until 2021.  

You can view the details of the local by-elections and neighbourhood planning referendum affected on our website http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/articles/elections-postponed

All unitary and parish and parish vacancies that had triggered by-elections will remain unfilled until the four-yearly cycle of council elections on 6 May 2021, and all affected neighbourhood planning referendums will also be held on that date. However, this situation will be kept under review, and if safe to do so, further legislation will be laid that will permit by-elections and referendums sooner than 6 May 2021.

Wiltshire Council COVID-19 Update - 7 April 2020

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.

Subcategories

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.
Image

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.