COVID-19 UPDATE – Friday 10 April 2020
I wanted to update you on some of the key council activities prior to the Easter weekend.
The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub
This is the council’s ‘virtual’ hub, contactable via email and phone seven days a week which is working to support vulnerable people across the county, including those on the central government ‘shielded’ list, NHS lists and individuals who have self-referred. Our team has to date contacted 5000 residents, and received 600 calls and around 300 emails to our designated hotline/email address.
You can request this help by calling our helpline on: 0300 003 4576 or via email at email@example.com. It’s available from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday.
Over 450 emergency food parcels (providing three-day provisions) have been issued over the past few weeks to vulnerable people who do not have access to community support. Future issue of food parcels will be charged to those who are able to pay. Whilst those requiring financial support will be directed to the Local Assistance Fund.
· The council is providing seven days a week support for local businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
· The team are verifying and processing grant applications at speed. To date, 5,100 applications have been received and we’ve transferred £25 million to over 2,000 local businesses. The next tranche of grant payments will be made on Tuesday 17 April due to the closure of the BACS payment system over the Easter bank holiday.
· Our team will be working to assess applications across the bank holiday weekend and staff will be responding to queries from businesses across the weekend as well.
The council is sharing advice and guidance with community groups/volunteers and aligning closely with Wellbeing Hub activities to deliver services and provide resilience.
Many services have adapted their services to move ‘online’ (including Libraries and leisure) providing innovative ways to keep people safe, engaged and healthy.
Waste and recycling update
Our waste and recycling crews will be collecting as normal on Good Friday and Easter Monday, so residents should leave their bins out as usual if these are their usual collection days.
The teams will also be catching up on some missed recycling collections on Saturday, so we are asking those it affects to leave their containers out for collection.
We know that the closure of household recycling centres has made it difficult to dispose of large items. Our teams have found lots electrical items (including rechargeable battery tools) and scrap (such as car brake discs) and gas canisters in the recycling collected from the blue-lidded recycling bins. These could cause damage or fires at the recycling facility and put our teams in danger.
We are asking members of the public to store any large items safely until the household recycling centres open once again and only put acceptable items into their blue lidded bins.
Request to Wiltshire communities
With warm sunny weather forecast over the Easter bank holiday weekend and people heading into the third weekend of the Government’s restrictions we are urging our communities to stay at home and avoid non-essential journeys.
The Wiltshire and Swindon Local Resilience Forum (LRF) have launched a “Wiltshire’s beauty spots aren’t going anywhere” campaign in recognition of the fact that many people’s normal Easter plans would include getting out into the countryside and visiting some of Wiltshire’s beautiful landmarks and beauty spots. We’re asking people to fight the temptation to pop out for a picnic, or arrange to meet a friend for a long walk and stay at home to support our NHS and help keep themselves and their families safe.
Please share this message as widely as possible.
With the current nice weather, we know that members of the community will be getting out in the garden and will be tempted to have a bonfire.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service are asking people consider the need whether they need to start bonfires at all during this period as any the smoke can cause distress to neighbours, especially when they can’t see the cause, and it’s all too easy for such fires to get out of control.
Related call-outs pull the Fire Service away from vital work to support our communities and means firefighters are potentially exposing themselves to coronavirus. If members of the public decide to have a fire they are advised to site them well away from buildings, fences, trees and garden structures, stay in attendance at all times with a garden hose to hand in case the fire starts to accelerate, and to be considerate to those nearby.
May I wish you, your family and communities a safe and enjoyable Easter.
Cllr Philip Whitehead