This week’s news from around the Council.
- Elections staff required for 6 May
- Over the election period, we require retainer staff (for Covid-19 resilience), who will be willing to be available all day in case they are needed at short notice. They will be paid £50, regardless of whether they are called upon. If they are needed, the normal fee for such position will be provided. In addition to this, they will also be paid to attend essential training.
- On 6 May, we also require a number of Presiding Officers and Poll Clerks to work in some of our Polling Stations across the District. These are paid positions with an additional payment for attending essential training.
- In addition to these positions, we also need assistance with the counting of votes:
- Thursday 6th May, 9.30pm until finish (through the night)
- Friday 7th May, 12.30pm to finish
- Saturday 8th May, 8.30am to finish
For further information on any of the above positions; please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Elections Update
On Thursday 6 May 2021 residents in South Staffordshire will have their say on who represents them at The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Election, County Council Elections and Parish By-Elections. We are already making plans to help residents stay safe while casting their vote. All Polling Stations will be Covid-19 compliant, and all staff are being asked to take regular Covid-19 Lateral Flow Tests (LFT).
- 2021 Easy Read Guide to Voting in the May local and Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England.
- Notices of Elections can be found on the Council website.
- The Statements of Persons Nominated are published on our Website:
- Postal Vote applications have now closed. Royal Mail has 35,000 Priority Post Boxes, these boxes have late collection times with 98% of them having a collection time of after 4:00pm. Please click here to find a priority box in your local area.
- Postal votes have now been sent out (approx. 12,500), a video on how to complete a postal vote can be found here. Postal vote opening commences next week at the Council offices:
- Monday 26 April to Friday 30 April 9.00am to 4.00pm or earlier if daily quantity of post is less.
- Tuesday 4 May to Wednesday 5 May 9.00am to 4.00pm or earlier if daily quantity of post is less.
- Thursday 6 May 9.00am to 4.00pm (approx.) or earlier if quantity of post is less – 8.00pm to finish.
- The Proxy Vote application form can be found here. Asking a trusted person to vote on your behalf. The last day for applications for Proxy Votes is 5:00 pm 27 April.
- COVID-19 emergency proxy application form for use at the May elections
The form will allow electors to apply:
- for an emergency proxy if they are self-isolating
- to appoint a new proxy if their existing proxy is self-isolating
- In preparation for this year’s elections, we have had to make some changes to our Poll Stations. This is for a variety of reasons, we were asked by central government to look at alternatives for schools, a couple of our stations are currently being used as vaccination centres, and one station was no longer available. Find your Polling Station here.
- A guide to polling day – Everything you need to know about voting in person.
- Next week’s Council Committee/Panel meetings
There are no committee meetings w/c 3 May 2021
- Covid-19 Roadmap
- On 12 April additional restrictions were lifted:
- The following were reopened: non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups); as will most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lettings, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
- Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors at Step 2 and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.
- Events – While funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15. Click here for Covid-19 guidance on wedding planning.
- Staffordshire County Council have published a frequently asked questions page on their website.
- Covid-19 – Key messages
Things are continuing to improve across the health system, with fewer outbreaks and people becoming hospitalised. Conversations are now taking place around the restoration and recovery of services. But there are concerns of a third wave; Covid-19 isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. Please read and heed these messages:
- Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air
- Get routinely tested. This is so important as lockdown restrictions are eased.
- Vaccination and Vigilance.
- Everyone, including those who have been vaccinated, must continue to comply with current restrictions and still get tested regularly.
- Covid-19 Vaccination
The vaccination programme is now open to those over 42 years. It was highlighted in the news this week that having the vaccine reduces the risk of transmitting the virus. However, there still remains a risk, so please have your vaccine when it is offered.
- Next Step on the Roadmap
The next step on the Government’s proposed timetable for easing restrictions is no earlier than 17 May, where the easing of social distancing measures could see limits of meeting people indoors and outdoors relaxed. This could also see the reopening of indoor hospitality and other businesses in all but the highest risk settings. However, this will only happen if we take personal responsibility. Just remember – Face, Hands, Space & Fresh Air and Vaccination and Vigilance.
- Community Testing
Despite infection rates remaining low across the District Community; testing will continue for people without symptoms. We know that one in three people who have the virus show no symptoms, and it is essential we identify those not showing symptoms so that we are able to break the chain of infection.
While the roll out of the vaccine programme continues at pace, it will be several months before everyone is vaccinated and many more months before the full benefit, therefore, it is important testing continues even for those who have received the vaccine.
Residents are encouraged to test at least twice a week. There are three options and all are free:
- Visit a test site to either collect test kits or to have a test done.
- Collect test kits from a pharmacy near you.
- Order test kits online from here.
If you test positive, please isolate for 10 days. If you are self-testing, don’t forget to report your result whether positive or negative; this can be done online here.
You can get a rapid Covid-19 test at any of our community testing sites, provided you are asymptomatic, you are not self-isolating, you have not had a positive Covid-19 test in the last 90 days, and you are not part of another regular asymptomatic testing programme.
This week’s testing sites in South Staffordshire
South Staffordshire’s semi-permanent Covid-19 Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) site for this week will be Wombourne Library, Church Road, Wombourne WV5 9EZ:
- Monday 00-16.00
- Tuesday 00-14.00
- Wednesday 00-16.00
- Thursday 00-19.00
- Friday 00-16.00
- Saturday 00-16.00
- Sunday 00-16.00
Next week’s Covid-19 community testing pop-up sites in South Staffordshire are:
Sunday 2 May
- Car Boot – Mill Lane Featherstone; 7:00-14:00
Monday 3 May
- Holly Bush Garden Centre, Warstone Road, Shareshill, Wolverhampton, WV10 7LX. 10:00-16:00
Tuesday 4 May
- Pavillion Garden Centre, Bridgenorth Road, Wolverhampton, WV6 7EZ. 10:00-15:30
- Car Boot Sale, Stourbridge Rugby Club, Bridgenorth Road, Stourbridge, DY7 6QZ.
Saturday 8 May
- Baggeridge Country Park, Gospel End Street, Dudley, DY3 4HB. 10:00-16:00
- Community Testing sites
The Community Testing sites will continue to be present in the locality areas but now Pop-up LFT testing vans are also going out to venues and settings to encourage as many members of the public and staff working there to undertake test. Weekly test kits will also be given out.
So far, the Pop-up LFT testing vans have been to:
Wombourne Industrial Estate, Featherstone Car Boot Sale and Penkridge Market.
In total 129 tests have been done and 392 test kits handed out – which is fantastic!
- Support during the Pandemic
- The Council can help arrange local support for shopping, prescriptions, and other necessities if anyone is self-isolating, who has an underlying health condition and cannot call upon friends, family, or neighbours. Further information can be found here.
- Local community groups are providing support to vulnerable people and seeking volunteers through their Community Support Effort initiative.
- Residents can use the Government’s online Test and Trace Support Payment page to check their eligibility if they need to self-isolate because of Covid-19 and cannot work from home. The site allows the public to input their postcode to find their local authorities relevant webpage.
FAQs Register of Available Land
There has been a lot of interest recently, especially on social media, about sites that have been suggested to the Council for future development. We have put together some FAQs about our register of available land and how these sites differ from sites that will come forward through the review of the Local Plan. For more information see our SHELAA FAQs.
Morris Homes Enforcement Notice
The Planning Enforcement Team had a successful court result at Cannock Magistrates on Tuesday 27 April where national housebuilders, Morris Homes, were convicted of failing to comply with a Notice served on them to rectify a defective drainage/sewage system installed on a housing estate in Cheslyn Hay. The unauthorised drainage system was identified as a result of complaints from residents that the sewage pumping station kept blocking and subsequently sewerage coming out of manholes on the estate.
A guilty plea was entered on behalf of Morris Homes. Cannock Magistrates ordered Morris Homes to pay a £1000.00 fine, costs were awarded to the Council and a £100 victim surcharge. This has sent a firm message to the developer that the Council will pursue this matter until the drainage issues are resolved satisfactorily.
- Leisure News
- Welcoming New Joiners
New joiners can enjoy a host of member benefits including:-
- Discounted fees in May and June
- Free access to over 30 online and on-demand exercise classes
- Free swimming included with most packages
- No joining or cancellation fees
- Portable memberships allowing you to swap your package at any time
- Free health checks and personal fitness programmes
- Priority booking
To find out more email us at Leisure@sstaffs.gov.uk
- Walking Football Resumes
Walking football has now resumed on Monday evenings at Codsall Leisure Centre 6.30-7.30pm and Penkridge Leisure Centre 6-7pm. The session is suitable for people 16yrs+ of all abilities. Booking is essential, so call your local centre to reserve your place:
Codsall LC 01902 844032
Penkridge LC 01785 714152
- Leisure Centres are welcoming new joiners
South Staffordshire Council’s leisure centres are pleased to be accepting new joiners in addition to offering the remainder of April free, with further discounts in May and June. New joiners will also receive free access to online and on demand classes for a limited time only. Membership packages can be found here.
To sign up you can either:
Complete the following forms and email them to us at Leisure@sstaffs.gov.uk:
Or call your local leisure centre direct on:
- Cheslyn Hay Leisure Centre – 01922 417790
- Codsall Leisure Centre – 01902 844032
- Penkridge Leisure Centre – 01785 714152
- Wombourne Leisure Centre – 01902 898202
- Junior Judo re-starts
- Junior Judo has resumed at Codsall Leisure Centre on Thursdays 5.30-6.30pm for beginners and 6.30-7.30pm advanced.
- Sessions resume at Wombourne Leisure Centre from Tuesday 4 May 6-7pm.
Sessions are for under 18’s only and advanced booking is required due to limited capacity. Call your local centre to book:
Codsall – 01902 844032
Wombourne – 01902 898202
- Wombourne Lifesaving Club is Back
Wombourne Lifesaving Club returned on Thursday 29 April with two sessions running, 6.30-7.30pm and 7.30-8.30pm. The club is for children aged 8 years+ that are confident swimmers and who want to learn lifesaving skills in and out of the water. Call the centre on 01902 898202 to book.
- Badminton Bookings Being taken
Leisure centres are now taking bookings for badminton. Government guidelines state that bookings are for singles games only (just two players per court) and must be in the same family bubble or support bubble.
- Latest Leisure News
Your local leisure centres are continuing to gradually resume provisions with the gyms, swimming pools, toning suites, badminton and various other activities now up and running. To stay up to date with the latest news from your leisure centre and to be kept informed as more activities are re-instated, subscribe to receive free updates please click here.
- Good Life – Health and Fitness in the Community
We are delighted to have resumed our ‘Walking for Health’ programme which provides a programme of weekly instructor-led walks for varying abilities.
We also look forward to our Gentle Exercise class programme resuming from 17 May which provides access to a range of weekly fitness classes taking place at various community venues across the district. Click here for more information on health and fitness in the community.
- Community News
As part of Staffordshire County Council’s in-year additional investment into environmental highway improvement activities, Street Scene over the last few weeks have been carrying out additional grass cutting of highway verges and detritus removal from various locations around the district. The work has included the cutting back of verges, overgrowing footpaths and encroaching vegetation and has prompted several compliments from both residents and Members. Please click on the link to see a handful of sites showing before and after photographs. Please click here to see some of the sites showing before and after photographs.
- Council Job Vacancies
- Technical Support Officer (Part-Time). Closing 20 May 2021 at 5pm. Application details.
- Relief Receptionist (Wombourne Leisure Centre). Closing midnight on 12 May 2021. Application details.
- Professional Lead for Peer Support (NHS vacancy). Closing 30 April 2021. Application details.
- Staffordshire Libraries
- On Monday 12 April Staffordshire Libraries safely reopened. You can now return books, request books and order books for pick up via ‘order & collect’ and ‘grab & go.’ You can also book in advance computers and printers for essential use within the open libraries.
- You can follow on Facebook for a range of activities and events including Story Time, Baby Bounce & Rhyme and Craft Time. You can also join an Adult Book Chat, Creative Writing or Wellness groups. Simply visit Facebook/Staffordshire Libraries to take part.
- For opening times visit or more information about their current service visit staffordshire.gov.uk/libraries
- SEND Resources
Free online classes for parents with children with special educational needs (SEND)
Find out what support is available for your child.
This online Zoom workshop will help you to understand:
- What are Special Educational Needs?
- What is the legal framework?
- What is SEN Support?
- Education, Health & Care Plans (EHCPs/EHC Plans)
- Your right to appeal
- What support is available
Find more workshops and other advice and opportunities at www.contact.org.uk
- Virtual SUN Session
SUN sessions are networking and information sharing sessions between parents, carers, young people, schools and services, for anyone living with or working with a child or young person with SEND. It is an opportunity to find out/share what is happening locally, and what support and services might be available
- Thursday 17th June 1.00pm – 2.00pm South Staff
Numbers will be limited therefore booking is essential. If you are a parent, carer, young person or a service provider and would like to attend please email: email@example.com or telephone 01785 356921
- Bookstart – Toddler Animal Special Bear Club
- Free and Online 30-minute sessions.
- The programmes share stories, rhymes and other activities to support your child’s language development the fun way!
- There are 4 sessions:
- Thursday 6th May at 10:30
- Thursday 13th May at 10:30
- Thursday 20th May at 10:30
- Thursday 27th May at 10:30
- If you want to join the fun, Contact Jenny for more information firstname.lastname@example.org
- Safer communities and safeguarding
- The helpline for New Era Victim Support is 0300 303 3778
- The Big Ask – a national survey for children open 19th April to 19th May
The new Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, has launched The Big Ask – the largest ever consultation with children aged 4 to 17 in England. It aims to find out children’s concerns and aspirations about the future, so that children can be put at the heart of our country’s recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Parents, care leavers and those working with children are also invited to complete the adult survey to share their views about the future for children and young people today, and what they think is holding young people back. The results from this survey will help the Children’s Commissioner identify the barriers preventing children from reaching their potential, put forward solutions and set ambitious goals for the country to achieve.
- Donate I.T
The Community Foundation for Staffordshire is providing recycled I.T. equipment to local people who don’t have the basic items they need to learn, apply for jobs, access health services, and reduce loneliness.
To help Staffordshire County Council have set up eight drop off points within libraries, where people can donate I.T. equipment they are no longer using. In South Staffordshire this is Perton Library, and you can drop off the following:
- laptop (with charger)
- Click here to find out more about the Donate I.T scheme or ask about the scheme at your local library.