This week’s news from around the Council.
- COVID-19 update
The four-week national restrictions lockdown in England continues and South Staffordshire is still experiencing high levels of coronavirus cases in the district. Please stay at home and protect yourself and your loved ones. It’s important that if you have symptoms you self-isolate and get tested. COVID-19 testing is taking place in various locations throughout the district – please keep an eye on social media and the Council website for the latest information.
National restrictions apply until Wednesday 2 December 2020 and information about the lockdown measures can be found here.
Remember – you may only leave your home for a limited set of reasons.
- For work which cannot be done from home.
- For education.
- For exercise outdoors or to visit an outdoor public place. This can be on your own or with members of your household or support bubble. Unlike the last lockdown in March, you can take unlimited exercise.
- For medical reasons.
- To shop for food and essentials.
- To visit members of your support bubble or to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.
You must not meet socially indoors or in private gardens with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. However, individuals may meet one other person from another household outside in an outdoor public place such as a park or playground. Children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside.
Clinically vulnerable people are asked to be especially careful but people are not being asked to resume shielding (guidance for clinically vulnerable) and children can move between homes if their parents are separated.
- Other useful COVID-19 links
- Information about face coverings.
- Information about meeting others safely.
- Information about what you can and can’t do.
- Information about NHS test and trace.
- Information about the NHS COVID-19 app.
- Enforcement news
Last week, a South Staffordshire pub – The Red, White and Blue public house in Featherstone – was issued with a prohibition notice by South Staffordshire Council after police officers visited the premises following a tip off that people were inside drinking. Click here to read more. Also last week, the Himley Country Hotel, School Road, Himley, on the outskirts of Dudley, was ordered to close by Staffordshire County Council for coronavirus regulation breaches deemed to pose an imminent threat to public health. Click here to read more.
- COVID-19 Support Officers
The first COVID-19 Support Officers started work this week and they will focus on high risk areas, including around schools, to ensure local villages within South Staffordshire are COVID-secure. Whilst they themselves do not have any enforcement powers, they will be helping to remind people and businesses about the importance of ‘Hands, Face, Space’ and the need to wear face coverings, wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitiser, and to maintain a safe social distance. These measures are vital to ensure people feel safe and to slow the spread of coronavirus in the district.
- COVID-19 business update
During this national lockdown, pubs, restaurants, gyms and non-essential shops have had to close. Understandably, many businesses are concerned about this second national lockdown. If your business has been required to close or has been severely impacted by the new restrictions in place from 5 November to 2 December 2020 you will be able to apply for a new grant scheme to assist businesses financially.
The grants are now live and are known as the discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant and the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Eligible businesses can apply for the Local Restrictions Support Grant (for closed businesses) at this website – https://www.grantapproval.co.uk/
More information is available on the Council website here. Information about the Local Restrictions Support Grant (for open businesses) and the Additional Restrictions Grant will be added shortly.
If you wish to subscribe to direct emails from the Council regarding business advice and support, please email your name, business trading name and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org
For the latest updates about council services, guidance and support, visit:
www.sstaffs.gov.uk or sign up to receive regular eAlert updates at
- Business webinar coming up
In partnership with Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, South Staffordshire Council is holding a free business webinar on Zoom in December.
- Funding – What is new and how can you access it?
Tuesday 1 December 2020, 2pm to 3pm.
- NHS test and trace support payments
Applications for NHS Test and Trace support payments are open. People who have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self- isolate who on low incomes and unable to work from home can claim a support payment of £500 to compensate for their loss of earnings if they meet certain criteria. Local authorities are administering the payments for self-isolation and residents in South Staffordshire are now able to submit an application for this support and the application form is now live.
- Supporting those in need
The Council has a variety of support mechanisms in place to help residents and this week, the Customer Services team at the Council has been busy contacting high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) residents. This has included arranging food delivery slots and transport to medical appointments as well as talking to residents who have been isolating for some time. Well done to the team, who have received a number of compliments from residents thanking them for calling and for all their help. If you need help or someone to talk to, please call 01902 696000. Although people are not being asked to resume shielding, clinically vulnerable people are asked to be especially careful – you can view the updated guidance for clinically vulnerable here.
- Leisure Services
- NEW – online exercise classes now available
This week, the Council’s four leisure centres in Cheslyn Hay, Codsall, Penkridge and Wombourne launched their online exercise classes. As a thank you for their ongoing support, all leisure centre members have been given free access to the online exercise classes until the end of the year. In order to get started, you should have received an email with a unique URL link which you need to click on in order to register. Once you’ve registered, you can then access the online platform where you can book classes and manage your bookings. Here’s a short video on how to get started. If for any reason, you haven’t received an email containing your unique link, please email us at Leisure@sstaffs.gov.uk
Non-members can also take part in the online classes on a pay as you go basis for £4 per class. Click here to view the class timetable, book and pay for your classes. Alternatively, non-members can take out an online class membership for just £12 per month giving you unlimited access to 20 classes per week. To sign up, complete the membership form and direct debit form and email your forms to Leisure@sstaffs.gov.uk where we will activate your online membership.
- Baggeridge County Park – Both the park and play area remain open. However, a number of restrictions have been introduced. Please only visit the park on your own, with the people you live with or in your support bubble, or one person from another household. The car park is open but restricted to 100 cars at any one time and normal car parking charges apply. The children’s play area is open but restricted to 30 people at any one time. Play is limited to 30 minutes during busy times. Adults are encouraged to use the Test and Trace QR Code scanning and to wear a face mask when in the play area with their children. The tea shop is open (takeaway service only) and the toilets are open. Challenge Academy is closed.
- Vote for Baggeridge Country Park!
As a Green Flag winner, Baggeridge Country Park has been entered into the annual People’s Choice Award, where the public vote for their favourite park. Please consider voting for Baggeridge as your favourite Green Flag park – you can vote here. Voting closes on Wednesday 25 November 2020.
- Help Us, Help You – Accessing NHS Services
COVID-19 has changed the way that people are accessing NHS services and the NHS is here for your mental health, even during the pandemic. Services have remained open and you can still access care and professional advice for your mental health.
- COVID-19 and lockdown have impacted our mental health. You are not alone. If you are struggling with anxiety and depression, NHS Talking Therapies can help.
- NHS Talking Therapies are a free, effective and confidential way to treat common mental health issues. They can help you by working through feelings of anxiety or depression with a trained therapist.
- If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, please do come forward: it’s easy to get help. Ask your GP for a referral to NHS Talking Therapies, or you can self-refer and find out more about NHS Talking Therapies here.
- NHS Talking Therapies are conducted in confidence and help is available face to face, by phone or online. For those whose first language is not English, Talking Therapies can be delivered through multi-lingual therapists or through confidential translators.
Remember the five steps to 5 steps to mental wellbeing:
- Connect with other people.
- Be physically active.
- Learn new skills.
- Give to others.
- Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness).
- Alcohol Awareness Week, 16-22 November 2020
This week is Alcohol Awareness Week, an annual campaign coordinated by the charity Alcohol Change UK. This year’s theme is focusing on the issues around alcohol and mental health and the best way you can look after yourself and those you love during this year of great change and uncertainty. When things get tough, people can turn to alcohol to cope. But drinking too much and too often can make our mental health problems worse – such as anxiety and depression – and prevent them from being properly addressed. Being in control of our drinking can improve our mental health, and there are plenty of techniques out there for taking control if your drinking has got a bit out of hand.
One way is the free Try Dry app. Download the free Try Dry app here to help you meet your goals, whether you want to take on Dry January (or another dry challenge), cut down on your drinking, or go totally alcohol-free.
Another way is the Every Mind Matters ‘Your Mind Plan’, a digital tool that enables you to create a practical plan to maintain and improve your mental health. Over two million people have created mind plans so far to find out what personalised steps they can do to protect themselves and prevent problems escalating, just as we do with our physical health. Click here to download the mind plan.
For more information about Alcohol Awareness Week, visit:
- Council job vacancies
- COVID-19 Support Officers – application information.
- Planning Officer (Grad/Assistant – Senior) – application information. Closing date 27 November 2020.
- Administrator (Environmental Health and Licensing), 12 month fixed term – application information. Closing date 27 November 2020.
- Customer Services General Advisor, fixed term until end August 2021 – application information. Closing date 27 November 2020.
- Next week’s Council Committee/Panel meetings
- Overview & Scrutiny Committee – Tuesday 24 November 2020 – 6.30pm – virtual meeting via Teams.
Members of the public can virtually attend this meeting via Microsoft Teams – a link can be found in the news section on the Council’s website at www.sstaffs.gov.uk.
Everyone is encouraged to submit news items, please email: email@example.com