Council News 199
This week’s news from around the Council.
- Stay safe this Christmas
This Christmas will be different for everyone and the best present you can give is helping your friends and family to stay safe and well. The Government is changing some social contact restrictions for a short period of time from Wednesday 23 to Sunday 27 December 2020, meaning you can form a Christmas bubble consisting of up to three households.
Please keep on protecting each other and do your bit to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
We need your help to keep the festive period as safe as possible. Forming a Christmas bubble does involve greater risks, especially for more vulnerable people who have been shielding. You should act responsibly and be extra vigilant in the days before you get together in your Christmas bubbles and reduce any unnecessary contact with people you do not live with to minimise your risk of infection. If you develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus, it’s important to follow the rules on self-isolation and get a test.
Remember, you can only be in one Christmas bubble over the five days. When you meet up in your Christmas bubble, ensure indoor spaces are well ventilated during and after a visit. Everyone should wash their hands regularly and for 20 seconds, and you should maintain a safe social distance from anybody you do not live with as much as possible, avoiding physical contact. You can travel between different tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble. From Monday 28 December 2020, Christmas bubbles will no longer apply and no special arrangements have been announced for the New Year’s Eve so no-one should be gathering in large groups to see in the New Year.
- Statement on UK-wide Christmas arrangements.
- Read more about how to make a Christmas bubble with friends and family here.
- Announcement concerning Christmas travel measures to help passengers plan their journey and travel safely.
- Guidance for the Christmas period.
- Guidance on local restriction tiers.
- Tier 3 Very High Alert restrictions – what you need to know.
- Advice for clinically vulnerable people.
- Rules on self-isolation.
This week, there were important announcements about changes to the self-isolation period, the vaccination programme and the outcome of the review of tier changes.
The self-isolation period for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus has been shortened from 14 to 10 days across the UK. The change also applies to people instructed to quarantine after returning from high-risk countries. Read more about the announcement about changes to the self-isolation period here.
More than 137,000 people in the UK have now received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The majority of the vaccines have been administered to people aged 80 and over, care home workers and NHS staff. Read more about the vaccination announcement here.
More information about the vaccination programme can be found by clicking on the these links:
Yesterday, it was announced that Staffordshire will remain in Tier 3, Very High Alert.
The next review of tier changes is expected in 14 days.
This means that the district remains in Tier 3, Very High Alert.
- Guidance about the restrictions in Tier 3 is available here.
- Detailed guidance about the restrictions in all the alert tiers is available here.
- Answers to frequently asked questions.
- See the full list of local restriction tiers by area here.
- Postcode checker – find out the coronavirus restrictions in your local area
Tier 3 – the key points
- You must not mix socially indoors with anybody who you do not live with unless part of your support bubble.
- The rule of six applies in outdoor public spaces so you can meet in a group of up to six people in public parks but not in private gardens.
- Hospitality venues such as pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants must remain closed, but they are permitted to continue sales by delivery, click and collect, drive-through or takeaway.
- Gyms and non-essential shops may reopen.
- Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must remain closed.
- Hotels, B&Bs, campsites and guest houses must remain closed (a few limited exemptions).
- People are advised to work from home if they can and avoid non-essential travel in and out of the area. Overnight stays are not allowed outside the area.
- Wedding receptions are banned.
Please continue to follow the rules to protect yourself and your loved ones. Together we can reduce infection rates and ensure our district moves into a lower tier as quickly as possible. Remember – Hands Face Space.
It’s important that if you have symptoms you self-isolate and get tested. Over Christmas, it’s business as usual for NHS Test and Trace staff, who will be working hard to continue the nation’s fight against coronavirus. If you have symptoms, book a test online or call 119. However, up to a third of people infected with the virus do not show symptoms but may be infectious and can pass it on to others. To help identify these people, the Government is rolling out a series of programmes of community testing of people without symptoms to help to find and isolate cases of COVID-19 and break the chain of infection. Staffordshire is one of 66 local authorities taking part in the roll out of rapid COVID testing for people without symptoms and testing continues to take place in various locations throughout the district. Please keep an eye on social media and the Council website for the latest information.
- Other useful COVID-19 links
- Information about COVID-19.
- Information about face coverings.
- Information about meeting others safely.
- Information about making a support bubble with another household.
- Guidance on making a childcare bubble with another household.
- Information about what you can and can’t do.
- Guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable.
- Guidance on visiting care home residents.
- Information about the financial help for businesses during COVID-19.
- Discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant and Local Restrictions Support Grant.
- Information about NHS test and trace.
- Community safety – ‘12 days to a safer Christmas’ campaign
South Staffordshire Community Safety Partnership is helping residents stay safe this Christmas with a new crime prevention message campaign called ‘12 days to a safer Christmas’ and featuring 12 video clips to help remind people how to keep safe and within the law during the festive period. The campaign started this week and will run until 26 December 2020.
Using social media and short online videos, a different theme will be promoted each day and the campaign will highlight community safety priorities over the festive season including advice on cybercrime, fire safety, counterfeit goods, drink and drug driving and many more. Here’s a few of the links and keep an eye on the Council’s Facebook page.
- Christmas food parcels
This week, 100 food parcels were delivered to retired pensioners over the age of 60 in the district who will be spending the day on their own and do not have family or friends visiting them on Christmas Day. Usually, a free Christmas lunch with all the trimmings is served up to 50 people at the South Staffordshire Council Offices in Codsall but as this is not possible this year, organisers decided to distribute Christmas food parcels instead. The food parcels contain a Christmas cake, chocolate, shortbread fingers, two mini bottles of wine, a Christmas pudding, chutney, fruit and nuts, sweets and Italian breadsticks.
Click here to see Councillor Victoria Wilson pictured with some of the food parcels. Thanks to Councillor Victoria Wilson, Val Chapman, Councillor Bob Spencer, Councillor David Williams, Jak Abrahams, Councillor Mark Sutton and Councillor Michael Davies.
Bridleway closure extension
The temporary closure of a bridleway due to the i54 South Staffordshire Western Extension works has been extended as a result of adverse weather and poor ground conditions. Consequently, plans to reopen the bridleway in time for the Christmas holidays have had to be postponed and the bridleway will now remain closed until 13 January 2021. View the works update letter here and a map of the site here.
- Christmas and New Year bin collections
A reminder that there may be changes to your bin collections over the festive period. We are currently operating a more frequent grey bin collection. Don’t forget that green bins have now finished for the year and will resume from Monday 11 January 2021. Check your collections online here. Your collection time may vary. Bins out for 7am please.
Please remember to recycle whenever possible and you can view a full list of over 100 materials and what bin they should go in on our Recycling Finder. Yes please to Christmas cards, cardboard, glass bottles and jars, food and drinks cans/tins, and plastic bottles. No thanks to wrapping paper, Christmas decorations, black bags, polystyrene and food waste.
- Shop local
Last minute Christmas shopping? Where you shop matters so please try and #ShopLocal. This month, you may have seen one of our new ‘support local’ bags on your local high street and by spending money locally, you are helping them get back up and running. These shops and businesses form the heart of our local communities and right now they need your support. When shopping, remember Hands Face Space and wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitiser, wear a face covering and maintain a safe social distance from other shoppers.
- Community Fund for Community Groups and Parishes
South Staffordshire Council launched a Christmas fund for Community Groups and Parishes to apply for up to £400 each to help support the most vulnerable in our communities. In total, 23 Community Groups and seven Parishes applied and were all successful due to their heart-warming proposals. Many included sending out Christmas hampers, delivering a Christmas Day lunch or a New Year’s Eve supper to the vulnerable. Others will be using the fund to enhance the work they do in our local communities. We look forward to sharing some of the stories we receive from the applicants in the New Year.
- South Staffordshire Community Innovation Fund – grants of up to £1,000 available
This year’s application process to the Community Innovation Fund is now open. The South Staffordshire Community Lottery has a small pot of funding which is funded from every ticket sold and South Staffordshire Council has committed this pot to the voluntary community and social enterprise sector in the district. Any community group, association, charitable organisation or community interest company benefitting the residents of South Staffordshire can apply, including good causes signed up to the Community Lottery. The closing date for applications is 5pm on Friday 8 January 2021.
- Community Foundation Funding
COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work and learn. Staffordshire County Council is aware that family life is harder at the moment, with families facing increased pressure on the household budget and it does not want anyone to be left hungry because of COVID-19 this winter. Find out more about how the County Council is seeking to help families here.
- #YouAreNotAlone this Christmas
This year has been a challenging year for many, with job losses and the added stress of working from home and lockdowns affecting people’s wellbeing and mental health. Sadly, with the financial strain of Christmas, it’s anticipated that there will be an increase in domestic abuse, in its many forms. The #YouAreNotAlone campaign by Staffordshire Police will run until early New Year. Click here for advice and guidance about domestic abuse as well as partner organisation helplines.
- Support a local good cause
Now more than ever, good causes in South Staffordshire need your support. One way you can help is by buying a lottery ticket in our weekly Community Lottery – as well as supporting a good cause, you might even win a cash prize ranging from £25 up to a jackpot of £25,000. To buy a lottery ticket, simply register on the website www.southstaffslottery.co.uk or telephone 01902 213777.
- Council job vacancies
- Community Woodlands Officer, Forest of Mercia – application information. Closes 4 January 2021 (5pm).
- Corporate Director Resource, Corporate Resources – application information. Closes 10 January 2021 (midnight).
- Senior Planning Officer, Development Management– application information. Closes 19 January 2021 (5pm).
- Housing Strategy Officer (maternity cover), Strategic Planning – application information. Closes 19 January 2021 (5pm).
- COVID-19 Support Officers – application information.
- Next week’s Council Committee/Panel meetings
- Wellbeing Select Committee – Tuesday 22 December 2020 – 5pm – 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 protected]