Council News 201
This week’s news from around the Council.
Residents who need to be out and about in South Staffordshire during the lockdown are being urged to have regular Covid-19 tests, even if they do not have symptoms. With cases recently hitting record seven-day rates of 500 per 100,000 population, the plan aims to tackle the “silent spreaders,” people who carry the virus but have no symptoms. If you have NO symptoms you can book a test at https://staffordshire.zipporah.co.uk/TrackAndTrace/. You are allowed to leave home to take a test.
If there is no availability, you can book a traditional test at one of the national sites at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus and choose the option “my council has asked me to book a test.” Anyone with symptoms should only book a national test. Anyone who is self-isolating as a close contact should only book a test if they develop symptoms and this should be through the national system only.
The county council is also identifying areas each week which have seen the biggest increase and everyone in these areas will be asked to get tested. Details of the national restrictions can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
For the latest updates about council services, guidance and support, visit:
- Advice on accessing green spaces safely
On 13 January, the Government updated the guidance for using green spaces safely to reflect the new national restrictions that came into force in England on 6 January.
Members of the public should minimise the time spent outside their home but can leave their home to exercise. This should be limited to once per day, and they should not travel outside their local area.
You can exercise in a public outdoor place:
- By yourself
- With the people you live with
- In your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
- In a childcare bubble when providing childcare
- Or, when on your own, with one person from another household
- Community Hub
Click here for this week’s update about the Community Hub which contains building news and a selection of photos.
- Covid Marshals
Our Covid Marshals are continuing to work tirelessly out in the District and are observing high streets, parks, open spaces, schools and shops to ensure that all restrictions are being adhered to.
- Census 2021
The census will be held on 21 March 2021 and results will be available the following year. For the first time, the census will be run primarily online, making it easy for most people to complete the questionnaire on any device, but paper questionnaires will still be available for those who need them. All census staff will operate in line with the Government’s latest Covid-19 guidance.
To reach your local census engagement manager/community adviser, contact: Kirat Raj Singh – [email protected] who will be helping community leaders within the District raise awareness of the census and the value to residents in taking part. The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that provides a snapshot of households in England and Wales, helping to plan and fund public services. Ultimately, it ensures funds are invested in emergency services, health care, school places and other vital services. For more information visit census.gov.uk.
- Tree Team
South Staffs Tree Services have been working on many private jobs over the last 3 months and have received very positive feedback from customers on the quality and price.
Our Envirocrime Team are committed to identifying fly-tipping offenders. In December, we issued 5 fixed penalty notices (£200 each).
- January offer: Online exercise classes
Whilst our leisure centres are closed, we are providing alternative ways to keeping fit. The online class membership provides access to 25 exercise classes every week for £12 a month…that works out at just £3 per week. Join in January and we’ll give you your first month for just £6.
Leisure centre members can currently attend for FREE. To receive a unique link for the free use, email [email protected]. Find out more about the online classes on the website here.
- COMPETITION TIME
As we face another national lockdown whilst balancing work, home schooling and other commitments, it is crucial we all try to take some time out for exercise. You could be in with the chance of winning your very own, home workout equipment. To find out how to enter, click here.
- Outstanding recycling collections
The Waste and Recycling team and their contractors Biffa Municipal Ltd have been working hard to catch up on outstanding recycling collections. Alongside the challenges posed by the recent snow and ice several operatives have tested positive for COVID 19 or been required to self-isolate as advised by the NHS Test and Trace app. At its worst, there was 43% of the workforce off in total which posed real challenges.
Grey bin collections are up to speed and the crews are working tirelessly to complete outstanding recycling bins by the end of this week.
Thank you to those from other teams for their support during the difficult time (Customer Services for handling phone calls and email queries and Leisure staff for training on bin loading and being on standby should their assistance be required).
- Emergency Covid winter support is available to help keep residents warm at home.
Families who are struggling financially could get up to £200 financial help to pay their heating bills. Please click here for more information.
- Stop Loan Sharks Reporting App Launched
A smartphone app has been launched to make it quick and easy for people to report loan sharks and access support. Click here for more information.
- Kingswood Trust Seeks Volunteers Aged 16-25 for Wild Conservation Work
Kingswood Trust is looking for 12 enthusiastic, young volunteers to join them for their new grounds work project who will have the opportunity to learn skills and benefit from working together on our environmental site.
The Kingswood Trust Nature4All is one of the first environmental projects awarded a grant from the government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The project is all about connecting people to nature, developing and preserving the environment, biodiversity and wildlife conservation. Work will include the creation of a gardening area with a tree & plant nursery and a new, wonderful forest school. This is so that more activities can be offered to the whole community and particularly those with special educational needs, disabilities and poor mental health. Click here to see a photo of one of the volunteers helping with some grounds work.
The project will begin after 19 February 2021. Anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer or would like to know more about the project, please contact Helen Heywood via email [email protected].
- Text Scams
Due to the roll out the new vaccine, many people are anticipating contact from health care professionals. This is great news, but unfortunately, criminals are seeing this as an opportunity to lure people into clicking links on fraudulent text messages and emails, and we are asking people to be aware of these scams. Click here no link for more information.
- Next week’s Committee/Panel meetings
- Overview & Scrutiny Committee – Tuesday, 19 January 2021 – 6.30 pm – Public Virtual Meeting
- Licensing & Regulatory Committee – Thursday, 21 January 2021 – 2.30 pm – Public Virtual Meeting.
Members of the public can virtually attend these meetings via Microsoft Teams – a link can be found in the news section on the Council’s website at www.sstaffs.gov.uk.
- Council job vacancies
- Senior Planning Officer, Development Management, closing 5pm on 19 January 2021 – application information
- Housing Strategy Officer (Maternity Cover), Strategic Planning, closing 5pm on 19 January 2021 – application information
Everyone is encouraged to submit news items, please email: [email protected]