Council News 214
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. For further information please email [email protected].
- On 6 May, we also require a number of Presiding Officers to work in some of our Polling Stations across the District. These are paid positions with an additional payment for attending essential training:
- Station 2 Village Hall, Joeys Lane
- Station 5 Holy Cross Church Hall, Bilbrook Road
- Station 33 Harrison Sports and Social Club, Great Wyrley
- Station 48 Village Hall, Stourton
- Station 51 Victory Hall, Lower Penn
- Station 52 Crown Room at the Dartmouth Arms
- For further information please email [email protected].
- 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.
- 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 Statement of Persons Nominated have now been published for:
- The Postal Vote application form can be found here.
The last day for applications for Postal Votes is 5pm on 20 April.
- Please note: 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.
- 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.
- 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. The new stations will be printed on the Poll Cards that go out, and we will also send a letter to those households that are affected by the changes. To find out if your Polling Station has changed, please click here.
- Find your Polling Station here.
- A guide to polling day – Everything you need to know about voting in person.
- Leisure Centres successfully re-opened 12 April
The leisure centres re-opened this week and we are pleased to say that systems ran smoothly and everyone seemed to enjoy their visit. The centres are open to members and non-members with a joining offer currently available for a limited time only.
- JOIN NOW, RECEIVE APRIL FREE
- Further discounts of membership fees in May and June
- Free and complimentary access to online and on-demand exercise classes
- New Outdoor Exercise Classes
Both Codsall and Wombourne Leisure Centres are offering outdoor exercise classes which are available to members and non-members to book.
- Codsall outdoor class programme can be found here and customers can book by calling the centre on 01902 844032.
- Wombourne outdoor class programme can be found here and you can book by calling the centre on 01902 898202.
- Free Youth Fitness Session
South Staffordshire Leisure Centres are offering a free online fitness class every Monday 4.20pm-5pm for 10-16 year olds. Advanced booking for the free youth session is required, and you can reserve your place here.
- Council Job Vacancies
- Next week’s Council Committee/Panel meetings
- Planning Committee – Tuesday, 20 April 2021 – 6.30 pm – Public virtual meeting via Teams.
- Members of the public can virtually attend these meetings via Microsoft Teams. In the news section at the bottom of the Council’s website, you will find the relevant news item that will include a link to enable you to join.
- Covid-19 Roadmap
- Information on the Governments roadmap can be found here.
- The latest figures in Staffordshire, including a district breakdown can be found here or
- 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.
- Everyone should be getting tested twice weekly. This can be done through the Community Testing sites, workplace testing or by ordering tests to do at home (if you cannot get to a place to collect them). Click here for information on the pop-up testing sites or to order your home testing kits.
- Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities
On 12 April an updated guidance came into effect for those managing community centres, village halls and other community facilities on safely re-opening to reflect changes to national lockdown rules. Click here to read the full guidance on the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities.
- Step 2 – Re-opening of Businesses (Environmental Health & Licensing team)
Its good to see businesses starting to reopen again. The Environmental Health Team are focussing on assisting businesses with opening safely. Outdoor hospitality is now allowed to open as the risks associated with outdoor areas is lower, however businesses (with the help of its customers) are still required to have certain controls in place.
The big challenge this week has been outdoor seating! Hospitality business serving alcohol at the premises, require customers to order, be served and eat and drink whilst seated (and pay) outdoors.
They must have other measures in place as well all designed to make sure customers are as safe as can be., such as:
- Customers do not go to the bar to be served
- Rule of 6 or 2 households
- The group of 6 customers or two households seated at a distance from another such group
- Groups of customers – rule of 6 or 2 households, do not interact with other groups
- Tables are positioned at safe distances
- Customers can use indoor toilet facilities, baby changing and feeding areas
and a few other rules!
The challenge officers face is being fair to businesses, but at the same time making sure they are compliant. Many of our businesses have got great ideas and have managed to organise their outdoor spaces really well.
We are working with some businesses where the outdoor structures currently do not comply, to find solutions to these problems, so they can use their spaces safely.
- 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.
- Get vaccinated when it becomes available to you.
- Whilst vaccination uptake is good in Staffordshire, there is still lower uptake from the following groups: autism, renal and liver failure, sickle cell disease, severe mental illness and those who are alcohol dependent. If you know of anyone in these groups, please encourage them to take up the vaccine by calling 119 and to seek support.
- Everyone, including those who have been vaccinated, must continue to comply with current restrictions and still get tested regularly.
- 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.
This is our way out of lockdown! Please don’t give up now!
- Get routinely tested – This week’s testing sites in South Staffordshire
It is important to attend lateral flow testing routinely, irrespective of whether you have had the vaccine or not. 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.
South Staffordshire’s semi-permanent Covid-19 Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) site for the week commencing 19 April, 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:
- Monday 19 April
Perton Civic 10.00-12.30
Haling Dene 14.00-16.00
- Tuesday 20 April
Coven Memorial 10.00-13.30
- Wednesday 21 April
Essington Community Centre 10.00-12.30
Great Wyrley Scout Hut 14.00-16.00
Penkridge Market 8.00-14.00
- Saturday 24 April
Hollybush Garden Centre 10.00-16.00
- Anyone with symptoms should not attend and instead book a PCR test online here.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.’
- Public computers and printing are available for essential use within the open libraries if booked in advance. For more information about bookings or printing contact your local library.
- The mobile library service will also return to the roads offering an ‘order & collect’ service at a limited number of stops.
- When visiting a Staffordshire Library, you will be required to wear a mask or face covering. NHS Test and Trace will be operated within all library buildings and books will continue to be quarantined after handling.
- 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.
- The online library is open 24 hours a day for FREE eBooks, eAudio, eMagazines, eComics and eNewspapers.
- For opening times visit or more information about their current service visit staffordshire.gov.uk/libraries
- Building Resilience in Families and Communities
Staffordshire County Council commission a Family Support Service (FSS). The service offers holistic support to families that most need support. Please read the story below of how the FSS helped one family in South Staffordshire (the family have agreed to share):
This family was deemed vulnerable and referred to the FSS. The family have a child aged 5 who is struggling with Enuresis. The child has siblings and Mum was stressed with all the concerns within the family during Covid-19 lockdown, particularly the conflict between the 5-year-old and his older siblings.
A keyworker was allocated to the family to understand all the issues. She accessed funding to purchase equipment for the child to support with the Enuresis. The keyworker also worked with the older siblings and introduced a ‘good choices and rewards’ scheme which encouraged changes in behaviour in the older siblings. The keyworker helped the family look at better-off benefits and return to work options, which resulted in Dad finding employment.
The keyworker referred mum to an online parenting programme which also focuses on parental wellbeing. This in turn, helped mum to remain calmer when managing her children. If you need support you can self-refer by calling the FSS on 01901 424147. They will assess your referral to see if you meet their criterion for support.
- Safer communities and safeguarding
- Domestic Abuse
- Demand on domestic abuse support services has increased, and additional funding has been provided to increase service provision. Useful information and contact details can be found below:
- The helpline for New Era Victim Support is 0300 303 3778
- Domestic Abuse
Everyone is encouraged to submit news items, please email: [email protected]