Coronavirus: Update from Wychavon District Council 2

Homeless taskforce

Our outreach team continues to work with rough sleepers with a view to getting them off the streets. We have offered accommodation to all of our known rough sleepers, however there are still a handful in Wychavon who are refusing accommodation. We are also feeding into a countywide Homeless Taskforce.


Dogs on leads

We have had some complaints about the notices we have put up in our parks and open spaces asking people to keep dogs on leads to make sure people stay 2 metres away from each other while using our parks for exercise. We want to make it clear that this is not something we have chosen to do but we have been told to do as part of the information issued to us by the Government. You can read the specific guidance here.


Play areas

Following the announcement by the Government that councils should keep parks open, some members of the public and parish councils have asked if we will be reopening play areas. The guidance has not changed from that issued at the end of March and still states that play areas should remain closed. We are committed to keeping our parks open to allow people to exercise and will work with police to ensure people do so responsibly.


Bulky waste and fly-tipping

We are delighted to report, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our waste crews, we have restarted bulky waste collections this week.

We are not seeing an increase in reported fly-tips. Many of the rogue traders who usually operate, particularly at this time of year, are finding it more difficult to move around with less traffic on the road and police stopping vehicles. What we are seeing though is a shift in the type of waste being dumped from house clearance type items to garden and domestic household waste.

We are still investigating reports of fly-tips where there is a realistic prospect of evidence. Action will be taken if evidence can be found.


Household Recycling Centres

We know some residents have expressed concerns about the closure of Household Recycling Centres. As you know, these are run by Worcestershire County Council who have explained that Household Recycling Centres are closed, because under the current regulations travel to them is deemed as non-essential. Residents should only be leaving their homes to shop for basic necessities, pick up medicine, travel to work when they absolutely cannot work from home and exercise once a day.


Bonfires

We have put out messages discouraging residents from using bonfires as a means of disposing of their waste. Not only is it anti-social, as smoke could get into somebody’s home, it could also cause breathing issues or prevent someone using their garden for exercise. They could also be committing an offence as bonfires can easily get out of hand resulting in pressure on the fire service.

We are asking residents to be considerate of their neighbours and consider alternative ways to dispose of their garden waste. If you have a complaint about bonfires to make please email enquiries@worcsregservices.gov.uk or call 01905 822 799.


Funding support for community groups and charities

Each week we are adding new sources of funding support available to community groups and charities who are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak or who are working to support vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19. The latest sources include grants for voluntary and community organisations who provide mental health services, support for professional and recreational cricket clubs and funds to help low-income families.

Visit Support for community groups and charities page for more information.  Please promote this support to relevant groups in your wards.


Pick for Britain

We are supporting the Pick for Britain campaign which is aiming to recruit thousands of workers to help harvest fruit and vegetables. If someone has been furloughed from work, they can still work on a farm while waiting for their usual work to resume. This, along with other Covid-19 related job opportunities, are available to view on our job opportunity pages here. Please help promote them to your residents.


Support for victims of domestic abuse

The household isolation instruction does not apply to people who need to leave their home to escape domestic abuse. Call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free and confidential advice, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. If you are concerned read the factsheet Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for victims of domestic abuse.


Here 2 Help reminder

A reminder that if you are aware of anyone who is vulnerable and in need to make sure they fill in the form or call the number on the Worcestershire Here 2 Help website.


NHS Volunteer Responders

The NHS and Royal Voluntary Service has announced vulnerable people and their families will be able to directly call on the army of NHS Volunteer Responders. The scheme has been fully operational for two weeks with healthcare practitioners, pharmacists and local authority and social care staff calling on volunteers to carry out around 35,000 tasks to date, including delivering medicines, shopping and other supplies as well as making calls to check in on those isolating at home. More information can be found on the Royal Voluntary Service website for the NHS Volunteer Responders Scheme.


Seek help if you are in medical need

There is increasing concern about the drop off in GP appointments and increase in deaths as a result of non Covid-19 causes. It is not clear why this is but it could be due to people not wanting to bother the NHS due to the intense media coverage about the pressure it is under.

The NHS is still open for businesses for anyone who does not have a coronavirus related medical need. The way you access this help may be different, but help is still available. Read more advice about getting medical help at home. In a genuine life-threatening emergency you should still call 999.

Coronavirus: Update from Wychavon District Council

Welcome to our latest update. Once again, within this email you will find useful information on the support available to help you through the outbreak, a new job matching service, changes to MOT renewals and much more.

But first……an important message

We are now in our fifth week of lockdown. We know it is hard but the efforts we all are making are working to help limit the spread of the virus and protect our NHS, so the amazing staff that work in it can carry on saving lives.  Now is not the time to let up. We need to carry on with social distancing and following other government guidance to make sure we don’t give the virus a chance to start spreading rapidly again.

You can help protect you and your family by:

Stay home

  • Staying home and following the rules on social distancing. The Cabinet Office has issued a list of social distancing dos and don’ts to help you follow the rules correctly.
  • Washing your hands with soap and water often and for at least 20 seconds
  • Washing your hands as soon as you get home if you do go outside
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Putting used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • Looking after your physical and mental health

 Every Mind Matters has advice on looking after your mental wellbeing while staying at home.

There is a list of ways to keep physically active and home workouts on the Sport England website.

More advice is available on the NHS coronavirus page.


Support for victims of domestic abuse

The household isolation instruction does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.

Call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free and confidential advice, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. If you are concerned read the factsheet Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for victims of domestic abuse.


Seek help if you are in medical need

The NHS is still open for businesses for anyone who does not have a coronavirus related medical need. The way you access this help may be different, but help is still available.

Read more advice about getting medical help at home. In a genuine life-threatening emergency you should still call 999.


Why getting your recycling right matters

With a number of businesses closed, recycling reprocessors are struggling to get hold of enough, high quality material to turn into new products. In particular glass, paper and cardboard reprocessors are issuing warnings there may be shortages of some types of packaging.

You can help support them by making sure you recycle as much as you can, you are recycling the right type of items and they are clean. This is especially important for things like tins or yoghurt pots, as if any liquid gets on to the paper and card you put in your recycling then it will contaminate it, meaning it will not be of good enough quality to be turned into something else.

Recently, we have had some loads of recycling contain more than 20% of the wrong type of item. This causes real issues at the sorting facility. Please make every effort to get your recycling right.

You can find a list of items you can put in your green bin and advice on how to reduce your waste overall by visiting www.letswasteless.com.

You can also view our top tips to reduce your food waste 

Remember, if in doubt, leave it out.


Leave a thank you for our bin crews

Our bin crews love receiving your messages of support. Droitwich based artist Rosie Philpott  has produced a free colouring sheet you can download and stick to your bin lid to say thank you.


Bonfires

bonfires

Please do not use bonfires as a way of disposing of garden waste. Not only is it anti-social, as smoke could get into somebody’s home, it could also cause breathing issues or prevent someone using their garden for exercise. You could also be committing an offence and they can easily get out of hand resulting in pressure on the fire service.

Please be considerate to your neighbours and consider alternative ways to dispose of your garden waste:

  • Leave your grass cuttings on the lawn, it will help keep moisture in during warm weather
  • Compost your garden waste. You can buy a bin at www.getcomposting.com
  • Sign up for our paid for garden waste service
  • Store your waste until the Household Recycling Centres are open again. HRCs have been closed to help limit the spread of the coronavirus as it is non-essential travel

Do not use bonfires to dispose of non-garden waste (furniture, general household rubbish etc).

If you have a complaint about bonfires to make please email enquiries@worcsregservices.gov.uk or call 01905 822 799


Bulky waste collection service

We are re-starting our bulky waste collection service. More information on our Bulky Waste page.


Household Recycling Centres

Worcestershire County Council has currently closed its Household Recycling Centres (HRCs). This is because travel to HRCs is non-essential. HRCs will be re-opened, with appropriate social distancing measures, once government guidance says it is safe to do so.

We are currently asking you not to carry out any household, shed or outbuilding clearances unless you can store the waste created for a period of time until the HRCs are re-opened.


Financial support for you

If you are struggling financially then we would advise you to make a claim for Universal Credit, Council Tax Support and other benefits you may be eligible for.

There is more information on the coronavirus employments and benefits page.


Help paying your Council Tax

If you are of working age and already receiving Council Tax Support you will get a one off reduction of up to £150. This will be applied automatically to your bill. New bills will be issued in the next few weeks.

You can apply online for Council Tax Support if you are struggling to pay your bill.

More information is available on our Benefits and Council Tax page.

Even if you are not eligible for Council Tax Support, you still may be able to defer your payments for a short period, or spread them over 12 months instead of ten.

Please contact our team by emailing Revenues@southworcestershirerevenues.gov.uk or call 03004 560560 to discuss your circumstances and they will do their best to help you.


Help to find a job

If you have been made redundant, are facing redundancy or are looking for work then the Worcestershire Jobs Match scheme can help. It has been created to help match businesses struggling to fill vacancies with individuals who have lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

We are also supporting the Pick for Britain campaign, to find thousands of workers to help support farmers to harvest fruit and vegetables and help feed the nation.

You can find out more about job opportunities available on our local farms, and other opportunities, on our Local Job Oportunities page.


Support for businesses

We have paid out support payments totaling more than £19million to 1,683 businesses. If you are a business and have yet to apply, find out if you are eiigible and more information on our Business Rates Reliefs page.

The Government’s furlough scheme is now open meaning businesses can apply for help to pay up to 80% of the wages of staff.

www.businesssupport.gov.uk has details of all the support available to businesses.


Impact on our services

You can see a list of all our affected services here.


Funding for charities, arts and community groups

There is a range of funding support available to community groups and charities who are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak themselves or who are working to support vulnerable people impacted by COVID-19.  This includes funding support for arts, heritage and sports projects, grants for organisations supporting vulnerable people and a dedicated fund for parish and town councils. Visit our Support for community groups and charities page for more information.


Dogs on leads in play parks

Some of you have been upset by the notices we put up in parks asking people to keep dogs on leads to make sure people stay 2m away from each other while using our parks for exercise. This is part of the guidance issued to us by the Government. You can read the specific government guidance here.

Following the announcement by the Government at the weekend that councils should keep parks open, some of you have also asked if we will be reopening play areas. The guidance still states that play areas should remain closed. You also should not sunbathe, have barbecues or picnics in our parks until further notice. We are committed to keeping our parks open to allow people to exercise but we must all act responsibly.


Help for those in need

If you are in need of support and do not already have help from friends, family, the voluntary sector or adult social care then please fill in the form on the Worcestershire Here 2 Help website.

We have also put together a list of companies delivering food.


How to help safely

We know many of you are helping look after vulnerable loved-ones or people in your community. We thank you for everything you are doing. It is important to make sure you protect yourself while doing this. The Government has issued new advice as part of its How to help safely campaign.


MOT renewals during the coronavirus outbreak

If the MOT on your vehicle is due then it will be extended by six months but you must keep your vehicle roadworthy. Read more about the Government’s MOT changes.


Things to do at home

  • Brush up on your dance moves from the comfort of your living room with these great routines from Dancefest.
  • Try some of these fun arts and crafts activities at home with the help of the creating space blog from artist Claire Hilton
  • Check out the Self Isolation Choir.  Join the choir for ‘Messiah at Home’. You will enjoy weekly live rehearsals for an hour with Ben England, Choral Director, on the YouTube Channel and be part of the choir as they sing the entire work in concert on Sunday 31st May. Visit their website here.
  • Enjoy free stage shows, musicals and opera.
  • Take a virtual tour of ten of the world’s best museums.
  • Pentabus Theatre Company is releasing live recordings of past shows online every Friday at 2pm.
  • Enter The Evesham Festival of Words Poetry Competition. Open to anyone aged 16 and over, the theme is ‘Thinking Outside the Box’. Entry fee is £5 for a maximum of three entries. Closing date is Friday 12 June. You can also enter the festivals Six Word Story Competition open to anyone over the age of 12. Closing date is 17 May. Visit Evesham Festival of Words website for competition rules and entry information.

Beware of false information

A new GOV.UK WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service has now been launched. The purpose of this product is to combat the spread of misinformation. To use the service simply add +44 7860 064422 to your contacts and send a WhatsApp message saying “Hi”.


spread

Coronavirus: Update

#Here2help scheme

Worcestershire County Council has launched #Here2Help to provide support to people who are having to self-isolate and/or have additional needs due to the coronavirus outbreak and cannot get help and support from friends, family or neighbours. It is also for individuals and organisations who are offering to help. It aims to complement the national scheme to support those individuals extremely vulnerable to becoming severely ill from Covid-19 (described as ‘shielded’) and the NHS Volunteer Responders initiative.

Individuals can request help via the Here2Help website. A phone number has been set up for those who can’t access the internet. The number is 01905 768053. This can be used Monday to Sunday between 8am and 8pm.

Individuals and organisations can register offers of support via the Here2Help website too.

#Here2Help is all about supporting our communities. Since its launch it has already supported 925 people and received over 1,000 offers of help. Please help raise awareness of the Here2Help campaign widely across your parish/town in any way you can. Two of the easiest ways to do this are to add a link from the home page of your website and add the #Here2Help logo to your social media profile. You can do this on Facebook, or by using Twibbon to edit your Twitter profile.

Payments to businesses

As of 8 April 2020, we have paid over £6million in grants to more than 500 eligible businesses across the district to support them through the coronavirus outbreak. We estimate more than 1,000 businesses are yet to register.

Payments began on Friday 3 April and businesses that have successfully registered are being asked to check their bank accounts regularly but to allow a few days for the money to come through.

Businesses eligible for either the £10,000 or £25,000 grant need to register quickly and, most importantly, accurately here.  In addition to the grant, there is other help available from the Government from businesses, and this can all be found here.

Help with Council Tax

A £500 million hardship fund has been created to help vulnerable people pay their Council Tax. Visit our Benefits and Council Tax page for more information.

We advise people in financial hardship as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak to consider making a claim for Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Council Tax Support. More information is available on the Government’s coronavirus and claiming benefits page.

Support for community groups and charities

There is a range of funding support available to community groups and charities who are affected by the Covid-19 outbreak themselves or who are working to support vulnerable people impacted by Covid-19. A number of these are outlined below. Please share this with relevant groups in your parish/town and visit our Support for community groups and charities page for more information.

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner has launched a dedicated fund for parish and town councils across West Mercia to apply for money to purchase essential items that will allow them to continue providing support to those that need it most during the current Covid-19 outbreak. Find out more and apply for funding here.

The Arts Council is offering an emergency funding support package totalling £160 million for individuals and organisations working in the cultural sector. Applications will open soon. It has also changed the funding requirements for individuals and organisations currently in receipt of its funding. Find out more here.

Barclays Bank has launched a £100 million Covid-19 Community Aid Package for charities working to support vulnerable people impacted by Covid-19. Find out more here.

National Lottery Heritage Fund has put together a £50million Heritage Emergency Fund to support the heritage sector as an immediate response to the Covid-19 outbreak.  The fund will address immediate pressures over the next three to six months for those organisations most in need. Find out more here.

Persimmon Building Futures is a £1million scheme to support children and young people aged 18 and under in sport, health and education. Find out more here.

Persimmon Community Champions has £64,000 to give away each month. From April 2020 all funding will go directly to organisations that are supporting the over-70s. There’s a simple application process. Find out more here.

Sport England is making up to £195 million of funding available to help sport and physical activity through the Covid-19 crisis. Find out more here.

Impact on district council services

We have been able to maintain all our waste and recycling collection services with the exception of bulky waste collections. We are advising residents not to carry out house clearances etc. unless they can store their waste as we are unable to take side waste, as it would overwhelm the collection service and the Household Recycling Centres are closed. If there are any disruptions to the waste and recycling service we will publish them on our website. Please encourage residents to sign up to our email alerts service www.wychavon.gov.uk/email-alerts so they can receive updates directly to their inbox.

Our Customer Contact Centres in Droitwich, Evesham and Pershore are closed. People can still use our online services or contact us by phone.

Our housing, revenues and benefits phone lines are extremely busy so there may be a delay in answering or returning a call. Please bear with us.

All children’s play areas are closed. Our parks remain open but users must follow social distancing rules.

Our public toilets and Droitwich, Evesham and Pershore Leisure Centres are closed.

All of our Pay and Display car parks are now free to use. NHS Staff and health care staff can also park for free in any on-street parking bay, for any length of time, while carrying out essential duties, as long as they are displaying evidence of employment. See our parking page for more information.

A full list of our affected services is available on the coronavirus update pages on our website.

Increase in organised waste crime

The Environment Agency (EA) has seen an increase in Organised Crime Groups involved in waste crime due to a perceived lack of EA presence. If anyone sees vehicles containing waste entering a non-permitted site (such as a farmer’s field or an illegal site run by known Organised Crime Groups) they can contact the EA on 03708 506 506.

Unauthorised waste collections

West Midlands Region Environment Agency staff have been receiving reports of unauthorised waste collections taking place where household waste, in black plastic bin bags, directly from the pavement area outside of dwellings. It is suspected that the individuals offering their services are doing so through social media platforms such as ‘Facebook’ marketplace and are offering their services for a fee that would be unsustainable if they were a legitimately authorised household waste collector. The end destination of the waste is unknown. People are being encouraged to identify waste on the street awaiting unlawful collection. Please ask residents not to use these potentially unlawful services.

New meetings regulations

The Government has made two sets of regulations under the Coronavirus Act 2020. The first set enables all local authority meetings before 7 May 2021 to be held remotely and removes the requirement for the annual meeting this year. The second set postpones until 6 May 2021 local by-elections and other polls, either scheduled or which would otherwise arise before that date.

Under the new meeting regulations all notices for parish and town council public meetings must be published on the parish/town website or relevant community website and where that isn’t possible on the district council website.

We have already emailed further details about these regulations to all clerks.

GOV.UK WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service

A new GOV.UK WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service has now been launched. The purpose of this product is to combat the spread of misinformation propagated through WhatsApp on an Official Government channel. To use the service, members of the public simply add +44 7860 064422 to their contacts and send a WhatsApp message saying “Hi”. Please promote this service to your residents.

Coronavirus status checker

A new Coronavirus Status Checker to help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the coronavirus outbreak was launched at the weekend. People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions which will tell the NHS about their experience. Status Checker users are clearly told at the beginning and the end of the survey that it is not a triage or clinical advice tool, and that they should visit 111 online for medical advice about their symptoms. The survey can be accessed on the NHS website.

And finally …..

You can keep up to date with all our public messaging by following our social media accounts or checking the coronavirus update page on our website.

If you need to contact us at this time most of our staff are working remotely and can be contacted by email or on their usual phone numbers.

You may also find these links useful:

Fly-tipping increase

The Police have reported an increase in fly-tipping in the area, as a sad consequence of the landfill sites being closed down.

If you notice any fly-tipping it should be reported to Wychavon District Council via this link https://www.wychavon.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/street-care-and-cleaning/fly-tipping

If you witness fly-tipping taking place and are able to get any photographic evidence or vehicle registrations this assists with a potential prosecution.

Coronavirus: Emergency Fund for Local Sports Clubs

Sport England is making up to £195 million of funding available to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

The package includes a £20 million Community Emergency Fund, which is now open for local sports clubs and voluntary/community sector organisations (that deliver or enable sport and/or physical activity) to bid into.

Grants between £300 and £10,000 are available.

The fund’s been developed to help organisations meet their obligations, in particular fixed costs, which are no longer supported with revenue as a result of coronavirus, such as rent, utility costs, insurance, core staff costs, and facility or equipment hire.

To find out more visit the Sport England website: https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/our-funds/community-emergency-fund

Coronavirus: Support to help you through the outbreak

Wychavon District Council continues to work with our colleagues in the NHS, Public Health and across local and national government to support you through the coronavirus outbreak.

Within this email is useful information on how our services are affected, financial support available for people and businesses, scam warnings, how to get help if you need it, things to do while you are at home and more.

Stay safe.


Support for individuals

If you are struggling financially then we would advise you to make a claim for Universal Credit, Council Tax Support and other benefits you may be eligible for.

You can check your eligibility at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and there is also more information on the Government’s Universal Credit and coronavirus page.


Help paying your Council Tax

Households currently receiving Council Tax Support and of working age will receive a one-off reduction of up to £150 on their Council Tax Bill as part of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) Council Tax Hardship Fund 2020-21. You do not need to apply for this funding, we will use the information we hold on our systems to make changes to your bills automatically.

If you do not qualify for support from the Hardship Fund, but are worried about paying your Council Tax bill, then we can still help.

You can apply online for Council Tax Support

You can also spread your payments over 12 months instead of ten. Just email us at revenues@southworcestershirerevenues.gov.uk to discuss.


Employment Opportunities

We are helping companies in key sectors in need of essential workers promote their job opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. In particular our growers need support harvesting fruit and vegetables and the care sector needs staff to support the discharge of patients from hospital to ease the pressure on the NHS.

The latest opportunities are available on our Local Job Opportunities page.


Support for businesses

The Government has made a range of support available to businesses. Our latest business bulletin has details of all the support available.

We know the Government website and HMRC are informing businesses they will receive  this support automatically but some of it does require companies to register. Please see the  bulletin for full details and links to the registration form.


Impact on our services

You can see a list of all our affected services here.


Waste and Recycling

We have a plan in place to maintain our waste and recycling collections throughout the coronavirus outbreak. We will update our website and issue an email alert if there is any disruption. Please continue to put your bin out as usual by 7am on your normal collection day.

To support the crews we are asking you not to carry out any shed, house or garage clearances unless you have the ability to store any waste generated for a period of time. The Household Recycling Centres are closed and we cannot accept additional waste outside of the black bins as it would overwhelm the collection service.

We also remind you that if you or anyone within your household has symptoms of coronavirus, that used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths should be put in a rubbish bag. Then put the bag into a second bag and tie it securely. Store it for three days before putting it in your black bin.

If on a sack collection follow the same process and store bags separately from bags of standard household waste for three days. They can then be put out for collection together on your usual collection day.

You can dispose of other household waste as normal.

We would also like to say thank you for all the messages of support (like the one below) and drawings you have been leaving for our bin crews. They really do appreciate it.

Bin thank you


Parking

Parking in all of Wychavon’s car parks is free until further notice to help support volunteers caring for the vulnerable and help people shopping for essentials.

NHS and adult social care workers can also park for free in on-street parking bays for as long as they need while on essential duties, as long as they display evidence of employment such as a photocopy of an ID badge with sensitive data removed.

Lots of people have been asking us why our Civil Enforcement Officers – commonly referred to as traffic wardens – are still working. The Government has asked us to continue carrying out traffic enforcement in the interest of public safety, to help key workers and emergency services continue their important work and allow important deliveries to continue to be made. Their focus is on ensuring people do not block loading bays, disabled bays, park dangerously or on double yellow lines etc.


Help for those in need

If you are in need of support and do not already have help from friends, family, the voluntary sector or adult social care then please fill in the form on the Worcestershire Here 2 Help website.

We have also put together a list of companies delivering food.


Offers of help

If you want to help volunteer to deliver food and supplies to elderly and vulnerable people then please complete the Offer of Help form on the same website.


Looking after your health and wellbeing

It is okay to feel worried, anxious or stressed at the moment but it is important to look after both your physical and mental health while following the rules on social distancing.

A range of video workouts, advice and other information is available online to help you.

If you need help explaining about the virus and what is happening to your children then please download the information sheet from the children’s commissioner here.


Be on your guard against scams

There are lots of scams connected with coronavirus circulating at the moment. Some involve fake calls, texts, emails and social media messages. West Mercia Police have issued advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of a coronavirus scam.

The Insolvency Service and the Financial Conduct Authority are also warning the public to be extra vigilant and be wary of scams related to coronavirus that target finances.

Action Fraud is also warning about a Home Testing Fraud.

Social workers are also reporting a number of suspicious volunteers targeting vulnerable people in the county. Worcestershire County Council’s advice is to take normal precautions but don’t be afraid to accept offers of help from those you know and trust.

We are reminding people to follow normal checks to make sure their volunteer helpers are genuine. We advise people to ask to see identification, and not allow anyone in their homes unless they are certain they are genuine. Anyone who believes they have been visited by a bogus volunteer should contact the police.


Beware of false information

A new GOV.UK WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service has now been launched. The purpose of this product is to combat the spread of misinformation. To use the service simply add +44 7860 064422 to your contacts and send a WhatsApp message saying “Hi”.


Things to do at home

A number of cultural organisations have created virtual tours or are making their content online for people to enjoy from home.

The National Gallery Virtual Tour

The British Museum Virtual Tour

Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage

National Theatre at Home

Royal Opera House Programme

We have also put together some ideas aimed at a younger audience. You can find them here.


Stay at home and save lives

By staying home, you are helping to reduce the spread of the virus and giving our NHS workers the best chance of saving as many lives as possible. As the national lockdown continues and with the weather warming up, it is easy to become complacent and become tempted to ignore social distancing rules. Please don’t. The next couple of weeks will be crucial in our battle against the virus. So please, stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

stay home


A reminder of the social distancing rules

The Cabinet Office has also produced a dos and don’ts FAQs list to help you stay safe and support efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.