Wychavon District Council Annual Residents Survey

Be the first to take part in the Wychavon District Council Annual Residents Survey

This year, the survey includes questions on what makes an area a good place to live and priorities for improvement.

It also asks for views on community strengths, loneliness and isolation and our response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete and progress can be saved. Deadline: 3 October 2021.

Take part in the survey now

Police launch community messaging service

The Police have launched ‘Neighbourhood Matters’, a brand new community messaging service.

Through Neighbourhood Matters you can sign up for local police alerts; receive information about crime in your area, find out about drop-in sessions, answer surveys, and more.

You can choose exactly what type of alert you want to receive and how you receive them, whether it be via text, email or phone call.

Sign up now https://neighbourhoodmatters.co.uk/

Latest Covid update

Stay safe as restrictions are lifted

Family

From Monday 19 July most legal restrictions introduced to help control the spread of coronavirus will be lifted

This does not mean the pandemic is over though. In our district infection rates are high and now at levels we have not seen since late January/early February this year. You can view the figures on the Worcestershire coronavirus dashboard.

It is important you continue to take precautions to protect yourself and others, even if they are no longer required by law.

The Government has issued the following advice:

  • You are no longer instructed to work from home but it is recommended you continue do so if you can. The Government has recommended businesses gradually return staff to offices and buildings over the summer.
  • It is still expected and recommended people will wear face coverings in crowed areas such as on public transport. Some shops and businesses will still ask you to wear them as well.
  • Continue to meet friends and family outside where it is safer. If meeting indoors open windows and let fresh air.
  • Continue to limit the number of people you mix with, how long you mix with them for and how close you get to them.

Read how to stay safe and limit the spread of coronavirus from 19 July for the full guidance.


Join the millions already vaccinated

Vaccine millions

Anyone over 18 can now get their Covid-19 jab. Getting the Covid-19 vaccine will help protect you and others. The best protection is offered after two does so please make sure you go back for your second appointment if you’ve already had your first dose.

If you haven’t had your jab yet then you can book your Covid-19 vaccine online or during July you can visit one of the county’s walk-in vaccination clinics. The walk-in service is only for people who have not yet had their first dose.

We’ve seen huge amounts of young adults come forward for their jab but we know questions remain.

In her latest podcast, Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire, talks to Joe and Leon about how they feel about the vaccine and what it means to them.

Listen to Kath’s Covid Catchup.


Testing and self-isolation

step 4 covid

If you have symptoms of Covid-19, even if they are mild, then you must self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test

If your test is positive then you must continue to self-isolate. You must also self-isolate if you are told to do so by the NHS Covid-19 app or the NHS Test and Trace service.

You may be able to apply to us for a self-isolation support payment if you meet the criteria.

If you need help self-isolating then the Worcestershire Here 2 Help service is still available to support people who are unable to get help from family, friends or neighbours.

It is also recommended people without symptoms get a rapid (lateral flow) test twice a week.

Find out more about booking a test for Covid-19 if you have symptoms.

Find out how to get a rapid (lateral flow) test if you do not have symptoms.

Advice on self-isolation.

From 16 August, if you’re fully vaccinated or under 18, you will not need to self-isolate following close contact with someone who has Covid-19. You will still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive.


Looking after your mental health as restrictions are lifted

lockdown easing mental health

We know for some of you the lifting of restrictions may be causing difficult feelings.

If this is happening to you then it’s okay. There isn’t a right or wrong way to feel about this situation. The important thing is you do something about it.

The mental health charity Mind has produced some good information and self-help support on managing feelings about lockdown easing.

The pandemic has also disrupted our sleep patterns and increased our stress levels as we have adapted to a new way of living.

The Every Mind Matters website has a range of information on things you can try to help tackle some of these issues.

You are also encouraged to make your own free NHS online plan, with simple steps to help manage anxiety, sleep and to boost your mood.

Create your Mental Health Action Plan

Latest Covid business support information

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from July 2021

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021 and the level of grant available to employers under the scheme will stay the same until 1 July 2021.

From that date the level of grant will be reduced, and you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your furloughed employees’ wages. To be eligible for the grant you must continue to pay your furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they spend on furlough.

For information about the level of government contribution available in the coming months, the required employer contribution and the amount that the employee receives per month where the employee is furloughed 100% of the time click here.

Cllr. Richard Morris
Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism.


New business start-up support

This month sees the launch of our new business start-up grant offering increased funding to new businesses. Our grant is part of an exciting and impactful programme of support to help entrepreneurs to turn a great idea into a promising business.

The European funded Enterprising Worcestershire programme has appointed new provider ALP Synergy Ltd with their wide team of business experts to take the programme forward.

Our scheme is available to support new businesses to start up and grow in Wychavon, by providing grants and access to business advice.

Pre-start businesses and new businesses that have been trading less than 36 months can apply for a grant of up to £1,000, or up to £1,500 if they are in or moving into premises that are liable to business rates.

ALP Synergy Ltd will be providing:

  • The Start-Up Club, a 6-hour series of expert led workshops on key business start-up topics like ‘Creating and testing your business plan’ and ‘Launching your new product or service’.
  • A support network of other people taking their first steps to start a business.
  • A further 6 hours of peer to peer sessions through an additional Foundations to Growth Programme for those people planning to start a business which trades with other businesses.
  • One to one support sessions to help entrepreneurs to refine their thinking and challenge them to succeed.

The support will be delivered online at a range of times to allow everyone to engage.  Please register an interest in the programme here.

If you are a business to consumer business under 3 years old, Enterprising Worcestershire also offer free one to one sessions. Click here to book sessions.

To be eligible for a Wychavon business start-up grant you must have completed the Start-up Club and produced a business plan in your one to one sessions which has been approved by the programme’s business advisors.

Apply for the Wychavon start up grant here.

Please contact Jane Dobson on 01386 565278 or email jane.dobson@wychavon.gov.uk for information about the Wychavon business start-up grant.


Domestic Support Fund for businesses hosting events

A new fund from Visit Britain supporting the events industry recovery will provide financial support to not-for-profit organisations hosting domestic business events from 21 June to 17 December 2021.

Financial support is based on number of delegates attending a live event, or the live component of a hybrid event. The event organisation can apply for £30 per delegate attending an event. This support is available for events from 100 to 500 people, to a maximum value of £15,000 support.

Find out more here.


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme fifth grant

A fifth grant covering May 2021 to September 2021 will be open to claims from late July 2021. The grant is taxable and will be paid out in a single installment. To be eligible for the grant you must be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership. Guidance for claiming the grant will be available by the end of June 2021.  Click here for more information.


COVID business support

COVID restrictions continue, and the Worcestershire Business Central Growth Hub team can help your business access support programmes, funding schemes and provide advice on how to survive, grow and adapt your business.

Please contact the team at WBC to find out more about what you could be eligible for.


Specialist Business Adviser Programme

The Specialist Business Adviser programme is now open for businesses to register their interest to be involved in the FREE support scheme. The programme enables businesses to receive expert advice on specialist topics in a one to one or group setting. Businesses can now register their interest to be involved on the Worcestershire Business Central website here.


Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

www.gov.uk/coronavirus


The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to provide information as soon as we receive it. If you know of any businesses that would benefit from receiving these updates, please let them know they can sign up to our e-newsletter.

A message from the Director for Public Health in Worcestershire

Dear Residents,

I know that the news of a new lockdown for England, will be frustrating and upsetting for many people. Worcestershire has tried very hard to keep Covid-19 cases down, and many of you have made sacrifices to protect yourselves and others. We have all had to make changes to the way we live our lives in recent months, and that included over Christmas, when so many were not able to spend time with loved ones.

But some stark realities remain for us all. Worcestershire’s infection rates are at the highest we have ever seen. In the past 7 days alone, the county has 1,888 positive Covid-19 cases, which is more than all positive cases seen during May, June, July, August and September 2020 combined. I am concerned about this level of spread, and the risk it poses to our health and the lives of our vulnerable and elderly residents. We need to act now to protect one another, prevent the virus spreading further and reduce the demand on our hospitals.

The pandemic continues to dominate our daily lives, cases are rising nationally and we know the new variant of Covid-19 spreads very quickly. Our NHS is also facing considerable pressure on its services. All of these factors have led to the government’s announcement of a new lockdown across England. This means once again, we are facing tough restrictions on our way of life. I know this is hard, but by doing as we are asked, we are saving lives. The restrictions have been brought in to protect every one of us.

Please now stay at home, don’t go out unless you need to, for example to buy food or collect medicines. The Government has set out the clear limitations of the lockdown and I ask you to read the restrictions and follow the rules. You can read a full explanation of all the restrictions on the government’s website; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

Once again, Worcestershire County Council’s Here2Help service is available to anyone who needs support or is clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding). If you have no-one to turn to for help, our service can respond and provide help such as collecting medicines and getting shopping. You can reach the service online; https://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help

If you are on the Government’s shielding list, you will be receiving guidance about what to do now. It is key that you socially distance, and you reduce your physical contact with others. The governments webpages are updated regularly and you can read detailed guidance at; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

While we are all at home, please do remember to check on vulnerable or isolated residents. Just a phone call or a text message can provide a vital link to the outside world, and can ensure those who need comfort or help, have someone to turn to.

You will know that a programme of vaccination has begun nationally, and we are already seeing Worcestershire residents receiving the first doses. This process is being co-ordinated by central Government, and following a strict order for administering the doses. Worcestershire County Council is supporting NHS colleagues to ensure the roll-out is progressing. The vaccines are safe, and if you are called forward to receive one, I strongly urge you to do so. In the meantime, please keep following the rules, wear face coverings, wash your hands, keep your distance. These simple measures help reduce the spread of the virus.

We are all in this together. Throughout the pandemic, you have shown your resilience, kindness and compassion for others. We have seen many examples of people supporting one another, lending a hand or going the extra mile. The situation has demonstrated how working together, we are able to support one another and get through. I am asking you to do this once again. The single most important thing you can do for everyone, is to stay home. Please do this for yourself and for others. We all want to protect people who are precious to us, our family and friends. Let’s take care of each other, and work together.

Thank you for doing this. Our actions now will hopefully bring brighter days for us all in 2021.

Best wishes
Dr. Kathryn Cobain

Coronavirus: Worcestershire to move into Tier 3

sa

The Government announced Worcestershire will move into Tier 3 (very high risk) of national restrictions from 31 December 2020.

The rules for a Tier 3 area include:

  • No mixing of households, apart from support bubbles, indoors or in private gardens apart from support bubbles. Maximum of six can meet outdoors in some outdoor public spaces.
  • Hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, and social clubs must close except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect services.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, holiday lets and guest houses must close.
  • Entertainment venues must close.
  • You should stay local and avoid travelling outside of your local area.

Read the full list of coronavirus restrictions in a Tier 3 area.

Read an update from Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health for Worcestershire.

Coronavirus Christmas update

Changes to Christmas bubbles

Coronavirus

The Prime Minister has announced changes to the rules on forming Christmas bubbles. This is in response to rising case numbers and the discovery of a new variation of the Covid-19 virus which is more easily spread.

You are now only allowed to form a Christmas bubble, with up to two other households, on Christmas Day.

This should be considered a maximum and not a target to aim for.

Read the new rules on forming Christmas support bubbles.

At all other times you must follow the rules for Tier 2.

Read more about what you can and cannot do in Tier 2.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Worcestershire’s Director of Public Health, has issued a Christmas message explaining more about the mutation of the virus and top tips to help you and others stay safe.

Read Dr Cobain’s Christmas message.

One in three cases of coronavirus are transmitted by people who do not have symptoms. That’s why you are urged to act as if you do have the infection and to make sure you follow the rules and do the basics – wash your hands regularly, wear face coverings and keep a safe distance from others.

We know how hard this is for everyone. We thank you for playing your part in helping to keep the infection rate down in our district and protecting others.


Things to do at Christmas

Here are some ideas to help you celebrate with friends and family safely this Christmas.

Take our Spirit of Christmas Trail – a free, fun, activity you can do outdoors

Virtual party games

Worcestershire Quiz questions

Pictures to colour in and fun activities


Support for you

Here to help covid

Financial

Unemployment is increasing across our district as a result of the pandemic. We know this is pushing many people into hardship.

If you are struggling financially then the earlier you seek help, the sooner action can be taken to support you.

You can find advice and links to organisations you can contact on our money advice page.

Food, medicines and other support for the vulnerable

If you are a vulnerable person and need help accessing food, medicines or other support then please visit the Worcestershire Here 2 Help website.

We are also working with other organisations to support families in need during the school holidays.

Read more about how we are tackling holiday hunger.

Help for your mental wellbeing

The announcement about changes to Christmas bubbles was a major disappointment for many of us and may have caused upset and difficult feelings.

If you are struggling with your mental health, especially at this time of year, then the mental health charity Mind has some tips and advice to help.

Read Mind’s Christmas and coronavirus mental wellbeing tips

Read government guidance on looking after your health and wellbeing during the pandemic

Worcestershire Healthy Minds supports people aged 16 and over, who are experiencing problems such as stress, anxiety, low mood and depression.

You can also contact your GP for support if you need to.

Help for your physical health

If you are thinking of making 2021 the year you will be more active and get into shape then the NHS Better Health website has lots of support to help you achieve your goal.

Start by taking the how are you quiz and get your free personal health score which will point you in the right direction.

Our leisure centres are open and our leisure operator has gone to great lengths to make sure they are Covid-19 secure so you can get active safely.

Find out more about classes and services offered by leisure centres in our district.


Shop locally and safely with free parking on offer

If you still have last minute gifts to buy then please support your local traders as much as possible.

They have made a massive effort to make their businesses Covid-19 Secure so you can shop safely and with confidence.

If you are not comfortable heading out to your local high street then you can take advantage of their online, click and collect and delivery services.

Read our list of local businesses offering online, delivery and click and collect services.

If you are shopping in person then read our top tips to keep you safe.

Parking is also free in all Wychavon District Council pay and display car parks until 3 January 2021.


Christmas and New Year bin collection changes

We are making changes to our waste and recycling collections over the festive period.

We have also produced some top tips to help you recycle right at Christmas and reduce your waste.

Read more about waste and recycling collection changes over Christmas and New Year. 


Help us support rough sleepers

Homeless

We need your help to support rough sleepers this Christmas by remembering  see, say, support.

See – if you spot someone sleeping rough.

Say – tell StreetLink what they look like and where they are online at www.streetlink.org.uk, on the app or call 0300 500 0914.

Support – StreetLink will pass the details to our housing team or outreach service who will go and find the individual and begin working with them to offer help and support.

We have helped 36 people to get off the streets since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sadly, a few people have chosen not to take up the help offered. We continue to work with them and to offer support.

Emergency shelters will be opened on cold nights to make sure people who have chosen to continue to sleep rough have somewhere to go when temperatures fall.

If you want to do more then you are encouraged to donate to local registered charities for the homeless or offer to volunteer your time with them.

If you see a person collapsed on the street you should call the emergency services immediately.


Bird flu outbreak

Public Health England has confirmed an outbreak of bird flu among wild birds in Worcestershire. The risk to public health is low but please do not touch dead or sick birds. If you keep poultry or captive birds, even as pets in your back garden, then you need to take action.

Read more about the bird flu outbreak.

Coronavirus Tier 2 Grant Information

Well this year really has been a ‘perfect storm’ for business with COVID-19, Brexit uncertainty and all the usual business difficulties that can exist. However, it has been heartening to see the great determination and endless creativity of our businesses. I would also like to thank the efforts of our own Economic Regeneration team and Civica in their speedy and efficient support with business grants which I know have been a lifeline for many businesses.

We are desperately aware of how difficult these times are for many and encourage you to attend our business breakfast event on 20 January and maintain dialogue with us and let us know how we can support you. You know, if we can, we will!  It will be through effectively working and supporting each other that we will get through this.

May I wish you as good a Christmas as you can manage, and I really do hope 2021 brings that change and certainty for the best that we all need.

Cllr. Richard Morris.

Deputy Leader and portfolio holder for economic growth and tourism.


Have you applied for the correct grant linked to the recent lockdown and subsequent ‘Tier 2’ status?

There are four different grant schemes.

  1. The Local Restrictions Support Grant. This grant is for businesses who were ordered to close in the November lockdown, and who have a business rates account. Grants are either £1334, £2000 or £3000 and are based on your rateable value.   Please note that you don’t have to pay business rates, but simply have an account. In fact, most small businesses won’t pay business rates because they will be in receipt of small business rates relief.
  2. Tier 2 Local Coronavirus Restrictions Support funding. This is for businesses affected by the Tier 2 status.  There are two grants within this overall category – a ‘closed’ grant, and an ‘open’ one.

The ‘closed’ grant is for a business that has been ordered to close because of Tier 2 status.  This will mainly affect a bar or a pub that doesn’t serve food – sometimes known as a ‘wet’ pub.

The ‘open grant is for a pub, hotel, restaurant, café or other business that has been affected by the Tier 2 rules, but nonetheless can stay open and run the business.  It is anticipated that most businesses meeting these rules will have a business rates account.

  1. Christmas support for ‘wet’ pubs. This is a one off payment of £1000 for pubs that have been ordered to close because of the Tier 2 status.
  2. Additional Restrictions Grant. This grant is for businesses not ordered to close in the November lockdown but nonetheless severely impacted by a loss of custom, and either with or without a business rates account; and those ordered to close, and without a business rates account. Grants are currently based on turnover and are the same level as the Local Restrictions Support Grant, £1334, £2000 or £3000.

All three grant schemes are open for applications until further notice. You may have read that the Additional Restrictions Support Grant deadline is the 20th December.  This has been put back until the end of January.

Applications for each of these three grants can be made here.

So far, Wychavon District Council has made 897 grants from the Local Restrictions Support Grant amounting to £1.35 million, and 167 grants amounting to £283, 000 on the Additional Restrictions Grant. It is hoped that as many Tier 2 and ‘wet’ pub payments as possible will be made before Christmas.


Other business support available

Please check the Government’s website for information about support for business during COVID-19.

Worcestershire Business Central are there to advise local businesses on grant funding and support helping you restart and recover. Please see their website, call them on 01905 677 888 or email  info@business-central.co.uk.

Please also see the Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire Coronavirus information hub.


Business ratepayers’ breakfast economic recovery and growth

Our business ratepayers’ breakfast is going online in January next year. This important annual business networking meeting will take place via ZOOM on Wednesday 20 January between 8.00 and 9.30 a.m.

The focus will be on how we are helping businesses and our town centres to survive the impact of COVID-19 and grow in 2021.  Hear what grants and support are available to help your business.  Presentations will include updates on business rates for the new financial year, the Council’s budget and our priorities for economic recovery and growth.  Please make a note in your diary and join us on the day.  We’re very sorry that our usual delicious breakfast won’t be available this time, but you’re welcome to bring your own!

To register your attendance please click here.  There is an opportunity for you to submit a question before the event.


EU Exit Business Support Hub

EU Exit Business Support Hub

With only days to go before the December 31 deadline, when the UK stops following EU trading rules, businesses must prepare for the changes ahead. There will be implications for cross-border trade and as such companies need to understand how EU-Exit will affect them.

The Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire has partnered with Worcestershire County Council to provide a hub of advice and support from a team of international trade experts to help businesses prepare.

Find out about the free programme of EU exit training, one to one advisory sessions, advice on export documentation and customs declarations. Visit the  EU Exit Hub for information on the whole range of EU exit support.


Our new business centre

We promised to build small business units for rent and create a Wychavon business hub to provide support to businesses at key stages of their development, and the project is well under way.

Construction work on five offices on the ground floor of the Civic Centre at Pershore will start in January 2021.  It is anticipated that the centre will be open in April on completion of a twelve-week construction programme. Five high spec offices will be available to rent on flexible terms in a self-contained centre which includes two meeting rooms, a breakout area and kitchenette.

Businesses will have access to the bespoke business advice and grant funding they need to help them during the early stages of their development.

Please contact jane.dobson@wychavon.gov.uk for more information.


Business units going fast

Ten small business units under construction at Vale Business Park are attracting a lot of interest from potential occupiers.

Steels are up and roofs are being installed on ten new units ranging in size from 2,100 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft. The units which are being constructed in two terraces can be combined, if required, for larger occupiers. The units are due to reach practical completion in April 2021 and are available on either a freehold or leasehold basis. The units, targeted at SME’s, are the first phase of a wider planning consent that includes two further units of 22,500 sq. ft. and 28,200 sq. ft. respectively. For more details and to reserve your unit please click here.

This is one of a number commercial development sites across Wychavon  If you have growth plans and would like advice on development activity please contact Shawn Riley, Inward Investment Manager, Wychavon District Council on 07968 863531 or email shawn.riley@wychavon.gov.uk.

Vale Business Park


Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

www.gov.uk/coronavirus


The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to provide information as soon as we receive it. If you know of any businesses that would benefit from receiving these updates, please let them know they can sign up to our e-newsletter.