New crowdfunding initiative set to boost funding for local projects

Charities and local organisations in Worcestershire are to get a helping hand with new projects thanks to an exciting funding scheme being launched by the County Council.

The initiative, called Crowdfund Worcestershire, has been launched to help local organisations gain funding through Spacehive, a crowdfunding platform.

Worcestershire County Council, keen to build on the success of its Here2Help community campaign, has set up the initiative to give anyone who lives locally who might have ideas about how to improve their community the opportunity to gain much needed funding.

The Council will be working with Spacehive on the initiative and has an initial funding pot of £85,000 which they hope will at least double for the projects through the crowdfunding they will carry out themselves, with help and support along the way from Spacehive.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities, said: “It’s great that we’re able to continue the community spirit generated from Here 2 Help, it has proven really successful, and we must hold on to it, as we look forward to the future and the recovery phase.

“Crowdfund Worcestershire is a great way for everyone to come together and help their local communities in whatever way they can.  Working in this way means that we’re able to do a better job of offering grant funding that can be increased with support from local residents and businesses, in order to better help those who need it. Local people are best placed to understand the challenges and opportunities in their local area and this model puts them and their ideas in the driving seat.”

The first round looks to support organisations in their bid to help in the county’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The County Council is keen to hear from organisations that have project ideas which need financial backing around the following five key areas:

    • Food Poverty – predominately focused on families
    • Social isolation/befriending – looking at virtual community connections / or adapted schemes that comply with social distancing.
    • Return to work – helping people prepare for a return to work or helping them into work.
    • Maintaining our volunteering offer – helping to create a legacy of community and volunteer action post Covid-19.
    • Healthy Communities – activities to improve the health and wellbeing of your local community

Spacehive is a funding platform that brings together people, businesses, councils and foundations to collaboratively fund projects that communities want.

In addition to county wide project creators having the opportunity to pitch for the £85,000, available for ideas that support the wider county’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, organisations in Malvern Hills and Wychavon will also have the chance to tap into pledges for community based transport projects.

This funding, via the same Spacehive platform, will be led by Malvern Hills and Wychavon District Councils and there’s pledges of up to £50,000 up for grabs for this first round.

Charities and local organisations are being encouraged to create a project on Spacehive and pitch for a pledge via the Crowdfund Worcestershire platform by 30th September, by clearly outlining how they may be able to help maintain progress in the above key areas.

Spacehive will lead a programme of events for anyone who is interested in learning a little bit more or might want to discuss ideas that they would like to put forward. Free online events are taking place on the 13th August and 4th September. To book a place on these events, visit https://www.spacehive.com/movement/worcs/news

To find out more information about Crowdfunding Worcestershire, please visit the https://www.spacehive.com/movement/worcs or email CrowdFundWorcs@worcestershire.gov.uk

Lockdown easing delayed

Due to a rise in infection rates across England, the Government has today announced it is delaying further easing of lockdown restrictions.

Read the Prime Minister’s announcement on coronavirus 31 July 2020

What’s not changing

The following restrictions will remain in place for at least another fortnight and won’t be eased from tomorrow (1 August 2020) as planned:

  • Bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos must remain closed
  • Conference and exhibition centres must remain closed
  • Indoor performances of live events are not allowed
  • Small wedding receptions with sit-down meals of no more than 30 people are not allowed
  • Close contact services such as facial treatment and make up application are not allowed
  • Trials allowing fans to attend sporting events will now not take place

What’s changing

Restrictions on those who have been shielding, will still be lifted from 1 August. Particular care should be taken to follow social distancing guidelines when meeting people.

New rules on face coverings

From 8 August it will be a legal requirement to wear face masks in:

  • Cinemas
  • Museums
  • Galleries
  • Places of worship

You already must wear face coverings in:

  • Shops
  • Banks and building societies
  • Supermarkets
  • Post offices
  • Public transport

Hands, face, space, test

We all have a role to play in keeping the virus under control. You can help by remembering hands, face, space, test

  • Hands – wash them regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or sanitise them with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if that’s not possible
  • Face – wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible and you will be mixing with lots of different people you would not normally meet
  • Space – keep a safe distance from others
  • Test – if you have symptoms, get yourself a free test and follow self-isolation rules. You can get a test online or call 119

If you have symptoms or have tested positive for coronavirus you will need to self-isolate for at least 10 days.

What to do if you have symptoms?

Advice on staying at home (self-isolating)

Eat Out to Help Out

On Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during August you can get a 50% discount, up to £10 per person, off food and soft drinks at participating restaurants. The discount only applies if you are eating in. There is no minimum spend and it can be used more than once.

Find an Eat Out to Help Out restaurant near you

Get in shape to help you fight covid-19

Gaining weight is often a gradual process – it happens over the years as a result of modern-day life and the odd unhealthy habit.

Extra weight causes fat to build up around vital organs, making it harder for the body to fight against diseases like cancer, heart disease and now covid-19.

If you are overweight or living with obesity, lowering your weight can help reduce your risk of developing serious diseases.

You can learn more about obesity, and get support, from Obesity UK, the leading charity dedicated to supporting people living with obesity.

Help available to you

The NHS Better Health website has lots of support available including:

  • A free 12 week weight loss programme you can download to your device
  • Links to other paid for weight loss plans
  • Couch 2 Fitness – 9 week exercise programme
  • Free online fitness videos

Parking charges to return from Monday

Our free parking offer is coming to an end. From Monday, 3 August, charges will apply. You can pay using your mobile phone or with coins. If you do pay with coins we advise you to wash or sanitise your hands aferwards.

Parking will continue to be free for NHS staff, social care staff and official community volunteers (those attached to volunteer centres or similar organisations) while carrying out their duties. Appropriate evidence must be displayed (e.g a copy of an ID badge with sensitive information removed or an official letter).

Financial support available for you

Advice and support if you have lost your job

Help paying your Council Tax

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, then check if you can apply for Council Tax Support

If you do not qualify for Council Tax Support please get in touch with our team and they will see if there is another way they can help you.

Email Revenues@southworcestershirerevenues.gov.uk to discuss your situation.

Ban on evictions extended

The Government has extended the ban on landlords being able to evict people renting their home until 23 August. Read the full announcement.

Citizens’ Advice is open for business

Citizens’ Advice South Worcestershire also remains open to support you if you need it. They offer one-to-one advice by highly trained volunteers, now working from home. Many are specialists in their fields such as housing, employment and debt.

You can contact their Wychavon branch in Evesham on 01386 712 100, choosing Option 1 or email admin.wychavon@citizensadvicesw.org.uk

Option 2 is dedicated to the Universal Credit Support Service.

The service is also part of the national Advice Line telephone service, open to the public Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm on 03444 111 303.

Money management help

If you would like help to make the most of your money then the two online budgeting toolkits below may be useful.

Money Saving Expert Budget Planning Guide

Money Advice Service Budget Planner

If you need help with debt management or restructuring your finances then contact the CAB using the details above or you can get free help from The Money Advice Service.

Help paying your utility bills

If you need help paying your water bill then please visit Severn Trent’s bill help payment page.

If you need help paying your gas or electric bill then read Ofgem’s advice about the support on offer.

Coronavirus: Latest information

Proposed social distancing changes

The Government has set out a timetable for further easing of lockdown restrictions and an ambition to remove social distancing measures completely by November.

Assuming infection and transmission rates remain low, the changes below are planned.

From 1 August:

  • employers will have more discretion, in consultation with their staff, on how to ensure people can work safely – working from home is one way to do this, but workplaces can also be made safe by following COVID-19 Secure guidelines
  • the clinically extremely vulnerable will no longer need to follow advice on shielding, though should still take particular care to follow the social distancing guidelines when meeting people
  • bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos can open
  • conference and exhibition centres will be able to reopen in order to enable pilots for business events to take place – they should not yet be open fully to host events more widely
  • indoor performances to a live audience can begin to take place, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidelines and subject to the success of pilots that are taking place as soon as possible
  • further pilots of larger events can take place in venues, including in sports stadia and business conferences
  • small wedding receptions – sit-down meals for no more than 30 people – can take place, subject to COVID-19 Secure guidance
  • all remaining close contact services – such as facial treatment and make up application – can restart, in line with COVID-secure guidelines

From 1 September

  • schools, nurseries and colleges will open for all children and young people on a full-time basis
  • universities are working to reopen as fully as possible

From 1 October, if prevalence of the virus remains around or below current levels:

  • the Government will bring back audiences in stadiums, and allow conferences and other business events to recommence in a COVID-19 Secure way

This can only happen if infection rates continue to remain low. It will also depend on the specific challenges being faced at the time.

For now, we all need to continue to play our part to control the spread of covid-19.

You can help by:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water regularly for 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if that is not possible
  • Keeping a safe distance from others
  • Wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces (see our guide on face coverings further down)

Read the coronavirus FAQs: what you can and can’t do

A guide to using face coverings

We are now required to wear face coverings in shops, banks, supermarkets and post offices from today (24 July). You already have to wear them on public transport.

Face coverings can help control the spread of the virus but only if they are used safely.

Watch Worcestershire County Council’s short video on wearing a face covering correctly

Read our guide to wearing, storing and washing or disposing of face coverings

Leisure centres to reopen tomorrow

Leisure centres in Droitwich, Evesham and Pershore reopen tomorrow (25 July) for gym and exercise classes.

Swimming pools at Evesham and Droitwich will reopen from 1 August. Pershore swimming pool will remain closed until the autumn due to refurbishment work.

Droitwich Lido will reopen from 1 August.

Covid-19 secure measures will be in place and booking is required at all sites.

Read more about how to use our leisure centres from 25 July.

More changes to libraries

Droitwich Library will reopen from Monday 3 August. Evesham Library is already open. Pershore Library will reopen later in August.

From Monday 3 August, library users will also be able to:

  • browse shelves and borrow books using self-service kiosks
  • return books
  • pre-book public computers
  • pre-book a desk in the library for study and/or wi-fi access

Some restrictions remain in place. Read more about changes to Worcestershire’s libraries

#EnjoyWychavonSafely

We want you to enjoy the sights and sounds of Wychavon safely this summer.

Many of Wychavon’s visitor attractions are now open and are eager to welcome you back with safety measures in place.

There is also Wychavon’s beautiful countryside to explore and our award-winning parks to enjoy. Wychavon managed play areas and public toilets are also open.

Parking is also free in all of our car parks until 3 August.

Our festival season would normally be in full swing at this time of year but many events have sadly had to be cancelled due to the covid-19 outbreak.

You do not have to miss out completely though. The Worcestershire Vale and Spa website contains ideas of how you can recreate the spirit of some of those festivals in your own way.

Apply for a Census 2021 temporary job

Temporary jobs are available to make Census 2021 a success.

The census is a survey about all of us and will create a picture of communities. This helps the Government and other authorities to plan and fund public services.

Nothing else gives so much detail about the society in which we live, helping to make decisions with the potential to transform lives for the better.

Whether you’re saving up for something or you want to make a real difference to your community, there’s a job for you.

Visit Census Jobs 2021 to find out more and apply. Deadline for applications is 31 July 2020. Other positions are available later in the year.

Financial support for you

Advice and support if you have lost your job

Help paying your Council Tax

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, then check if you can apply for Council Tax Support

If you do not qualify for Council Tax Support please get in touch with our team and they will see if there is another way they can help you.

Email Revenues@southworcestershirerevenues.gov.uk to discuss your situation.

Ban on evictions extended

The Government has extended the ban on landlords being able to evict people renting their home until 23 August. Read the full announcement.

Citizens’ Advice is open for business

Citizens’ Advice South Worcestershire also remains open to support you if you need it. They offer one-to-one advice by highly trained volunteers, now working from home. Many are specialists in their fields such as housing, employment and debt.

You can contact their Wychavon branch in Evesham on 01386 712 100, choosing Option 1 or email admin.wychavon@citizensadvicesw.org.uk

Option 2 is dedicated to the Universal Credit Support Service.

The service is also part of the national Advice Line telephone service, open to the public Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm on 03444 111 303.

Money management help

If you would like help to make the most of your money then the two online budgeting toolkits below may be useful.

Money Saving Expert Budget Planning Guide

Money Advice Service Budget Planner

If you need help with debt management or restructuring your finances then contact the CAB using the details above or you can get free help from The Money Advice Service.

Help paying your utility bills

If you need help paying your water bill then please visit Severn Trent’s bill help payment page.

If you need help paying your gas or electric bill then read Ofgem’s advice about the support on offer.

Help for your mental health

Although life is edging back to normal, there is still a lot that is uncertain and it’s okay to feel anxious or worried.

Get help and advice from NHS Every Mind Matters

Take the Every Mind Matters Quiz and get a support plan tailored to you

Covid-19 Memory Bank Project

The Covid-19 outbreak is undoubtedly a significant moment in human history. We are keen to capture information about what happened locally to inform future generations. That is why we have launched the Covid-19 Memory Bank.

You are encouraged to send in messages of goodwill you have received from neighbours, rainbow pictures you have drawn in support of key workers, messages of thanks you have left for key workers or received, diary entries you may have made during lockdown, video blogs, photographs, video footage, poems, songs or artwork.

The subject can be anything from how you felt during this time to the way the community pulled together, the weekly clap for our carers event, response of key workers on the frontline and the challenges or joys of home schooling.

If you have lost a loved one to this virus, you are also invited to submit a photograph and/or tribute to them.

The information received will be used in a future art project or exhibition and then handed over to the archive at The Hive or locally for preservation.

You can find out more about the project and upload any contributions you may have at www.wychavon.gov.uk/memorybank

Coronavirus: Help for Businesses latest update

Funding alert

The ‘Here2Help Businesses’ scheme is now live. This will provide financial support and consultancy advice to help kickstart the local economy. The opportunities include:

  • Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply for up to £10,000 for a Graduate Development Support Grant to recruit a graduate employee for a one-year period.
  • Sustain and Grow Grants up to £25,000 are also open to applicants.
  • The grant will assist Worcestershire businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic supporting them with projects to help aid recovery and future growth.
  • A limited number of larger grants will also be available for businesses across the county.

These are available to help support projects that directly impact the COVID19 response.

There is also a small capital grant, between £2,000 and £10,000 (50% match funded) for projects aimed at small businesses in the agriculture and horticulture sector, focused on investing in technology.

All the information about these schemes is available here.

In addition, for all your business support needs, contact Worcestershire Business Central.

The Plan for jobs

The Chancellor has set out a Plan for Jobs that will spur the UK’s recovery from the Coronavirus outbreak, supporting, creating and protecting jobs and providing a boost to the hard-hit tourism and hospitality sectors.

Full details of the Government’s plan are here. The following announcements were made:

Supporting jobs

The Job Retention Bonus will help firms keep on furloughed workers.  Employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed as of 31 January 2021.

The Kickstart Scheme is a new £2 billion scheme which will also be launched to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people. Those aged 16-24, claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment, will be eligible. Funding available for each six-month job placement will cover 100% of the National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week and employers will be able to top this wage up.

Employment and support schemes will receive a total of £1.6 billion to be invested in scaling up employment support schemes, training and apprenticeships to help people looking for a job.

Young people will benefit from more funding for apprenticeships. Businesses will be given £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25. This is in addition to the existing £1,000 payment the Government already provides for new 16 to 18 year old apprentices and those aged under 25.

A £111 million investment to triple the scale of traineeships in 2020 to 2021 ensuring more young people have access to high quality training.

Creating jobs

The plan will also create tens of thousands of jobs through bringing forward work on £8.8 billion of new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects. In addition, £5.8 billion will be spent on shovel-ready construction projects to get Britain building.

This includes a £3 billion green investment package that could help support around 140,000 green jobs and upgrade buildings and reduce emissions.  Included in this package there will be funding for homeowners and landlords with a Green Homes grant scheme.

Protecting jobs

Eat Out to Help Out will encourage people to safely return to eating out at restaurants. The Government’s new discount scheme will provide a 50% reduction for sit-down meals in cafes, restaurants and pubs across the UK from Monday to Wednesday every week throughout August 2020.

The rate of VAT applied on most tourism and hospitality-related activities will be cut from 20% to 5%.

To help people feel more confident to move, buy, sell, renovate, and improve their homes Stamp Duty will be temporarily increased to the Nil Rate Band of Residential SDLT (Stamp Duty) from £125,000 to £500,000 introduced until 31 March 2021.

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


Restart and recover

We are pleased to see that more and more businesses have now reopened in our town centres and across the district following the green light from the government on 4 July. Here is Government advice to make sure that you have reopened safely, with further detail on the following sectors:

Hotels and guest accommodation

The visitor economy

Restaurants offering takeaways

Hairdressers

If you are a food business guidance is provided by Worcestershire Regulatory Services. You can read more about this here.

In addition to information on their website, Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) will be hosting some ‘FAQ’ and support sessions for businesses so you can ask your question direct to the body who will be implementing the Government’s guidance.

To register your interest in these sessions and to ask a question please email visitworcestershire@worcestershire.gov.uk.

WRS have issued the following advice for businesses reopening.


Everything online to help your business recover

The Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and Worcestershire Business Central are just two of many business support organisations that are providing online advice to support current business needs and future recovery plans. They both have a series of webinars available in place of events, training courses and face to face meetings to inform you on the latest government updates, business support, HR and legal advice, mental wellbeing and much more.

Here are links to book the latest Chamber webinars:

Sustainability forum

Young professionals networking – Tyro Talks

Employee wellbeing

Lunchtime networking

You can view all past webinars on their YouTube Channel. To find out about their virtual training days for the recovering business head straight to the training calendar for upcoming courses from June through to July.

WBC offer free business support webinars to help your business during the COVID-19 pandemic they are listed here – upcoming events.


Business support available

The UK is entering the second phase in its recovery with the recently announced Plan for Jobs. But the Government and our local business support organisations continue to offer a range of business support including business loans, and help with business rates, tax, and wages. Please see the links below to support from the Government, the Chamber of Commerce Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and from Worcestershire Business Central.

For all business support enquiries and information about the Government’s COVID-19 measures and recovery package, please visit www.businesssupport.gov.uk.

The Government’s Coronavirus Business Support Finder is available to help businesses and self-employed people quickly and easily determine what financial support is currently available. Fill out a quick and simple online questionnaire and you will be directed to a list of all the financial support you may be eligible for. You can find out more about the tool here.

You can also sign up to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Businesses and Employers Bulletin and get notifications straight to your inbox. You can get email alerts here, and answers to business questions in their FAQs or over the phone, Monday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm 0300 456 3565.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce have a Coronavirus Support Hub. Please visit www.hwchamber.co.uk.

If you need to talk to one of the team at Worcestershire Business Central, please call them on 01905 677888 or email info@business-central.co.uk. They are ready to help you navigate your way through the information and support that is available.


Employer skills survey

Have your say on future training available to Worcestershire businesses and employers.  Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP), working with Serco, is seeking the views of Worcestershire employers to understand how they can be supported to develop the skills needed to adopt digital technologies.

Your contribution is valuable, this is your chance to tell the LEP about your organisation’s challenges around digital skills and to influence future training provision in Worcestershire that could benefit your organisation. The LEP is keen to hear from employers of all sizes (including sole traders) and from all sectors. Please share what you think by completing a short survey taking ten to fifteen minutes, available here before the deadline of 31 July 2020.

A 50p donation for each completed survey response (for the first 100 responses) will be made to the Good Things Foundation which supports digitally and socially excluded people to improve their lives through digital technology. Those completing the survey can opt to receive a copy of the findings once published.

If you have any queries about the research please contact Lily Pepperall at Serco lily.pepperall@serco.com

Employer Skills Survey


Employer apprenticeships webinar

Your Apprentices

You are invited to the Worcestershire Apprenticeships’ Employer Webinar on Monday 13 July from 11.00 to 11.45 am.

The webinar will cover important concerns for businesses around apprenticeships and answer questions on topics such as:

Supporting apprentices during furlough and their return to work

Help and support available from training providers to employers

Guidance around remote onboarding of apprentices

2020/21 recruitment for apprentices

Join the free webinar to learn more about all these topics and have the unique chance to ask live questions to the panel of speakers:

Nigel Morgan, CEO of Herefordshire & Worcestershire Group Training Association

Linda Gittings, Apprenticeships and Qualifications Manager at Platform Housing Group

Gary Woodman, Chief Executive of Worcestershire LEP

Reserve your place here.


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

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Coronavirus: What’s changing from 4 July 2020

The Prime Minister announced a number of changes to the lockdown restrictions this week that will come into force from 4 July 2020.

Official guidance has been produced to help you understand what’s changing and what you are now allowed to do.

What you can and cannot do now

What you can and cannot do from 4 July 2020

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs


Changes for those who are shielded

shielding timeline

The UK Government has set out a roadmap for the clinically extremely vulnerable on the future of the shielding programme.

For now, the guidance remains the same – stay at home and only go outside to exercise or to spend time outdoors with a member of your household, or with one other person from another household if you live alone – but the guidance will change on 6 July and again on 1 August.

Read more about changes for those who are shielded


Social distancing and the 2 metre rule

Although restrictions are being lifted and we want you to enjoy the greater freedom we are all being given, we must all do this responsibly.

The virus has not gone away and is still circulating in the community. Washing and sanitising your hands regularly and keeping your distance from people, remain incredibly important to limit the spread of the virus. If we don’t then the number of cases will start to rise again.

From 4 July, you should still try to stay 2 metres apart from people outside your household or support bubble, or if that’s not possible, 1 metre plus. This means one metre plus mitigations. These mitigations will depend on the workplace or setting.

For example, on public transport, people must wear a face covering, as it is not always possible to stay 2 metres apart.

In other spaces, mitigations could include installing screens, making sure people face away from each other, putting up handwashing facilities, minimising the amount of time you spend with people outside your household or bubble, and being outdoors.


Reopening of play areas

Although play areas can reopen from 4 July, we are waiting for official guidance from the Government about how this can be done safely.

This means our play areas may not reopen straight away on 4 July. We will reopen them as fast as we can and as soon as we can be sure we can do so safely. If you visit one of our play areas after 4 July and they are still closed, please respect this and keep your children off them.

Crown Meadow Play area will be closed until at least 20 July, as it is being refurbished following damage caused by flooding.


Public toilets

All of our public toilets are now open with the exception of Broadway Activity Park. Social distancing measures are in place.


Free parking to continue until 3 August

Parking will remain free in all of Wychavon’s car parks until 3 August as part of a raft of measures to support the reopening of high streets across the district.

Read the full announcement.


Reopening of libraries

Worcestershire County Council has announced some of its libraries will reopen from 4 July, including Evesham Library.

Read the full announcement on library reopening.


Test and trace – scam warning

The NHS test and trace service is an important part of helping us return to the way of life we were used to before Covid-19.

Unfortunately, there will be those who will attempt to take advantage of the situation to carry out scams.

Ofcom has issued advice on how to protect yourself from potential test and trace scams.

On a genuine call, contact tracers will never:

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • ask you to make any form of payment
  • ask for any details about your bank account
  • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • ask you to purchase a product – including a test
  • ask you to download any software to your device or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet
  • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the Government or NHS

If you receive a call from somebody claiming to be from the NHS, and they ask you to do any of these things, hang up and report the call:

  • to Action Fraud, by calling 0300 123 2040 or by visiting its website, if you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland; or
  • to the Police, via 101, if you are in Scotland.

Please do not let this deter you from complying with the NHS test and trace system if you are contacted by them.

Your help is crucial to making the system work, so we can control the spread of the virus and save lives by making sure anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 is quickly tested. If they have the virus they can then self-isolate at home and those they have come into contact with will be advised to do so as well.

You can help by:

  • Self-isolating at home if you develop symptoms, along with other members of your household, and order a test to find out if you have the virus
  • If you test positive for the virus, sharing information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service so other people can be alerted who may need to self-isolate
  • Self-isolating if you have come into close contact with someone who has had coronavirus and you are advised to do so by the NHS test and trace service

Read more about the test and trace service and how it works

Read more about when to self-isolate and what to do


Recycling increases during lockdown

The amount of recycling collected from households across Worcestershire has rocketed by 12% during lockdown.

In total, 11,200 tonnes of recyclable items were collected during April and May – up 1,190 tonnes compared with the same period in 2019.

It is the equivalent of collecting an additional 135,000 green bins of recycling.

This outweighs the 4% increase in general waste across the county during the same period.

Household Recycling Centres are now open but with social distancing rules in place. Please make sure you have read and understood them before you travel.

Read Household Recycling Centre social distancing rules

If you are interested in learning more about how to reduce your waste then every Wednesday at 2pm, the Let’s Waste Less team are holding waste reduction sessions over Zoom, offering useful advice and tips.

You can access them using the details below:

To access the session log into Zoom: https://worcestershirecc.zoom.us/j/5530251529 Meeting ID: 553 025 1529 Password: 119159


Financial support for you

Advice and support if you have lost your job

Help paying your Council Tax

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, then check if you can apply for Council Tax Support

If you do not qualify for Council Tax Support please get in touch with our team and they will see if there is another way they can help you.

Email Revenues@southworcestershirerevenues.gov.uk to discuss your situation.

Ban on evictions extended

The Government has extended the ban on landlords being able to evict people renting their home until 23 August. Read the full announcement.

Citizens’ Advice is open for business

Citizens’ Advice South Worcestershire also remains open to support you if you need it. They offer one-to-one advice by highly trained volunteers, now working from home. Many are specialists in their fields such as housing, employment and debt.

You can contact their Wychavon branch in Evesham on 01386 712 100, choosing Option 1 or email admin.wychavon@citizensadvicesw.org.uk

Option 2 is dedicated to the Universal Credit Support Service.

The service is also part of the national Advice Line telephone service, open to the public Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm on 03444 111 303.

Money management help

If you would like help to make the most of your money then the two online budgeting toolkits below may be useful.

Money Saving Expert Budget Planning Guide

Money Advice Service Budget Planner

If you need help with debt management or restructuring your finances then contact the CAB using the details above or you can get free help from The Money Advice Service.

Help paying your utility bills

If you need help paying your water bill then please visit Severn Trent’s bill help payment page.

If you need help paying your gas or electric bill then read Ofgem’s advice about the support on offer.


Help for your mental health

Although life is edging back to normal, there is still a lot that is uncertain and it’s okay to feel anxious or worried.

Get help and advice from NHS Every Mind Matters

Take the Every Mind Matters Quiz and get a support plan tailored to you


Help getting active

In just 12 weeks the NHS Couch 2 5k programme can take you from sitting on the sofa to running 5k.

Find out more about the Couch 2 5K programme.

If that’s not for you then try the NHS Active 10 programme. This encourages you to walk briskly for 10 minutes every day. Find out more about the Active 10 programme.


Covid-19 Memory Bank Project

The Covid-19 outbreak is undoubtedly a significant moment in human history. We are keen to capture information about what happened locally to inform future generations. That is why we have launched the Covid-19 Memory Bank.

You are encouraged to send in messages of goodwill you have received from neighbours, rainbow pictures you have drawn in support of key workers, messages of thanks you have left for key workers or received, diary entries you may have made during lockdown, video blogs, photographs, video footage, poems, songs or artwork.

The subject can be anything from how you felt during this time to the way the community pulled together, the weekly clap for our carers event, response of key workers on the frontline and the challenges or joys of home schooling.

If you have lost a loved one to this virus, you are also invited to submit a photograph and/or tribute to them.

The information received will be used in a future art project or exhibition and then handed over to the archive at The Hive or locally for preservation.

You can find out more about the project and upload any contributions you may have at www.wychavon.gov.uk/memorybank

Coronavirus: Wychavon District Council update

Here to help

Although the Coronavirus pandemic is far from over, we have already begun to plan for the future.

That’s why Wychavon’s Executive Board recently agreed a recovery framework for the district. This broadly sets out the areas we will focus time, money and effort on while we help individuals, businesses and communities rebuild. More detailed plans explaining how we will do this will be worked up to support the framework.

The framework is based on four pillars:

  • Our communities and local economy
  • Resetting the business of the council
  • Recovery of the organisation
  • Councillors and democracy

Actions in the plan include things such as supporting rough sleepers to get off the streets for good, helping communities build on the connections made during the response to Covid-19 and making sure the most disadvantaged in our district are not left behind.

We will continue to provide support to businesses and refocus our work to regenerate our town centres. Where jobs have been lost we will work with partners to help reskill people and create new job opportunities.

We will be appointing an active travel officer to develop new routes for walking and cycling, on top of actions in our emerging Intelligently Green plan which sets out our contribution towards cutting carbon emissions and the green economy.

As well as this we still intend to deliver our corporate strategy, which is the most ambitious in our history. Read more about Wychavon’s new four year corporate strategy.

This is on top of the day-to-day services we provide.

Read the Wychavon Recovery Framework in full.


Test and trace – how it works

Test

The NHS test and trace service was introduced at the end of May and will be an important part of helping us return to the way of life we were used to before Covid-19.

It will help control the spread of the virus and save lives by making sure anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 is quickly tested. If they have the virus they can then self-isolate at home and those they have come into contact with will be advised to do so as well.

For this to be successful we all have a role to play. You can help by:

  • Self-isolating at home if you develop symptoms, along with other members of your household, and order a test to find out if you have the virus
  • If you test positive for the virus, sharing information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service so other people can be alerted who may need to self-isolate
  • Self-isolating if you have come into close contact with someone who has had coronavirus and you are advised to do so by the NHS test and trace service

If we all play a part we can help keep the virus under control, return to a more normal way of life and save lives.

Read more about the test and trace service and how it works

Read more about when to self-isolate and what to do


Meeting up with people in support bubbles

In England, from Saturday (13 June),  if you live by yourself or are a single parent with dependent children – in other words, if there is only one adult in your home – you can expand your support network so that it includes one other household of any size.

This is called making a ‘support bubble’ and means you are able to meet indoors or out, be less than 2 metres apart and stay overnight as you could if they were members of your own household.

Read the full government guidance on making a support bubble with another household for more information.


Other changes to lockdown restrictions

The Cabinet Office has updated its guidance on what you can and cannot do. This includes information on changes to the restrictions on people in the NHS shielded group.

You also must now wear a face covering if you are travelling on public transport, although you are advised to avoid it and walk, cycle or go by car if you can.

Advice on how to make and wear a face covering.


Staying safe away from your home

shopping

It is really important all of us continue to follow the rules on social distancing and we keep washing our hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds.

The Government has issued guidance to help you understand how you can protect yourself, and others, while enjoying the greater freedom we are being given as the lockdown eases.

Read more about staying safe outside your home

Read more about staying alert and safe social distancing

Watch this video on how to shop safely


More shops to open from Monday

From Monday, 15 June, non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen.

Individual businesses will have their own social distancing measures put in place to make sure your shopping experience is a safe one.

We have also been talking to traders and will be doing everything we can to support them. We already have signage in place reminding people to socially distance and will be putting other measures in place over the coming days and weeks.

We have already reopened all but one of our public toilets across the district.

We encourage you to support your local traders, especially during this challenging time.

From Monday, zoos and places of worship can also open for private prayer if social distancing rules are maintained.


Financial support for you

Advice and support if you have lost your job

Help paying your Council Tax

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, then check if you can apply for Council Tax Support

If you do not qualify for Council Tax Support please get in touch with our team and they will see if there is another way they can help you.

Email Revenues@southworcestershirerevenues.gov.uk to discuss your situation.

Ban on evictions extended

The Government has extended the ban on landlords being able to evict people renting their home until August 23.  Read the full announcement.

Extra help for those in hardship

We have also been given £100,000 from the Government to ensure we are able to provide extra help to people facing severe hardship to allow them to pay for food and other necessities. We are waiting for guidance from the Government on how we should distribute the money.

Citizens’ Advice is open for business

Citizens’ Advice South Worcestershire also remains open to support you if you need it. They offer one-to-one advice by highly trained volunteers, now working from home. Many are specialists in their fields such as housing, employment and debt.

You can contact their Wychavon branch in Evesham on 01386 712 100, choosing Option 1 or email admin.wychavon@citizensadvicesw.org.uk

Option 2 is dedicated to the Universal Credit Support Service.

The service is also part of the national Advice Line telephone service, open to the public Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm on 03444 111 303.

Money management help

If you would like help to make the most of your money then the two online budgeting toolkits below may be useful.

Money Saving Expert Budget Planning Guide

Money Advice Service Budget Planner

If you need help with debt management or restructuring your finances then contact the CAB using the details above or you can get free help from The Money Advice Service.

Help paying your utility bills

If you need help paying your water bill then please visit Severn Trent’s bill help payment page.

If you need help paying your gas or electric bill then read Ofgem’s advice about the support on offer.


Help for businesses

We have now paid out grant support payments totalling more than £28.4million to 2,444 businesses across the district.

We have also launched our Discretionary Grant Fund which will help businesses who did not meet the criteria for the initial funding.

Read more about the Discretionary Grant Fund and apply. Deadline is 19 June 2020.


Help for your mental health

Although life is edging back to normal, there is still a lot that is uncertain and it’s okay to feel anxious or worried.

Get help and advice from NHS Every Mind Matters

Take the Every Mind Matters Quiz and get a support plan tailored to you


Help getting active

Active

In just 12 weeks the NHS Couch 2 5k programme can take you from sitting on the sofa to running 5k.

Find out more about the Couch 2 5K programme.

If that’s not for you then try the NHS Active 10 programme. This encourages you to walk briskly for 10 minutes every day. Find out more about the Active 10 programme.


Things to do outside and at home

The easing of the lockdown restrictions means we have more choices about what we can do outside.

The Ordnance Survey team have produced a searchable database so you can find out what sports and activities you can and cannot do at the moment.

They also have lots of advice and ideas about getting active outdoors.

Virtual events

The Three Counties Show would have been taking place this weekend. Covid-19 meant they had to cancel it but the event is still taking place virtually.

Find out more about the virtual Three Counties Show.

Malvern’s Priory Park normally hosts Science in the Park every June with lots of fun based activities around science and innovation.

This year’s event has also been turned into a virtual event and takes place on Saturday, 27 June 2020.

Find out more about virtual Science in the Park.

The British asparagus season comes to an end this month and although we weren’t able to celebrate as we normally do, you can still enjoy this wonderful vegetable with Worcestershire Vale and Spa’s asparagus guide.

Visit the virtual village hall

Older people looking to beat the boredom of isolation are invited to visit the Virtual Village Hall, a new programme of online activities to join in with at home.

Designed by the Royal Voluntary Service, the national charity, the Virtual Village Hall is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and features themed video sessions led by expert tutors, TV and radio personalities, and Royal Voluntary Service activity co-ordinators and volunteers.

Live and pre-recorded sessions take place daily and include exercise and dance, music and singing, relaxation and meditation, arts and crafts, cooking and baking, technology skills, gardening and more.

Visit the Virtual Village Hall.


Covid-19 Memory Bank Project

The Covid-19 outbreak is undoubtedly a significant moment in human history. We are keen to capture information about what happened locally to inform future generations. That is why we have launched the Covid-19 Memory Bank.

You are encouraged to send in messages of goodwill you have received from neighbours, rainbow pictures you have drawn in support of key workers, messages of thanks you have left for key workers or received, diary entries you may have made during lockdown, video blogs, photographs, video footage, poems, songs or artwork.

The subject can be anything from how you felt during this time to the way the community pulled together, the weekly clap for our carers event, response of key workers on the frontline and the challenges or joys of home schooling.

If you have lost a loved one to this virus, you are also invited to submit a photograph and/or tribute to them.

The information received will be used in a future art project or exhibition and then handed over to the archive at The Hive or locally for preservation.

You can find out more about the project and upload any contributions you may have at www.wychavon.gov.uk/memorybank

Village Hall Committee Annual Report

This report has two distinct sections, before Covid and after the outbreak.

Until March 16th 2020, the village hall had continued to be a well-used activity venue.

Yoga classes had become very popular and our hall is perfect for them. We had Hay Yoga on Tuesday and Thursday mornings; Hatha Yoga on Tuesday evenings and we’d also had two Hay Yoga workshops on Saturdays with more in prospect.

Pilates classes on Monday nights have now been running for three years and the JUMP ballet classes for children after school on Wednesdays for four years. These activities have provided hugely valuable income streams.

Bookings for parties and wedding receptions were continuing strongly. The hall looks amazingly special when dressed up for these events due to the high standards of maintenance and cleanliness that we provide, along with our outstanding facilities above and beyond other halls in the area.
Five-star reviews keep coming in for us on the Halls for Hire website.

Facilities
Our modern kitchen facilities are now well established and have proved very popular, winning the approval of professional caterers at many of the events this year.

Free Wi-Fi in the hall, installed this year, adds even more rental potential, extending our potential user market and we thank the Parish Council for their contribution towards the cost.

The latest addition to our facilities, in January, was a new projector unit and a large screen kindly donated in memory of Val Duck by Peter Duck and his family. The family bought the equipment and installed it in the village hall on 26th February to enable a live relay of Val’s funeral service from St Peter’s Church. More than 100 mourners filled the church and 50 more watched in the village hall. We sent the Ducks our warmest condolences and many thanks.

Events
As a committee we had regular fund raising events continuing to operate our policy of a 50:50 split of the proceeds with a chosen charity.

During the year we held another Tea for Tinnitus, a Quiz Night for Acorns Children’s Hospice and an Xmas Fayre for Alzheimer’s Research UK. I would like to thank everyone who helped out in some way for making these events a great success. In total, we raised £445 for the charities and the same for the village hall.

Unfortunately, not all initiatives were successful. The proposed quarterly “Popup” restaurant did not go ahead due to opposition from some residents with concerns about parking and unfounded fears of an influx of outsiders coming into the village. As a committee, we felt this was a great shame; this was an initiative to try to raise some community spirit and tackle the rising issue of loneliness within the community. Indeed at the time of cancellation all bookings were from Abbots Morton residents.

Support for the hall from local residents has continued to grow and we look forward to further involvement by residents in the coming year. If you shop online, one easy way to help is to register with EasyFundraising and name ‘Abbots Morton Village Hall’ as the cause you want to support. Retailers pay a small percentage of your spend to our account and to date our 23 EasyFundraisers have raised £680.

Amazon have also started making donations through Amazon Smile… and to date they’ve sent us £11.74.

Maintenance
New energy-efficient lights have been installed in the village hall. The old fluorescent strip lights throughout the building were replaced with LED strips bringing electricity savings of around 70%. We are grateful to Wychavon District Council for a grant of £1,359 through its New Homes Bonus scheme and to Abbots Morton Parish Council for a grant of £500. We would also like to thank County Councillor Anthony Hopkins for a £300 grant from his Divisional Fund and to our village hall committee member, Sarah Dykes for her gift of £150 towards the project which cost a total of £2,653. The village hall funds contributed £344.50.

Your support for the village hall brings in essential income which we put to good use in maintaining and improving the fabric of the building. In July we employed WomenBuild to repaint all the wooden window frames and the woodwork at the main entrance.

Regular servicing of necessary systems and safety tests continue in their timely fashion.

Our next project is to replace the outdated and inefficient heating system in the hall. It’s a major project and research is currently underway to make sure we make the best choice.

Committee
We are delighted to have two new Trustees.

We first welcomed Pat Willingale to the Village Hall Committee. Pat’s husband Martin, who sits on the Parish Council, then agreed to be a Parish Council representative on the CH Committee. Husband and wife teams can be very effective and we know that the duo from Chestnut cottage will bring humour, enthusiasm and expertise to the committee.

We are eternally grateful to Sarah Dykes for taking on the role as Treasurer. With her usual efficiency, Sarah has kept our accounts fully auditable, with regular spreadsheets and cost awareness projects and updates. Many thanks again to Tim Jones, our auditor, for the end of year audit/ balance.

As always the unfading commitment of the Pembertons to the success of the VH does not go un-noted. Colin takes on more than his fair share as PRO and Bookings Officer, regularly showing our facilities to potential hirers, locking and unlocking at events. Lynne, as Secretary, keeps us up to date and informed of local and UK VH initiatives, making sure we meet our obligations.

We would like to say a big Thank You to Antony Bunce, who has stepped down from the village hall committee because of other commitments. We’re grateful for Antony’s insights and particularly all his work over the years in bringing us Band Nights and Indian Summers.

Thanks also go to a former resident Phil Farmiloe who, although now living in Abberton, continues to pay for the springtime cutting of our main hedge. Thank you Phil.

Coronavirus Covid – 19
On March 5th, aware of our responsibilities to provide a safe space for users, we put up notices on the entrance doors urging all users to go straight to the washrooms on entry and thoroughly wash their hands, and similarly to wash hands before leaving. The Hirers were responsible for using clinical-grade wipes which we provided to wipe down all door and toilet handles before they left. This was a responsible approach to leave the hall in a condition that the next users would like to see.

However, eleven days later on March 16th, we took the decision to close the hall. At the same time users were cancelling their bookings.

This has obviously has had repercussions for our finances. Some hirers have been happy for us to hold on to the deposits they had paid in anticipation of holding their event at some point in the future. Others have had their deposits and fee refunded.

Our income loss, assuming we don’t re-open before the end of November, will be £2,376.
We are continuing to pay bills. Since we closed on March 16th we have paid out a total of £367 and we will obviously continue to pay further bills as they come in.

We have always been working on the basis that our annual running costs are at least £2,000 and we had, until Covid, been keeping our heads well above water, indeed investing surpluses into new developments and improvements to the hall.

As of Monday this week we had £2,023 in our main account and we faced an ongoing depletion of our funds.

Earlier this month, to help small businesses, the Government set up a one-off COVID 19 Small Business Grant of £10,000. We were advised by Wychavon District Council that village halls were eligible to register for it and we duly registered for it on 13th May.

I’m very pleased to say that the £10,000 grant was deposited in the village hall’s Treasurer’s Account this Tuesday morning (26th May).

Our account now stands at £12,023 and the Instant Access Account stands at £718.

The grant gives us financial security and shields us from the potential for substantial loss of income from Covid closure, which would have seriously threatened our plans for major investment in a new, energy-efficient heating and hot water.

Summary
It had been another year of progress, quality upgrading and financial stability. We have handled the Covid closure well and we will now be working intently to ensure a safe and smooth re-opening of the hall, whenever that may be.

Melanie Clarke
Chair, Abbots Morton Village Hall

Parochial Church Council Annual Report

Every year is a memorable year for St Peter’s church but this year more than most.

It’s really surprising how much goes on in the church and in the community and it’s only when it all comes to a sudden halt that it strikes you quite how much activity there is.

Coronavirus Covid-19 forced us to close the church on March 17th 2020, instantly halting the use of the church building for services and prayer and forcing the cancellation of community events in the village hall such as the Flower Festival Lunch and Harvest Supper.

Undaunted, the Rector, the Rev Canon Richard Thorniley and the Rev Chris Sheehan, have used the internet to continue holding services. Daily morning services are held via Zoom with anyone who wishes to join in being able to take part.

Sunday Services have been constructed each week to serve the ARCH Benefice and the Inkberrow group of churches, working together as the North Avon Group. Contributions (prayers, readings, sermon and hymns) are recorded in individuals’ homes and sent via Dropbox to Brian Telford at Inkberrow who edits them together into a video available on YouTube each Sunday.

Spiritually the church has been able to continue its mission. Financially, Covid-19 has been a big blow.

Income from collections at services stopped instantly. Our big two fundraising events, the Flower Festival Lunch and the Harvest Supper will not take place this year leaving a substantial hole in our income , while we, of course, have ongoing costs in running the church building and churchyard and in contributing our Parish Share to the Worcester Diocese to go towards the salaries of clergy. Every year we need to raise in excess of £10,000.

We still plan to replace the steps at the entrance to the churchyard. We were planning to apply to the Diocese for a Faculty for permission to proceed, but that has been placed on hold while Government restrictions on church use still exist.

So what had been happening before Covid-19?

No More Rising Damp
The biggest development of the year was the French Drains project, costing almost £10,000, which was started in the summer 2019 and completed in December. It was vital to stop damp rising, particularly on the north side of the church and there are already visible improvements to the condition of the walls.
The old concrete-lined drains were installed in the 1950’s and had broken down. The new soakaway system is more in keeping with this ancient building and more sustainable in the long term. Plastic guttering has also been replaced, where necessary, with a cast iron system similar to that in place in previous times.

We are enormously grateful to a number of individuals who very generously made donations to the cost of the work.

It’s been a busy year for our churchwarden Kevin Clarke, overseeing the French Drains Project and I would like to express here our gratitude to his service

Finances
I would like to thank two people in our Financial Department… to Lynne Pemberton who has carried out the role of Treasurer since Terry Brewster stood down in March, presenting financial reports to PCC meetings with the solid support of Tim Jones who draws up those reports and so brilliantly looks after all our financial workings. Tim has now taken on the role of Treasurer and we don’t know where we would be without him.

Floral Fanfare
Our Flower Fund pays for bouquets of flowers or plants to give a morale boost and a pick-me-up for those in the parish who’ve been ill enough to have spent time in hospital. We’d prefer never to have to use it but life’s not like that and every recipient has told us how much they have appreciated the gift. Roma Jones looks after our Flower Fund and we give her our grateful thanks.

Flower Arranging: we thank so many people who take their turn to create the floral arrangements which make the church look so beautiful. Peggy Clarke has been in charge of the rota of those volunteers for many years but this year she decided it was time for someone else to take on the task. We are enormously grateful to Peggy, a stalwart of the PCC. We’re pleased to say that, although she is not a member of the PCC, Gill Barker has taken on the role.

Flower Festival and Lunch: The 2019 Flower Festival once again saw the church beautifully decorated and we’d like to congratulate everyone who contributed to this floral display. The annual Flower Festival lunch was really splendid. Huge thanks go to organiser Lynne Pemberton and to Roma Jones for her innovative way of serving Coronation chicken on a bed of little gem lettuce. The lunch made £480.13 which was a little down on the previous year’s £515.50

Harvest Supper was a very good evening with 63 attending including some new faces in the community. Our thanks once again to Lynne Pemberton and all who helped in any way. Bar profits were up, food costs were slightly up but raffle profits were down by £300. Total profit was £1,035. (compared to £1,463 the previous year).

Christmas Time
Carols on the Green went into the church because the amount of rain we had in December meant the village green was not in a good enough state. There were a large number of singers in church and a fabulous atmosphere.

The Carol and Gift Service was enhanced by the making of Christingles. The candlelight brought a special atmosphere to the church and a huge number of gifts were taken away for distribution by Action for Children.

The Christmas Eve service is an essential feature of the year was well attended

Other Services
As well as family services every fortnight and Holy Communion services each fortnight St Peter’s holds special services at various times of the year.

The Remembrance Service was led jointly by Lynda Payne and Colin Pemberton and thanks were given to Terry Brewster for the many Remembrance Services he has superbly led over the years.
Mothering Sunday was delightful and well attended with posies of flowers distributed by children to mothers in the congregation.
A Rogation “walking service”, was held in May, working our way through the village, giving thanks for the elements of creation such as livestock, field, orchards and gardens.

Open Church
The PCC would like to thank all those people in the parish who diligently and willingly lock and unlock the church on a daily basis. That so many are prepared to be on our unlocking rota is a heartening sign of a community giving to others and our thanks go to Lynda Payne for her work in gathering people together onto the locking rota. Fewer and fewer churches remain open all day every day and it’s something we aim to continue at St Peter’s. Sadly Covid 19 enforced a closure.

New Parish Giving Scheme
The PCC voted to join this relatively new scheme of making monthly donations to St Peter’s by Direct Debit instead of putting money into an offertory plate. It was agreed that members of the PCC would trial it initially to iron out any snags, then we would seek to encourage others to take part eg those at the moment doing covenants, replacing their Standing Orders.

Rev Richard
For two month’s at the end of 2019 our Rector, Rev Canon Richard Thorniley, embarked on a sabbatical: Rev Chris Sheehan took on the cover required during Richard’s absence. .

The Year Ahead
The coming year should see us starting work on the next big project, the long desired replacement of the main steps. A lot of preparatory design work has already been done by our architects and a Faculty application will now be made as soon as we can. This project will cost in the region of £8,000 and we hope for generous support from the community.

Colin Pemberton
PCC Secretary

About the Parochial Church Council
The Parochial Church Council of St Peter’s, Abbots Morton is a charity which cooperates with the incumbent in promoting in the parish the whole mission of the church… pastoral, evangelistic, social and ecumenical (PCC (Powers) Measure 1956). Members:
• The Reverend: Canon Richard Thorniley
• Churchwarden: Kevin Clarke
• Elected members: Lynda Payne, Lynne Pemberton, Colin Pemberton, Peggy Clarke, Roma Jones, Terry Brewster.
• Treasurer: Tim Jones
• Electoral Roll Officer: Lynne Pemberton
• Honorary Secretary: Colin Pemberton

Coronavirus: Lockdown changes and other advice

The Prime Minister announced some changes to the lockdown restrictions this week which came into force on Wednesday (13 May).

The Government has produced some FAQs on what you can and cannot do to help you understand the changes.

Although the infection rate is coming down, the virus has not gone away and we all still have a responsibility to keep each other safe.

To help control the virus you must still:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (keep 2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms. You can find out more about symptoms of coronavirus and what to do if you have them on the NHS website.

It is also important you look after your mental health.

Every Mind Matters has advice on looking after your mental wellbeing.


Here 2 Help update

As of 12 May, the Here 2 Help service had received 2,504 requests for help. 385 of these were from Wychavon. Help with accessing food and medicines makes up most requests but unsurprisingly poverty is now becoming an issue that is appearing more and more.

The number of requests are going down, again as expected seven weeks into a lockdown situation, but the complexity of cases is increasing.

A new campaign is planned for Volunteer Week in early June to raise awareness of the fact Here 2 Help can offer support with more mundane tasks, such as gardening or walking the dog, as well as crisis response.

If you are aware of anyone who is vulnerable and in need, please make sure they fill in the form or call the number on the Worcestershire Here 2 Help website.


Spending time outdoors

You can now spend more time outdoors and enjoy a wider range of activities for any length of time, but you must still follow social distancing rules.

The rule changes include spending time outdoors with one member of another household, one-on-one, as long as you stay 2 metres apart at all times.

Some activities where social distancing is possible, such as tennis or golf, are now allowed as long as people stay 2 metres apart at all times.

You still cannot gather with more than one person from another household.

You also cannot:

  • Go on holiday
  • Visit and stay overnight at a holiday home or second home
  • Visit the homes of friends or family, unless it’s to help a vulnerable person for medical reasons or to take a child to another household with whom parental responsibilities are shared

You can now drive to a destination for recreation, irrespective of distance, in England. The rules are not the same in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

If you get to a destination and you find it is so crowded that you cannot stay 2 metres apart from people, then please go somewhere else where you can.


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.


District Council services

Contact Centres – these remain closed for face-to-face queries but we are still available on the phone or by email. We are reviewing this in light of the Government’s announcement this week and are making preparations to reopen when the time is right.

Public toilets – these remain closed but we are making preparations to reopen them with social distancing rules in place. We hope to make an announcement next week

Play areas – these remain closed but our parks are open

Household Recycling Centres – these are run by Worcestershire County Council. Some opened this week but with restrictions. Find out more about visiting a Household Recycling Centre during the coronavirus outbreak.

The full list of services affected is available at www.wychavon.gov.uk/coronavirus

Any changes will be published on that page.


Face coverings

The Government has also given some advice that people should use face coverings (not medical masks but a scarf or homemade fabric covering) when on public transport or in some shops or other enclosed public spaces.

Read the advice on how to make a fabric face covering at home.

Read the guidance on when and who should wear a face covering.


Recycling issues

We are starting to see used tissues and disposable gloves, masks etc appear in the recycling we are collecting from households.

Please do not put these items in with your recycling. It creates an infection risk for the workers at the sorting facility. It may also mean we are unable to recycle whole loads of recycling.

You can help by getting your recycling right. Read the list of items you can and cannot put into your household recycling.

If you or someone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus then you should put used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths in rubbish bags. 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.


Covid-19 Memory Bank Project

The Covid-19 outbreak is undoubtedly a significant moment in human history. We are keen to capture information about what happened locally to inform future generations. That is why we have launched the Covid-19 Memory Bank.

You are encouraged to send in messages of goodwill you have received from neighbours, rainbow pictures you have drawn in support of key workers, messages of thanks you have left for key workers or received, diary entries you may have made during lockdown, video blogs, photographs, video footage, poems, songs or artwork.

The subject can be anything from how you felt during this time to the way the community pulled together, the weekly clap for our carers event, response of key workers on the frontline and the challenges or joys of home schooling.

If you have lost a loved one to this virus, you are also invited to submit a photograph and/or tribute to them.

The information received will be used in a future art project or exhibition and then handed over to the archive at The Hive or locally for preservation.

You can find out more about the project and upload any contributions you may have at www.wychavon.gov.uk/memorybank


Opening of schools and colleges

You may have seen media reports of schools being asked to reopen for some pupils from 1 June. Those of you with school age children will no doubt have many questions. The Government has published an FAQs list. Read more about the Government plan for reopening schools.


Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

If you are self-employed then the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is now open for applications. Everyone eligible will receive a grant by 25 May or within six days of a completed claim. Grants are worth 80% of average monthly trading profits.

Read more information on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme


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.

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.


Support for businesses

We have paid out support payments totalling more than £25.7million to more than 2,200 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.


Download free audio and e-books

Worcestershire County Council’s libraries still aren’t allowed to open but you can download e-books and audio books for free.


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 and grants for organisations supporting vulnerable people.

Visit our Support for community groups and charities page for more information. We update this page regularly so please keep checking back if there is nothing available for your charity or group currently.


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.


Beware fake or unlicensed medicines

There are an increasing number of products being advertised to the general public claiming to either help prevent or treat Covid-19. These include ‘divine cleansing oils’ and ‘antiviral misting sprays’.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)  has issued a warning not to buy these products. Read the announcement from the MHRA on fake or unlicensed coronavirus medicines.

The best way for you to protect yourself against Covid-19 is to follow the official guidance.