Fly-tipping increase

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

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

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

Coronavirus: Emergency Fund for Local Sports Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

Coronavirus: Support to help you through the outbreak

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

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

Stay safe.


Support for individuals

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

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


Help paying your Council Tax

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

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

You can apply online for Council Tax Support

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


Employment Opportunities

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

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


Support for businesses

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

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


Impact on our services

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


Waste and Recycling

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

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

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

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

You can dispose of other household waste as normal.

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

Bin thank you


Parking

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

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

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


Help for those in need

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

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


Offers of help

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


Looking after your health and wellbeing

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

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

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


Be on your guard against scams

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

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

Action Fraud is also warning about a Home Testing Fraud.

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

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


Beware of false information

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


Things to do at home

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

The National Gallery Virtual Tour

The British Museum Virtual Tour

Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage

National Theatre at Home

Royal Opera House Programme

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


Stay at home and save lives

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

stay home


A reminder of the social distancing rules

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

Coronavirus: #Here2Help Campaign

In response to the Covid-19 situation, Worcestershire County Council has launched a new campaign encouraging communities to support each other in tackling Coronavirus.  The new #Here2Help campaign has a dedicated website www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help which is a source of  reliable information about the current situation and advice.

They have been receiving a large number of offers of help from individuals, groups and businesses across Worcestershire.  This new website also offers a link for these offers of help to be channelled. They would love to hear from you if you have any goods and services that you wish to donate and we will ensure that it reaches the people who are most in need.

Coronavirus: How we are responding

An update from Wychavon District Council

We know this is a very uncertain and challenging time. We want to reassure you that all levels of government, national and local, are working with the NHS and Public Health to keep people safe and support you to get through this crisis.

We have plans in place to maintain our essential services during the outbreak, such as waste and recycling collections. To do this we may have to stop doing certain things over the next few weeks and months depending on the spread of the virus and how it affects our staffing levels.

To keep you updated we have created a dedicated coronavirus information page on our website which will have the latest information about disruption to our services and how you can access financial and other support for you and your families.

Catch it and bin it

What is coronavirus (Covid-19)?

Covid-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.

You should stay at home if you have either:

A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

You can find more advice using the links below.

What to do if you have symptoms?

Advice on staying at home (self-isolating)

Advice on social distancing

Worcestershire County Council coronavirus information page

Support for individuals

The Chancellor has tonight announced the Government will pay up to 80 percent of the wages of staff who are not working, up to £2,500 a month.

The scheme, open to any employer in the country, will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1 and will be open before the end of April for at least three months.

There’s no limit on the funding available for the scheme. The Government has said it will pay to support as many jobs as needed.

We have no information about how payments will be made yet but it is likely HMRC will be responsible.

Council Tax

If you are in financial hardship as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak then we would advise you to consider making a claim for Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Council Tax Support.

More information is available on the Government’s coronavirus and claiming benefits page.

You can also spread your Council Tax payments over 12 months instead of ten.

Please contact our Revenue and Benefits team for more information by emailing revenues@southworcestershire.gov.uk or call 0300 456 0560.

The service is extremely busy at the moment so please bear with us if we cannot respond straight away.

Support for businesses

The Government has announced a package of support measures for businesses to help them through the outbreak. This includes new announcements made tonight including VAT deferral.

We are still waiting for information from the Government about some of the schemes announced.

Our business page has more information and we will update it with the latest information as soon as we have the detail.

Waste and recycling

We have a plan in place to maintain our waste and recycling collections throughout the duration of the outbreak.

In order to do this we may need to stop other services such as litter picking, street cleaning, emptying public litter bins, clearing fly-tips etc. This will depend on how many staff we have off sick or self-isolating at any one time.

Our waste and recycling page will contain information on disruption to services. Please also encourage people to sign up to our email alerts service to receive the latest information to your inbox.

Disposal of waste for people/households with symptoms of coronavirus

Please 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.

Housing

Our housing team is still available to support people in need but they are very busy. As a result we are prioritising those with an emergency need.

There is a delay to allocating housing currently as Housing Associations are not operating as normal.

If you are renting and are worried about making payment, please speak to your landlord or Housing Association as soon as possible. The Government is introducing additional protections for renters to ensure they cannot be evicted as a result of hardship caused by the outbreak.

You can find more information on our Housing pages.

We will receive additional money from the Government to support rough sleepers (see announcement here) – 60 to 70 percent of which suffer from a respiratory condition. We are working with our outreach team to identify what measures are needed to support this group of people.

You can help by reporting people you see sleeping rough via Streetlink

We will continue to open our emergency shelters during periods of extreme cold weather.

Planning

The Government has asked us to maintain the planning system as far as possible.

There may be a delay to registering and approving planning applications due to staff absence caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. Please bear with us during this period.

Planning Committee meetings will be streamlined and public speaking has been suspended for the time being. You are instead urged to make written representations. Visit our planning committee page for more information.

We have relaxed restrictions on the movement of food and other essential supplies to help supermarkets and retailers stock shelves.

Pubs and restaurants can also temporarily offer a takeaway service to help get food out to vulnerable people.

Community support

We are working with community groups, the voluntary sector, parish and town councils to support the most vulnerable in our society during the outbreak.

There are five ways you can help your community:

Take care of yourself and stay healthy – wash your hands and follow advice on self-isolation or social distancing

Call, chat and check – swap phone numbers with your immediate neighbours, check on neighbours and loved ones – particularly if they are vulnerable – help provide them with food and other essentials, alert relevant organisations if you are concerned about their welfare

Be kind and think of others – Don’t bulk buy. There are plenty of supplies for everyone if people just buy what they need. Use local community information groups on social media to share information, offer surplus supplies of essentials to those in need and avoid wasting food.

Get online to stay in touch – use your phone, video calling and social media to stay in touch with people, especially if you are self isolating

Share accurate advice and information – do not speculate or scaremonger. It only heightens people’s anxiety. Use reputable news sources as a source of information, the Government website or the NHS website.

Volunteer to help

Volunteers are needed to help support elderly and vulnerable people who are self-isolating.

If you are able to, and not in one of the at risk groups, then please contact your local volunteer centre to see how you can help.

Evesham Volunteer Centre

Droitwich Volunteer Centre

Pershore Volunteer Centre

You can also download our good neighbour postcard and post it through the doors of people who are elderly or vulnerable and need additional support with shopping or accessing other essentials.

There is also a poster you can put up around your community.

Good Neighbour Postcard

Here 2 Help Poster

Our councillors are also working hard in their community to support people and will be aware of local support available in their ward. Find your local councillor by using our postcode search.

Village Hall Chair’s Annual Report

Abbots Morton village hall continues to be a well-used activity venue.

Yoga classes have become very popular and our hall is perfect for them. We now have Hay Yoga on Tuesday and Thursday mornings; Hatha Yoga on Tuesday evenings and we’ve also had two Hay Yoga workshops on Saturdays so far this year.

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

Bookings for parties and wedding receptions continue strongly. The hall looks amazingly special when dressed up for these events due to the high standards of maintenance and cleanliness that “the team” provide… as well as 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 wifi 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, just last month, is a new projector unit and a large screen which was kindly donated in memory of Val Duck by Peter and his family. We send them our warmest condolences and many thanks. 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.

EVENTS
As a committee we have had regular fund raising events this year, we continue to operate our policy of a 50:50 split of the proceeds with a chosen charity.
This year we held another Tea for Tinnitus, a Quiz Night for Acorns Children’s Hospice and Xmas Fayre for Alzheimers 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 AMVH.

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 potential an influx of outsiders into the village. As a committee we felt this was a great shame, this was an initiative 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 AM residents.

Support from local residents has continued to grow and we look forward to further involvement by residents in the coming year. One easy way to help. If you shop online, 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 £674.

Amazon have also started making donations through Amazon Smile… and they’ve sent us £5.70.

MAINTENANCE
New energy-efficient lights have now been installed in the village hall. The old fluorescent strip lights throughout the building have been replaced with LED strips which will bring 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 that 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 a new trustee. We welcome Pat Willingale to our Village Hall Committee. Pat lives with her husband Martin at Chestnut Cottage in the village and was keen to become involved in the community. Pat’s infectious enthusiasm and energy will be greatly appreciated. And we expect in a few minutes time to also appoint the aforementioned Martin Willingale as a representative of the Parish Council. Husband and wife teams can be very effective.

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 un-fading 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 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.

CORONA VIRUS COVID – 19
A week ago we put up notices urging all users to go straight to the washrooms on entry and thoroughly wash their hands… and similarly wash hands before leaving. The Hirers are responsible for using clinical-grade wipes we’ve provided to wipe down all door and toilet handles before they leave. This is a responsible approach which should leave the hall in a condition that the next users would like to see.

SUMMARY
It’s been another year of progress, quality upgrading and financial stability and we look forward to even more success and use of the hall in 2020.

Melanie Clarke, Chair, AMVH
12th March 2020