New restrictions in response to a rise in Covid-19 cases

The Government this week introduced new restrictions in England to help tackle the rise in Covid-19 cases across the country.

They include:

  • workers should work from home where possible
  • all pubs, bars and restaurants must be table service only and must close at 10pm from Thursday 24 September
  • the requirement to wear a face covering has now extended to staff in retail, staff in hospitality and passengers in taxis
  • weddings are now limited to 15 people, funerals remain at a limit of 30 people

Changes have also been made to the exemptions list for the rule of 6.

You can find full details of the changes using the links below:

New restrictions announced on 22 September 2020

Meeting with others safely

Coronavirus FAQs: What you can and cannot do

In Worcestershire we are now starting to see the increasing number of cases of Covid-19 lead to a rise in hospital admissions.

Please do everything you can to play your part in reducing the spread of this virus.

Cllr Bradley Thomas, Leader of Wychavon District Council, made an appeal this week to residents on our social media channels.

Watch Cllr Thomas’ appeal to residents

Protect your loved ones with the NHS Covid-19 app

The NHS Covid-19 app is now available to anyone aged 16 or over who lives in England or Wales.

It is the fastest way to find out if you are at risk of the virus, so you can take action to protect you and your loved ones.

The app has several features:

  • Trace: find out when you’ve been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Alert: lets you know the level of coronavirus risk in your postcode district.
  • Check-in: get alerted if you’ve visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus, using a simple QR code scanner. No more form filling.
  • Symptoms: check if you have coronavirus symptoms and see if you need to order a test.
  • Test: helps you order a test if you need to.
  • Isolate: keep track of your self-isolation countdown and access relevant advice.

If someone you have been near to tests positive for Covid-19, NHS doctors and scientists will use an algorithm to work out how close you need to be to someone to be at risk of the virus. A random unique ID will then be used to alert other app users so they can self-isolate immediately and get a test.

The app will help the NHS understand if the virus is spreading in a particular area, so local authorities can respond quickly to stop it spreading further and save lives.

The app does this while protecting a user’s anonymity. Nobody, including the government, will know who or where someone is.

Everyone you love is on your phone. Now your phone can help protect them.

Use the links below to find out more about the app and download it from the App Store and Google Play. Some older devices may not be able to run the app.

Watch the NHS Covid-19 app explainer video

Introducing the NHS Covid-19 app

NHS Covid-19 app privacy FAQs

Factsheet for parents and carers

£500 self-isolation support payment

From 28 September, it will be a legal requirement to self-isolate if you are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace. The Government has introduced a £500 support payment to help people on low incomes who have to self-isolate. We will be responsible for administering these.

To qualify for the payment, you will need to meet all of the criteria below:

  • you have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you cannot work from home and will lose income as a result
  • you are claiming at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit

Although people will be eligible for payments from 28 September, we are still awaiting the full guidance from the Government on how to implement the scheme. We have until 12 October to get the scheme fully up and running. People will be eligible for a back-dated payment.

We are temporarily asking anyone who believes they may qualify for the new payment to give us their contact details using a simple form on our website. We will then call you back to ask you to provide your supporting evidence and arrange to make payment.

This form will be available from Monday, 28 September 2020 at www.wychavon.gov.uk/coronavirus

Advice on self-isolating

It is really important if you develop symptoms of Covid-19 that you self-isolate and get a test. Even if your symptoms are mild and you feel okay, you must self-isolate.

There are other circumstances when you may be told to self-isolate even if you don’t have symptoms.

The links below provide advice on when and how to self-isolate.

If you need help getting food or medicines while self-isolating, then the Worcestershire Here 2 Help service is available to you.

You can register for help on the Worcestershire Here 2 Help website.

If you have to self-isolate and can work from home, then please talk to your employer about this.

If you have to self-isolate and cannot work from home, you may qualify for the new £500 support payment.

If you don’t qualify for that, then you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit or other benefits.

See financial support if you cannot work because of coronavirus for more information.

Access to testing

We know there are difficulties getting access to a test currently. This is a national issue and the Government is working on increasing capacity.

If you need a test, our advice is to please keep trying as slots do become free throughout the day. You can book a test online.

Remember, you only need to get tested if you have symptoms of Covid-19. These are:

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 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Please do not get a test if you do not have symptoms of Covid-19, unless you are officially told to do so.

Boots has produced a useful chart to help you recognise the difference between symptoms of a cold, flu and Covid-19.

New Job Support Scheme announced

The Government has announced a new Job Support scheme to help protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19.

The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for six months.

Under the scheme, your company will continue to pay you for the time you work. The cost of hours not worked, will be split between your employer, the Government (through wage support) and you, by way of a wage reduction.

Find out more about the Job Support Scheme.

New employment support guide

Worcestershire County Council has launched a new Entry to Employment Services guide, to help those who have lost their job during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The guide showcases the support that is available across the county for those who have experienced a major career change over the last few months. There are 33 services included in the guide, and the Skills 4 Worcestershire webpage has been re-designed to try and make taking that next step as easy as possible.

Download the Entry to Employment Services guide.

Great British Week of Sport

This week is the first ever Great British Week of Sport, an initiative set up by UK active, to inspire the nation to celebrate the power that sport, and activity has on our mental, physical and social wellbeing.

We also know that losing weight and being active can help protect you against Covid-19.

Support to help you get active:

Download the Couch 2 5K or active 10 apps 

Use the activity finder to find weekly sporting activities near you

Workout from the comfort of your own home using the NHS online fitness studio

You can find all this and more on the Better Health website.

Also, check out what’s on offer from our leisure centre operator Wychavon Leisure.

New campaign to support mental health of your young loved ones

The past few months have been hard on everyone, including children and young people. But there are lots of things we can do to support them at this time.

Better Health – Every Mind Matters will help you find what’s right for your children or young loved ones – whether it’s listening to them talk about the challenges they’re facing or helping them develop skills to cope with their emotions.

Find out more on the Every Mind Matters website

Is your business ready for the new NHS Covid-19 app?

From Thursday (24 September 2020) the NHS Covid-19 contract tracing app will be launched. This is part of the test and trace service and will be important in helping control the spread of coronavirus and protecting each other.

All businesses in the following sectors must by law display a QR code poster from 24 September:

  • Hospitality
  • Leisure and tourism
  • Close contact services
  • Places of worship
  • Local authority venues

Businesses in these sectors are also legally required to hold a log of customers visiting their premises, for those who do not want to check in using the QR code or do not have access to a smartphone or the app.

If your business operates across more than one venue, you will need to download more than one QR code poster. Please do not share the same QR code between different venues.

If your business isn’t legally required to display a poster, but there is an area where people may gather close together for 15 minutes or more, it is advised you should display a poster.

If you have a large venue, you may wish to consider putting up the same QR poster in different areas or even different QR code posters for different parts of your venue.

Community organisations with a physical location open to the public, and anyone holding an event in a physical location, should also download a QR poster.

Businesses found breaking the law face a fine of up to £1,000 and up to £4,000 for repeat offenders.

Getting a QR code for your venue is quick and easy from the Government’s website.

Get a QR code for your business or venue

Further information

A guide to creating a QR code for your venue

Tips for displaying your QR poster

An overview of how the NHS Covid-19 app works

Latest Announcement by the Prime Minister

The PM announced yesterday that where possible people should work from home.

From Thursday (24 September) pubs and other hospitality businesses should provide table service only and will be required to close by 10pm along with Takeaway counters.

Face Coverings should be worn by staff working in retail, taxis and inside hospitality businesses.

From Monday there will be a limit of 15 people at weddings although 30 may attend funerals and the rule of six will apply to adult indoor team sports.

The PM also said that they would be unable to reopen conferences and large sporting events from 1st October as originally hoped and they would seek to support businesses affected by this.

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

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to actively provide a regular information service as soon as we receive information.

Businesses can receive these updates by signing up to our business e-newsletter

Coronavirus: Help for Businesses latest update

The Kickstart Scheme

If you are an employer looking to create job placements for young people, check if you can apply for funding as part of the Kickstart Scheme.

You can use the Kickstart Scheme to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.

Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support, and training.

Funding is available following a successful application process. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements. If you are unable to offer this many job placements, you can partner with other organisations to reach the minimum number.

For further information on this please contact Worcestershire Business Central on 01905 677888 or email info@business-central.co.uk

If you are a representative applying on behalf of a group of employers, you can get £300 of funding to support with the associated administrative costs of bringing together these employers.

Kickstart is not an apprenticeship, but participants may move on to an apprenticeship at any time during, or after their job placement.

This as a great opportunity to open new doors with employers for our young people, and to offer apprenticeships and careers advice, as well as a real boost for young people who have found themselves unemployed.

More information about the scheme is here.

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

Low carbon sector innovation events

The Low Carbon Opportunities Programme (LOCOP) has been designed to support businesses with innovation within the low carbon sector.

The programme is introducing a series of webinars which will help small businesses in Worcestershire and Shropshire to benefit from and thrive in this sector.

The webinars are aimed at:

  • Businesses interested in launching new ventures
  • Businesses already in this market
  • Businesses who see the value in diversifying into this sector

The programme exists to provide direct support to small businesses through targeted and intensive expert advice and financial support. The series of three-monthly webinars will take small businesses through understanding the support available from Worcestershire County Council, analysing what business opportunities exist in the low carbon economy, and how to plan and launch business ventures in the market.

They each will last around an hour and will include an opportunity for interacting with the speakers and for networking with other attendees. They will feature input from businesses which have already benefited from the programme.

The first of the series will be at 4pm on 16 September.

If you would like to reserve your place, please follow this link.

BEEP offers free energy assessments and funding

The Business Energy Efficiency Programme (BEEP) continues to offer free energy and resource efficiency assessments, advice, and grant funding from £1,000 to £20,000 to small businesses throughout Worcestershire and the Marches.

Despite lockdown BEEP has successfully carried out energy assessments remotely and awarded grants to businesses.  Now businesses are returning to work site visits to carry out energy assessments have resumed.

The programme offers FREE assessments which could lead to grants for small businesses who wish to use their energy more efficiently, reducing costs and improving environmental credentials.

Businesses have found the BEEP process both efficient and effective to get support for improvements in their energy consumption. The grant approval process is quick, the process is simple and full business support is given.  Grant activities include lighting; compressors; energy efficient equipment; heating and boilers; waste and water reduction.

For more information see the Worcestershire Business Central website, email info@business-central.co.uk or call: 01905 677888.

BEEP is a European funded programme and a partnership between county and district councils.

Everything online

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 some of the latest Chamber webinars:

Skills Development Webinar

Armed Forces Webinar

Charity Forum

EU Exit Are You Ready?

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.

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

Green Commute Initiative

Green Commute Initiative is a Social Enterprise with a vision to get commuters out of cars and onto any kind of bike, with the dual purpose of improving both the individual’s health and wellbeing, as well as reducing the environmental impact of pollution and congestion from cars. They do this through their cycle to work scheme which benefits both employers and employees.

GCI is not restricted to the £1,000 limit of other cycle to work schemes and the bike is yours to keep and use at the end of the scheme. Step one is to speak to your employer about participating in the scheme, step two get a quote and then find your nearest registered bike shop. All the information about the scheme is here.

Recycle Week 2020

Now in its 17th year, Recycle Week 21 to 27 September is a celebration of recycling.

This year, the theme will be to thank the nation for continuing to recycle despite the challenges that COVID-19 has presented, under the banner ‘Thanking the nation: ‘Together – We Recycle’.

The thank you will acknowledge the work done by the recycling crews during lockdown as they continued to collect from people’s houses (and a few businesses), and also to thank the public for continuing to recycle when the world was a little bit chaotic to say the least!

As part of the work being done by Worcestershire County Council and the six district councils, buildings are being asked to light up green to show their support for Recycle Week. Evesham Bell Tower and Broadway Tower will go green in support of the week’s theme.

Shops and businesses may also wish to light up green for the duration of Recycle Week.  If businesses are interested please contact Emma Stuart at Worcestershire County Council estuart@worcestershire.gov.uk for more information, or just light up and send Emma photos of your green business which will be included in publicity material during the week.

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

www.gov.uk/coronavirus

The information available to businesses is changing regularly. We will continue to actively provide a regular information service as soon as we receive information.

Businesses can receive these updates by signing up to our business e-newsletter

Act now, coronavirus cases are rising

Coronavirus cases are rising

Cases of Coronavirus are rising across Wychavon, as well as other parts of Worcestershire.

Although we are still some way off the point where full local lockdown restrictions are needed, Worcestershire Public Health is monitoring the situation. An outbreak control plan is in place and action will be taken, if necessary, to protect residents.

It is really important we all keep playing our part to protect ourselves and each other.

Please make sure you are following social distancing guidelines at all times and remember:

Hands – wash them regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser

Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet

Space – Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)

If you have symptoms you should self-isolate immediately and book a free test online or call 119.

You should also self-isolate if you are asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

Read the guidance on how to self-isolate with a possible coronavirus infection

Read the Coronavirus FAQs to find out what you currently can and cannot do

Care homes across Wychavon closed to visitors

Care homes across Wychavon have been closed to all but essential visitors.

This is a precaution to protect vulnerable residents following a rise in Covid-19 cases across Wychavon.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health for Worcestershire said: “The decision to stop care home visits is not one we have taken lightly. I appreciate this will cause upset and frustration for some of our residents and I recognise this is very difficult for families.

“Looking at the rising numbers of cases in the district, we are concerned about the welfare of our most vulnerable and the wider community. I need to protect those at risk and prevent the further spread of Covid-19.

“We will review this on a daily basis and will lift these restrictions when we see numbers falling again. This is a sensible precautionary measure, it is better to act now than later.”

Read the full announcement on the closure of care homes to visitors

Remember the rule of 6

From Monday, 14 September in England, you cannot meet socially, indoors or outdoors, in groups of more than six people.

Read the full guidance on changes to social distancing rules

Wychavon District Council’s Annual Residents Survey

Wychavon District Council’s Annual Residents Survey has launched!

Take part and tell them what you think about your local area and the services they provide.

It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete but progress can be saved so it can be completed in stages.

The deadline is midnight on 4th October 2020.

Click HERE to complete the survey.

Easing of coronavirus restrictions resumes

The Government has announced it will resume the easing of lockdown restrictions from tomorrow (Saturday 15 August).

The following businesses and services will now be allowed to reopen, as long as they can follow Covid-19 secure guidelines:

  • casinos
  • skating rinks
  • bowling alleys
  • indoor play areas, including soft play areas
  • indoor performances
  • remaining close contact services, including any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application
  • wedding receptions and celebrations for up to 30 people, in the form of a sit-down meal

Read the latest Coronavirus outbreak FAQs to find out more about what you currently can and cannot do.

Advice on travelling in vehicles

With more people returning to work and school or visiting destinations, the number of journeys being made by car is increasing.

Ideally the Government would like you not to share a car with people outside of your household or support bubble, but they know this may prove difficult.

They have issued the guidance below which you are asked to follow when sharing a car with someone outside of your household:

  • Share your vehicle with the same people every time
  • Open windows for ventilation
  • Wear a face covering during the journey
  • Maximise distance between people in the vehicle – e.g. leave some seats free
  • Clean your vehicle between journeys including door handles and other areas that people may touch

This guidance only applies to private vehicles. There is separate guidance for taxis.

Follow the rules so we can get back to normal

The Government has set an ambition to scale back social distancing restrictions from November. To allow this to happen we need to continue to drive down the number of infections.

You can play your part in helping us all get back to normal, by following social distancing rules:

Hands – wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser if that is not possible

Face – wear a face covering in shops and other enclosed public spaces where social distancing is difficult, and you will be mixing with people you would not normally meet.

Space – keep a safe distance from those outside of your household or support bubble, at least 1 metre

If you have symptoms you should self-isolate immediately and book a free test online or call 119.

You should also self-isolate if you are asked to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

Read the guidance on how to self-isolate with a possible coronavirus infection

Read our guide on how to use face coverings safely

Some people do not have to wear face coverings by law. If this applies to you then the Government has made exemption cards available which you can print off.

Download face covering exemption cards

Be aware of those who have finished shielding

Shielding for those at increased risk from coronavirus due to certain health conditions, ended on 1 August. We know many people remain nervous or worried about going out and shopping or returning to normal life.

The Distance Aware scheme provides optional badges people can wear to show other people they may have difficulties or concerns maintaining social distancing, and to ask them to give them space.

Download give me space badges

We ask everyone to be mindful of the fact that others may not be as comfortable as you may be with the easing of lockdown restrictions, and to be courteous and considerate to each other.

Join the nation for a silent tribute to the fallen on VJ Day

Tomorrow (Saturday 15 August) marks 75 years since victory over Japan in the Second World War, or VJ Day as it has come to be known.

There will be a day of commemorations to mark this event including:

  • A two minute silence at 11am led by HRH The Prince of Wales
  • A powerful re-telling of the story of Victory Over Japan will be broadcast on BBC One with tributes led by His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge
  • Veterans of the Far East campaign will be present at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to remember fallen comrades
  • The Red Arrows will take to the skies for a stunning UK-wide flypast

You can get involved in the following ways:

  • Join in the national two minute silence at 11am
  • Share your family’s stories on social media with the hashtag #VJDay75
  • Find out more about VJ Day by downloading the activity sheets and resources on the official VJ Day website

Many of those who fought in the Far East during the Second World War, came home to find their country had moved on without them.

Please don’t let them be forgotten again tomorrow.

Shop local and support your high street

This week we have been highlighting the many wonderful local traders we are blessed with in our district as part of Shop Local Week.

You can view the campaign on our Facebook page.

Here are 8 reasons why you should shop local:

Help the high street and support the local economy

Shopping at local businesses pumps money into the local economy, and by spending money in their local shop, restaurant, café or pub, shoppers can do their bit to aid our national recovery across the country.

Save jobs – and create even more

Supporting our high streets creates jobs in local communities, supporting often young and disadvantaged people to find employment. Helping to grow the number of jobs in our local areas makes for a better place to live and work, which then creates a healthy economy for the community.

Great deals

People might be surprised to see just how competitive the prices are in your local shops. Independent retailers often reward regular customers, while others often provide great deals that can’t be found in major outlets – meaning people save money as they spend. Consumers can also save money eating out – the Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme is being provided by the Government, saving diners up to £10 per head on eat-in meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in one of the 73,000 participating businesses. There are more than 100 taking part in Wychavon. Use the online restaurant finder.

A safe way to shop

Businesses across the district have been following government guidance and implementing a range of measures to ensure people are safe while they shop, such as customer limits inside the store, plastic partitions at tills and hand sanitising stations.

We have also introduced our S.A.F.E code to help people follow the rules and look after each other while shopping locally. Public hand sanitiser units are now installed in high streets across our district.

Working with Worcestershire County Council, we have also granted pavement licences to many businesses to allow outside dining.

Preserving the heart of the community

A thriving high street is key to boosting the potential of a village or town where people can socialise as well as shop. Local businesses also generate revenue to support council services such as libraries, parks and roads that benefit communities across the UK.

Spoilt for choice

Small and local businesses often stock items which are made locally and aren’t available elsewhere else, providing a great range of choice and unique products that bring much-needed originality and variety into communities – including rare finds and items that aren’t mass produced.

A better shopping experience

Small businesses are often run by people who live nearby. As the UK continues to recover from the pandemic, the experience of buying locally from a friendly face offers a dose of normality that many people may have missed.

Help the environment

Local shops often source their goods locally, helping to reduce their carbon footprint. When shopping local, people are also more likely to walk or cycle to get there – doing their bit to reduce air pollution, reduce traffic and improve the quality of the nation’s high streets.

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