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.

Coronavirus: Update from Wychavon District Council 2

Homeless taskforce

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


Dogs on leads

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


Play areas

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


Bulky waste and fly-tipping

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

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

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


Household Recycling Centres

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


Bonfires

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

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


Funding support for community groups and charities

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

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


Pick for Britain

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


Support for victims of domestic abuse

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


Here 2 Help reminder

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


NHS Volunteer Responders

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


Seek help if you are in medical need

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

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

Coronavirus: Update from Wychavon District Council

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

But first……an important message

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

You can help protect you and your family by:

Stay home

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

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

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

More advice is available on the NHS coronavirus page.


Support for victims of domestic abuse

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

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


Seek help if you are in medical need

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

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


Why getting your recycling right matters

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

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

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

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

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

Remember, if in doubt, leave it out.


Leave a thank you for our bin crews

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


Bonfires

bonfires

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

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

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

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

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


Bulky waste collection service

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


Household Recycling Centres

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

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


Financial support for you

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

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


Help paying your Council Tax

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

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

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

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

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


Help to find a job

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

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

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


Support for businesses

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

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

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


Impact on our services

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


Funding for charities, arts and community groups

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


Dogs on leads in play parks

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

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


Help for those in need

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

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


How to help safely

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


MOT renewals during the coronavirus outbreak

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


Things to do at home

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

Beware of false information

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


spread

Coronavirus: Update

#Here2help scheme

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

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

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

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

Payments to businesses

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

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

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

Help with Council Tax

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

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

Support for community groups and charities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact on district council services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Increase in organised waste crime

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

Unauthorised waste collections

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

New meetings regulations

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

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

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

GOV.UK WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Service

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

Coronavirus status checker

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

And finally …..

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

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

You may also find these links useful:

Fly-tipping increase

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

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

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