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.
Test and trace – how it works
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.
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.
Staying safe away from your home
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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