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Covid-19 - Public Information

Posted 13 weeks ago (07/04) by Theresa Goss

To: All Cherwell Town Councils, Parish Councils and Parish Meetings

 

Dear colleagues

 

Following my message last week, we’ll be sending you a weekly update summarising the latest activity and advice that we think will be useful or interesting to you and your communities. 

It is important that our Towns, Parishes and communities are kept informed throughout this crisis, so I have I have been asked to temporarily step into this space and provide regular updates and signpost you to further information that you or your communities may find helpful.

I realise that there is a lot of information in this newsletter but as you can see there is an awful lot going on at the moment but I will try to keep this to a minimum so as not to overload you.

I would be grateful if you could therefore please forward this update to all your parish councillors and encourage them to forward to any group or individual in your parish who might benefit from the information below.

 

In this week’s update:

  • Public Health Update
  • Wellbeing Signposting
  • Neighbourhood Support and ‘Oxfordshire All In’
  • Cherwell Community Hub and Emergency Food Delivery
  • Support to the Voluntary and Community Sector
  • Scam Awareness
  • Free Parking for Key Workers
  • Medical Equipment Loan Returns
  • Guidance for Volunteers
  • Economy and Business
  • School and Nursery Places

Public Health Update - Public health chief repeats “stay indoors” warning with good weather ahead

Oxfordshire people have been asked to keep strictly to the Government’s advice and stay indoor in the coming days and weeks as we head towards the peak of the epidemic.

 

The call comes from Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health Ansaf Azhar.  He said: We’re in April now, the evenings are lighter, the forecast for this weekend is for warmer weather – and there’ll be a huge temptation for people to head outdoors and enjoy the countryside.

 

“My advice does not differ from the Government’s one bit. Stay indoors and do not increase the risk to you and others, including your loved ones. It is essential that you follow this guidance. There is now high level of Coronavirus transmission in the community and it is really important to stay indoors to protect yourself and others.

 

“We all remember the images of people outdoors a couple of weekends ago – and it was these images that led to the Government imposing increased restrictions for people’s own safety.

 

“The peak of the Coronavirus situation in the UK is likely to be in the next week or two and if people either locally or nationally relax now, they run the risk of substantially increasing the rate of infection and overwhelming our NHS. Please abide by the rules and stay at home to protect yourself, protect the NHS and save lives”

Here is a quick link to the latest stay at home advice from central government and information on how to protect yourself. If you need further information on COVID-19 please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus, which provides up to date reliable information. As the situation evolves further new information will be added to this website.

Wellbeing Signposting

As well as staying safe from Covid-19 everyone needs to pay attention to their mental and physical wellbeing.  Here are some useful links:

  • Every Mind Matters provides simple tips and advice to start taking better care of your mental health. If you are still struggling after several weeks and it is affecting your daily life, please contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
  • You can access free easy ten minute work outs from Public Health England or try other exercise videos at home on the NHS Fitness Studio. Sport England also has tips for keeping active at home.
  • The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep
  • Visit the NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website for self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools, if you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood.
  • Your well-being - behind the daily COVID-19 statistics there are real people and families who have been affected, and day-to-day life is different for all of us as we adhere to the Government’s social distancing strategies. Your mental health is important and there is wide range of information and support available should you need it including Oxfordshire Mind and Oxford Health NHS Trust’s Talking Space Plus.

 

Neighbourhood Support and Oxfordshire All In

‘Oxfordshire All In’ is a tool to map, support and coordinate all of the community based Covid-19 response activity in Oxfordshire. CDC is strongly encouraging all neighbourhood and community groups responding to the crisis (no matter how small or new) to register themselves on Oxfordshire All In.  Our Healthy Communities Team has spent a lot of this week on the phone talking to parish councils and community groups about the fantastic activity that is happening in their communities, and helping them to get registered.

 

oxfordshireallin.org offers these free tools to member groups and co-ordinating bodies:

 Response Map, plus other non-public mapping tools available to public bodies

 Central communication channel and online forum for local community support groups across the county to coordinate/learn from each other

 Central communication channels with key community organisations

 A 'solutions team' helping local groups get more done in their priority areas of Covid-19 response.

 

Please encourage any group you are aware of to either register directly on oxfordshireallin.org, or get in touch with CDC’s Wellbeing team wellbeing@cherwell-dc.gov.uk

 

Cherwell Community Hub

We have put in place with our local authority colleagues and the local Voluntary and Community Sector a single points of contact to help shield Oxfordshire’s extremely vulnerable residents.

 

We are encouraging  residents to make arrangements through family, friends and neighbours wherever possible accepting that there will be some who need additional help.

In ordinary circumstances there are foodbanks in each of the Towns. They support residents who cannot afford food and other supplies. These services are still running and in some cases are making deliveries to people who normally use them that are self-isolating.

There are broadly two groups of residents who require support with food, those with means and those without.  The second group is likely to grow, despite best efforts, as casual work dries up, or staff are laid off rather than being furloughed.

Where residents are isolating, and we can direct them to a neighbourhood support group to meet their needs as locally as possible, we will do that.  If they have the means to pay for their shopping normally then they should continue to do that.

 

If someone elderly/vulnerable and self-isolating (but not in the ‘Shielded’ category) has no means of getting food, Citizens Advice can deliver an emergency food parcel.  We are coordinating the request and action through Community Connect run by Citizens Advice and promoting their number for self-referral. Call 0300 30 30 125 and leave your name and telephone number only. One of the team will call you back. www.canosn.org.uk/

Residents making contact to Cherwell DC are either signposted to this number or details taken and referral made by the wellbeing team.

Our support line for Cherwell is: 01865 89 78 20 or email shield@oxfordshire.gov.uk. It is open 8.30am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am - 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Support to the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS)

There are a number of Voluntary and Community Sector organisations who are seeking support and guidance due to Covid-19. We will be publishing additional guidance and sign-posting advice in the coming days but  where organisations approach you directly please be aware that:

 

  • Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (Oxfordshire’s infrastructure support organisation) are providing support, advice and information for the community and voluntary sector, including on accessing schemes listed below- https://ocva.org.uk/
  • The Oxfordshire Community Foundation have launched a dedicated Coronavirus Resilience Fund to support organisations respond to Covid-19 and recover stronger see https://oxfordshire.org/
  • We recognise that there is local support available, including from some town and parish councils
  • Government support available to employers and organisations is often available to the VCS including the national small business scheme. A further national government support package is anticipated for the VCS although details have not yet been confirmed
  • Other national and regional support schemes are being launched for example from the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner and the Arts Council

 

Scam awareness

Please help spread our warning to residents about being on their guard against criminals and scammers exploiting the coronavirus situation. Our Trading Standards has received reports of scams targeting people via emails, text messages, and on the doorstep; and Action Fraud has reported coronavirus-related fraud reports have increased by 400% in March. Here are some key contacts for you to share:

  • If someone thinks they have been scammed, they should report it to Action Fraud0300 123 2040
  • For advice, call Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline0808 223 1133
  • If someone thinks they are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999
  • For financial scams, contact the bank
  • Age UK runs a telephone support service (for older people and carers): 01865 411288

To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk and complete the free online training.

 

Free Parking for key workers and suspension of parking charges at Oxford’s Park & Rides

Under new measures agreed by the Government, critical key workers can now use council parking bays without time restriction or charge. In Oxford the changes apply to all on-street parking and open, council-run, car parks including pay and display. In addition, the City Council's car park at Court Place Farm has been made exclusively available for the use of Oxford University Hospitals staff and Oxford City Football Club is working with Oxford University Hospitals to provide spaces at its site.

 

Community Medical Equipment  - Call for Return of Loaned Items

During the current crisis there will be a shortage of certain medical equipment including chairs, beds, bed rails, wheeled commodes and walking frames.  There will be many loaned items in people’s houses or garages which are no longer required. These items should be returned so they can be redistributed to where they are needed.  Attached is a poster detailing the items and how to arrange for them to be handed back. This can be printed to go on village noticeboards, or forwarded with this email.  Also attached is an infographic which can be used on local social media.

 

Guidance for Volunteers – Staying Safe

The amount of voluntary activity in our communities is really impressive, but volunteers must take all the proper precautions to keep themselves safe.  Attached is a guidance note issued by Oxfordshire’s Director of Public Health.  Please bring this to the attention of any groups in your community that are carrying out voluntary work to help sick, vulnerable and isolated residents.

 

Economy and Business

District Council and City Council colleagues are continuing to work incredibly hard to communicate and action the significant changes that are being developed by Government to support residents, the economy and businesses through COVID-19. The schemes include:

 

  • Retail Relief
  • Pub Relief
  • Small Business Grant
  • Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant
  • Hardship Fund
  • Business Rates Nursery Discount
  • Emerging guidance for self-employed people
  • Hardship funds
  • Changes being made to the benefits legislation

 

This week 100% retail relief has been applied to business rate accounts across the county by our colleagues in City and District council tax and benefits teams.  

 

Funding from government for the grants schemes was received this week Wednesday and the City and District council tax and benefits teams are already receiving applications.

 

The best place to find the latest information is on the business pages of the Cherwell District Council website council Cherwell District Council

 

Help to find school and nursery places

Many schools, early care and childcare settings, are closed until further notice, but some are staying open for children of key workers and vulnerable children, including during the Easter holidays.

Details of open early year providers are here. If anyone is having difficulty finding a suitable early years place our team can help. Ask them to call 01865 323332 or email fis.enquiries@oxfordshire.gov.uk

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