Notices and News

Devon County Council – Covid-19 Update

COVID Connect Me header

Friday 27 March 2020


We're working around the clock to ensure the most vulnerable people in Devon are cared for and essential services continue to reach our communities. 

The single most important thing we can all do to help fight the coronavirus outbreak is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. Full guidance on staying at home and away from others can be found on the Government's website.

Things are changing on a daily basis but we are working to keep you informed through this email update, and our coronavirus (COVID-19) pages on our website which have all the latest information from the government, the NHS and from our community.

Please note that all of our sites and offices are closed to the public, except for necessary prearranged visits


In this update:

  • Advice about potential disruption to adult care services
  • Find out how to volunteer, and do it safely
  • Funding available to support community action
  • Highways teams working to keep roads safe for key workers
  • Active Devon's #StayInWorkOut advice
  • Update on broadband network build and maintenance

Latest

Advice if you receive care from one of our providers

carerThe potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is likely to have an impact on our care providers’ staffing levels and ability to deliver care services to residents across Devon. We've published some information about how we're going to prioritise visits to the most vulnerable and the plans we're making to ensure that you are not at risk if your care is temporarily limited by staffing resources. We've also got some advice on what you can do to help us prepare.

How to volunteer and help safely

Elderly lady sat with hands in her lapMany of you have been volunteering to offer practical, emotional and social support to your neighbours, communities and the NHS, which is excellent, but you need to do so safely. The Government has published guidance on how to help safely – please read it. There's more information on our website about how to get involved in one of the many local initiatives that communities across Devon are putting together or sign up to become an NHS Volunteer Responder.

Support for self-employed people

Self-employed people are a vital part of Devon's economy, with self-employment rates here 4.1% above the national average. The Government has announced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to support self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, whose incomes have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Full details can be found on the Government business support website.

Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

The Government has launched its Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. The free service is an automated ‘chatbot’ that will provide information on coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting. More information can be found on the Government website. WhatsApp logo

Keeping people safe and well

New health and care recruitment campaign

Care providers are under a lot of pressure right now and many are actively looking to recruit more staff. We are working with them to help boost their recruitment. Look out for our latest Proud to Care campaign launching on Monday. Visit the Proud to Care website for more information. 

#StayInWorkOut

Active Devon logo Being physically active is a really good way to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing as you adjust to the challenges of these difficult times. Whether you’re young or old, a first timer or a gym regular, doing it on your own or with your family, Active Devon has some great ideas for how you can keep active while you're staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives. Visit their #StayInWorkOut page for more information.

Domestic abuse support

Campaign graphic. Cartoon figues with words saying COVID-19 isolation may increase domestic abuse. Help is available.Sadly, as people continue to self-isolate, there is likely to be an increase in incidents of domestic abuse. We're working with partners across Devon and Cornwall to launch a new campaign to highlight how people can still access vital advice and support services online and over the phone during the coronavirus outbreak.

Community

Funding to support community action

We've launched the COVID-19 Prompt Action Fund to help provide valuable funding to organisations working in communities that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. It can be used to help voluntary and community groups with issues like safely delivering food and medicine to vulnerable people, supporting people to access online information and services, and starting virtual support groups to help people stay connected. Find out more, including how to apply. 

Supporting your community

Your local councils are working together to help and support local people to get through this outbreak. We are committed to doing whatever is needed to help people and to support our communities to find ways to respond quickly. There's lots of advice on our website about setting up, registering and finding local community support groups including links to the local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) and Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK.


Service updates

Highway repairs keeping roads safe for key workers

Plant machinery being used to resurface road Our highways teams have a critical role in keeping Devon's roads safe for emergency services and other key workers, as well as the delivery of food and supplies.

We've temporarily suspended planned highway maintenance work in order to focus on the repair of critical infrastructure, and continue to deliver essential safety repairs in order to maintain the local network.

Update on broadband network build and maintenance

Broadband suppliers are continuing with maintenance, repairs and building new infrastructure where it is safe to do so and resources allow, says Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS).

However, whilst the current social distancing restrictions are in place, CDS does not expect to see any work undertaken to connect homes to new infrastructure, should that require entry to the premises.

Fingers on a computer keyboard

Extra parking for hospital staff in Exeter

To ease parking pressures at hospital sites in Exeter as additional NHS staff are drafted in in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), We've opened up our car park at County Hall on Topsham Road to staff working at the nearby hospitals to use free of charge. Isca Academy and The Maynard School have also kindly made their car parks available.

Our Chief Executive, Phil Norrey, said: "Staff including doctors, nurses and everyone on the front line at the hospital are working around the clock, and are throwing all of their weight into this response.  If we can at the very least help them in getting to work, we will."


And finally...

Thousands of people opened their front doors at 8pm last night (Thursday 26 March) to show in solidarity their support for our nation's health workers.  Streets rang to the sound of applause.  Neighbours and friends shared the moment, respecting a safe distance from each other.  We’ve captured a few moments of it.


Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives banner

The latest national advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the
Government website and NHS website.

You can find local guidance and information about the impacts on our services on the Devon County Council website.

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Parish Council – Coronavirus (Covid 19) – Post 5

Some of this is a duplication of previous posts which is to ensure the relevant previous information remains easily accessible.

The government advice on isolating yourself and family if you show symptoms and advice on isolating/shielding is on the link below.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

The link below is the the government advice site for employees with information about entitlements etc. This is clearly evolving quickly but the site should be updated frequently.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

The Money Saving Expert is a good source of advice on benefits, potential help for the self employed and salary and rental protection schemes.

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights/?utm_source=MSE_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=24-Mar-20-50599075-3222&utm_campaign=nt-hiya&utm_content=1

Devon County Council and South Hams District Council have advice pages on their websites.

The Citizens Advice Service is continuing to work but only offers advice remotely. You can contact them in the following ways.

Adviceline 03444 111 444 (Monday - Friday 9am - 4pm)

Email:www.southhamscab.org.ukFrom the ‘Contact us’ page select ‘Email’ and click ‘Use our online form’

WhatsApp 07497 758779

Letter: Citizens Advice, Follaton House, Plymouth Road, Totnes TQ9 5NE

If you have a fever it is recommended that paracetamol is the first line drug to take. Many branded products also contain paracetamol so please check ingredients and do not exceed the recommended daily dose. If you do please seek medical advice.

The Minor Injuries Unit at Totnes has been closed .

The Minor Injuries units at Kingsbridge and the Cumberland Centre in Plymouth remain open. Please use them appropriately.

MIU - Cumberland Centre (Plymouth)
Damerel Close
Plymouth
PL1 4JZ

Tel: (01752) 434390
Opening times: 08:30 - 22:00 (09:00 - 22:00 Thursdays)
Opening days: 7 days per week
X-ray available: 09:00 - 20:45 (7 days)
MIU - South Hams Hospital (Kingsbridge)
Plymouth Road
Kingsbridge
Devon
TQ7 1AT

Tel: (01548) 852349
Opening times: 09:00 - 17:00
Opening days: 7 days per week
X-ray available: 09:00 - 17:00 (Mon-Fri)

If family carers become ill the following organisations may be able to assist:

Care Direct                             0345 155 1007

Social Services                       0345 600 0388

Disability Information Service  0345 155 1005

If you believe that you might need support from the community  please contact Cllr Andrew Hollett, details below. If you have neighbours or friends who may not be accessing this site but you feel they may benefit please ask them to contact Andrew or give permission for you to do so.

If you are willing to be a Community Volunteer to help with the above or be willing to make regular phone contact to someone to ease the isolation please contact Cllr Trudie Timlin Brown also details below.

Cllr Andrew Hollett. Tel. 830361      andrew.hollett@btinternet.com

Cllr Trudie  Timlin Brown   Tel  830683 bathebrown@aol.com

It may be useful to gather some names of volunteers willing to dog walk and this may suit dog friendly teens and others, please contact Trudie.

As mentioned in our previous post we are aware that the level of media coverage can make this situation feel overwhelming and frightening leading to anxiety in people. If you are concerned or don't understand some of the terms in the media or advice sites Clr Baumer (Retired Consultant) and Di Baumer ( Retired Public Health Nurse) have kindly offered to give telephone or email advice. They can be contacted as detailed below. This is NOT an alternative to receiving individual advice from your GP or Specialist Medical Care Team. It is part of our broader community response.

Dr H. Baumer  830274harry@luson.plus.com

Di Baumer  830274  dianaebaumer@googlemail.com

Many people will have stocked up on staples but be finding fresh produce more difficult. Holbeton Village Stores already delivers milk and will be happy to deliver vegetable boxes/bags. Please discuss with Jack Purkis. 830246 or holbetonvillagestores@outlook.com

To protect the shop staff it is safer to order a delivery. If you go into use the Post Office please follow the guidelines posted on the door  about accessing the premises.

Prescription Collection Service.

We have some noble volunteers who have agreed to collect prescriptions from those who are isolating or are unable to for other reasons. Cllr Baumer has kindly agreed to support this service.

Bel Dixon 07803608418.mailto: roughbel@hotmail.com  and Laura Kirkland  07815917519 mailto: laws072@hotmail.com will collect from Yealm Medical Centre

Sue Howard 01752830644 or 07909 888 739; howardsue25@gmail.com or Gina Hay 01752 830516 or 07880 720 580;   georginahay@aol.com   will collect from Modbury H.C.

For those who have a laptop or mobile phone they can be an invaluable way of maintaining contact with family and friends, locally, nationally or internationally. Many of us have them but are unsure of how to use these features to for example make video calls so we can chat for example with grandchildren. Jack Purkis has kindly offered to help anyone who would like to set up a What's app group on an android mobile phone. Pete Stevens can assist with setting up Skype on laptops, and What's App/Facetime on phones (Tel 830780petestevens150@gmail.com. Andrew Hollett can also offer help in this area if needed. There are  also advice/tutorials on You Tube that are easy to follow.

In the interest of keeping fit and healthy Helen Norris suggests the following:

Beginners Pilates Workout with Kim Saha on You Tube.

Yoga with Adrienne on You Tube.

If you have a Smart TV you should be able to access them on there which from experience is much easier to follow than from a phone!

Even if isolating we are lucky to live somewhere where we can walk and run without bumping into people. If you want to take up running or as I call it shuffling try the wonderful NHS Couch to 5k app link below.

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/couch-to-5k-week-by-week/

By the time you have finished isolation could be over  and you can join Holbeton Harriers! I am sure existing Couch 2 5k'ers will be happy to offer support.

For those who are missing exercising their vocal cords have a look at sofa singers link below. Even in dark times there are chinks of light with people doing wonderful things.

https://www.thesofasingers.net/

Apparently Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach is offering a daily PE class for kids every morning at 9am on his You Tube channel. It gets millions of views.

Ukulele Wednesdays is offering weekly lessons/jam on line which may be of interest to all ages and benefit to a few specific residents!

Although the libraries are closed books can still be downloaded from Devon County Council library website.https://www.devonlibraries.org.uk/web/arena/join-thelibrary

A local resident has suggested Wok Your Way Devon who are delivering asian food to this area once a week. Their facebook page has more information.

Lawsons in Ivybridge has closed but is still taking orders for home delivery (charges apply). They can supply crafting, baking, gardening, DIY equipment.Ivybridge - 01752 892543

Jack Purkis is interested in fundraising to provide outside equipment such as goalposts on the sports field for the young ( and not so young )  people ,if you are interested please contact him directly. This will not be able to be used until current restrictions are lifted.

If you have other suggestions for activities (that I can print!) please share with me via  email carolackroyd@tiscali.co.uk 

We have been liaising with Ivybridge Food Bank about providing support for those in need. Food banks are really struggling as people prioritise themselves. If you are able to donate food  locally it will be much appreciated. Financial donations can be made online to the Trussell Trust.

As ever there are individuals who seek to profit from the current situation . The information below is from Citizens Advice and the District Council.

  1. Emails that appear to be from organisations such as the Centres for Disease Control (CDC), or the World Health Organisation (WHO). The scammers have crafted emails that appear to come from these sources, but they actually contain malicious phishing links or dangerous attachments. Phishing is the term used for dishonest people pretending to be a reputable company so they can gain your personal information.
  2. Emails that ask for charity donations for studies, doctors, or victims that have been affected by the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Scammers often create fake charity emails after global phenomenons occur, like natural disasters, or health scares like the COVID-19.
  3. Emails that claim to have a 'new' or 'updated' list of cases of Coronavirus in your area. These emails could contain dangerous links and information designed to scare you into clicking on the link.

Remain cautious!  Always remember the following to protect yourself from scams like this:

  • Never click on links or download attachments from an email that you weren’t expecting.
  • If you receive a suspicious email that appears to come from an official organisation such as the WHO or CDC, go to their website directly online and follow links from there.
  • If you want to make a charity donation, go to the charity website of your choice to enter your payment. Type the charity’s web address in your browser instead of clicking on any links in emails, or other messages.

Stop, Look, and Think.Don't be fooled.


The Parish Council has closed the playpark, the bike track, the public toilets and the Reading Rooms until we are advised we can open all facilities safely.

Recycling centres closed

Devon County Council have closed all the household waste recycling centres in Devon until further notice. Residents are asked to safely store the waste they would have taken to the recycling centre at home until the centres reopen.

Bulky Waste Collection

The closure of the recycling centres will mean that the Council’s bulky waste collection service will also be suspended with immediate effect until the centres can reopen. Anyone who has pre-booked a collection will be notified of the cancellation and refunded in full. Other waste collection are still operating as normal.

Many thanks to all the people who have volunteered, it is much appreciated . We are in this for the long haul and you will be needed. Can I also thank my fellow councillors for all they are doing.

We are keen for this information to be circulated as widely as possible so if you can pass the links on or print it off and give to neighbours that would be helpful.

C L Ackroyd

Giving World – Free Supplies

Giving World provide free of charge clothing, food Items, toiletries, cleaning and household products so the most vulnerable people in our communities can stay safe and well.

COVID-19 presents us with one of the greatest challenges we have seen during our lifetimes. However, during this difficult time we, at Giving World remain committed to supporting people in crisis by providing our service in the time of their greatest need.

We understand the need in our communities will grow. Please be assured that we will continue to service our partners and your beneficiaries’ needs, whilst following all the latest government guidelines for employee and volunteers’ safety.

If you are not already registered with us to access free of charge business surplus stock, you can do so here: https://www.givingworld.org.uk/charity/

Browse the available products here: https://products.givingworld.org.uk/product-categories

Any queries contact us by email: admin@givingworld.org.uk

SHDC – Keeping Our Businesses and Residents Informed

Issued: 24 March 2020

We recognise that these are very difficult times for businesses and residents within South Hams District and West Devon Borough Councils and it can often be hard to find all the information you need in one place to access support and help.

The Councils have put together a fact sheet summarising all the various funding packages which have been announced by the Government and ways in which people can receive financial assistance.

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector will receive a business rates holiday for 2020/21 and we are working hard to rebill all eligible businesses as soon as possible. The revised business rates bill will show there is nothing to pay.

Cash grants of up to £25,000 are also being made available by the Government for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Businesses in these sectors, who on 11 March would have been eligible for the expanded retail discount scheme, with a rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

There is also a cash grant available of £10,000 for businesses who, on 11 March were eligible for small business rates relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.

In the next day or so, the Councils will send a letter by post to the business rates contact address of businesses who might be eligible for the cash grants. Please look out for this letter at your business rates contact address as it will contain a unique reference number to enable you to apply online. Eligible businesses will be asked to apply online on the Councils' websites in order for a payment to be made direct into their business bank account. The payment should be received by eligible businesses in early April.

There are also things you can do if you are struggling to pay bills like your rent, mortgage or energy bills because of Coronavirus. Our advice would be to speak to the organisation that you owe money to. They might be able to help you by letting you pay smaller amounts or taking a payment holiday. It is also worth checking with your bank or building society as they might be able to help you with your debts or let you delay loan or credit card repayments or have a payment holiday.

If you are not working because of Coronavirus, you might be able to claim benefits (the Universal Credit scheme) if you’ve lost your job or you’re self employed and can’t get work. What you can claim will depend on your situation.

The Government has also recently announced a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where the HMRC will reimburse 80% of employees’ wages, up to £2,500 per month. The scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for three months.  All UK-wide employers with a PAYE scheme will be eligible to apply.  HMRC expect the first grants to be paid within weeks and they are aiming to get this done before the end of April. If your business needs short term cash flow support, you may be eligible for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan.

Details of all of the various types of support and financial assistance are on the Councils' website. Please keep an eye on our websites and social media for updates and announcements as they become available so that we can keep businesses and residents informed.

SOUTH HAM'S WEBSITE - Advice for Businesses
WEST DEVON'S WEBSITE - Advice for Businesses

Devon Communities Together – Broadband

Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) update

We are writing to inform you of the latest position on the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) which opened for applications on Friday 20 March.

As you may know, from that date, consumers and businesses who do not have access to 'decent broadband' (10 Megabits per second download speeds, 1 Mbit upload) will be able to request a USO connection up to a reasonable cost threshold of £3,400 per premise (this cost threshold can be combined across multiple premises). The USO is just one part of an extensive programme of work to improve broadband connectivity in rural areas. The USO is intended as a safety net to ensure no-one is left behind on unreliable and slow speeds.

Ofcom is responsible for the implementation of the USO and has designated BT as the universal service provider together with KCOM (as telecommunications provider for the Hull area).

Ofcom and BT will be launching a page on their websites which will go live on 20 March (see below). Ofcom’s website will contain key information along with a factsheet and details of who to contact for more information/queries.

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/broadband-uso-need-to-know

www.bt.com/USO

Who is eligible? There are two key conditions, consumers must:
• Have no access to commercial ‘decent broadband’;
• Not be within 1 year of UK Government or Devolved Administration supported rollout (with a defined date for delivery).
If consumers have access to a decent service that is priced more than £46.10/month, they will also have the right to request a universal service connection.

Consumers will be able to check if they are eligible by contacting BT (or KCOM). BT will be mailing out to eligible customers.

Arrangements for monitoring and reporting progress of the USO will be through Ofcom’s Connected Nations reports.

 

Devon Communities Together
Unit 73 & 74 Basepoint Business Centre,
Yeoford Way,
Exeter EX2 8LB
info@devoncommunities.org.uk
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Devon County Council – Bus Pass restriction lifted

Devon County Council have suspended the 9.30 a.m. restriction on bus passes to enable elderly residents to take advantage of dedicated shopping times for older people being offered by some Supermarkets. Whilst appreciating that some communities have little or no bus service, it is hoped that this is helpful to those that do.

SHDC – Council Leaders Promise Community Support

We don’t need to tell you that the Country is currently in the middle of a massive public health and economic crisis, the like of which has not been seen in peacetime in modern times.

We both want to assure you that South Hams District Council  and West Devon Borough Council are  doing everything they can to help you, your family, your friends and your businesses. There is no doubt that the current crisis will have a profound effect on all of us, and that if we are to come through it in the best shape possible we must work together, support our communities and look out for each other.

The Prime Minister has made it quite clear that he is expecting local government to work closely with communities nationwide to beat this disease.  We have reorganised many teams at the councils so that we can put your needs and concerns first in everything we do, whilst keeping as many of the everyday services going as we can, which, at the moment, is all of them.  We are coordinating closely with the County Council, the NHS, the Government and other partner agencies to build resilience.

We know there are many high-risk vulnerable people in our communities. Our main role is going to be to harness community effort and volunteers as part of a nationally integrated plan to ensure that they are cared for, looked after and protected.  This plan will be directed at Devon County Council level, co-ordinated by the Red Cross.  Please see the volunteering details below this message.

We shall be working with local businesses to deliver the help and assistance that was promised by the Chancellor in the Budget last week and subsequently.  There is ample evidence that the local economy is in a precarious state.  Help and assistance has been promised and the details are currently being worked out by Government departments.  We will get information about how to access that help to you as soon as it is available and will support businesses who need to apply for grants and loans.  Details will be on both Councils’ websites.

We are also acutely aware that there will be difficulties ahead for employees, the self-employed and many workers who are on zero hours contracts.  As soon as there are details of the help that will be available we will ensure that information is also published on our website.  We, and our partner agencies, will do whatever we can to support individuals in need during this difficult time in whatever way we can.

You can find below some of the things the Council, or our partners, have set up to help you:

Business help or individual help with loss of income:  Please go to the Coronavirus page on our websites.

Specific information about the Coronavirus outbreak, including Government financial help can also be found on the above links.

Volunteering:  We are asking existing, or forming, local groups of volunteers to register with us so that we can get information and assistance to them.

To register contact: CommunityCoordination.Covid19@swdevon.gov.uk

Information will be continuously updated as details come down from Central Government.

Public Health England resources can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england

GOV.UK updates can be found her: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

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