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:
- 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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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”.