COVID-19 UPDATE – Friday 9 October 2020
Please find below the latest update regarding COVID-19 and other council matters.
Stay up to date with GOV-UK COVID-19 guidance and advice
All the latest guidance and advice published by government can be sent directly to you by clicking the following link: GOV.UK COVID-19 updates.
Wiltshire Council COVID-19 public health resource tool kit
A tool kit with a range of resources to use in the community was sent to town and parish councils last week. We’d welcome any feedback or suggestions for additional assets/formats that may be helpful. Please email .
Precautionary COVID-19 measures taken at schools in Wiltshire
Following advice from public health professionals, 12 state and 2 independent schools in Wiltshire are currently taking precautionary COVID-19 measures due to positive cases being confirmed in their settings. This information is correct as at 12pm on 9 October.
Whilst the number of positive cases are very low in each setting, a total of 635 pupils are currently being asked to self-isolate to ensure any risk of transmission is kept as low as possible. The self-isolation of the pupils is very precautionary to minimise any risk to others and to reduce onward transmission of the virus.
The schools are working closely with the Public Health team at Wiltshire Council to ensure high standards of hygiene and social distancing are maintained and all the necessary measures are in place.
All school pupils currently self-isolating are continuing their learning at home during this time.
COVID-19 Business update
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Claims for the second taxable grant, worth 70% of a self-employed person’s average monthly trading profits, must be submitted on or before 19 October 2020. Eligible applicants will receive a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, capped at £6,570 in total. People can claim for the second grant even if they did not make a claim for the first grant.
To claim the second taxable grant:
The grant is being extended from 1 November 2020 for a period of six months. Two grants will be paid in lump sum instalments, each covering a three-month period. The first will cover the period from the start of November until the end of January and the second will start in February until the end of April 2021. Full details on how to claim will be available soon.
For information on the extension of the scheme: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension
Job Retention Bonus
The Job Retention Bonus is a scheme which provides employers with a £1,000 one-off taxable payment for each eligible employee that was furloughed and kept continuously employed until 31 January 2021.
Employers can now check whether they are eligible to claim the Job Retention Bonus and what they need to do to claim it.
Claims for the bonus can be made between 15 February and 31 March 2021.
Further information can be found here:
Government Skills Toolkit
The Skills Toolkit is an online learning platform launched by the government. It gives people access to free, high-quality digital, numeracy and employability courses, to help build their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.
All courses on The Skills Toolkit are easy to access, meaning people can learn on their own terms, at a time and place that suits them. There’s something for everyone, no matter what their experience or background.
The Government has recently added over 60 new courses to the Skills Tool Kit including the addition of work-readiness courses – from computer essentials and practical maths to digital marketing, coding, leadership and project management. This initiative is supported by some of the country’s leading educational experts and employers including The Open University, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.
Further information can be found here: https://theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk/.
COVID-19 Test and Trace support payment scheme
For those required to self-isolate, a £500 payment is available if they are working and on a low income and will lose money because they cannot work from home.
To receive this payment, they must:
- have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace after Monday, 28 September 2020 and have a unique Test and Trace number provided by the NHS
- be employed or self-employed
- have lost income by being unable to work from home while self-isolating
and be receiving at least one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-based Employment Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credit
The council is in the process of finalising a system to allow people to claim for this payment as quickly and easily as possible, this will be live next week. People who are eligible for this payment will be able to make a backdated claim to 28 September 2020.
Leisure services update
More than 21,000 people have visited Marlborough and Tidworth leisure centres; Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre, Salisbury; Springfield Community Campus, Corsham; The Vale Community Campus, Pewsey; and The Nadder Centre, Tisbury since they reopened.
Durrington Swimming and Fitness Centre will reopen on 19 October with people soon able to book to use services there including swimming and swimming lessons.
Calne Leisure Centre is on track to reopen later this autumn following its extensive improvements.
Fitness facilities, group exercise classes and swimming pools were the first activities introduced and now racket sports and some block bookings for community groups are being provided in some centres, with plans being developed to enable even more to return over the coming weeks. Swimming lessons for most children have also now resumed.
Safety for staff and customers has been at the forefront at all the centres, with COVID-19 measures in place and being respected by those who attend. Feedback from customers has been generally positive and the new measures have made people feel safe as they look to improve their fitness after a challenging 2020 so far. The council is constantly reviewing the safety measures and will make any changes as required.
For up to date information on what’s available, what’s changed and how to access activities people should visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-covid19.
New Wiltshire Health Improvement Hub
The council is launching a new Wiltshire Health Improvement Hub which will assist people who want to improve their health and mental wellbeing.
The Health Improvement Hub will be a single point of access for referrals to the Health Improvement Coaches, Healthy Me (child and family weight management service), and the council’s new group adult weight management programme, Healthy Us, due to launch January 2021.
The Wiltshire Health Improvement Hub will utilise Health Improvement Coaches who can support people to make practical changes to improve their health and mental wellbeing through one-to-one support. This service will be available to over 18s and is free, with the Health Improvement Coaches providing six one-hour sessions, which are carried out by telephone or virtually. When safe to do so they will be offered as face-to-face sessions.
The new service builds on the success of the current Health Trainer Service which has been running since 2014, and has supported 5,000 people in Wiltshire to lose weight and eat a healthy diet, increase physical activity, reduce alcohol intake, stop smoking and improve emotional wellbeing.
More information about the Wiltshire Health Improvement Hub can be found on our website at https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-trainers. Alternatively people can email or call 0300 003 4566 – option 1.
World Mental Health Day 2020
This year’s World Mental Health Day, takes place tomorrow, Saturday 10 October and the council is working with partners to remind people of how they can take steps to improve their wellbeing.
As well as the launch of the Wiltshire Health Improvement Hub highlighted above, the council is supporting Public Health England and the NHS’ Every Mind Matters programme which has been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RGCP). Every Mind Matters offers a range of resources that help spot the signs of common mental health concerns, offers practical self-care tips and guidance and, importantly, explains when to seek further support. It also has a free NHS-approved online tool the Every Mind Matters Your Mind Plan.
As half term approaches, Every Mind Matters also has a range of information to support children and young people and their parents/carers to talk about mental health and the current situation and how to navigate the COVID-19 situation.
People can find ideas and simple accessible resources, on the Wiltshire Council website at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-mental-health.
The page includes five evidence-based steps people can take to improve their mental wellbeing:
- Keep connected. We all benefit from good relationships – do you know someone who would like a chat over the phone?
- Be active, look after your physical health – people can explore a variety of ways to exercise and try new things by looking at the active communities page on our Active Communities page on our website https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/leisure-active-communities
- Take notice and appreciate what you have. Take time to look around you, what do you hear and see? Take a moment to relax and enjoy the autumnal colours.
- Keep learning. Make time for hobbies and interests
- Get involved in your community. Give to others. A smile goes a long way!
There are also a number of additional resources listed on the CCG website, that can help a person in need.
GPs can also signpost people to local support services, while also sharing their own insight, knowledge and experience.
Remembrance Day 2020
Many of you have made contact asking for information about holding safe and lawful local Remembrance events this November. We understand that government is working on providing specific guidance on Remembrance events with the Royal British Legion which will be published in due course.
An officer from the council’s Public Health team will be providing a brief to those attending the Town and Parish Council Community Update Meeting on Tuesday 13 October (1-2pm). The LGA has also created a dedicated LGA web page that brings together useful resources which we hope will help your teams in planning any local activity.
May I wish you a very enjoyable weekend.
Cllr Philip Whitehead