This week’s news from South Staffordshire Council.
- Protect against flu
Every year, the annual NHS flu vaccination is available to help protect adults and children at risk from flu and its complications. With COVID-19 still in circulation, it’s important that as many people as possible get vaccinated for flu this autumn to protect the most vulnerable and reduce the number of people needing flu treatment from the NHS. This year, the flu vaccination programme has been expanded and more people are eligible for free flu jabs. The flu can be a serious disease and by getting the vaccine, you will be protecting yourself as well as your loved ones. Visit the NHS website to find out more about the flu vaccine and visit your GP practice website or speak to your pharmacy about booking a flu vaccination. High street chemists and most of the leading supermarkets also offer the vaccination to any adult at varying costs.
- Improvements carried out at local nature reserve
A nature reserve next to the i54 South Staffordshire western extension site has undergone a £50,000 improvement scheme thanks to the site development team. Pendeford Hall Nature Reserve received the money through a planning agreement to help continue and develop its education, health and wellbeing, and personal and social skills development outdoor activities for local communities. Visit the i54 online website to find out more.
- Quit smoking this Stoptober
Stopping smoking is one of the best things you’ll ever do for your health. It’s never too late to quit and this year’s Stoptober campaign features a range of information and support on quitting, including a free Stoptober App. The sooner you quit, the sooner you’ll notice changes to your body and the positive benefits that quitting smoking has on lung health. Many people try to quit smoking with willpower alone, but it’s much easier with the right help so take a look at the support that’s available and visit the NHS Better Health website for more information.
- Staffordshire History Festival
The annual Staffordshire History Festival continues its two-month celebration of local history and cultural heritage in Staffordshire and beyond. This year’s festival is a virtual programme and information about how to participate is being posted on Staffordshire Libraries Facebook page during the festival.
- COVID-19 update
Protect #South Staffordshire and help avoid a local lockdown
With the district now experiencing an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, please observe social distancing guidance and follow the rule of six to avoid a local lockdown. Remember to Wash hands, cover face, make space.
Information about face coverings – When to wear one, exemption cards, enforcement measures for failing to comply with the law, and how to make your own. In England, you must wear a face covering by law in a number of indoor settings and face coverings now need to be worn by staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality except when seated at a table to eat or drink. The penalty for failing to wear a face covering or breaking the rule of six is £200 for a first offence and there are fines of up to £10,000 for those who fail to self-isolate.
Information about meeting others safely – Social distancing, the rule of six, and COVID-Secure guidelines. The rule of six means that people cannot meet socially in groups of more than six people. This applies in any setting, indoors or outdoors but does not apply to schools and workplaces. COVID-Secure weddings and funerals are exempt and up to 15 people are able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions and up to 30 people can attend a funeral. Adult indoor team sports are no longer exempt and the planned return of spectators to large sporting events/venues and business conferences/exhibitions has been paused.
Information about what you can and can’t do – Frequently asked questions about social contact, visiting public places and taking part in activities, clinically vulnerable groups and clinically extremely vulnerable groups, and care homes, going to work and being COVID-19 Secure, workers’ rights, public transport, and schools and childcare.
The latest West Midlands local restrictions advice for residents – Wolverhampton is one of a growing list of towns and cities placed under COVID-19 lockdown measures. South Staffordshire residents can travel to these areas for work, school, shopping or leisure activities. However, residents are not allowed to visit homes in these areas unless it is for work or the household is part of your support bubble. Likewise, if you live in any of the affected areas you can travel to South Staffordshire but you must not meet socially with residents in their homes or gardens unless they are in your single support bubble.
South Staffordshire is not currently one of the areas affected by the Government’s latest COVID-19 restrictions. However, South Staffordshire residents travelling out of the county need to be aware there are high levels of COVID-19 in Birmingham, Solihull, Sandwell and Wolverhampton and they need to consider this when making social visits to these areas to meet with friends or family. Vulnerable people do not need to shield, unless they are within a local lockdown area.
Information about NHS test and trace – The NHS test and trace service is a vital tool and helps control the spread of coronavirus. To get a test, you will need to apply online or call 119 and the test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud. If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be asked where you’ve been recently and who you have been in close contact with. This will help the NHS contact anyone who may have caught the virus from you. All information you provide is confidential and no one who is contacted will be told your identity. Anyone you’ve been in close contact with will be told to stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days. This is because it can take up to 14 days for coronavirus symptoms to appear.
Information about the NHS COVID-19 app – Following last Thursday’s launch, over 10 million people in England and Wales downloaded the NHS COVID-19 app over the first weekend. This app is an integral part of the test and trace programme and is the fastest way of knowing when you are at risk from coronavirus. It is available to download on smartphones from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
What the app does:
- It alerts you if you’ve been near other app users who have tested positive or coronavirus.
- Lets you know the level of coronavirus risk in your postcode district.
- Alerts you if you have visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus.
- Provides a checklist of coronavirus symptoms to see if you need to order a free test.
- Helps you book a test and get your result quickly.
- If you need to self-isolate, it keeps track of your self-isolation countdown and provides relevant advice.
The app includes a QR Code tool that scans QR Codes on posters that businesses have been asked to add to their premises, making the process of data collection easier for both customers and businesses. Customers simply scan the code with their smartphone and this registers their visit. It means that anyone using the premises can be contacted in the event of a coronavirus outbreak and will help contact tracing efforts.
- Coronavirus support and advice for businesses
- Business webinar – change of date – Run in partnership with Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, the Council’s next business webinar will now take place on Tuesday 13 October 2020 at 2pm. The subject of the webinar is ‘Selecting Your Marketing Mix – For Business Revival’ and this interactive session will guide you through your marketing strategy. Register here for the webinar.
- Recent measures – All hospitality venues must close by 10pm and all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate a table service only except for takeaways. In retail, leisure and tourism, and other sectors, the COVID Secure guidelines are legal obligations. Businesses could be fined/closed if they breach the rules.
- New resources added to Council’s business toolkit – This week, additional posters about face coverings and hand sanitisers have been added to the Council’s online bank of resources on its website. Businesses can download and print the posters and signs free of charge, and display them in their place of business.
- Leisure Services update
- Wombourne Leisure Centre – Swimming lessons are due to restart at the leisure centre next week and full details will be circulated over the next few days together with a short video to show participants what to expect. Once we are happy that everything is going well, we will plan to restart swimming lessons at Codsall Leisure Centre.
- Winners announced – loyalty rewards
This week, the Council’s Leisure Centres held a prize draw for members with prizes including a Fitbit Charge 3, Lean in 15 cookbook, resistance bands, and bottles and towels.
Congratulations to the winners of the Fitbits who you can see here:
Cheslyn Hay Leisure Centre – Jennifer Selvey.
Codsall Leisure Centre – Jane Woolf.
Penkridge Leisure Centre – Ronald Campbell.
Wombourne Leisure Centre – Lynda Deeney.
- Additional safety measures for children’s play area at Baggeridge
Since the new play area opened this summer at Baggeridge Country Park, we have been delighted to see so many people enjoying the new facility. Due to the play area proving to be so popular, we have closely monitored usage and made the decision to add additional safety measures, which includes staffing the facility at weekends. To ensure the play area remains safe for everyone to use, the following guidelines will apply from Saturday 3 October 2020:
- The play area will be restricted to a maximum of 50 people. Children and supervising adults will only be able to access the facility on the hour and play time will be restricted to 50 minutes per session to give everyone the chance to use the play area. At the end of every 50-minute session the play area will be cleared, ready for the next visitors.
- If you are using the NHS COVID-19 app on your smartphone, please scan the QR Code poster at the play area on arrival. If you do not have access to the app, please leave your name and contact details.
- Please sanitise your hands when you enter and leave the play area.
- Seasonal opening hours for cemeteries
From Thursday 1 October 2020, the closing times will be changing to 4.30pm at Sytch Lane Cemetery in Wombourne and Strawberry Lane Cemetery in Great Wyrley. Both cemeteries are open every day of the year for visitors at the above times and for funerals Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) between 9am and 3pm.
Seasonal opening and closing hours for the cemeteries are:
9am to 4.30pm from 1 October to 31 March.
9am to 8pm from 1 April to 30 September.
- Support Staffordshire training dates
Funded by Staffordshire County Council, here is information and training dates for online virtual ‘Supportive Communities’ training sessions to gain new knowledge and skills in supporting older people.
- Free online behaviour and wellbeing workshops
October Behaviour and Wellbeing Programmes for South Staffordshire – run by the Family Support Service by SCTSP (Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Support Project) in Partnership with Staffordshire County Council.
- Together we win!
Last weekend, the South Staffordshire Community Lottery had a £250 winner! Congratulations to our winner and good luck everyone this weekend. Now more than ever, good causes in South Staffordshire need your support. One way you can help is by buying a lottery ticket in our weekly Community Lottery and as well as supporting a good cause you might even win a cash prize ranging from £25 up to a jackpot of £25,000. To buy a lottery ticket, simply register on the website www.southstaffslottery.co.uk or telephone 01902 213777. The next super draw also takes place on 31 October 2020 so there’s a chance to win a family forest staycation voucher worth £500 too, redeemable with Forest Holidays.
- Council job vacancies
- Benefit Assessment Officer – application information.
Closing date – 9 October 2020.
- Next week’s Council Committee/Panel meetings
- Wellbeing Select Committee – Tuesday 6 October 2020 – 5.30pm – virtual meeting on Teams.
- Personal Development Review and Appointments Panel – Wednesday 7 October 2020 – 2pm – virtual meeting on Teams.
Members of the public can virtually attend these meetings via Microsoft Teams – links can be found in the news section on the Council’s website at www.sstaffs.gov.uk.
Everyone is encouraged to submit news items, please email: email@example.com