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Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s response to Coronavirus – Update

Published on Saturday, 25th April 2020

An update from the Leader, Cllr Julie Jackson, Brent Davis – Executive Director – Operations and Simone Hines – Executive Director – Resources.

We are facing an unprecedented times and a situation that is fast moving and constantly evolving. The safety of the public and our staff, together with providing as much support as we can to residents, remain our top priorities and we are striving to keep key services operational during this on-going COVID-19 crisis.

Keeping our services running

Council staff continue to support local residents and keep essential services running despite the challenges faced during this worrying time. Staff have been re-deployed into different areas to facilitate specific needs as they arise.

Action to protect the most vulnerable

NBBC continues to work in partnership with organisations across Warwickshire to maintain a food distribution hub centre in the Borough and a local helpline to ensure our most vulnerable residents have access to vital supplies. Since distribution started in March, we have made 833 deliveries of essential food and information packages to those most in need.

If you have been identified as extremely vulnerable, are facing issues related to isolation or have no access to food & support and need help please call 0800 4081447 or NBBC on 02476 376376, visit warwickshire.gov.uk/coronavirusvulnerable for more information.

Housing our homeless

Since March 2020, the Council’s Housing Solutions Team have been dealing with an increasing flow of homelessness households (including single person households). Individuals who were previously sofa surfing and able to stay with friends and family, those at risk of, and experiencing domestic abuse, relationship breakdowns and all of the varying situations that you would expect due to an unprecedented crisis that is causing financial and emotional stresses for individuals and their families.

As a result we currently have the highest number of households we have ever experienced in temporary accommodation. In order to limit the use of shared accommodation we are using some of the Council’s void properties as self-contained temporary accommodation- prioritizing families with children first and foremost. This is a mammoth task which involves several service areas within the Council to achieve.

The Housing Solutions Team are also working closely with colleagues from Warwickshire County Council, Public Health, P3, Doorway, CGL, and Together to both ensure health and safety complies with the Governments COVID-19 guidance for temporary accommodation, and that appropriate support is available for the individuals in occupation, so that as far as is practicably possible, social distancing and self-isolation can be facilitated. 

Waste management

Our bin collection services are all running as normal. We are seeing an increase in waste presented for collection due to more of our residents being at home, which is causing some additional pressure to service delivery. We are therefore asking our residents to please ensure everything that can be recycled is (please visit nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk/recycleright for the guide to recycling at home), and we also ask that composting at home is utilised where possible; especially if residents are not signed up to the green bin service - Warwickshire County Council offer composter deals with delivery to your door, please visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/composting for more information. We also please ask that residents continue to ensure bins are presented by 7am on collection day, as collection times may vary.

Rather than starting the working day at the Council’s Depot, our cleansing operatives are travelling direct to their litter picking routes in order to reduce personnel at the Council’s operational depot, and bin collection operatives are being collected on route where possible.

The bulky waste collection service continues to be suspended so that we can utilise staff to support other essential services.

Parks and Cemeteries

Our parks are open and following the guidance from central government and announcement from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, we have now re-opened our cemeteries to the public. There are still restrictions on numbers attending funerals within our cemeteries, restricted currently to 10, but this may change based on future government guidance.

Supporting local businesses & suppliers

The Council’s Revenues Service have been working hard to administer help for small businesses to help them deal with the impact of Covid-19. We have sent new Business Rates bills to all those businesses that were eligible for the expanded small business and retail relief and we are now processing the small business grant payments. Payments are continuing to be sent out – almost £16m (75% of our total Government allocation) has been paid out so far to over 1,200 businesses.

We have also switched to sending orders to, receiving invoices from, and making payments to suppliers electronically to help speed up payments and are continuing to support our market traders with the suspension of market rent to help reduce the financial strain that traders may face.

We have issued advice for businesses of the action they need to take to avoid the growth of Legionella bacteria in their water systems whilst the business is closed, read the article here.

Supporting residents and key workers

We continue to support people who are struggling to pay their rent and their Council Tax and offer payments to be spread over 12 monthly instalments instead of 10. Customers can receive faster updates on benefits and business rates by signing up to receive Electronic notifications/bills via an NBBC portal. We are also working on implementing the governments Council Tax Hardship scheme.

NBBC continue to offer free parking in all of the NBBC run car parks across the Borough to support all public sector essential workers.

Staying safe & connected

As well as our social media channels, we have a wealth of information on our website to keep you up to date with service disruptions as well as links to government services and third party advice including advice on domestic abuse, how to avoid scams, ways to look after your mental health, and staying active as well as much more. Follow @NBBCouncil on Twitter & Facebook or visit nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk/coronavirus.

The Museum & Art Gallery also continues to find new ways to offer access to cultural experiences with some fantastic digital interactive services, most recently with cherished artworks from their collections in the form of online jigsaws! The perfect activity to inspire mindfulness, relaxation and reflection; especially important in these times of uncertainty. Follow @nuneatonmuseum on Facebook & Instagram or visit nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk/museum.

We would like to thank our residents for their efforts in keeping the social distancing measures in place. We know it is tough for people at this challenging time, and we are all missing our loved ones, however we ask that our residents keep following the government advice to stay home and continue to practice social distancing measures so that we don’t undo all that has been achieved so far.

Please continue to stay at home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.