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

Published on Friday, 1st May 2020

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

We continue to face 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 and continue to support the food distribution hub in the borough.

Our IT Team are also working hard to ensure that from the end of May we can hold some committee meetings virtually, such as planning and cabinet, so that vital council business can still continue whilst still adhering to guidance about essential travel and social distancing.  

Action to protect the most vulnerable

hubHub

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 and other support. Since distribution started in March, we have made approximately 1100 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.

The Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service Prevention Team have also delivered just over 300 food parcels to date, this number includes out of hours support for emergency food packs delivered to residents across Nuneaton and Bedworth on behalf of NBBC, to support the function at weekends and bank holidays.

Housing our homeless

As of 29 April, and since 23rd March when the COVID19 ‘everyone in’ instruction was issued we have placed 55 households (predominately single people). This is in addition to those households we already had in temporary accommodation prior to 23rd March. The increase in homelessness is an unprecedented situation, not only here in Nuneaton and Bedworth but across the Country as a whole.

The Government have this week issued renewed guidance with regard to the allocation of Social Housing which we are reviewing to ensure we are compliant.

If you, or someone you know has nowhere to stay, and are at risk of sleeping rough please contact the council on 02476 376376 for advice. If you spot a rough sleeper please also ring this number.

Waste management

refuse workers

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, however we are looking at ways we can reintroduce this service as soon as possible.

Parks and Cemeteries

Our parks are open and our cemeteries are also once again open 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.

Continuing with key projects

In the midst of this unprecedented health issue and as part of its commitment to strive to regenerate our town centres, which is even more important in the current climate, Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and its key partner in the programme, Warwickshire County Council, continue to look to the future to deliver the Transforming Nuneaton programme.

Work has continued to bring on board a Development Partner to deliver change and improvement at the Abbey Street end of Nuneaton Town centre. With the appointment of Queensberry as its partner, the Council continues to move closer to making the transformation of Nuneaton town centre a reality and bring real opportunities to the Borough.

Queensberry is a market-leading urban regeneration company specialising in mixed use regenerations schemes across the UK.

We continue to work on our businesses cases to the Future High St and Towns Fund.

Supporting local businesses & suppliers

Business Grants Council Tax Payments

The Revenue and Systems Teams are continuing to work hard to get the applicable grants paid as soon as possible, but to do that, businesses have to complete the required form which can be found at https://www.nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk/business-grant.

So far we have been able to award over 76% of the grant money given to us by the government.

Please note that also available in these challenging times if you are self-employed or run your own business NBBC is working closely with Warwickshire County Council and other partners to offer advice and support to businesses throughout the county.

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax payments due to financial reasons, please contact us so we can discuss your options:

Recovery.section@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk to discuss payments options

Sign up now to receive faster updates on your business rates via the NBBC Portal here: www.nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk/view-bills-benefits

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

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

The Benefits and Systems Teams have been working on a range of changes announced by the government to help support people who are struggling to pay their rent and their Council Tax. We have already made changes to the Local Housing Allowance, where cases have already been credited and customers have recently received their letter notifying them of this.

Also for customers in receipt of Housing Benefit a change in the level of Working Tax Allowance has been taken account and customers have received their letters regarding this change.

We are still working hard on the new additional Hardship Payments for Council Tax and the change to the Working Tax Allowance for customers who are currently in receipt of Council Tax Support.

We will be in touch with everyone who will be affected as soon as possible. In the meantime anyone struggling Financially you can contact the Council-

Benefits.section@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk to discuss claiming assistance 

Sign up now to receive faster updates on your benefits via the NBBC Portal here: www.nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk/view-bills-benefits

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 continues to find new ways to offer access to cultural experiences with their fantastic digital interactive services. Follow @nuneatonmuseum on Facebook & Instagram or visit nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk/museum.

Again, we would like to say a big thank you to our residents for following the government advice and staying home as well as keeping the social distancing measures in place. Please continue to follow the government advice:

 

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.