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

Published on Wednesday, 29th July 2020

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

We continue to face an unprecedented time and a situation that is still fast moving and constantly evolving. Whilst the safety of the public and our employees is still our top priority, we are now also turning our attention to how we can get our services fully up and running where possible, in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions nationally. We will only do this where it is safe to do so and in line with government guidelines at all times.

Keeping our services running

Following the recent lifting of lockdown restrictions NBBC’s customer service centre has put in place an appointment system for residents to see an advisor at Nuneaton Town Hall.

The majority of council services can be accessed online or over the phone. If this is not possible, an appointment can be made Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm by calling 02476 376376.

In order that social distancing can be maintained and to limit the number of people within the building, the appointments will be spread throughout the day. To help ensure the safety of staff and customers there is also hand sanitiser available on entry, protective screens and a one way system in place to reduce contact. We will keep these arrangements under review. 

We continue to successfully run remote council meetings.

Leisure Facilities

As part of a phased reopening, Bedworth Leisure Centre and Pingles Leisure Centre reopened their doors on Saturday 25 July 2020 for gym access only at this time. The swimming pool facilities at both centres will open on 22nd August. All customers will be communicated to directly regarding the details, including timetable and programming changes.

Jubilee Sports Centre reopened with limited opening hours on Monday 27th July 2020 for group exercise classes only at this time, all other facilities at the centre will initially remain closed. Etone Sports Centre will remain closed for the time being. This is a steady and phased approach to re-opening which takes in to account the safety of all customers and colleagues as well as consideration for local resident’s health and well-being. All activities need to be pre-booked through an online booking facility here. Read full press release here.

Town Centres & Markets

Non-essential stores and both Nuneaton and Bedworth markets are now open. We have worked hard to ensure that appropriate measures are in place to facilitate the 

safe reopening of our town centres. We would ask for your support and understanding in adhering to precautions such as social distancing markers and following direction arrows on pavements to ensure a safe shopping experience and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

All car parks, with the exception of Harefield Road Car Park which is still being used to support Covid-19 mobile testing are open. Public toilets are also open.  

The new section of the town centres website visitnuneatonandbedworth.co.uk  provides a point of contact for local business to access support and also gives details of any trading restrictions for stores.

Let’s do the right thing for Nuneaton and Bedworth!

We are supporting Warwickshire County Council in their new campaign - ‘let’s do the Right Thing for Warwickshire’ – which seeks to ensure that the public is clear around the guidance for keeping individuals and communities safe from Covid-19.

As restrictions have been lifting, feedback has shown that some people are not always clear about the message that the pandemic is not over. This new campaign aims to ensure that residents are clear about the steps they need to take to keep the county safe, to stop the spread of the virus and to bring communities together, to help them understand the importance of the role they play.

A photoshoot took place in Nuneaton last week to emphasise the importance of wearing a face covering and remind people that from Friday 24 July face coverings are mandatory in shops in England. Below are some photos from the day, thanks to all who took part!

WCC

Sports facilities

The following council sports facilities within our parks and open spaces are open for use in line with the government guidelines which can be found here.

  • Tennis / Netball courts (excluding those at The Pingles Leisure Centre, which remain closed at this time)
  • Pingles Running Track – bookings only, please visit www.thepinglesstadium.com
  • Basketball courts (within Multi-Use Games Areas)
  • Golf, Foot Golf and Disc Golf courses

Please note that there is currently no equipment provision and users will need to bring their own.

Civic Hall / Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery

A NEW Takeaway service is now open at the Civic Hall High Street Coffee Bar in Bedworth offering a selection of food and drinks from Tuesday to Friday, from 9am until 1.30pm.

The tearoom at Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery in Riversley Park is also now open for takeaway between Tuesday and Friday from 10.30am until 4pm.

Read the article here for more details.

Action to protect the most vulnerable

If you are in receipt of Government provided food boxes and medicine deliveries, you will continue to receive this support until the end of July.

What support is available to people who are shielding until the end of July?

Essential supplies

There are a number of ways that those who are shielding can access food and other essentials:

  • Make use of the supermarket priority delivery slots that are available for this group. When a clinically extremely vulnerable person registers online as needing support with food, their data is shared with supermarkets. This means if they make an online order with a supermarket (as both a new or existing customer), they will be eligible for a priority slot.
  • Use the many commercial options now available for accessing food, including telephone ordering, food box delivery, prepared meal delivery and other non-supermarket food delivery providers. See list here
  • A free, standardised weekly parcel of food and household essentials. If you have registered for this support online before 17 July you will continue to receive weekly food box deliveries until the end of July.
  • If you need urgent help and have no other means of support, contact your local council to find out what support services are available in their area.

If you have the means to pay for food we can help you begin the return to normality by using these services - you won’t need to leave your home. Call the hotline on 0800 408 1447 for help to access Tesco, Iceland or Morrisons.

Please be reassured that we will continue to support those who need help whilst isolated. If you have concerns about getting food, or need any other information and advice to help you stay safe and healthy, please call the hotline on 0800 408 1447 or NBBC on 02476 376376, visit warwickshire.gov.uk/coronavirusvulnerable for more information.

What support will be available after July?

From 1 August, clinically extremely vulnerable people will continue to have access to priority supermarket delivery slots if you have registered online before 17 July for a priority delivery slot.

NHS Volunteer Responders will also continue to offer support to those who need it, including collecting and delivering food and medicines.

The NHS Volunteer Responders Scheme has been expanded to offer a new Check in and Chat Plus role. This new role has been designed to provide support and companionship to people who are shielding as they adapt to a more normal way of life.

If you are vulnerable or at risk and need help with shopping, medication or other essential supplies, please call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm). 

Government is committed to supporting local councils and voluntary sector organisations to respond to those who have specific support needs and requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Details of the support and advice available.

The updated shielding guidance should not affect any social care or support you were receiving prior to the start of shielding. 

Individuals should continue to contact their local council if they have any ongoing social care needs.

NHS Volunteer Responders can support you with:

  • Collecting shopping, medication (if your friends and family cannot collect them for you) or other essential supplies;
  • A regular, friendly phone call which can be provided by different volunteers each time or by someone who is also shielding and will stay in contact for several weeks; and
  • Transport to medical appointment.

Please call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm to arrange support or speak to your health care professional for transport support. A carer or family member can also do this on their behalf.

More information on NHS Volunteer Responders.

For a full list of help available for isolated, vulnerable residents in Warwickshire click here

Housing our homeless

Between 23rd March, when the COVID19 ‘everyone in’ instruction was issued, and 22nd July, we have placed 167 households (households include single person households) into temporary accommodation. This is in addition to those households we already had in temporary accommodation prior to 23rd March. The significant increase in homelessness is an unprecedented situation, not only here in Nuneaton and Bedworth but across the Country as a whole, primarily due to the need to bring rough sleepers in from the streets, and also due to a range of pressures facing families in the present situation, resulting in breakdowns in relationships and consequential loss of accommodation. Of the 167 accommodated since 23rd March, 67 remain in temporary accommodation, in addition to a further 25 households that were already in temporary homelessness accommodation. The Council had 92 Households occupying temporary accommodation as at 20th July 2020.

The Council has used a number of its empty properties, furnished and fitted out for temporary self-contained accommodation, enabling households with children in particular, to be able to self-isolate should they need to and to also reduce the risk of infection. The Council’s own Homeless Hostels are predominately occupied now by single person households only, and this is an aim that we will continue to endeavour to achieve.

Following the suspension of the Allocations Service, the council is continuing to ‘Direct Match’ Homeless households to available, unallocated and suitable empty properties. This will relieve the pressure on temporary accommodation and help to permanently rehouse those families the council has a full housing duty to under the Homelessness Legislation. To date we have moved 50 households that were Direct Matched to their new homes. A further 7 homeless households, currently in temporary accommodation, will be direct matched to social housing units in the coming week and will move to their new home in due course.

The Councils Allocation Service will resume for normal allocations with effect from 1st August. Applicants on NBBC Homes will see adverts start to be uploaded from that date onwards.

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.

Housing repairs service

Last month, we began working with our employees to make sure we could provide a safe service to our residents.  In consultation with our teams, we have undertaken risk assessments so that we can resume internal repairs in the safest possible way. This is a gradual process as we start to get through the back log of non-emergency repairs caused by COVID-19. Residents are being contacted by our repairs team well in advance of any works being carried out.

If however any resident would like to check the progress of their repair they can call our repairs team on 02476 376344 who will be happy to provide them with an update.

It continues to be a priority to protect residents and our employees from potential threats of COVID-19. All our operatives have full PPE and adhere to social distancing wherever practical.

Waste management

Our bin collection services are all running as normal. We have seen an increase in waste presented for collection over the past few months, due to more of our residents being at home. We are 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.

Judkins Recycling Centre in Nuneaton has reopened and you can book for essential visits here. If there are no spaces available for the days/times you need, consider booking in at Lower House Farm Recycling Centre in Atherstone instead - at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/hwrc

The bulky waste collection service is being carried out with certain precautions and restrictions in place to ensure the service can be carried out safely. Please visit the website to read the guidance and make a booking.

Play areas & green gyms

Our parks and open spaces are open for public use, however, people need to follow Government advice to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure that we can continue to keep these areas open.

Children’s play areas & green gyms are being re-opened on a phased approach across the Borough, supporting social distancing and Government guidelines. Local community park facilities were the first to be opened and by the end of week commencing 27 July the rest of the facilities will be open, with the Miners’ Welfare

and Riversley Park play areas being amongst the last to re-open to support social distancing.

Signage has been placed on playgrounds giving guidance and advice regarding their safe use. Users will be asked to follow Public Health England guidance concerning washing hands and maintaining social distancing on and around the facilities.

Litter

litter

Despite previous press releases, social media, additional resource to litter pick/cleanse and requests for users to think about where they leave their litter when visiting our parks, the battle continues for the Council and its partners to have to clean up afterwards.

With the schools now formally finished for the summer holidays and our play areas back open, we are trying to keep the areas clean, litter and glass free to protect users, but we are still experiencing ongoing problems.

Your help and support is needed to protect our PARKS, ENVIRONMENT and WILDLIFE more than ever.

If a bin is full people should take their rubbish home with them and dispose of or recycle it appropriately. New signage will begin to be installed in prominent places across the Borough to help support the on-going campaign of keeping our parks and green spaces clean and tidy for all.

The risks from Coronavirus remain and guidance on social distancing is still that where possible you should keep your distance from people not in your household (2 metres apart where possible) and wash your hands regularly.

Grounds Maintenance

Full delivery of our grounds maintenance operations is now in place. To find out when maintenance operations are due in your area, details can be found on our contractor’s microsite: nuneatonandbedworth.glendalelocal.co.uk/glendale-live

Continuing with key projects

Last month, we craned in the modular homes for our new build development site at Pine Tree Road in Bedworth, which consists of semi-detached houses and apartments and is scheduled to be completed by early August.

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.

To deliver change and improvement at the Abbey Street end of Nuneaton Town centre, market-leading urban regeneration company, the Council is working with our recently appointed development partner “Queensberry”.

The Council will be submitting its final Business Case to the Future High Streets Fund by 31st July. This is asking for over £20m to transform the Abbey St and Bridge St areas of Nuneaton Town Centre, and to start land assembly for a new and improved Transport Hub.

Supporting local businesses & suppliers

Discretionary Grant Fund Scheme for Businesses

Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council continues to support as many businesses as possible through its Discretionary Grant Scheme. The scheme is to enable businesses to retain employment and provide support to get through this challenging period.

We are pleased to announce that we have now opened a 2nd phase application period of our Discretionary Grant Scheme which will end on 10th August at 5:00pm, after which all new applications will be assessed.

To offer support to more businesses within the borough, we have been able to increase the size of eligible properties as below.

  • Businesses which occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments up to £71,000

Please note, that all other criteria has remained the same and must be met and can be found in our policy at www.nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk

If you have any questions please contact the Revenue Team on NDR@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk where one of the team will be able to assist you.

Under this scheme, the Council has so far made payments equating to £471,000 to help small businesses across the Borough that have suffered a significant fall in income due to coronavirus.

This scheme has proven to be popular with 145 applications being received from small businesses within the Borough. This financial support will help businesses to continue to move forward during this difficult period of economic recovery.

Business advice

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 our Suppliers

We want to reassure you that Nuneaton and Bedworth Council is treating the payment of its suppliers as a critical process.

We recognise that COVID-19 is unprecedented and has had a significant impact on our suppliers of all sizes therefore, if you currently send paper invoices to Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, we ask that you switch to sending invoices electronically. Paper invoices received through the post will of course continue to be processed, but may inevitably take longer.

Please email your invoices to invoices@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk with all necessary supporting documents.  This will help us reduce any delays in processing for payment.

Please note that this mailbox is for invoices only, if your query relates to anything else relating to payment of invoices then please email creditors@nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk.

For any other queries, please ensure that you email the correct department – contact details can be found on other pages within our website: www.nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk

Supporting residents and key workers

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

The Benefits Team have been constantly working on a range of changes introduced by the government since April 2020 to help support people who are struggling to pay their rent and their Council Tax.

We have awarded credits to Council Tax Support Customer Accounts and adjusted customers Housing Benefit Claims following the changes to the local Housing Allowance.

In the meantime if you are 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

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.

Government guidance is being updated regularly, to stay up to date with the latest advice please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Stay alert

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance from people not in your household (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.