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

Published on Wednesday, 26th August 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 making sure our services are 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

NBBC’s customer service centre has 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. Visitors to the Town Hall will also be required to wear a face mask in line with new government guidance. We will keep these arrangements under review. 

We continue to successfully run remote council meetings.

Continuing with key projects and some huge boosts for economic growth within the Borough!

Transforming nuneaton logo

In what will be a huge boost for Nuneaton Town centre and the Transforming Nuneaton initiative, the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) has awarded almost £900,000 to the Nuneaton Town Centre project that will regenerate part of the former Co-op store.

The Transforming Nuneaton initiative aims to improve the longer term prospects of the town centre which thrives on its retail offer. Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and its key partner in the programme, Warwickshire County Council, continue to look to the future to further progress this initiative.

The CWLEP award will benefit both the residents of the Borough and those further afield, with the creation of up to 30 jobs to support micro and small to medium sized enterprises which will bring prosperity to the Town Centre, read more about the award here.

Transforming Bedworth

Moving forward with plans to regenerate Bedworth town centre and following on from the production of the Bedworth Town Centre Visioning Document for public consultation, (which sets out an overarching strategic, long-term concept for the future physical and economic development of Bedworth town centre) the Transforming Bedworth Cross-Party Working Group will have their first meeting soon.

The group will review the Visioning Document in light of feedback received and decide which elements to prioritise in order to develop the aspirations for Transforming Bedworth.

Nuneaton residents are needed to help shape bid for millions of pounds worth of funding

MyTown Logo

With Nuneaton being one of 100 towns across the country selected to bid for funding from a Government Towns Fund initiative, we are also working on a plan of action called a Town Investment Plan, to submit for the funding.

In order to compete for the funding, a bid needs to be created to form a shortlist of projects that could be put forward, and we are asking for our residents’ help to guide what these projects should be. For further information about the campaign and to submit an idea visit www.mytownnuneaton.co.uk

Great news for economic growth across the Borough!

In addition to the award, there was more great news for economic growth in the Borough this month as we saw HelloFresh sign a lease on 230,384 sq. ft. of prime logistics space at Goodman’s Nuneaton development on Bermuda Park! Read the full story here

  HelloFresh logistics space at Goodman’s Nuneaton development on Bermuda ParkHelloFresh logistics space at Goodman’s Nuneaton development on Bermuda Park

 

Borough developments

Our new build development site at Pine Tree Road in Bedworth is making great progress, In June, modular homes were craned in and the development is due to be completed this month.

Future High Streets Fund

We have now submitted our final business case to the governments Future High Streets Fund – asking for almost £20m to transform parts of the Nuneaton Town Centre including projects at Abbey St, Bridge St, flood alleviation works and site assembly for a new transport hub. 

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. The swimming pool facilities at both centres have also now reopened for bookable lane swimming and swimming lessons. In order to maintain a safe environment, a variety of measures have been introduced across the facilities which include: booking in advance for sessions, fewer lessons at any one time to allow for to social distancing, staggered lesson times and only one parent/guardian to attend with a child to reduce the number of people in the centre. Further details, including a link to Everyone Active’s reopening measures can be found here.

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.

Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery is now open!

museum and art gallery logo

With new safety measures in place to help protect staff and visitors, the museum is now welcoming people back through the doors. Visitors need to book in advance and wear face masks, and for the time being, the museum will be closed on Thursdays and Sundays. Read the news article here for more information.

To ensure that people can access the museum’s collections outside of the building as well as in, they have also introduced a FREE Alphabet Trail Exhibition in Riversley Park! The trail takes the form of laminated images and text, one for each letter of the alphabet secured to trees, and visitors are challenged to find the whole alphabet on their visit to the park.

The tearoom at Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery in Riversley Park is open for takeaway between Tuesday and Friday from 10.30am until 4pm. For the time being there will be no access to tearoom facilities from within the museum, users will be able to access the tearoom by its entrance.

The Civic Hall Café now offering a new ‘Eat In’ service.

High street coffee bar logo

The Civic Hall have introduced a new ‘Eat In’ service. This service complements the takeaway service already in place at the café. To support access to this offer, the café will be open Monday to Thursday and closed on Fridays during August only.

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

Let's do the right thing for Nuneaton & Bedworth Wear it for Warwickshire - Face coverings

 

We continue to support 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. For more information click here

Town Centres & Markets

Non-essential stores and both Nuneaton and Bedworth markets are 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.

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
  • The Miners Welfare Park Bowls facility is open for Members of the Bedworth Ex-servicemen’s Club team only at this time.

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

Action to protect the most vulnerable

Warwickshire County Council’s hotline on 0800 408 1447 remains open for people who need urgent help to access food and well-being support during these difficult times.  Find out more here

Warwickshire's local welfare scheme also helps our most vulnerable residents at times of unavoidable crisis when they have no other means of help. The scheme provides essential help for food & energy. Find out more at: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/localwelfarescheme

Clinically extremely vulnerable people continue to have access to priority supermarket delivery slots if they registered online before 17 July.

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

Due to the suspension of the Allocations Service, following COVID 19 Government Guidance, the council commenced a programme of ‘Direct Matching’ of available vacant stock for Homeless households that were occupying temporary accommodation. This has relieved the pressure on temporary accommodation and helped to permanently rehouse those families the council has a full housing duty to under the Homelessness Legislation. By 31st July we had moved 56 households that were Direct Matched to their new homes.  At its peak, NBBC had 146 Households in temporary accommodation during the period between April and August. The reduction to 95, though still not acceptable, is a big achievement.

The Councils Allocation Service has now resumed for all normal allocations, with effect from 1st August. All applicants will now be able to express their interest in properties on the adverts on NBBC Homes.

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

We are working with our employees to make sure we can 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 is open 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.

Following a phased approach to open the facilities, all of our play areas are open with the exception of Stockingford Rec which is unfortunately closed at present due to damaged surfacing. All our green gyms are now open. Signage has been placed on playgrounds giving guidance and advice regarding their safe use. We ask that users follow Public Health England guidance concerning washing hands and maintaining social distancing on and around the facilities.

Cemeteries

Our cemeteries remain open to the public. However, funeral restrictions are in place and we ask that if visiting the cemeteries, you please adhere to the guidance here: Full coffin burials and burials of cremated remains are taking place, however as per Government guidelines there are restrictions. On Wednesday 12th August 2020, the number of mourners allowed to attend funerals increased to a total of 30. This allows for:

  • six mourners at the graveside
  • twenty fours (max) further mourners at an appropriate distance at least 5 metres away, maintaining 2m social distancing or if this is not possible, 1+m social distancing if wearing a mask

We suggest these 30 mourners should be made up of the following: 

  1. members of the person’s household
  2. close family members
  3. or if the above are unable to attend, close friends

     

    Litter

    litter

    With the summer holidays upon us 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 still 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 has been 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

    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.

    A 2nd phase application period of our Discretionary Grant Scheme ended on 10th August, and all new applications are now being assessed.

    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 herewww.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

    Help control the virus

    To protect yourself and others, when you leave home you must:

  • wash hands - keep washing your hands regularly
  • cover face - wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces
  • make space - stay at least 2 metres away from people outside your household 
  • If you are feeling unwell, get a test and do not leave home for at least 10 days and self-isolate at home with your household contacts.