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29th April 2020

COVID-19 update from Wiltshire Council

COVID-19 UPDATE – Tuesday 28 April 2020

Good evening

Please see the latest update regarding COVID-19:
PPE
As you are aware, PPE supply and distribution continues to be an issue of national importance at this time. As Wiltshire Council recently had a PPE delivery, staff were able to respond to an urgent call from the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath and provide 4,500 FFP3 face masks to support the hospital’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19.

The RUH has a key role to play in the wellbeing of many residents from Wiltshire, and we know that by working together we are all much stronger and more prepared to deal with the challenges we face. The hospital was hugely grateful for the support received and the council continues to work with partners in our collective efforts to be effective and resilient in these unprecedented times, ensuring we have supplies for all critical services requiring PPE.

Public Health England has published a PPE resource for care workers delivering homecare during the outbreak. This resource is primarily for care workers and providers delivering domiciliary care in visiting homecare, extra care housing and live-in homecare. This provides further guidance written specifically for the social care frontline services.
Independent Education Appeals Panels

The council is looking for volunteer members to sit on its Independent Education Appeals Panel which hear appeals submitted by parents and guardians as a result of a child being refused a place at their preferred school, or as a result of exclusion from school.
Panel members can either be:

• Lay members - with no previous experience of working in education necessary
• Education members - who are familiar with the education system.

Full training is provided, and travel expenses are covered for meetings held across the county.

The Independent Education Appeals Panel are planning to undertake meetings remotely/online, during the coronavirus pandemic. For more information please contact educationappealsadmin@wiltshire.gov.uk or Tara Shannon (Appeals Clerk) 01225 718352. Please could you share this information with anyone who may be interested in volunteering.

Business support update

Grant schemes administered by the Council
We have received around 7,300 grant forms which are currently being processed. So far, over £63 million has been issued to support over 5,400 local businesses through these challenging times. The contact centre has directly supported over 2,000 business.

We estimate around 2,000 businesses have not yet applied for a grant and we are contacting these businesses by telephone or email to encourage them to apply. A dedicated team are having to do more detailed work around 1,300 of these businesses where we do not have up to date information or contact details.

We are also contacting 150 additional businesses which we believe are now eligible for a grant following changes to the eligibility criteria by the government. In addition, there are around 160 businesses that have multiple properties and we are contacting them to request they complete individual grant forms for each rateable property.

If businesses think they are eligible they should apply asap at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/business-advice-support-covid19

Grant League Table
The Government is updating the grant league table on a weekly basis. The following update was issued last night:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-grant-funding-local-authority-payments-to-small-and-medium-businesses?utm_source=fc3c13f3-2f86-472d-a9a4-904f2c11276f&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan
Yesterday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.
Called the Bounce Back Loans Scheme, it will provide loans of up to £50,000 to help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
• businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days
• loans will be interest free for the first 12 months
The loans will be easy to apply for through a short, standardised online application. The loan should reach businesses within days - providing immediate support to those that need it as easily as possible.
The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders. The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.
Further information about the Bounce Back Loans Scheme can be found here.
VE Day 2020
The council has created a special VE Day at home pack to help residents of all ages celebrate and mark the 75th anniversary of this historic moment in time.

With social distancing measures still in place, the pack contains simple advice and suggestions to have a household garden party on 8 May, which this year is a bank holiday.

While we know that this year’s celebrations won’t be the same as any other, we hope that marking VE Day in some way will provide a little distraction from what we’re all going through at the moment. The special pack can be downloaded from the Wiltshire Council website at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus and it contains something for the whole family; including themed recipe ideas, a World War II/VE Day quiz and wordsearch, some suggested e-reading materials from the council’s library service, craft ideas on how to make bunting and paperchains, 1940s-inspired games and songs to sing to keep the family entertained.

Of course, the most important thing is that the day will provide an opportunity for us all to reflect and to thank and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who fought so hard to make that moment in 1945 possible – we owe them so much.

Wellbeing Hub update

The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub is continuing to work at pace to provide support and guidance for the most vulnerable members of our community.

The Wellbeing hub has to date:

• delivered over 853 food parcels
• contacted over 10,398 people
• received 2,853 calls
• received 1,263 emails

I’d like to reiterate my thanks for the fantastic work that you, partners, voluntary groups and many individuals are undertaking throughout the county for our most vulnerable members of the community. The collective effort from the outset have been fantastic and it bears testament to the spirit of Wiltshire to support one another and get through this crisis. I do believe we will be a stronger community after COVID-19 than before from the connections and relationships built at this time.

Regards

Cllr Philip Whitehead

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