What's the latest news? You will find here news worthy topics that we feel may be of interest to the community
03 April 2020HELP KEEP OUR FARMER SAFE
01 April 2020COPELAND COUNCIL'S COVERAGE IN TODAYS WHITEHAVEN NEWS
Please click on the links below to see Copeland Council’s coverage in today’s Whitehaven News.
They have produced a two-page spread which collates all of our key advice and information for residents and businesses.
Please share them widely in your communities. They are in a print-friendly version so please print them off if you can for those without access to computers, and work with the voluntary groups in your areas to distribute them as widely as possible.
01 April 2020EMERGENCY FUNDS FOR RURAL COMMUNITY GROUPS, FARMING HELP AND SUSTAINABLE BURSARY
Please click on the link to find out more about emergency funding
If interested please contact the Princes Counrtyside Fund directly via the link
01 April 2020Latest update on the support available to vulnerable people needing ‘urgent’ help in Cumbria
COVID-19 - Briefing Note
Latest update on the support available to vulnerable people needing ‘urgent’ help in Cumbria
Date - 30 March 2020
In Cumbria there is a range of support and advice available to individuals and families affected. Due to the range of support available nationally from the Government and locally from the Councils, Partners, Voluntary and Third sector – this is a complicated picture.
Cumbria is fortunate to have widespread community and voluntary sector support for the response to COVID-19 and informal support, including neighbourhood WhatsApp groups and community Facebook groups, alongside a commitment from existing community emergency planning groups, local churches and faith groups and formal voluntary sector organisations who are working with councils and NHS.
This briefing note has been produced to help explain the support available in easy terms. It is aimed at council staff, volunteers, partners and the voluntary and third sector.
Level One – Support for anyone advised directly from Government or from their GP to self-isolate for 12 weeks
Government Support – The government is providing a weekly free food parcels as part of its “shielding” strategy. Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable by minimising all interaction between those who are extremely vulnerable and others. If you fall within one of these groups of people, you should have received letter from the NHS informing you of the steps that you should be following and you will be asked to register your needs. If you aren’t able to register online, you can also call the national number 0800 028 8327.
Wherever possible you should talk to your friends, family and neighbours about what support they can give you. If you aren’t able to do this, you can register for support through the Government for food or medicines.
The Government are working with pharmacies to help them deliver medicines and prescriptions. Food parcels will be delivered to their door directly as arranged by Government.
Emergency Supplies for People Shielding
For anyone who has been advised to shield and HAS NOT received their free food parcel and needs urgent food, Cumbria County Council has been allocated a small supply, just in excess of 100 basic food parcels, to be allocated out on an emergency basis. The way to access these emergency parcels is 0800 783 1966 or email COVID19support@cumbria.gov.uk.
Level two – Support for anyone in Cumbria that is at increased risk of becoming seriously ill, as a result of COVID-19 (high risk groups) and who do not have support available from friends, family or neighbours.
Local Support within Communities
Those at high risk include people over 70 years old, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions who have been asked to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. The majority of these people will already be receiving support from family, friends or local voluntary groups or using online services. But we know that a small number of people will not have this support or will not have access to online shopping.
If you have no alternative support, you can call the Cumbria County Council Freephone number to request help with getting food, medicines and essential supplies.
To access this support individuals contact the Emergency telephone support line is 0800 783 1966 or email COVID19support@cumbria.gov.uk.
Once registered your details will be passed to a local hub where Cumbria County Council, District Councils, CVS, Cumbria Community Foundation, community and voluntary sector, private sector and military are working together to coordinate the support. Requests received asking for help will then be matched with local support and supplies being offered by community groups, volunteers, councils and businesses.
Cumbria levels of Support
01 April 2020ADDITIONAL BED CAPACITY CREATED FOR CUMRIAN HOSPITALS
Release For immediate release
Additional bed capacity created for Cumbrian hospitals
Following is released on behalf of the multi-agency Cumbria Strategic Co-ordination Group
A video of ACC Slattery speaking on the additional beds is available for download and use.
30 March 2020New emergency support line launched for vulnerable people
Today (Monday 30 March) Cumbria County Council and partners have launched a new emergency support service for people at high risk of becoming seriously ill, as a result of COVID-19, and who do not have support available from friends, family or neighbours.
Those at high risk include people over 70 years old, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions who should be protecting themselves by staying at home. The majority of these people will already be receiving support from family, friends or local voluntary groups with tasks like shopping or collection of medicines if they require it. But we know that a small number of people will not have this support. If they have no alternative, these people will now be able to call the Freephone number to request help with getting food, medicines, essential supplies and home deliveries.
Cumbria County Council has been working closely with District Council, CVS, Cumbria Community Foundation, community and voluntary sector, private sector and military to establish these new arrangements. To support the new helpline every district is coordinating a supply of essential food, medicines and supplies which can only be accessed via the emergency helpline or email. The requests received asking for help will then be matched with local support and supplies being offered by community groups, volunteers, councils and businesses.
The Emergency telephone support line is 0800 783 1966
Or you can email your request for help to COVID19support@cumbria.gov.uk
Further details about this support service can be found online at Cumbria.gov.uk.
The telephone ‘call’ centre will operate Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5pm and 10am to 2pm at weekends. The service will also accepts referrals from members of the public who may be concerned about people in their community.
please follow the link for more information
25 March 2020WHATSAPP PARISH COMMUNINCATION DURING CORONAVIRUS
The Irton with Santon community group has been set up by the Parish Council in response to coronavirus.
It is intended for the local community as an information exchange, for requests/offers of help and simply as another way of keeping in touch.
If people wish to join they need to dowload WhatsApp and should email Ian Warren with their name, mobile number and postal address. email@example.com
NB: Please not that all grouop posts with be seen by all group members as will the phone numbers of all group members.
25 March 2020Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do - GOV.UK
CORONAVIRUS ALERT - NEW RULES IN FORCE : YOU MUST STAY AT HOME. MORE INFO& EXEMPTIONS AT
25 March 2020Child friendly advice - COVID 19
The Cumbria Safeguarding Children partnership website has a child-friendly message about coronavirus which may be useful if you, or anyone you know, has children who are worried about the current situation. Links below
25 March 2020COVID-19 - GUIDELINE TO VOLUNTEERS
Supporting others in your community during COVID-19 Guidance for Volunteers
Shopping for people who are self-isolating, familyisolating or social-distancing
This guidance has been developed through the COVID-19 Cumbria Community Resilience Group.
It aims to compliment national Government COVID-19 guidance and support the community response to COVID-19 locally where further information is required.
This guidance will be reviewed regularly.
We are seeing many communities and individuals volunteering to support friends, families and neighbours during the COVID-19 outbreak. They are providing an important and much valued service, which we are all grateful for. We hope the following information will help volunteers to feel informed whilst carrying out this great work.
IMPORTANT It is important that you do all you can to follow the national guidance on ‘social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable adults’, which can be found here.
It is also important that you follow the advice on protecting yourself and others at all times. Spread only kindness, not COVID-19.
FURTHER ADVICE Firstly, consider if you are able to volunteer to do someone’s shopping at this time. DO NOT volunteer if: o you have symptoms of COVID-19 (a fever or new continuous cough) o you should be self-isolating or part of a family who should be isolating o You are in a group being ‘strongly advised’ to socially (physically) distance themselves from others, or you have been told to shield because you are extremely vulnerable.
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The guidance accessed via the ‘IMPORTANT’ section above provides definitions for self-isolation, family-isolation and social distancing.
If you are able to volunteer at this time, consider whether or not you will do this very informally (e.g. communicating your contact details and offer of support to family, friends and neighbours) or through a coordinated volunteering group e.g. Support Cumbria are looking for a number of volunteers to support local charities and organisations work in local communities. Go to SupportCumbria.org.uk if you would like to volunteer or you are a group/organisation looking for additional volunteers.
PLEASE DO NOT ENCOURAGE VULNERABLE PEOPLE TO DISPLAY REQUESTS FOR HELP VIA NOTES OR CARDS IN THEIR WINDOWS/DOORS. Criminals can take advantage of this.
When a person contacts you to ask if you can do shopping, you should discuss how the shopping will be paid for. Use online or telephone payment options where possible (so the person can pay directly themselves – this will also minimise the need to touch money). If you are paying for items yourself, use contactless payment options where you can. Consider if the person has any memory difficulties. It may be important to keep a record of what has been bought and the cost (e.g. can you take a photo of the receipt and keep a record of any money that is exchanged?).
Consider where you will do the shopping. Is there a chance to support local business? Could they arrange for payment via telephone? Think about the person and their income – do you need to shop within a specific budget that will influence where you shop?
Consider others whilst shopping. Follow the advice on how to reduce your risk of catching or spreading the illness. Keep 2 metres away from other people at all times, including at the check-out.
Do not buy high-demand items in bulk – only buy what is needed.
If you need to consider substitutes, are you aware if the person or other household members have any allergies or are there foods they should not have because they may interact with medications? What sort of cooking and food storage facilities do they have? Would they be able to open tins/jars for example?
Transporting shopping – for food hygiene purposes, ensure any frozen food does not thaw before reaching the person’s house (and check the person places in the freezer immediately if they are not planning to consume to food immediately). For food that should be refrigerated, such as raw/cooked meat; do not allow it to get too hot whilst being transport and make sure it is back in a fridge within two hours of picking from the shelf.
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Delivering shopping to the person – where possible, we strongly advise volunteers not to enter homes. Keep a 2 metre distance from the person you are helping.
Agree a time and safe place to leave the shopping and ensure the person knows it is there. Where this is not possible (e.g. where a person is physically not able to carry their own shopping into the house/lift bags onto the worktop), wash your hands, or use hand sanitiser before and after entering the house.
Consider wearing disposable gloves and change them between deliveries if it is difficult to wash your hands regularly. Alternatively, if sanitiser, hand washing facilities and gloves are not available, carry liquid hand soap, bottled water (preferably warm), paper towels and a bag for disposal, so you can wash your hands remotely.
If you need to handle money, ensure you and the person you are helping wash your hands before and after touching it.
Wash your hands before and after each delivery. It is also recommended that the person receiving the shopping wash their hands after bringing the shopping into the house and also after packing it away.
If you are part of an organised group delivering shopping and you are not known to the person you are delivering shopping to, consider use of a ‘safe word’ agreed with the person in advance, that you can use to provide reassurance if required. Double check you are leaving food at the correct house.
Thank you for your support.
25 March 2020COVID-19 -SUPPORT FOR EMPLOYERS - SUMMARY OF CHANCELLORS HELP PACKAGE
23 March 2020
COVID19: Government support for businesses
We are aware that clients may have questions regarding the Chancellor’s announcement (20 March) of a range of measures to support employers and businesses due to the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. This is a quick summary of our current view of the situation, which may change as further announcements are made.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
All UK employers can access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This may be appropriate for councils with leisure facilities, public halls or other income generating services, that might otherwise have to lay off staff.
However, it doesn’t appear to apply to staff who continue to work at home, are self-isolating due to the virus or redeployed to other activities, we think it only applies to those not working. In many cases council staff will be funded by the precept and maybe able to work from home, so situations where a local council needs to apply may be limited.
To apply, you will need to:
- designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify them of this change - subject to existing employment law and contracts of employment
- submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (details not yet available)
HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are setting up a system for reimbursement. This does not currently apply to people who are contracted to work on a self-employed basis.
Business Rates holiday
The Government has granted a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses (and nurseries) in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. This will include:
- shops, restaurants, cafés, drinking establishments, cinemas, live music venues
- places for assembly and leisure
- hotels, guest & boarding premises and self-catering accommodation
Unfortunately, note 17 of the guidance for billing authorities says that “In line with the legal restrictions in section 47(8A) of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, billing authorities may not grant the discount to themselves, a precepting authority…” so it looks like local councils with such premises may not be entitled to a discount.
Grants are available to certain affected businesses that have properties with rateable values of less than £51,000. Your billing authority will contact you if you are eligible.
Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit
The Government is amending legislation to allow small and medium-sized employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.
The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
- up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee off work because of COVID-19
- employers with fewer than 250 employees (as of 28 February 2020) will be eligible
- employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
- employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP
- employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
- eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
The government is legislating for SSP to be paid from day 1 (rather than day 4) of absence from work if an employee is absent from work due to sickness or needs to self-isolate caused by COVID-19. Once passed, this will apply retrospectively from 13 March.
Statutory sick pay is currently a maximum of £94.25 per week for eligible employees.
Employers should note that they must comply with any sick pay terms set out in the employee’s contract of employment. This may include a period of full pay and/or half pay, rather than just statutory sick pay. Under these circumstances the employer must pay the contractual amount, but may be entitled to reimbursement of up to £94.25 if the employee is eligible for SSP.
If an employee has COVID-19 or is advised to self-isolate and is not eligible for SSP (for example if they are earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week) or contractual sick pay, they can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or new style Employment and Support Allowance. More information is available here:
The Government has deferred VAT payments due by VAT registered organisations for the period from 20 March 2020 to 30 June 2020 and they will be given until the end of the 2020/21 tax year to pay any liabilities accumulated during this period. This is unlikely to affect many local councils and VAT refunds and reclaims continue to be paid as normal.
This guidance is issued to assist in finding and understanding the relevant legislation and guidance. It is not a statement of law, nor does it account for individual circumstances. The Parkinson Partnership LLP accepts no liability for any loss arising from situations where employers or employees have not followed the law and HMRC guidance.