Parish Grants – Apply Now!

The Council is an active supporter of the community it serves and sets a budget each financial year to enable it to make small grants to assist local groups and organisations. 

Who may apply?

(a) Local Clubs / Societies / Groups / Voluntary or Charitable Groups

(b) Regional/National Charitable Bodies providing a service, which may benefit the local community.

When and how to apply?

Applications for small amounts (unlikely to exceed £100) should be submitted in writing by a responsible member of the organisation and sent to the Parish Clerk for consideration.  Applications must be received by the Clerk before the end of December for consideration at the Council meeting held in January each year.

Members judge applications on merit and approved grants will be paid after the Council’s meeting in January.

To apply – please contact the Parish Clerk for an application form – clerk@whittingtonpc.com

Community Reassurance Update from Shropshire Council – 1st December 2020

As we move into National Tier Two restrictions from Wednesday 2nd December, many of us will welcome the easing of restrictions and the chance to prepare for a very different festive season to usual. It is hearting to see the infection figures moving slowly in the right direction, and it’s reassuring to know that testing in Shropshire is readily available (details below). This week also sees a welcomed boost to business grants, a generous offer from the Shropshire Rural Communities Charity (RCC) to fund PPE for community groups, and a plea for information from The Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance.

New Covid-19 Business Grants

The second phase of Covid-19 Business Grants is now live. The additional discretionary grant fund will be awarded in three levels and will see more firms eligible for support.

Testing in Shropshire

What is available in Shropshire? Where can I go locally?

Public Health, Shropshire Council have provided Mobile Testing Units and Localised Testing Sites in our county for you to attend if you are showing signs of Coronavirus or a particularly concerned you may have it.  

Please see the following table with a description of each model and where and how you can access it:

Name of ModelWhat does this mean?Where can I go?How do I book?
Mobile Testing SiteRegional resource that are designed to be more flexible and responsive to outbreak scenarios or areas of increased positivity rates. Drive through only.FROM THE WEEKEND Newport Road Car Park Newtown, Market Drayton TF9 1JTTests can be booked for yourself or any member of your household. Residents can register by calling NHS Test and Trace on 119 or by clicking here.
Localised Testing SiteIs a community-based, walk through testing facility that can be accessed by members of the public showing symptoms of Covid-19. The test sites are placed in areas that enable the local community to access them without the need for transport (via a car or public means). This is still available as a drive through.Beatrice Street Car Park, Beatrice Street  (Old Morrisons Site)                       Oswestry                       SY11 1QWLaunched: Friday 27th November 2020 Tests can be booked for yourself or any member of your household. Residents can register by calling NHS Test and Trace on 119 or by clicking here.
Localised Testing SiteLondon Road Car Park Shrewsbury                 SY2 6NS  Tests can be booked for yourself or any member of your household. Residents can register by calling NHS Test and Trace on 119 or by clicking here.
Localised Testing SiteTBC
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Shropshire RCC Infection Control Fund

Shropshire Council has provided Shropshire Rural Communities Charity (RCC) with funding to set up a one-off grant fund in order to support small charities and community groups in Shropshire to continue to deliver services to people, particularly to vulnerable people, during the pandemic. Funding is available to purchase personal protection equipment (PPE) to enable staff and volunteers to safely meet with people without transmission of coronavirus through the community. Please see attachments for more information on how to apply.

Logo, company name

Description automatically generatedShropshire Food Poverty Alliance – improving food security for Shropshire Children

Please help with this new project from SFPA – with 30% of children in Shropshire living in poverty, improving access to healthy food is a vital issue. The Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance is calling for evidence. We want to make a strong case for Shropshire to secure the resources to ensure children have access to food 365 days a year.   Please go to the link below to share your insights and experiences on the barriers and solutions to improving children’s food security in Shropshire.  

https://www.shropshirefoodpoverty.org.uk/childrens-food-insecurity

Concerns about business compliance to Covid-19 regulations: if there are any concerns about businesses adhering to Covid-19 regulations please email them to advicecompliance@shropshire.gov.uk

Shropshire Councils Covid-19 Helpline 0345 6789 028 – this phoneline is designed to receive enquiries and concerns associated with Covid-19, of a non-medical nature.

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2021 Census in Shropshire

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) will carry out the 2021 Census on 21st March 2021. The

Census will provide a picture of England and Wales, revealing the size and characteristics of the population and providing valuable information that will be used to inform policy development, funding allocations and future service planning. The 2021 census will be predominantly an online Census with paper forms made available to people that are unable to take part online.

Each household in Shropshire will receive a postcard during the 22nd-27th February 2021 raising awareness of the 2021 Census, followed by an initial contact pack (during the 3rd-12th March 2021) requesting each household to complete the Census questionnaire online or by requesting a paper questionnaire. A reminder phase begins after the 22nd March 2021 for non-respondents involving reminder letters and finally visits from field staff. Completing the Census is a legal requirement and as a last resort ONS have the option of taking court action against non-respondents.

Help will be available to Shropshire households via support centres located in the libraries in Shropshire’s largest six market towns (Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Bridgnorth, Market Drayton, Ludlow and Whitchurch), via online guidance, a national helpline and via trained field staff. The questionnaire can be completed using a mobile phone and during rehearsals ONS have found younger family members have frequently helped complete the questionnaire.

ONS 2021 Census plans will be responsive to the latest guidelines from central government on social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic and so may be subject to change.

In order to ensure that the 2021 Census is as successful as possible, the ONS has recruited Roger

Belham, a long-term resident of north Shropshire, as the Census Engagement Manager (CEM) for Shropshire. Roger is tasked with ensuring that people in Shropshire are aware of the 2021 Census and that they are encouraged and supported to take part on the 21st March 2021. This will include people living in households and people resident in communal establishments such as hospitals, care homes and student halls of residence.

ONS have identified ten key population groups in Shropshire to help Roger Belham prioritise his work which are set out below. This list is not limited, and Roger will be guided by the knowledge he is gathering locally. Recognising access to broadband and the internet may be an issue in parts of rural Shropshire he is keen to ensure enough paper questionnaires are readily available.

People from minority ethnic groups including Eastern Europeans, where language may present a barrier
People whose physical / mental / learning impairment may prevent them from responding
Adults aged 80 years and overVeterans
People living in low income householdsLGBT+ community
People lacking digital skills aged 65 years and over
Transient communities such as;Bargees and continuous cruisers
Homeless and rough sleepersGypsy and traveller communities

Reaching out to these key population groups and encouraging their maximum participation in the 2021 Census is key to the success of the 2021 Census in Shropshire. To achieve this Roger Belham enthusiastic to work with town and parish council’s, voluntary / charitable organisations, community groups, businesses and other organisations throughout Shropshire to help build trust amongst Shropshire communities.

ONS recognise that the endorsement and influence of community leaders can help local people understand the value of the 2021 Census and raise awareness of where they can find help if needed. It is important local people understand that their questionnaire responses will not be shared with anyone other organisations and will be stored securely for 100 years for the benefit of future generations.

Shropshire Council is supporting ONS in delivering the 2021 Census in Shropshire in a number of ways including providing local intelligence and staff expertise, supporting Roger Belham in his community engagement work and raising awareness of recruitment opportunities.

Roger Belham is happy to present further information and respond to any questions that town and parish councillors may have. In particular he would welcome suggestions and contacts that he could pursue to further spread awareness of the 2021 Census. Roger Belham is also able to provide posters and other materials to town and parish councils upon request. Further information is available on the ONS website https://census.gov.uk/ and for recruitment https://www.censusjobs.co.uk/.

Roger Belham’s contact details are:

roger.belham12@field.census.gov.uk

07452 928132

Community Speed Watch

A Community Speed Watch Scheme is initiated in a Village when ‘speeding traffic’ has been identified as a community road safety concern by the Parish Council.

However, several criteria must be met before a scheme can be established:

  • The area must have a 30mph or 40mph speed restriction.
  • Speed data collected by the Safer Roads Partnership must show that speed levels in the area do not meet the national industry requirements for police enforcement.
  • No other enforcement activity is currently in place.
  • There must be a minimum of six volunteers in a Community Speed Watch Scheme.
  • Speed checks must be conducted by at least three volunteers at any one time.

Back in May 2019, a representative from West Mercia Police attended the Annual Parish Meeting to deliver a presentation on the Community Speed Watch Scheme, in the hope of setting one up in Whittington. Since then, the Parish Council has been advertising for volunteers to come forward and we are now happy to report that the scheme is up and running in Whittington.

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the process and the volunteers are awaiting the training they require to be able to carry out the speed monitoring. Once lockdown restrictions are lifted and the training can take place, volunteers will be out and about around the Parish with their speeds guns!

The monitoring sites are selected by the Police and must meet stringent criteria. The sites they have identified are as follows:

1: Opposite the church by the castle.

2: Top Street on the Ellesmere Roadside

3: Either Walsham Avenue or Fitzgwarine Drive on Station Road

4: Bus stop at Babbinswood

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact the Parish Council – clerk@whittingtonpc.com

Community Reassurance Update from Shropshire Council – November 2020

I hope that everyone is well and has managed to process the implications of the new lockdown in England, outlined here. As we know, a lockdown situation can make it even more challenging for vulnerable residents to access basic supplies and the risk of becoming lonely and isolated increases. I wanted to share a short PowerPoint presentation with you, which outlines the support on offer from Shropshire Council and our voluntary and community partners. Please see the attached document entitled ‘Lockdown Support Information’

Shielding Guidance – more evidence is now available about which people are more likely to become very unwell as a consequence of COVID-19 infection. As a result, the UK Chief Medical Officers have instructed that two new conditions be included in the “high risk” criteria:

These are-

  • Adult with Down’s syndrome
  • Adult with kidney impairment (Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease)

Full guidance associated with this the protection of clinically extremely vulnerable can be found here

We will continue to cascade relevant information and news to you as the situation develops, however, if you have specific questions concerning the pandemic then please don’t hesitate to contact the Community Reassurance Team via: CommunityReassurance@shropshire.gov.uk or by coming directly to one of the three area leads:

Community Reassurance update from Shropshire Council – Oct 2020

Isolating payments

https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/benefits/benefits-news/test-and-trace-support-payments-update-9-october/

If people are on a low income, they may be entitled to a test and trace support payment of £500 if they:

1.       Have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service, either because they’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and

2.       Are employed or self-employed, and

3.       Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, and

4.       Are currently receiving universal credit, working tax credit, income-based employment and support allowance, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income support, housing benefit and/or pension credit.

Welfare Support and Benefits

Please visit https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/information-for-the-public/your-rights-and-benefits/ for more information about additional financial support. The government have relaxed the rules for some benefits to help with the effect of coronavirus. Shropshire Council is offering residents whose employment or income have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the opportunity to delay payment of council tax for 2 months .If you need to claim universal credit because of coronavirus there is useful information to help you on the Understanding universal credit website.

Additionally, we currently have an emergency assistance fund. Applications are open to anyone who has been financially affected by coronavirus and is finding it hard to meet their essential outgoings as a result. If you, or someone you know, is having difficulty meeting outgoings, or there is risk to your home, call us on 0345 678 9078 or 03456789028. 

Shropshire Larder

As the recession deepens, more people are losing their jobs and facing hardship. It is vital that people in Shropshire know where to get help. The Shropshire Food Poverty Alliance has created resources for people and organizations in Shropshire to find advice and support:  

1. Shropshire Larder (shropshirelarder.org.uk– is the most comprehensive directory of services for people living in Shropshire on a low budget. It has information on how to access a foodbank or community food project, and how to eat well on a budget. It also covers how to get support with benefits, housing, and debt.  

2. Please help us make sure this info is reaching everyone who needs it. 

  • Share their graphic or print it as a poster – we have attached a graphic which we would be very grateful if you could share through your networks – social media, in print, newsletters, e-mail lists. 
  • Follow them on social media – please follow and share  
  • Facebook: @ShropshireLarder and @ShropFoodPov 
  • Twitter: @ShropLarder and @ShropFoodPov  

3. Sign up to their newsletter – keep up to date on the situation and the support available. To subscribe click here 

Scams

We shared some comms last week around test and trace scams – https://newsroom.shropshire.gov.uk/2020/10/coronavirus-warning-over-test-and-trace-scam/

The image below reiterates these key points:

Don't be scammed by bogus 'test and trace' callers - Bury Council

Shielding

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

With this guidance in place, we are contacting Clinically Extremely Vulnerable residents to ensure they are supported, more options may be introduced as we move into the winter period.

Step Up Shropshire

For those of you who wish to contribute to our video showing how you are Stepping Up for Shropshire, entries can be sent to the following:

Staying safe in the workplace

Please see the web link below, and the attached poster, for some simple advice and guidance on how to protect from the Coronavirus whilst in the workplace.

https://newsroom.shropshire.gov.uk/2020/10/coronavirus-staying-safe-in-the-workplace/

And finally..

Shropshire Council praises voluntary and community sector’s work during pandemic

https://newsroom.shropshire.gov.uk/2020/10/coronavirus-response-praised/

Councillor Gwilym Butler, cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, said:

“I would like to take the opportunity to recognise and congratulate the voluntary and community sector, including the collective support from Shropshire VCS Assembly, and town and parish councils, including the work of Shropshire Association of Local Councils, in their response to Covid-19. I recognise how fortunate we are locally with the resilience of many of our communities. The Community and Rural Strategy will be important in working to endorse and enhance that resilience as we move forward.”

Covid-19 Helpline and on-line information

For non-medical support and enquires call direct Covid-19 Helpline 0345 6789028  or email customerfirst@shropshire.gov.uk. On the Shropshire Council website, there is a wide range of information available to help you support people. Find the full range of information here: https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/information-for-the-public/. This includes the three directories on: food provision, community support and community social networks. Please check that your support group’s details are correctly recorded on the relevant directories. Please email me as soon as possible if you would like changes to be made.

Community Reassurance Update from Shropshire Council – October 2020

The following is an update from Shropshire Council:

As the pandemic continues, we find ourselves continually adapting and innovating in order to manage the situation, always mindful of the uncertainty ahead. Since the lockdown lifted, our businesses and organisations have gone to great lengths to provide Covid-secure measures for the community, yet the infection rates are sadly rising once again.

We had set out in the previous guidance that the 7-day infection rates of 15-20 per 100,000 are considered an early warning signal, and rates of more than 20 per 100,000 are likely to trigger visiting restrictions. Our area has now reached over 20 cases per 100,000. For more detailed information about your area of Shropshire, please visit the following websites:

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=47574f7a6e454dc6a42c5f6912ed7076

There is understandable fatigue, fear and anxiety at the prospect of further lockdown restrictions, but at this time we must step-up, repeat and refresh the crucial public health messages and urge a renewed vigilance amongst our friends, families and organisations.  

In order to renew our efforts, Shropshire Council have launched a new campaign. Step-Up Shropshire aims to encouraging everyone who lives, works and plays in our county to do their bit. You can help to promote this by sharing our social media posts and posters

We are also developing a video where we plan to film people talking about how and why they are ‘Stepping up for Shropshire’, and we would like to invite all our community groups to join in. If you’re interested in contributing towards this then please email CommunityReassurance@shropshire.gov.uk

Along with this campaign, our Community Reassurance Team have been visiting Shropshire’s towns to provide guidance and advice to residents and businesses.

So far, we have had a gloriously sunny day in Oswestry, a freezing day in Shrewsbury, a wet day in Bridgnorth and fortunately a very clement day in Whitchurch last Friday.

Warning over test and trace scam  

We have been made aware of a new telephone scam whereby callers claiming to be from the NHS Test and Trace service are asking for payment for tests. Those being called are advised that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus and are then told they must purchase a test over the phone. For clarity:

The NHS Test and Trace Service will

·         Call from 0300 013 5000 

·         Send text messages from ‘NHS’ 

·         Ask people to sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website  

·         Ask for full name and date of birth to confirm identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating 

·         Ask about the Coronavirus symptoms 

·         Ask people to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone they have had close contact with in the two days prior to symptoms starting (as with your own details these will be held in strict confidence and will be kept and used only in line with data protection laws) 

 The NHS Test and Trace service will NOT:   

·         Ask you for payment 

·         Ask you for details of card or bank account numbers 

·         Ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone 

·         Ask you to provide or fill in social media login details 

·         Ask you to download anything 

·         Ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or         087 

If you have any concerns about trading practices relating to COVID-19 or any other issue, you should please report these to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133. 

Covid-19 Helpline and on-line information

For non-medical support and enquires call direct Covid-19 Helpline 0345 6789028  or email customerfirst@shropshire.gov.uk. On the Shropshire Council website, there is a wide range of information available to help you support people. Find the full range of information here: https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/information-for-the-public/. This includes the three directories on: food provision, community support and community social networks. Please check that your support group’s details are correctly recorded on the relevant directories. Please email me as soon as possible if you would like changes to be made.

Community Reassurance update from Shropshire Council

Let’s get straight to the serious news.

We have been warned!

Numbers of positive Covid-19 cases have been on the rise for a few weeks now, and we’ve started to see restrictions coming in to play in some of Shropshire’s neighbouring urban areas such as Birmingham and Wolverhampton. The concerning rise initially seemed like it was affecting only the young but evidence from other countries now shows that infections are not staying just in the younger age groups, but are moving through the age bands.

Yesterday, the Government’s Chief Scientific Officer, Sir Patrick Valiance then warned that nationally we could “end up with something like 50 thousand cases in the middle of October per day”. Today the Prime Minister is due to announce further Government restrictions across the whole country.

The announcements are really an expression of concern. It’s not a time to panic. The important thing is to ask – what can we do about it and how can we avoid a further local lockdown in Shropshire?

There is a clear message here that we all have a part to play in limiting the spread of the coronavirus. We all have a role to play by following guidelines about hygiene and keeping safe. It’s always worth repeating:

  • HANDS – wash hands regularly and for 20 seconds,
  • FACE – wear a face covering within indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • SPACE – Stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible; or, if not possible, 1 metre with extra precautions in place.
  • ‘The Rule of 6’ – only meet socially in groups of a maximum of six people, indoors or outdoors, unless you are gathering as a ‘household’ or ‘support bubble’ which is larger than 6,
  • Get tested if you have any symptoms. As you know, the symptoms of coronavirus include a high temperature, new continuous cough, and/or a loss or change in your sense of taste and smell.

As many of you will be aware, the Prime Minister laid out new measures yesterday to help combat the spread of Covid-19. These include:

·         Pubs, bars and restaurants to close at 22:00 BST 

·         Pubs, bars and restaurants restricted to table service only 

·         People should work from home wherever possible 

·         Face masks compulsory for bar staff and non-seated customers, shop workers, waiters and taxi drivers 

·         Limit on guests at weddings reduced from 30 to 15 

·         Plans to allow fans to return to sporting events paused 

·         “Rule of six” now applies to indoor team sports 

·         Fines for not wearing masks or following rules increased to £200 for first offence 

The Prime Minister’s full speech to House of Commons can be found here 

I know that there have been issues around testing highlighted in the media, but the message is still the same – If you have symptoms, isolate immediately and arrange for a test. Tests can be booked for yourself or any member of your household, if they have symptoms. All tests must be booked in advance. You can register by calling NHS Test and Trace on 119 or online.

Be prepared

I have attached a simple ‘self-isolation checklist to this email and you can read a guide to help you prepare yourself for self-isolation through this link http://newsroom.shropshire.gov.uk/2020/09/coronavirus-be-prepared-in-case-you-need-to-isolate/

Also attached is a poster giving guidance on staying safe while returning to pubs and bars, please share this widely in your local hostelries.

Please check that we have the right information about your community group – NOW!

It’s vital that as the number of cases increase, we are all well prepared. Your community group has been key to supporting people this far, so please, check that Shropshire Council has your group’s full and correct details logged on its interactive web page map https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/information-for-the-public/community-support-services/  Check here, then let me know by return if any details need to change, so we can keep the directory up-to-date for anyone who might need to make contact with your group.

Talking to people in our town centres

The Council’s Community Reassurance Team were out on the ground in Oswestry recently, talking with locals heading into the town’s pubs and bars, and handing out free hand gel while chatting about keeping safe.

We’re in Shrewsbury town centre this Friday 25th September, then in Bridgnorth the following week – Friday 2nd October. Further to these upcoming engagement events, there are plans underway to visit other market towns soon after.  Together we can get the messages about keeping safe out to all citizens in Shropshire.

Bereavement

If families and individuals have lost loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic they can access free bereavement counselling.

Run by Shropshire Council with support from Samaritans, Severn Hospice, Cruse Bereavement Care and Crane Quality Counselling, the Bereavement Support Service offers one to one personalised counselling for people across the county.

People will be able to talk to a trained professional about how they are feeling and to seek advice. Experts from the charities can also suggest helpful ways to remember and pay tribute to loved ones.

To access the bereavement service, simply call the Shropshire Council COVID-19 Helpline number on 0345 678 9028.

The line is available for anyone with questions or queries or looking for support and guidance. By ringing you can find out about the free and confidential bereavement services available, and you will receive support to arrange an appointment or get in touch directly. 

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, said:

“Bereavement is a difficult experience under any situation. Some families may not have had the opportunity to say goodbye to their loved ones before they died, which can be particularly upsetting. Those who experience loss during the pandemic may also be cut off from some of their usual support network. Having someone at the end of the phone to talk to can make a huge difference. You don’t have to deal with this alone.

“We urge anyone feeling sad, lonely, distressed, overwhelmed or unable to cope to pick up the phone. We have ensured that you can access a range of services on a free and confidential basis. We aim to ensure everyone requiring bereavement support and help can access it quickly, easily, in a way and time that suits them.”

Please pass on the messages and continue the excellent work of encouraging people to stay safe and well while looking after friends, family and neighbours.

Community Reassurance Update from Shropshire Council

Let’s all play a part in reducing the spread of coronavirus

As our children are returning to school and more people are venturing into towns and workplaces, the Coronavirus crisis is at a critical stage. We all find ourselves trying to achieve a balance between some form of normal everyday life and protecting ourselves, loved ones, and those in our communities.

It’s to be expected that as people start to step out more frequently and actively socialise, we might see increasing numbers of outbreak spikes across the country and in fact the world. In Shropshire too, we’ve seen a small number of cases recently, generally amongst the younger population who have displayed milder symptoms.

As an example, in the last few days Shropshire Council and Public Health England (PHE) Midlands have been working with key partners to respond to cases of Covid-19 at a residential care home in Dorrington.

The care home is run by Consensus Support Services Limited and offers residential care for adults with a learning disability and complex needs. Consensus Support Services Limited have followed government advice and guidelines and they have been quick to put all necessary health and safety measures in place to help prevent further transmission of the virus.  As such risk to the public and to local businesses is low. Testing for staff and residents has identified 14 positive cases which represents a small number of both staff and residents at Consensus. Everyone who tested positive has been asked to self-isolate for 10 days in line with government guidance and those residents who have tested positive for coronavirus are being supported to self-isolate in their accommodation.

As always, the priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of all residents in our community and the risk to the wider community is very low at this stage. All local businesses are operating as normal and we’ll continue to work with everyone involved to provide health protection advice and guidance.

Local outbreaks such as this are not unexpected during a pandemic, and we have seen a number of cases across the county. As outbreaks arise it’s been important that everyone has pulled together and done their bit to help stop the further spread of the virus. This graph shows some of the small outbreaks that we’ve had recently in Shropshire.

The graph also shows what is called the 7-day rate of positive Covid cases. Simply put, this gives the total number of Covid positive cases in a 7-day period. As areas with larger populations may be expected to have higher numbers of positive cases, calculating the 7-day rate per 100,000 people, gives a level comparison of the infection rate between areas.

So, for example, if the total cases in Shropshire were 20, the rate per 100,000 of the population would be 6.15, whereas if Telford had 20 cases, their rate per 100,000 of the population would be 11.12 because they have a smaller population.

You can see that we are coping well in Shropshire, but the latest outbreak and the small trend of outbreak spikes come as an important reminder. They re-emphasise the fact that we need to stay vigilant. We need to repeat the messages about keeping safe and well to all ages of people in our communities.

It also reminds us that we all have a part to play in reducing the spread of the coronavirus. Keeping it simple, this means be vigilant, keep to small groups, socially distance, use hand sanitiser and don’t share the stuff that friends often share without thinking. We can all do our part, however small. I’ve attached a poster to emphasise the point.  Please do share the poster with all those you know.

Stay at home if you have coronavirus symptoms

Do not leave your home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or changed sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

You must

  • Stay at home (self-isolate) – do not leave your home or have visitors. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also self-isolate. Read the guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection here
  • Get a test – get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, should also get a test if they have symptoms. Testing is offered at different locations around the county. To find out where your nearest test site is, and to book, either go online https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or call 119 if no internet access.

An important new grant has been set up to help Shropshire residents affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) 

Shropshire Council has been allocated a ‘Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies’ to support people who are struggling to afford food and other essentials due to COVID-19. It is really important that we get this money to those residents who have been financially impacted by Covid-19, especially if affected by job losses or financial insecurity. 

If you know of someone who is finding it difficult to pay for some of their essential costs due to COVID-19, or if they have become homeless or are concerned about losing their home, please guide them to call 0345 678 9078.  We’ll help with an application and put people in touch with a specialist adviser.    

Please encourage people affected to apply now as the funding is limited and once spent assistance will no-longer be available from this particular grant.  If you have any queries at all, please call 0345 678 9078. Further information is available on Gov.UK” 

You can find the latest Coronavirus news, developments and guidelines by visiting: https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/

And finally, a quick reminder about the Healthwatch survey that we mentioned in our last update. ‘Help improve the experience of anyone leaving hospital’ – this is the aim of a new survey launched by Shropshire Healthwatch. Running from 1st September to 31st October 2020, the survey aims to gather the views and experiences of anyone who has been in hospital and then left in the last 6 months, so that services can be improved during what could be difficult winter months ahead.  Your feedback and comments are invaluable, so help us to learn the important lessons from the pandemic and so improve services to people throughout Shropshire.

You can find the survey here …. https://www.healthwatch.co.uk/tell-us-about-your-experience-leaving-hospital-during-covid-19

Community Reassurance update from Shropshire Council

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks as we’ve started to see some localized outbreaks of Covid-19 across parts of the country. We’ve heard mainly about places like Leicester and the North West, but this trend has been echoed across the whole of the Midlands, the country and likely the world.  

You will have seen that Shropshire got into the national newspapers too, with reports about the Covid-19 outbreak at a caravan site in Craven Arms. I guess we all knew that an outbreak would come at some point, and at this stage in the pandemic we must expect outbreaks as the virus continues to circulate within communities.  

The outbreak at the Long Lane Traveller site in Craven Arms, worried a lot of people and caused great interest, both residents on the site and in the wider community. The good news is that things are now easing, and the majority of residents have either completed or are nearing the end of their self-isolation period. Those residents who had tested positive for coronavirus or are showing symptoms have been asked to self-isolate in line with government guidance.  Testing for the wider community has been in place since 25 July 2020, and no one in the wider Craven Arms community has tested positive so far. 

This successful containment has involved a lot of people. Thank you to all. Staff from across Shropshire council are continuing to work with Public Health England (PHE) Midlands, key partners and all people in the area to contain the outbreak. We are supplying food and essential supplies for those in isolation and officers have been in Craven Arms daily, both onsite and in the town, to offer support to residents, local businesses and the wider community. 

As an additional measure, testing has also been made available across Craven Arms, regardless of whether individuals have COVID-19 symptoms. A test site at Craven Arms Business Park is open every day from 10.30am to 3.30pm and Craven Arms residents can book an appointment to be tested. We are aware that some residents in and around Craven Arms have had some issues in booking their test via NHS 119. We have contacted the NHS with regard to this and been advised that local residents go online to book a test. We will also be offering a further drop-in session over the weekend and we will release further information on our newsroom in the coming days.

The important thing is that such outbreaks do serve as a reminder that the pandemic is still with us and that we cannot get complacent. We have to remain alert to the risks. It also shows that we all have our part to play when it comes to keeping ourselves, friends, loved ones and our communities safe, and there is a wealth of resources and information so that everyone can help pass on the key messages.

A range of posters have been added to the Council website which can be used in your communities and workplace, and contain the most up to date coronavirus public health advice. They include simple messaging around Contact tracing: what it is, privacy reassurance, ‘Enjoy summer safely’ in English, Bulgarian, Polish and Romanian, Face coverings, Know the symptoms, ‘Park open’ in English, Bulgarian, Polish and Romanian and how long to self-isolate. They can be found at this link: https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/resources-and-grant-funding-opportunities-for-local-communities/posters-for-use-in-local-communities/

Latest guidelines do seem to change at a rapid pace.  So, it’s worth repeating:

  • Wearing face coverings has become mandatory in supermarkets, shops, indoor shopping centers, banks, building societies and post offices – with museums, cinemas galleries and places of worship set to follow from 8 August. Guidelines and exemptions can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own.  It’s clear from government guidance that face coverings can be beneficial in protecting against the spread of COVID where social distancing is not possible, in enclosed public areas. 
  • People who develop coronavirus symptoms, or test positive, will now be asked to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days. The latest advice from the UK Chief Medical Officer means the period of isolation has been extended by three days from the previous minimum of 7 days. The new advice is in line with World Health Organisation guidance. 

Please be sure to keep up to date as things can change quickly and suddenly. You can find the latest news, developments and guidelines by visiting: https://www.shropshire.gov.uk/

Finally, to finish on a lighter note, following the tireless efforts of staff across the Museums service, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery and Shrewsbury Castle, along with the Soldiers of Shropshire Museum, have reopened…and in time for the school summer holidays, so perfect timing! 

Safety measures have been put in place to ensure people can enjoy a relaxing experience at all sites and museums staff are really excited to be able to welcome visitors back. And we nearly forgot to mention… Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery is giving everyone free entry until the autumn, making this a cheap and fun family activity during the holidays, but you must pre-book your tickets so visitor numbers can be monitored.

Keeping up the trend of our museums welcoming back visitors, Acton Scott Historic Working Farm will be reopening on Friday 7 August and can’t wait to welcome people back. Like Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, you must pre-book your tickets, but be quick, the first day has already sold out!

Free central heating for eligible households! 

We may be in the middle of summer, but we’re encouraging people who may be eligible for free first time central heating to apply now, ready for the colder months.  Warmer Homes Shropshire initiative offers grants for eligible households across Shropshire.  

If you or someone you know feel would benefit from this scheme, call our Keep Shropshire Warm Team on 0800 112 3743 or visit online here. The scheme is also open to homeowners, as well as private tenants and their landlords. 

Stay alert and stay safe. If you have any worries at all, please simply call the Shropshire Council Covid-19 direct line on 0345 678 9028.