The information below is taken from the daily SCC Leader update that councillors are receiving:
Closure of Countryside Car Parks
Regrettably, we have been left with no choice but to close all countryside car parks owned by Surrey County Council as of midnight tonight. We have closed them as they are a place where groups can and were forming in the last week despite Government guidance on social distancing. This is in line with government advice, and consistent with other major countryside landowners, including RHS Wisley, National Trust, Forestry Commission at Alice Holt and Painshill, which have either closed car parks, or closed altogether as we all try to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
While people can still visit the countryside, we would advise residents who are going out for their daily exercise to visit quiet locations close to their homes and not travel where possible.
I appreciate this is not the news you want to hear but there is a balance to be struck between enabling people to get the necessary exercise and limiting the movement of individuals to prevent further spread.
Please be rest assured this Council is committed to improving and increasing access to our countryside and at our Cabinet meeting on 31st March we will be considering proposals that will see new investment of £1.4m in much needed infrastructure including new noticeboards, wayfinder posts, nature play trails and upgrading our visitor centres.
During these difficult times, and while the car parks remain closed, our officers will continue to work up plans to implement these improvements as practicably as possible.
We look forward to the day when are able to reverse this position, as Government advice is revised in the future. The closures have been well publicised on several of the county council’s social media channels – including Surrey News and Explore Surrey. Additionally, an alert box is on a number of countryside web pages, like this one specifically about countryside car parks.
Government’s ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ Campaign
NEW public information materials are now available on the Campaign Resource Centre. See full details of all the materials available at the end of this brief. Follow PHE on Twitter: @PHE_SouthEast
The work being undertaken by Surrey County Council – a note from the SCC Leader
The work being undertaken by Surrey County Council staff at this moment in time is nothing short of incredible. We really are seeing public service at its very best – in particular I want to thank our social workers and teachers and those on the frontline who are doing the most remarkable job in the most challenging conditions – and I want to thank them personally for all they are doing – day in day out.
Three core messages
- Stay at home and save lives. It’s as simple as that – follow the government advice.
- Surrey County Council’s core mission in this is to ensure that we do everything we can to reduce the pressure on the NHS, protect our most vulnerable communities and support our staff and residents.
- We will get through this together, thanks to the hard work of our frontline workers, and thanks to the vigilance and shared responsibility of the British public.
General staff … Across the board our staff are working long hours, adapting to remote working very quickly, and are totally focussed on supporting Surrey’s most vulnerable residents and helping our communities deal with this unprecedented challenge.
Vulnerable people’s hub – The Surrey Local Resilience Forum are coordinating measures to support the 17,000 most vulnerable in Surrey (who are receiving letters from the NHS). –
- The Hub will also support the coordination and mobilisation of volunteers and will respond to the needs of our most vulnerable. This may be supporting in the delivery of medicines and food. –
- The Hub will also support those who feel isolated in the coming weeks and months who are feeling frightened and concerned. –
- This work will bolster the work that is already underway by a team operating a community helpline 0300 200 1008.
Social care / PPE – We are continuing to support those most vulnerable residents who rely on us – Our workforce has been amazing at continuing this critical service – There has been an issue with getting the right protective equipment for frontline workers and that is something we have been escalating up to government
Schools – Numbers of children in schools has been lower than expected, our schools are managing – If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be. The message from central government is clear – If your work is not critical in the response to Coronavirus then please keep your child at home. Even the children of key workers should stay at home if at all possible.
Public Health England
All campaign materials updated.
‘Stay home, save lives’ campaign: following the Prime Minister’s briefing on Monday night, today SCC has launched a new campaign to encourage people to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. The campaign will run across TV, radio, digital and social channels. We have created a suite of assets for you to help amplify the message across your communication channels. The campaign materials are now available to download on the Campaign Resource Centre.
At a national level, PHE has reached out to a significant number of charities and representative organisations to amplify the campaign messages.
‘Looking out for each other’ neighbourliness campaign
We are still intending to launch the ‘looking out for each other’ neighbourliness campaign, however, campaign messages are currently being refined in line with the new ‘stay home, save lives’ campaign. Further updates will be shared in due course.
Self/home isolation campaign
These resources have now been removed from the Campaign Resource Centre as they have been superseded by the new ‘stay home, save lives’ campaign materials. Hand hygiene campaign These materials are still current, however, we are updating the lockup (logo) featured on them with the new ‘Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’ lockup.
Community helpline for Surrey
The new community helpline is available to direct you to services that can help during the coronavirus pandemic. The telephone number is 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm) (These hours are currently being reviewed). This community phone line is here for two things:
- To help direct residents who need support, such as picking up shopping, prescription collections or having someone who can be a telephone friend, to services who can help.
- To provide advice on where to register your offer of help to support your community. The Community Helpline will not be able to provide any public health advice (please use existing services such as 111) or answer general enquiries relating to council services (these should be directed to our standard contact page).
Surrey Vulnerable People Hub
The Surrey Local Resilience Forum are coordinating measures to support the 17,000 extremely vulnerable in Surrey. The Hub will also support the coordination and mobilisation of volunteers and will respond to the needs of our most vulnerable. This may be supporting in the delivery of medicines and food. The Hub will also support those who feel isolated in the coming weeks and months who are feeling frightened and concerned. This work will bolster the work that is already underway by a team operating a community helpline. More information on this will follow.
Coronavirus – birth registrations
Appointments postponed for next 21 days. Further to the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 March, unfortunately we will not be able to carry out any birth registration appointments for the next 21 days. You can make a claim for child benefit or universal credit prior to the birth being registered. More information will be made available over the coming days. Thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.