Nikki Barton – Independent councillor for Surrey County Council (Haslemere Ward) and Haslemere Town Council (Haslemere South Ward). Serving community interests and not political interests. Haslemere first.
Please find in this link Surrey County Council’s latest Coronavirus Special Briefing from the Adult Social Care Information and Engagement Team, which the council hopes you will find useful at this time. Information correct as of 14th May 2020.
I have submitted a question to The Leader of Surrey County Council’s ahead of full council next week.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has had a terrible impact on the lives and health of many Surrey residents, as well as severe economic consequences. But one of the consequences of the lock down also presents a rare opportunity to move towards our ambitious Climate Change target for transport of a reduction of in 60% emissions in the transport sector by 2035.
During the lock down, the quieter and less polluted streets have encouraged our residents to walk and given many who have never cycled before, a new confidence to get on their bikes. Over several weeks, the lockdown has resulted in a level of behaviour change that most transport strategies can only dream of.
recent Surrey Climate Change Strategy states that to achieve our goal of net
zero carbon by 2050, we must act today to reduce our carbon emissions. The
strategy identifies the reduction in our transport emissions asfundamental
to achieving this goal, stating the county will promote an integrated,
accessible, affordable and reliable public and active (walking or cycling)
A shift to more agile working, the need to socially distance when travelling to work and the appreciation of the health benefits of cycling and walking indicate that this change in travel behaviour could be long term. Many of my residents in Haslemere are very keen that this once in a lifetime opportunity is not missed.
could the Leader please explain how this council intends to ensure Surrey’s
transport network support the recovery from the COVID-19 emergency to provide a
lasting legacy of greener, safer transport?
the Leader outline how the Highways team are responding to new guidelines under
the Traffic Management Act 2004, and the recent statement by Grant Shapps which
expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to
give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed
altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel.’
There will be a phased reopening of most of Surrey’s community recycling centres (CRC) from Monday 11 May. To make sure that each facility can operate in line with Public Health England guidelines, and to protect the safety of our staff and our residents, there will be restrictions in place.
However, there are limits to the numbers of people on each site, changes to what materials are accepted and revised opening hours. Due to the fewer numbers of people who can safely be on site and the impact of potential queuing on surrounding roads, our smaller sites in Bagshot, Caterham, Cranleigh, Dorking and Warlingham will remain closed.
Residents should only use the CRCs if they absolutely need to, and must check for the latest information before they travel at surreycc.gov.uk/recycling or by calling 03456 009 009 as these arrangements are subject to change.
As outlined in DEFRA guidance, journeys to waste sites are only allowed under the lockdown restrictions if the waste materials cannot be stored at home without causing risk of injury or harm to health. Please see the Government’s guidance about essential travel (GOV.UK)
As you will be aware, there has been a significant focus on COVID-19 swab testing in line with national guidance. This has been developing and progressing swiftly at a local level and in response to the guidance and the requirement to expand the testing capability quickly, a core group of system partners from Health and Care Partners has been set up. This group will co-ordinate the delivery of coronavirus testing to all eligible people across Surrey.
The team is working hard to review and target priority areas first, with a view on using all the options available to build resource to meet the demand. The council is aware that this approach needs to be urgently stepped up and will be updating you as we continue to develop plans for achieving this target.
Who is eligible for a test?
Essential workers living or working in Surrey, who are self-isolating either because they have symptoms or someone in their household has symptoms, are eligible to register with Surrey’s testing hub.
Essential workers are those outlined in the Government’s list of essential workers prioritised for testing. We continue to expand our testing capacity to include new groups as part of the Government’s phased approach.
We are building up the testing capacity to ensure that all care home residents and staff with symptoms are being tested. This will be rolled out shortly to include all care home residents and staff, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.
The safety of residents and patients is our priority and we are working at pace to ensure we can meet the local need. We will update on progress. In the meantime if you have any specific comments or queries, please do email – email@example.com
I was part of the members scrutiny group that worked on the report. I believe it’s a very positive step forward, although I had hoped the strategy would include more specific targets, for example, on modal shift to less polluting transport modes.
The shared ambition of Surrey’s 12 local authorities is that our residents live in clean, safe and green communities, where people and organisations embrace their environmental responsibilities. In support of this ambition – and the council’s commitment to the county achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – Surrey’s Climate Change Strategy sets out a collective approach to do our part to tackle climate change. You can read here the Summary: Surrey’s Climate Change Strategy.
Surrey County Council has launched a Surrey wide campaign aimed at offering advice and support for those struggling or feeling low during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you or someone you care about is struggling, there’s lots of mental wellbeing support available. For information on free local services in Surrey and self-help resources visit: healthysurrey.org.
Confidential Helpline Phone: 0808 802 5000 24 hours, 7 days a week
SMS Text: 07537 432411 Staffed Monday to Friday 9am-2pm
Jenrick to ask councils to reopen Household Waste Recycling Centres in coming weeks
Robert Jenrick, the Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has said that local authorities will be asked to “plan the organised opening” of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) in the coming weeks.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday (28 April), Jenrick stated: “Today I can announce that I am asking councils to plan the organised opening of household waste collection sites. I expect this to happen over the coming weeks, and I will be publishing amended guidance shortly.”
Surrey County Council and the wider Surrey Environment Partnership are keen to see our services getting back to normal as soon as possible and we are working with our contractor to develop a plan to re-open our Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRCs) as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.
The current government advice is clear that the public should Stay Home and only make essential journeys at this time. This will protect the NHS and save lives. While restrictions remain in place and travelling to a CRC is not deemed to be an essential journey, the CRC’s need to remain closed. We understand that this is inconvenient, and Surrey County Council is committed to extending CRC opening hours once the current restrictions are lifted.
The number of people joining Surrey libraries has doubled since library buildings closed as part of the coronavirus lockdown, according to the latest figures from Surrey County Council.
On top of this, over 4,000 online books, comics and magazines were downloaded last month – ten times the average number of downloads a month. Proving that despite buildings being closed, the county’s libraries are still very much open.
Thousands of children across the county have been enjoying Digital Rhyme Time sessions on Facebook.
To make the most of their ‘libraries from home’, Surrey residents can find lots of activities and resources for both children and young people, as well as adults on this website.
Community recycling centres to remain closed for now
Surrey County Council and the wider Surrey Environment Partnership are keen to see services getting back to normal as soon as possible and we are working with our contractor to develop a plan to re-open our Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRCs) as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.
The government advice is clear that the public should Stay Home and only make essential journeys at this time. This will protect the NHS and save lives. Therefore, community recycling centres will remain closed until this advice changes.
Waste staff are key workers performing a vital service and protecting household collections is our priority. We are ensuring other higher priority waste services, such as kerbside collections, are maintained and our CRC staff are now supporting short-staffed household collection crews and making sure those crews still have somewhere to take refuse for disposal.
We would ask residents to please hold onto any excess waste. Surrey Joint Waste Solutions has a number of tips on how residents can manage your waste more effectively.
In a letter to Ministers yesterday, the County Councils Network (CCN) has reinforced the message that unless restrictions around the lockdown are changed the CRCs need to remain closed. But it adds that should the Government’s restrictions around essential travel change, Council’s would do everything they could to support the reopening of sites and would manage this safely.
It also stresses that in light of staff having been redeployed to household waste kerbside collection there is a fear across Council’s that reopening CRCs would affect this vital service. The CCN outlines that there is a strong case for continuing to prioritise garden waste and bulk collections of household waste before HWRCs are reopened.’
While restrictions remain in place and travelling to a CRC is not deemed to be an essential journey, the CRC’s need to remain closed.
We understand that this is inconvenient, and Surrey County Council is committed to extending CRC opening hours once the current restrictions are lifted.
Help for charities supporting relief effort
Surrey County Council has announced a £100k contribution towards the Community Foundation for Surrey (CFS) to supplement their Coronavirus Response Fund that offers support of up to £5k to smaller charities and voluntary bodies.
Already more than £350k in emergency funding to help our most vulnerable residents has been distributed by The Community Foundation for Surrey (CFS), a philanthropic charity which brings together local donors to support voluntary groups across Surrey providing vital services.
Calls continue to come into the Surrey County Council Community Helpline at a rate of 200 per day.
The next focus of offering help will be highlighting a telephone befriending service for those feeling isolated and lonely. Several volunteer groups are waiting behind the scenes to offer this support to residents. 0300 200 1008.
Council Leader Tim Oliver visited the Community Food Hub at the Guildford Spectrum to see the relief being coordinated to Surrey’s most vulnerable residents with food boxes. Watch the video here.
In Haslemere, a local group of 300+ volunteers called HaslemereHelp is supporting residents with shopping, collecting prescriptions and befriending. This amazing effort has been supported by collaboration with John Robini – the town mayor, the town clerk, Haslemere Health Centre, local supermarket Waitrose and local residents” associations. Here are HaslemereHelp’s contact details:
When someone dies, there are many decisions and arrangements to be made. Unfortunately, these decisions and arrangements are required at a time of great personal distress and sadness.
Surrey County Council is working with local funeral directors, faith groups and supporting charities and they will be able to support you through the process in the coming days. It’s more important than ever that you take the time to look after your own needs too.
When faced with bereavement we normally look to our friends and family for support. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing situation this may not be as easy as it normally would.
As we deal with higher volumes of deaths, we must ensure that decisions are made as quickly as possible, while remaining mindful of the individual circumstances and wishes of each deceased person and their family.
We’re working with local funeral directors, faith groups and supporting charities who are on hand to help and support our communities through this difficult time.
With Surrey History Centre closed to the public, staff across the service have worked incredibly hard to develop a range of activities, learning resources and projects:
Covid Diaries They are inviting people to share their experiences of life during the lockdown by keeping a ‘Covid Diary’ and also sharing their photographs with us of how life has changed so rapidly across the county. Full details of the project will be found here.
BBC Surrey and Sussex have taken up the story and will be feature a piece this Saturday morning around 10.15am.
Educational and Online Activities There is also a wide range of online learning resources and activities for all ages available via the website
Following the government announcement yesterday (17 April 2020) that there is now an extreme shortage of PPE, Surrey County Council is urgently appealing for volunteers to help supply items for Surrey’s frontline workers.
With demand for PPE nationally and globally
reaching unprecedented levels, social workers, care home staff, volunteers and
items such as gowns, aprons and masks which skilled volunteers may be able to
assist with, based on a Public Health England standard.
Leader of Surrey County Council, Tim Oliver said:“As a county council we continue to do all we can to source more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers to ensure they have the right protection against Covid-19, but there is simply not enough supply coming into the county, indeed nationally, and this situation is now very urgent indeed.
“That is why we are now appealing to the wealth of skilled and talented people across the county – from university students to business owners and seamstresses, who may be able to assist us in producing personal protective equipment, such as gowns and masks.
“This is a time when so many communities are pulling together. I hope the public will hear our call and come to our aid so we can do all we can to protect our frontline workers who are working so tirelessly on our behalf.”
County Council is stressing that all items will need to be made to a
specification outlined by Public Health England. Please get in touch to discuss
how you can help and we will then provide this ASAP.
Surrey County Council would still welcome
contact from businesses who are able to support and would also encourage them
to email us directly with any offers of support.
As a county councillor, I receive a top line brief every day from the Leader of Surrey County Council, Councillor Tim Oliver. Here are some sections from today’s brief.
Community Helpline 0300 200 1008
Easter opening times Easter opening hours:
• Monday to Thursday, 8am to 6pm
• Good Friday 10th April 10am to 4pm
• Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 2pm
• Easter Monday 13th April 10am to 4pm
Community helpline receives 250 calls a day
Surrey’s coronavirus community helpline has handled 2,500 calls and around 160 online forms. The helpline is receiving around 250 calls a day from people needing support or volunteering to help others.
Call handlers, made up of staff from the Council’s customer services team and other staff from across the council who have been called in to support, are equipped to work remotely are making sure that vulnerable people who need support are matched with groups or services which can help. Surrey County Council is working closely with colleagues in Surrey’s district and boroughs councils to make sure that people who can’t rely on family or friends get support if they need it – including over the Easter bank holiday weekend.
The helpline is also getting calls from people willing to volunteer to help others and is signposting them to voluntary groups in their local area.
A reminder that, in Haslemere, our local support group is Haslemere Help. Individuals and community groups throughout Haslemere looking to provide volunteering support during Covid-19 can still register and are encouraged to complete a Volunteer Registration Form. Residents who need help with shopping, prescription pickups or other services should call the Haslemere Help service on 07873 383954. Enquiries can also be channelled to firstname.lastname@example.org and through their dedicated Facebook page www.facebook.com/haslemerehelp.
Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, said:
“The <Surrey> helpline is part of a huge community effort to make sure the most vulnerable people in our county are protected through these difficult times and I’d encourage people to continue using it, both to volunteer if they are able and call for help if they need it.”
Bin collections – what can you do to help?
We’re doing everything we can to keep bin collections running as normal during the Coronavirus pandemic. But it’s likely that services will be impacted soon because of staff shortages due to parental leave or sickness. To help us prepare, here are some things that you can do to help.
Countryside car parks
The car parks will remain closed, in line with the government and Prime Minister’s advice on social distancing. While car parks remain closed, the countryside and all rights of way remain open.
Some landowners are concerned about the increased use of public rights of way on their property, and the risk to livestock when gates are left open and dogs are not controlled. We would advise residents to please remember to follow the countryside code at all times. If large numbers of people are using the public rights of way, landowners are permitted to consider a few measures including displaying polite notices to encourage users to follow social distancing guidelines and offering alternative routes.
The decision to keep the car parks closed is consistent with other major countryside landowners like the National Trust as we all try to prevent the spread of coronavirus. For more information on the countryside, visit www.surreycc.gov.uk/countryside.
A message from the Surrey Domestic Abuse Partnership
The Surrey Domestic Abuse Partnership is aware that the measures that the government have taken to reduce the spread of Covid-19 will put survivors of domestic abuse at further risk. Being unable to leave the home will make accessing support even more difficult and being isolated at home with a perpetrator increases the risk of serious harm or worse. Our community outreach services are still open to referrals although this service will be delivered remotely and the confidential Your Sanctuary DA Helpline and on-line chat service is available for anybody seeking information or support. The refuge network both in Surrey and across England and Wales are working hard to keep women and their children safe and can be accessed through the Your Sanctuary helpline.
Refuge, the UK’s largest domestic abuse charity says calls to its Helpline have risen by 25% since lockdown measures began. Isolation has potential to aggravate pre-existing behaviours in abusive partners but isn’t reason for abusive behaviour.
REFUGE has a Freephone 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline number: 0808 2000 247
Vulnerable people’s hub
Those who really need help, who are unable to rely on family and friends should immediately call our helpline on 0300 200 1008
Online Forms: As part of our out of hours service we have an online ‘I Need Help’ form where people can contact us through our website if they need help for themselves, or a family member living in Surrey. This can be used to contact us when the Helpline is closed.
The Surrey Local Resilience Forum are coordinating measures to support the 17,000 most vulnerable in Surrey (who are receiving letters from the NHS). – We are making sure we know who those are that really need help, and where they are in the County.
We are coordinating both with government, and with districts and boroughs, and the first food parcels are starting to go out to people
That distribution is coordinated from our hub at The Spectrum leisure centre in Guildford, and there will be smaller hubs in locations across the county to manage distribution
The Hub will also support those who feel isolated in the coming weeks and months who are feeling frightened and concerned.
We have already been able to help some residents in severe urgent need with food and medicine, which is fantastic to know we’re making that difference already, but there is a huge task ahead to ensure nobody slips through the cracks