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News Updates

Government Announcement regarding Covid restrictions

The Government has confirmed that South Somerset will be in Tier 2 of COVID-19 restrictions when a period of national lockdown ends at 00.01 on Wednesday 2 December.

From Wednesday 2 December, these are the restrictions (see below) that will be in place in South Somerset (along with Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip, Sedgemoor, Dorset, Bath & North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Swindon, and Devon).

The system will be regularly reviewed and an area's tier level may change before Christmas - the first review is scheduled for 16 December.

Tier 2: High alert

This is for areas with a higher or rapidly rising level of infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place.

In tier 2:

· you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place

· you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the 'rule of 6'

· businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs

· pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals

· hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:

· provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol

· close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)

· stop taking orders after 10pm

· hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through

· early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm

· public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors

· public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors

· places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies

· weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stone settings.

· organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue

· organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing

· you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible

· if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey

· for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

The Government has announced further details around Christmas and a temporary lifting of some restrictions.

Between 23 and 27 December:

· you can form an exclusive 'Christmas bubble' composed of people from no more than three households

· you can only be in one Christmas bubble

· you cannot change your Christmas bubble

· you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble

· you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces

· you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier where you are staying

· you cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part of your household or Christmas bubble

You should travel to meet those in your Christmas bubble and return home between the 23 and 27 December. Anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may travel on the 22 and 28 December.

A Government spokesman said: "A fixed bubble is a sensible and proportionate way to balance the desire to spend time with others over the Christmas period, while limiting the risk of spreading infection.

"However, the more people you see, the more likely it is that you will catch or spread coronavirus (COVID-19). You can spread coronavirus to others even if you and the people you meet have no symptoms. You and the other people in your Christmas bubble need to consider these risks carefully before agreeing to form a bubble.

"You should consider ways to celebrate Christmas in other ways, such as the use of technology and meeting outdoors, without bringing households together or travelling between different parts of the country.

"Forming a bubble if you are vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable carries additional risks - see advice for clinically vulnerable people.

"You should keep taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus, and this will help ensure that the festive period is as safe as possible. This includes ensuring indoor spaces get as much fresh air as possible, washing your hands regularly and for 20 seconds, and following rules on self-isolation if you develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus. You should get a free NHS test if you have symptoms, have been asked to by your local council or your hospital, or are taking part in a government pilot project."

For further information on the Government's Christmas announcement, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family/making-a-christmas-bubble-with-friends-and-family

Richard Birch
Lead Specialist – Communications, Marketing and Media
Strategy and Commissioning
South Somerset District Council

30th November 2020

covid-19 Update

Good evening

Please find attached the latest weekly Covid-19 summary on behalf of the Somerset Covid-19 Engagement Board. In light of the recent announcement on the new tiering system being reintroduced after 2 December and Somerset entering 'Tier 2,' it is going to be more important than ever, the need to strengthen our resolve to get us through this difficult winter.

We have started to see rates come down as a result of the lockdown but we must continue to keep up the good work to bring these numbers down lower and stop them from starting to climb back up again. This next period is going to be crucial, we want to remind people that their individual actions will not only impact themselves but others too - including loved ones.

We know that there is confusion around self-isolation – particularly if members of the same household become systematic or contract covid-19. We have developed some graphics that explain the guidelines really clearly – these are attached for sharing with your networks. I also attach the new 'Tier 2' guidance poster from Government.

Many thanks and best wishes

Lisa

Lisa Rogers
Partnership Manager - please note that Monday is my non working day
Public Health
Somerset County Council
Mobile: 07977 411302
Email: lzrogers@somerset.gov.uk

Covid 19 update

27th November 2020

Somerset Waste Partnership briefing note Nov 2020

November 2020

Waste Partnership

24th November 2020

Parish Council Highways Report November 2020

Road Signage

Woolston

You will be aware from my report last month that we have come to an agreement with SSDC to install a series of road safety signs including reinstating the SLOW road markers through Woolston.

At the same time it was proposed that three village name signs were also to be installed, these latter items would need to be paid for and it was agreed that the PC would meet half the cost and the residents would be asked to contribute the remainder.

Karen Harris did a great job in circulating all 51 households in this respect. Unfortunately we have had an adverse response from several villagers saying that they definitely do not want any name signs. This was not a unanimous view and several were quite happy to contribute however in view of the fact that the villagers did not request these particular signs in the first place and we do not want to alienate some of the longstanding members of the community we have decided to cancel this part of the order.

I have advised Gary Warren and asked him to confirm that the road safety signs will be installed as soon as possible.

Galhampton

You will recall that we agreed that two village name signs should be installed on the A359 back at the beginning of the year - nothing has happened. I spoke to Janet Livsey this week and she told me that this is partly the result of the pandemic but also they were expecting a contribution towards the cost from the Orchard Quiz nights which, of course, have not taken place. She is now working on alternative funding which will enable them to proceed in due course.

Three Ashes

The demolished SLOW/BEND sign near the Three Ashes junction has been reported and I have been advised this week that an order has been placed for this to be reinstated shortly.

Flooding

I continue to badger SSDC about the situation on Parish Hill but am not getting any positive response.

Recent heavy rain has highlighted several areas where some sort of drain blockage is evident, these include the main Woolston Road, just past Manor Farm. The junction near Rose Cottage, Woolston. Frog Lane Galhampton and the bottom of the hill near Eastwood Farm Yarlington. In addition many of the drains in and around North Cadbury are blocked.

Many thanks to Archie who has this week uncovered all the drains along Woolston Road and with the help of a JCB cut back the encroaching verges to help alleviate the flooding in this area.

Peter Wells recently wrote direct to John Nicholson re the North Cadbury drains and the response was “ a jetting order has been raised and will be dealt with when resources permit”

This, unfortunately, is the response I am getting all the time. It would appear that there is only one jetting team covering the whole of South Somerset and Mendip but I will keep up the pressure as some areas, particularly Parish Hill, have been outstanding for well over a year.

Road Surfaces

We still await work to be carried out on a series of potholes across the parish and to give you an idea of the problem I am facing I reported four particularly bad areas at the end of May, received acknowledgement on 2nd June saying they would be inspected within three days, on the 5th June another set of emails advised that they had been inspected and were now included in a programme of repair.

Out of the blue last week I received another email quoting one of the reference numbers advising that this particular pothole had been inspected again and was not now considered a safety defect!!

As a point of reference potholes are prioritised depending on their size and where they are, taking into account the amount and speed of traffic using the road and where the pothole is on the road.

In my view the worst area in our Parish is Frog Lane Galhampton which is littered with potholes, flooded in several areas and is plastered in mud.

On another matter I have received several complaints about the road surface on the A303 slip road near Teals Orchard. I have spoken with Nick Sinfeld (Teals) as there seems to be some confusion as to who is responsible. Apparently the road is owned by Highways England but resurfacing is the responsibility of Somerset County Council. Nick is sending me a contact he has at SCC which he thinks might produce some action. I will be taking this forward even though it is not in our parish.

Hedge trimming

A lot of hedge of hedge trimming has taken place over recent weeks and many of the lanes are looking good but I have received some complaints about hedges that appear to abut private land ie not farm land. This is particularly the case in Woolston and on the bend in the Cary Road North Cadbury. I have already spoken with the owner of the property on Cary Road but have yet to establish who is responsible for the Woolston hedge.

In summary it is difficult to achieve much at the present time and the Covid situation only exacerbates the problem but I will keep on trying.

John Rundle

23rd November 2020

Parish Council Rights of Way Report November 2020

Works completed
WN 19/72 Path has been sprayed out.
WN 19/27 Stile repaired at junction with 19/97.

Outstanding Issues
WN 19/78 ROW officer has agreed to replace gate at southern entrance to this footpath.
WN 31/7 Tree down and foliage blocking path.
WN 19/105 Restricted byway remains in deplorable state. Notices prohibiting vehicles have been placed at each end. Issue of the bollards still unresolved.

A growing number of parishioners have written to Rob Coate, senior ROW officer, protesting about the state of the byway.
WN 19/95 Bridge to be re-built.
WN 19/1 (Smallway Lane east) access overgrown, broken stile, no finger post and southern end at junction with Frog Lane no access, overgrown, no stile or way marking. Path has been in this state for at least 7 months. Uncertain who owns the land – possibly Mount Pleasant Farm Holdings.
WN 19/101 Gate at eastern end is dangerous. It drops on its hinges and latching post is beginning to collapse. No response from land owners. Now in the hands of ROW officer.
WN 19/27 Maize harvested but crop for sheep fodder sown. No path. Landowner unknown.
WN 22/16 Maize harvested but path not reinstated. Landowner unknown.
Manor Farm Route through farmyard at the end of Sleight Lane Track is confusing for walkers. PPLO is considering how to place waymarks more effectively.
WN 19/38 Crop has grown over the footpath. Sue Seager informed. PPLO will contact again.
WN 19/91 Better signing required. Exit to Woolston Road has been diverted. Original exit blocked.

Circular walks project
One display board has been completed and three more are being made. A number of sites have been proposed and discussions are taking place.

23rd November 2020

Progress Report of the Neighbourhood Plan Working Group to the Parish Council 23/11/20

At the end of last month three members of the working group decided that they no longer wanted to continue working on the plan and this would be an appropriate time to leave. Mike, Alan and Tim have worked tirelessly on the project for the last eighteen months and we owe them our thanks for that. Mike of course was the person to get this emerging plan off the ground. They will be greatly missed.
However, a new working group has been formed which is larger, addresses the gender gap and is more closely aligned to the Parish Council. This puts us in a strong position to complete the remaining work by the end of 2021.
This past month’s work has been mainly concerned with getting the Option Consultation and Questionnaire out to everybody in the Parish. This we have done using the NP website, social media bulletins, posters and a door to door mail drop etc. The closing date for filling in the questionnaire is Sunday 6th Dec. In the region of 200 responses are required to make the findings representative.

Andy Keys-Toyer

23rd November 2020

Update on Highway Works in South Somerset Area, Week Commencing the 23rd November 2020.

I am writing to update you on the latest progress of SCC highway works in the South Somerset Area, for the week commencing the 23rd of November 2020.
For your information, I attach the planned programme of works. Works highlighted in red indicate that this is a new scheme introduced into the works programme. Dates highlighted in red indicate a change to the original dates that have previously been detailed.
Additional 'live' information can be found on our webpage by following the link, www.travelsomerset.co.uk.
Should you wish to discuss any particular scheme in more detail, please contact this office at your earliest convenience.
Regards

Neil McWilliams
Highway Service Manager
Somerset County Council
South Somerset Area Highways Office
Mead Avenue
Houndstone Business Park
Yeovil
Somerset
BA22 8RT

23rd November 2020

COVID-19: Funding support available for business through lockdown

Funding support is available to businesses in South Somerset due to the national lockdown restrictions that came into effect from Thursday 5th November.

South Somerset District Council are administering two schemes:

Local Restriction Support Grant

Eligible businesses are now able to apply for a business support grant under the Local Restriction Support Grant scheme. Grants are available of up to £3,000 and this will cover the 28 day national lockdown period. The funding will be provided on a rolling 28 day period for as long as the current lockdown restrictions apply.

Under this scheme, support is available for businesses that are legally required to close and are business rate payers. Businesses that have been required to close by Government include:

- Non-essential retail

- Leisure

- Personal Care

- Sports Facilities

- Hospitality


A full list of businesses required to close can be viewed on the Government website.

If you own or manage a:

- Pub, cafe or restaurant and have changed your business model during the lockdown period to operate as a takeaway.

- Shop required to close but offer click and collect or online with delivery services. Additionally

- Hotel or accommodation business that continues to provide services only for those who are travelling for work purposes or other exempt purposes.


You are also able to submit application into this scheme.

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) – Discretionary Grant Scheme

From Monday 23rd November at 12.00pm, eligible businesses will be able to apply for a business support grant under our discretionary scheme. This scheme is designed for:

- Businesses who have lost 25% or more of their normal operating income during the current lockdown period

- Businesses that are required to close but do not have a business rates valuation

- Businesses that mainly supply or trade with businesses required to close, or have experienced significantly reduced customer levels


South Somerset District Council have limited funding available for this scheme and encourage businesses to apply as quickly as possible. Should demand outweigh the amount of funding available, we will be required to operate on a first come first served basis and reserve the right to review the scheme should we feel absolutely necessary.

How do I apply?

Applications for both schemes can be submitted online and can be accessed by visiting www.southsomerset.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport. You will need to be registered for a basic ‘My Account’ in order to apply and can do that online at www.southsomerset.gov.uk/register.

What will you need?

Businesses will need to provide:
- Latest Business Bank Statement

- An image of your latest business rates bill (Local Restriction Support Grant)

- Evidence of fixed costs, for example lease / rental agreements or a bank statement highlighting outgoings relevant to this application (ARG only)

- Business information including:

· Number of employees

· Type of business

· Contact information

· Information specific to the business (e.g Business Rates reference number)


I applied for a Business Support Grant during the first lockdown. Can I apply again this time?

Yes you can. This is a Business Support Grant that covers the 28 day national lockdown period between Thursday 5th November and Wednesday 2nd December 2020.

How long does it take to process an application and how do I find out if and when I will receive the grant support?

We are expecting a high volume of applications and have reassigned staff to help deal with the expected extra workload. We will work through them as quickly as possible. In addition, the Government may still make changes to the grant scheme and we may have to get back to you for more information.

Once we have all of the information we need to process your application, you will receive a decision and/or a notification of when to expect the grant support payment. During this time, we ask that you are patient and give our team 14 clear days before you follow up your application.

What other support is available for my business?

Further support for businesses can be found on our website: www.southsomerset.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport.

Council Leader Val Keitch said: “This is clearly a challenging time for all businesses and at South Somerset District Council we are committed to doing all we can to support businesses through the current crisis.

“We’ve acted quickly to try and inform businesses how they can access Government Business Support Grants and I am grateful to the staff at South Somerset District Council for moving swiftly to get processes in place and inform businesses across the district of the help and support they can receive.”

As a District Council, we have implemented many actions from Thursday 5th November for public safety in line with new Covid-19 restrictions.

In addition, South Somerset District Council will continue to work will local community organisations to ensure those who are vulnerable or facing hardship are supported, and facilitate a number of grants to local foodbanks.

The council will also continue to ensure anyone who is homeless or facing homelessness has a safe place to stay.

The Council is also issuing payments to those that are entitled who are required to self-isolate.

For the latest information about Coronavirus in the UK, including how to keep yourself and your community safe, visit the Government website.

If you are facing financial hardship and need support, please contact South Somerset District Council on 01935 462462 or use our online form - https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/life-events/coronavirus-support/who-can-i-speak-to/.

The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline number, 0300 790 6275, is also live to help you access help you may need, including emotional support, in the current crisis.

To view all of our news releases, please visit www.southsomerset.gov.uk/latest-news

South Somerset District Council is also on social media:
www.twitter.com/southsomersetdc
www.facebook.com/SouthSomersetDistrictCouncil
www.youtube.com/southsomersetdc

For more information:
Martin Hacker, Specialist (Communications, Marketing & Media)
Tel: 01935 462130

Issued by:
South Somerset District Council Communications Team
Tel: 01935 462130

18th November 2020

Covid-19 Update

Please find attached the weekly update

13th November 2020

Step Up Somerset

Dear colleague
Step Up Somerset is a multi-agency one-stop-shop launched to provide support for those individuals who are job hunting, seeking training in new industries or working to strengthen their skills by providing details of employment and skills services and resources. For anyone without internet access, further one-to-one help can also be provided by phoning the Coronavirus Helpline on 0300 790 6275.

Best wishes

Debbie Rundle
Communications Officer
Somerset County Council
County Hall
Taunton
Somerset TA1 4DY
01823 356197
drundle@somerset.gov.uk

10th November 2020

Support for Somerset residents during lockdown

Help is available for anyone in Somerset who may need additional support during the second national lockdown.

The five councils in Somerset have been working together since the first lockdown to provide a single phone number for anyone in Somerset who needs Coronavirus-related support.

Residents are reminded they can call 0300 790 6275 if they need any help themselves or are concerned about relatives or neighbours.

Although the national restrictions and guidance on shielding are different this time, it remains really important for people to stay connected and also keep active, particularly during the winter period.

Help and advice is available and phonelines are open seven days a week between 8am and 6pm to offer support with:

· Personal care and support including food and delivery of prescriptions
· Support for the homeless
· Emotional support if you're feeling worried or anxious
· Employment, skills and business advice
· Transport to medical appointments
· Waste collection and disposal
· Financial support

The five councils will again be proactively contacting a number of those residents identified as needing additional support during the previous lockdown.

Please be alert to potential scams and remember a caller from the council will never ask for personal details or bank details. If you're concerned, please hang up and get in touch via the helpline.
If people are interested in volunteering, for example helping people out with shopping or picking up prescriptions they can go to https://www.corona-helpers.co.uk/ to register.

For further info please contact the communications teams from any of Somerset's local authorities – the County Council, four district councils and the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group.

Kind regards

Peter Elliott
Head of Communications
Somerset County Council
Mobile: 07976 696865
Press Office: 01823 355020
Email: pelliott@somerset.gov.uk

6th November 2020

The Covid Community Champions Network: Helping people to stay happy and healthy.

Hello,

I hope this email find you safe and well?

I’m writing to tell you about an exciting new opportunity. Spark Somerset is working in partnership with SASP (Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership) to set up the Covid Community Champions Network. The network will give local people a role in helping their community to get up to date information and make the right choices to stay healthy.

After attending a short online training course, Covid Community Champions will be able to help their family, friends and the wider community to understand the latest guidance around Covid-19, and signpost to other health and wellbeing support. This can done informally as the Champions go about their day to day lives. Whether they chat to someone while queuing outside the shop, talk to work colleagues, or challenge something they see online, they will play a vital part in helping keep local people informed, happy, and healthy.

Champions will have the opportunity to attend regular meetings, where they’ll get to know the other Champions, keep up to date, and feedback about how things are going where they live and work.

We’re particularly keen to involve people living or working with communities that might find it hard to get the right information about how to stay happy and healthy at the moment, and areas where Covid infections rates are highest in Somerset.

If you, or someone you know who might be interested in a becoming a Covid Champion, you can find more information and sign up here

The first induction/training session will be via Zoom on Tuesday 17th November at 7pm. Sign up details will be sent to people who have registered on the link above.

If you’d like to discuss how your organisation might support the network, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I look forward to working with you.

Best wishes,
Helen

Helen Fielden
Volunteer Development Officer
Please note: I am part time and work mainly 9.30-2.30, Monday-Friday

4th November 2020

Have your say in Somerset Covid-19 Survey

A new survey has launched this week asking Somerset residents to have their say on how the Coronavirus pandemic is impacting on their lives.

The purpose of the Somerset Covid-19 Survey is to understand the barriers people are facing adhering to the government guidance to stop the spread of the virus.

Somerset County Council and the Somerset Public Health team want to hear from as many people as possible across the county so that they can use the feedback to shape the local response to the pandemic.

The survey will cover a number of areas including Covid-19 testing, whether people have become more isolated as a result of the pandemic, how the guidance around local alert levels and the Hands, Face, Space campaign has been understood, as well as views on how others are adhering to the guidance.

Trudi Grant, Director of Somerset Public Health, said: "Along with the rest of the country, Somerset has seen a rise in cases of Covid-19.
"The Covid-19 Somerset Survey aims to improve our understanding of how the coronavirus is impacting on people's lives across the county.
"This feedback will enable us to tailor our Covid-19 response to the needs of Somerset's residents and make sure we provide the appropriate support."

Cllr Clare Paul, Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health said: "We would like to ensure our residents and communities feel valued and empowered, knowing their voices can make a difference in helping to shape the council's response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We want to obtain views from individuals from all backgrounds to ensure that diverse perspectives, ideas and priorities are heard."

The Covid-19 Somerset Survey is open until Friday, November 13.
To take part in the survey, please go to: www.somerset.gov.uk/covidsurvey
If you require an alternate format of the survey, contact lzrogers@somerset.gov.uk

2nd November 2020

David Fothergill. Leader of SOMERSET COUNTY COUNCIL BRIEFING SHEET FOR PARISH AND TOWN COUNCILS NOVEMBER 2020

Corona Virus Update: Revised Government regulations mean that Somerset will now enter a period of enhanced lockdown measures aimed at stopping the spread of the Corona virus. The measures will be reviewed on or before the 2nd December. Whilst numbers in the County remain relatively low there has been a marked increase in the number of positive tests. As at 1st November, the number of confirmed Covid cases in Somerset was 2,738 and the number of Covid-attributed deaths 208. The rate per 100,000 currently stands at 65.5 for Somerset with Sedgemoor at 94.8 and SW&T at 70.6. The current number of total deaths across the County is currently 17% below the 5-year average and the latest R-value for Somerset is between 1.3 and 1.6.
It is vitally important to remember at all times the Hands-Face-Space message.

Covid-19 survey: The purpose of the Somerset Covid-19 Survey is to understand the barriers people are facing adhering to the government guidance to stop the spread of the virus. Somerset Public Health team and the Somerset Covid-19 Engagement Board want to hear from as many people as possible across the county so that they can use the feedback to further shape the local response to the pandemic. The survey will cover a includes Covid-19 testing, whether people have become more isolated as a result of the pandemic, how the guidance around local alert levels and the Hands, Face, Space campaign has been understood, as well as views on how others are adhering to the guidance. The survey will close on Friday 13 November. To take part go to: http://www.somerset.gov.uk/covidsurvey
2021 Primary School Places: Applications for Primary School places in 2021 need to be made through Somerset County Council’s website: www.somerset.gov.uk/admissions The deadline for submissions is Friday, 15 January 2021.
Winter Gritting: SCC’s fleet of 23 Gritters will be maintaining the extended gritting service of last year, with approximately 900 miles of road up for treatment in 2020/21. SCC treat over a fifth of Somerset’s roads and the main priority is to keep the busiest routes clear whenever ice or snow is expected. For more information about Somerset County Council’s winter service programme, including a searchable map showing all the roads treated, please visit www.travelsomerset.co.uk/gritting and follow @TravelSomerset on Twitter.
Climate Emergency Strategy: The Somerset Climate Emergency Strategy which identifies key priorities to reduce the carbon footprint across the County and achieve Carbon neutrality by 2030 has been written with the assistance of over 5,000 residents who took part in the survey and drop in events. The strategy will now be presented to the SCC Full Council meeting on 18th November for endorsement.

One Somerset: The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, has written to all council leaders in Somerset inviting them to submit their business cases for Local Government Reform by 9 November 2020 with final supporting submissions to MHCLG by 9th December. It is then expected that the Secretary of State will make a decision in early summer 2021.
Somerset Youth Parliament: Somerset Youth Parliament and Somerset County Council are encouraging schools, colleges and youth projects across the county to have their say, make a difference and ensure young people’s voices are heard on key issues. The online British Youth Council survey encourages all young people aged 11 to 18 years to vote on issues which are most important to them. These top issues will then be debated and voted on by elected Members of Youth Parliament, helping create the next UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) manifesto. Individuals, schools, clubs and youth projects are able to register and find out more online at www.byc.org.uk
Family Safeguarding: A new way to support children and families in Somerset has been launched with the aim of strengthening families to overcome their issues and thereby reducing the number of children needing to come into care. Somerset County Council, in partnership with The YOU Trust and the Somerset Drug and Alcohol Service (SDAS), has created the ‘Family Safeguarding Team’ – a new way of working that will transform how support is given to children and families in the county. A really helpful YouTube video has been created to explain the approach, which can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/u2WMlCx8KTY

Stepping Stone Placements: More homes are urgently needed in Somerset to provide vital support to young people as they move from care into adulthood. With more than 300 young care leavers in Somerset currently the demand for placements far outweighs availability. ‘Stepping Stones’ providers receive a weekly fee, starting at £185 per week, plus a little extra for food and utilities (up to £27.50) paid weekly by the young person from their allowance. Providers are also eligible for the same tax exemptions and relief as foster carers, but have much more flexibility to work full or part-time alongside their care role. If you have a spare room and would like to help, please visit www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk or call 0800 5879900

2nd November 2020

Food Support for families in Somerset

Somerset County Council has pledged £125,000 of additional support for families in Somerset who may be struggling to find food during the Half Term Holiday.

We want to make sure no child or adult in Somerset goes hungry. Our aim is to meet the immediate need for food and work with the family to address underlying needs. This is because if a child is hungry there are usually other issues we would want to help them address – financial, housing, mental health and wellbeing, employment, skills, etc…

Throughout the pandemic our Coronavirus Helpline has been providing information, advice and support to families, adopting the same community orientated approach as that developed in the Adults service and extending the Village Agent offer to families so that they can get support to address underlying issues and regain, or retain, their ability to be as independent as possible. This has enabled many families in Somerset to get the support they need to become more resilient. One element of this has been to ensure families have access to nutritious meals and this remains a focus of our work.

In September we were allocated £572,000 by central government for food provision. Over the last 2 months we have been working with District Councils, Somerset CCG, Spark Somerset, Somerset Community Foundation and Community Council for Somerset as part of the Vulnerable People and Community Resilience cell to ensure that we have food available to support people in need. To date we have allocated £150,000 of the grant to produce frozen meals, secure food from Fareshare and support communities to provide fresh goods. This food is for anyone in need in Somerset over the winter and will also be used to support families in need during half term and other school holidays. The rest of the grant is being used to ensure we have solutions in place to address underlying issues, support our foodbanks, build community pantries and develop community schemes. This week it was agreed to set aside a further £125,000 in case additional funds are required to ensure families are fed this winter.

Additional support available to help families access food during Half Term:

• We have food available this half-term and any family in need should contact our Coronavirus Helpline on 0300 790 6275 and select Option 1. If Members are aware of families in need in their divisions, please encourage them to call our helpline.

• We are promoting the https://helpoutwhenschoolsout.co.uk website that provides links to local businesses and charities across the county and neighbouring counties offering free food to families:
o As of today, 28 groups and businesses have pledged their support on the website.
o Other businesses, groups or people wanting to donate food can do so via the website.
o Families can seek support directly from these businesses and groups via the website (contact telephone numbers and email contact details are provided on the website).

• We are also promoting the national website www.kidsmealsmap.co.uk that also provides opportunities for businesses and groups to offer free food to families. Families can also seek support directly via the website.

• The Coronavirus Helpline and both websites will continue to be promoted on the SCC website and on social media.

• We are working with Spark Somerset and the Community Council for Somerset to promote these sites across all Coronavirus Community Help groups in Somerset.

• Families calling the Coronavirus Helpline on 0300 790 6275 will also be supported by the Village Agents in line with our standard practice.

• Village Agents have access to food donated by the community, frozen meals purchased by Somerset County Council and some funds to give emergency support if needed.

• Village Agents can also help families access online shopping slots if they are finding it difficult to get to the shops

• The Taunton Coronavirus Community Help Group`s Facebook page provides further information and support available in Taunton and the wider Somerset area: https://www.facebook.com/groups/205973310624650/permalink/361447355077244

Offers of support / donations:

• Businesses or groups offering food – please direct them to https://helpoutwhenschoolsout.co.uk where they can register their offer.

• Financial donations – please direct to the Community Council for Somerset who will ensure that the money is used on direct food support for families. The money will be used to purchase fresh local produce.

Support for children who are asked to self-isolate from schools

• During the school term all free school meals children were entitled to have meals provided at home by their school.

For more information contact
Pip Cannons 07977 401922
pcannons@somerset.gov.uk

30th October 2020

Somerset Covid-19 weekly update

This update is provided by the Somerset Covid-19 Engagement Board and is designed to provide a weekly update on the current Covid-19 situation in Somerset.

Over-arching message: We are continuing to see a rise in positive Covid-19 cases across the county. The Somerset seven day rate is still lower (67.1 per 100,000 population) than the England rate (226.0 per 100,000) but the rise over the last few weeks is clear and continuing.
We are closely monitoring where our cases are, so that we can be quick to respond to any trends, clusters or outbreaks.
We have today, launched our online Somerset Covid-19 survey to understand the barriers people face doing the practical things we all need to do to stop the spread of the virus. Your support in helping us to promote the survey within your networks in much appreciated, more information on this later in the update.

In recent weeks, as well as working hard behind the scenes, we focussed some targeted communications in West Somerset due to a stark rise in positive cases. It has been really pleasing to see how the local response to our efforts has had a positive impact on the number of cases in the area. In the seven days (up to 29 October) there has been five cases of Covid-19 in West Somerset at a rate of 14 per 100,000 - this is in comparison to 17 cases at a rate of 48 per 100,000 in the week ending 4 October. This really shows how, by all working together, it really is achievable to bring our rates down – thanks to everyone that has played a part.

‘Remember, everyone can catch it, anyone can spread it’.

Summary of cases: We are seeing a general trend of increased transmission in Somerset, across all age groups and within all districts. Catching the virus from someone within your household is one of the main ways people are becoming Covid positive. Everyone in the household needs to do all they can to try and reduce their risk
If someone gets symptoms – a fever, cough or loss of taste and/ or smell you and your household need to self-isolate immediately. The person with symptoms needs to get a test (you don’t need a test if you are not experiencing symptoms even if you are living in the same household). To book a test at a local testing site go onto the national portal online at http://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by phoning 119, sites are open 7 days a week. Order a home test kit if you cannot get to a test site.
The link below shows the Somerset Dashboard which tracks our local epidemic from the start in March, to the current time:

https://www.somerset.gov.uk/covid-19-dashboard/

Testing and Cases: As of Friday 30 October, Somerset’s seven day infection rate is 67.1 new cases per 100,000. Between 18 October and 25 October, 14950 tests were carried out in Somerset. During these dates, at the time of writing, there have been 381 new confirmed cases in the county. This week we can see an increase in the proportion of tests that are coming back positive, this shows us that the right people are getting a test but also that our infection rates are increasing

Somerset’s infection rate is lower than both the England and South West seven-day averages, which at the time of writing stands at 226.0 per 100,000 for England and 130.7 per 100,000 for the South West. Despite our county’s lower rate, we are seeing a sharp rise in the rates we are reporting week on week - we must stay vigilant and continue to adhere to the guidelines to start to bring these numbers back down.

We are working to increase the number of testing sites in the county and have a Mobile Testing Unit at RNAS Yeovilton that will be up and running by Tuesday 3 November.

A Local Testing Site at Bridgwater Town Hall is due to be up and running in November too - this is Somerset’s very first walk in testing site, and is a welcome addition to testing sites currently available in Somerset

Care Sector: Somerset County Council Public Health and Adult Social Care, Public Health England and Somerset CCG are supporting staff across the care sector to keep some of our most vulnerable residents protected from the virus.

Between 21-28 October, we have had 18 positive cases in 13 care settings in Somerset. Most of these cases are relating to staff employed at the care home rather than residents and involve single cases being identified through routine asymptomatic testing.

For the latest known information and advice for adult care providers in Somerset visit: https://ssab.safeguardingsomerset.org.uk/covid19/

Schools and Early Years Settings: We hope our schools and early years providers as well as parents, children and young people have enjoyed a well-deserved half-term; we continue to support all educational settings with both the prevention and mitigation of coronavirus within their school community. Since September, we have supported over 60 educational settings with a range of situations.

Between 21-28 October, there has been:
• 15 single cases in schools, 4 nurseries and one FE College
• 3 schools have had two or more positive cases linked to them (over the last 14-days).

More often than not, these cases are from one household or are as a result of social contact outside of school. These cases refer to both student and staff cases and do not always result in the identification of close contacts from the school community.

Information for parents, carers and guardians:
• New COVID Checker for parents: https://www.cypsomersethealth.org/resources/covidchecker-schools_V2.pdf
• Resources for parents to understand the difference between a cold and Covid-19: https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/covid-19/info/ipc/
• School self-isolation guidance:
https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/School-Self-Isolation-Guidance-1.pdf

Workplaces and Events: We continue to see mainly single individual cases in workplaces however we are starting to see outbreaks and clusters too.

There is a change for employers on reporting cases to Public Health England (PHE). Until now, businesses have been asked to report all cases to PHE, but from now on, businesses only need to report two or more cases by calling 0300 303 8162 or emailing swhpt@phe.gov.uk. Single cases will be picked up by the Somerset County Council Public Health team from testing notifications that are received.

Businesses should also take the following actions:

1. Make sure that any positive case is isolating for 10 days and identify any close contacts in the workplace who will need to isolate for 14 days.
2. Make sure that the environment where the case has been present has been thoroughly cleaned, paying special attention to hand contact surfaces, such as door handles, keyboards etc.
3. DO NOT close unless advised to do so by public health or because you are unable to operate safely due to the number of staff in isolation.
4. Staff should not be sent for testing unless they become symptomatic. Those who have close contact without symptoms must still isolate for 14 days, even if they go for a test and have a negative result.
5. Only close contacts of the case need to isolate. NB a close contact is defined as having had face-to-face contact with someone less than a metre away (even if a face-covering or face-mask is worn) or being within 2 metres of an infected person for 15 minutes or more

Detailed guidance is available here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance

It is really important to continue to adhere to the social distancing guidelines in the workplace, to stop the spread of the virus but also to limit the number of ‘close contacts’ that would need to isolate if a positive case was identified.

Communications: In the next week as we see case numbers rise, we will continue to reinforce the key HANDS FACE SPACE message as well as the importance of face coverings in reducing the spread of coronavirus.

We will be promoting and encouraging participation in our Somerset Covid-19 survey as well as reminding people to stay safe and continue to adhere to Covid-19 guidance on Halloween and Bonfire night.

Information on how to stay safe and reduce the spread of infection and focussing targeted communications will be shared in areas within SWAT and Sedgemoor as, although still comparatively low compared to the national average, their rates are currently the highest in Somerset.

Take our Covid-19 Survey: The Somerset Covid-19 Survey has been set up to understand the barriers people face doing the practical things we all need to do to stop the spread of the virus. We want to hear from as many people as possible across Somerset.

This survey aims to:
• Obtain feedback from Somerset residents about how Covid-19 has impacted their lives, to enable Somerset’s Public Health to respond and act accordingly
• Obtain views from individuals from wide ranging social, economic and cultural circumstances, to ensure their diverse perspectives, ideas and priorities are heard
• Make residents and communities feel valued and empowered that their voices are heard and trust in the local response to Covid-19
The survey covers:
• Covid-19 testing
• How isolation due to Covid-19 might affect residents
• Understanding the guidance, including local alert levels and Hands, Face, Space
• View’s on how others are adhering to the guidance
To response to the survey, click here. With this update, please find a communications toolkit with information on how you can share the survey.

Bonfire night: With many of the usual public firework displays cancelled this year because of the pandemic, we may see an increase in the number of private bonfire night parties. If you do decide to hold or attend one, it is really important that you stick to the current guidelines to make sure that you and your loved ones stay safe. In particular, please remember the rule of six which applies outdoors as well as indoors!
While the number of Covid-19 cases in Somerset remains low compared to the rest of the UK, local rates are rising and we can’t afford to be complacent. Remember, the easiest way to stop the spread of the virus here is to keep following the guidance:
• Wash hands – keep washing hands regularly
• Wear face coverings in enclosed spaces
• Make space – stay at least two metres apart
• Follow the Rule of Six
And while Covid-19 is at the forefront of our minds when we talk about staying safe at the moment, please also remember the basics of firework safety:

• Make sure children stand at a safe distance from the bonfire
• Keep everyone well back from the display
• Never return to a lit firework
• Make sure children stand at a safe distance from the bonfire
• Keep fireworks in a closed metal box
• Always follow the instructions when using fireworks

The Child Accident Prevention Trust has loads more information about firework safety – click here to see it.
Be Spooky but stay Safe this Halloween: With Halloween on Saturday, many of us would now be planning fun (and spooky) things to do with our families however with increasing rates of coronavirus in our county, we need to approach our celebrations differently this year.

Please avoid Trick or Treating if possible, and at all times follow the rule of six as well as the ‘hands, face and space’ guidance. Knocking on doors and picking up sweets can increase the risk of catching and spreading the virus through touch and close contact. Instead why not use the opportunity to be creative and find alternative Halloween activities within your own home. Organise a Halloween themed treasure hunt around your house and garden and hide the trick or treat sweets to be found in the safety of your home! Or decorate your doorstep and share your pictures with us on social media, we would love to see them.

Finally, please share the information and particularly the key messages that are informing our current campaigns with your networks. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for further updates.

Let us know if you feel there is a gap in our messaging, or a format or resource that the communities you work with or are part of would find useful. Your insights are valuable to us. Please email any feedback you have, to: lzrogers@somerset.gov.uk

Resources and Further Information: For the latest local information as well as digital resources, posters and flyers please visit: https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/
For information and resources on staying healthy happy and safe at the time please visit: https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/covid-19/

The Somerset Local Outbreak Management Plan outlines how we, the council, will work with the NHS Test and Trace Service, PHE, the NHS and other partners to ensure a whole system approach to preventing and managing local outbreaks.

30th October 2020

Highways Report October 2020

North Cadbury & Yarlington Parish Council

Speed Limiting through Woolston

Following my report last month I had a meeting with Gary Warren and Karen Harris in Woolston at the end of the month. This proved to be very fruitful and Gary agreed with the following proposals:-

1) To introduce road narrow signs with “ oncoming vehicles in the middle of the road” supp. plate at each end of the pinch points on the Woolston road.
2) To provide junction warning signs either side of Church lane.
3) To paint Slow markings on the carriageway adjacent to each of the above signs.
4) To install new village nameplates at three locations a) near the entrance to Turstin Lodge b) at the top of the hill from Woolston Manor Farm c) along Dodinal House Road ie on the three entrances to the village. These village signs would have a ‘Please Drive Slowly’ message incorporated.

During the discussion it was felt that Woolston lacks identity and the addition of name signs at each end of the village would be most welcomed.

These proposals can be included in a programme to be completed by 31st March next year if an order is placed by the end of this month. The cost of the advisory signs would be met by the council but there would be a charge of £600 for the village nameplates.

I have discussed this with Karen and she has tentatively canvassed the Woolston resi-dents who have indicated a willingness to contribute to the cost. I have also discussed the subject with both Malcolm and Becky who have both agreed that, subject to the PC’s sanction, we could contribute to the cost. My recommendation would be therefore that we support the residents on a 50/50 basis ie contribute £300 from the highways reserve.

Bridge on junction of Sandbrook Lane and the Corkscrew

Some three weeks ago an anonymous van/lorry driver hit the righthand side of this bridge badly damaging the parapet and resulting in a crack appearing on the wall of the adjacent Bridge Cottage. The owner of the cottage, Veronica Bunt, has reported it to the council as have I but to date no action has been taken to effect repairs. The damage to the parapet is not critical but the homeowner is concerned about rainwater seeping into the crack on the wall of her property so I am actively following this up with SSDC. Nobody has any idea who caused the accident.

Water/Debris on Parish Hill

I am sure you are all getting annoyed about the state of Parish Hill. The culvert here has been blocked all year and we were promised remedial action in January following a car overturning on ice. Lockdown prevented this happening and when I took up the matter with John Nicholson in September he told me that it was scheduled to be dealt with the week beginning 28th. Yet again nothing happened so I chased him again early this month and was told that the facility (jetting team) was a shared facility with Mendip and demand for its services was high. Apparently they are due back in South Somerset the week commencing 26th October and this site has been marked as high priority - we will watch this space. I will not let this go as I have towed my caravan down this hill twice this month and got it completely showered in mud so I am not a happy bunny!!


Potholes

Some work has been done recently, particularly Sandbrook Lane but there are many ar-eas which need repairs and I notice the state of Hearn Lane, adjacent to the Manor is in a particularly poor state and was flooded this week - I will be reporting this again shortly.


As a general comment I am finding it increasingly difficult to get a response from the council on highways matters. I am told by Gary Warren and John Nicholson that they are all working from home and are likely to be doing so for the foreseeable future which makes contact even more difficult than it was before the pandemic. Priority is, quite rightly, given to road safety issues but in my view deteriorating potholes will eventually become a road safety issue so I intend to keep up the pressure.


John Rundle

26th October 2020

Rights of way report October 20

Works completed
WN 19/78 Path in its northern sector has been reinstated and vegetation cut down. Path deviates slightly, emerging onto concrete track slightly further south. Gate and signage has been moved to this point.
Outstanding Issues
WN 19/78 ROW officer has agreed to replace gate at southern entrance to this footpath.
WN 31/7 Tree down and foliage blocking path.
WN 19/105 Restricted byway still in deplorable state. Notices prohibiting vehicles have been placed at each end. Issue of the bollards still unresolved.
WN 19/95 Bridge to be re-built.
WN 19/1 (Smallway Lane east) access overgrown, broken stile, no finger post and southern end at junction with Frog Lane no access, overgrown, no stile or way marking. Path has been in this state for at least 7 months. Uncertain who owns the land – possibly Mount Pleasant Farm Holdings.
WN 19/27 at junction with 19/97 Dangerous stile.
WN 19/101 Gate at eastern end is dangerous. It drops on its hinges and latching post is beginning to collapse. No response from land owners. Now in the hands of ROW officer.
WN 19/27 Eastern section impassable due of maize planting.
WN 22/16 Impassable due to maize planting. Landowner unknown.
Manor Farm No indication of route through farmyard at the end of Sleight Lane Track. Confusing for walkers. PPLO and KV have offered to place waymarks. No response from landowner.
WN 19/38 Crop has grown over the footpath. Sue Seager informed.

Circular walks project
Have been awarded £1500 from Somerset Community Foundation. Display boards have been ordered. PPLO continues to work on routes for walks.

25th October 2020

Covid-19 Update

Colleagues,

Please find attached the latest weekly covid-19 summary on behalf of the Somerset COVID-19 Engagement Board. This update is designed to provide a wider narrative to support the dashboard that you receive weekly and you will now receive these in replacement of the Friday Public Health updates you currently receive. This week we continue to see a rise in positive Covid-19 cases across the county. The Somerset rates are still lower than the national, but the rise over the last few weeks is clear and continuing.

We continue to work with our health partners and settings to manage outbreaks swiftly and effectively to ensure that the correct outbreak management actions are delivered and the risk of onward spread of infection is minimised.

Please share within your networks to ensure our messages are heard. It is important that we work together to promote this information to control the spread of the virus.

Thank you for your continued support and if you need any further information please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Best wishes

Lisa Rogers
Partnership Manager - please note that Monday is my non working day
Public Health
Somerset County Council
Mobile: 07977 411302
Email: lzrogers@somerset.gov.uk

23rd October 2020

Somerset Covid-19 weekly update

This update is provided by the Somerset Covid-19 Engagement Board and is designed to provide a weekly update on the current Covid-19 situation in Somerset.

Over-arching message: We are continuing to see a rise in positive Covid-19 cases across the county. The Somerset seven day rate is still lower (67.1 per 100,000 population) than the England rate (226.0 per 100,000) but the rise over the last few weeks is clear and continuing.
We are closely monitoring where our cases are, so that we can be quick to respond to any trends, clusters or outbreaks.
We have today, launched our online Somerset Covid-19 survey to understand the barriers people face doing the practical things we all need to do to stop the spread of the virus. Your support in helping us to promote the survey within your networks in much appreciated, more information on this later in the update.

In recent weeks, as well as working hard behind the scenes, we focussed some targeted communications in West Somerset due to a stark rise in positive cases. It has been really pleasing to see how the local response to our efforts has had a positive impact on the number of cases in the area. In the seven days (up to 29 October) there has been five cases of Covid-19 in West Somerset at a rate of 14 per 100,000 - this is in comparison to 17 cases at a rate of 48 per 100,000 in the week ending 4 October. This really shows how, by all working together, it really is achievable to bring our rates down – thanks to everyone that has played a part.

‘Remember, everyone can catch it, anyone can spread it’.

Summary of cases: We are seeing a general trend of increased transmission in Somerset, across all age groups and within all districts. Catching the virus from someone within your household is one of the main ways people are becoming Covid positive. Everyone in the household needs to do all they can to try and reduce their risk
If someone gets symptoms – a fever, cough or loss of taste and/ or smell you and your household need to self-isolate immediately. The person with symptoms needs to get a test (you don’t need a test if you are not experiencing symptoms even if you are living in the same household). To book a test at a local testing site go onto the national portal online at http://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by phoning 119, sites are open 7 days a week. Order a home test kit if you cannot get to a test site.
The link below shows the Somerset Dashboard which tracks our local epidemic from the start in March, to the current time:

https://www.somerset.gov.uk/covid-19-dashboard/

Testing and Cases: As of Friday 30 October, Somerset’s seven day infection rate is 67.1 new cases per 100,000. Between 18 October and 25 October, 14950 tests were carried out in Somerset. During these dates, at the time of writing, there have been 381 new confirmed cases in the county. This week we can see an increase in the proportion of tests that are coming back positive, this shows us that the right people are getting a test but also that our infection rates are increasing

Somerset’s infection rate is lower than both the England and South West seven-day averages, which at the time of writing stands at 226.0 per 100,000 for England and 130.7 per 100,000 for the South West. Despite our county’s lower rate, we are seeing a sharp rise in the rates we are reporting week on week - we must stay vigilant and continue to adhere to the guidelines to start to bring these numbers back down.

We are working to increase the number of testing sites in the county and have a Mobile Testing Unit at RNAS Yeovilton that will be up and running by Tuesday 3 November.

A Local Testing Site at Bridgwater Town Hall is due to be up and running in November too - this is Somerset’s very first walk in testing site, and is a welcome addition to testing sites currently available in Somerset

Care Sector: Somerset County Council Public Health and Adult Social Care, Public Health England and Somerset CCG are supporting staff across the care sector to keep some of our most vulnerable residents protected from the virus.

Between 21-28 October, we have had 18 positive cases in 13 care settings in Somerset. Most of these cases are relating to staff employed at the care home rather than residents and involve single cases being identified through routine asymptomatic testing.

For the latest known information and advice for adult care providers in Somerset visit: https://ssab.safeguardingsomerset.org.uk/covid19/

Schools and Early Years Settings: We hope our schools and early years providers as well as parents, children and young people have enjoyed a well-deserved half-term; we continue to support all educational settings with both the prevention and mitigation of coronavirus within their school community. Since September, we have supported over 60 educational settings with a range of situations.

Between 21-28 October, there has been:
• 15 single cases in schools, 4 nurseries and one FE College
• 3 schools have had two or more positive cases linked to them (over the last 14-days).

More often than not, these cases are from one household or are as a result of social contact outside of school. These cases refer to both student and staff cases and do not always result in the identification of close contacts from the school community.

Information for parents, carers and guardians:
• New COVID Checker for parents: https://www.cypsomersethealth.org/resources/covidchecker-schools_V2.pdf
• Resources for parents to understand the difference between a cold and Covid-19: https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/covid-19/info/ipc/
• School self-isolation guidance:
https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/School-Self-Isolation-Guidance-1.pdf

Workplaces and Events: We continue to see mainly single individual cases in workplaces however we are starting to see outbreaks and clusters too.

There is a change for employers on reporting cases to Public Health England (PHE). Until now, businesses have been asked to report all cases to PHE, but from now on, businesses only need to report two or more cases by calling 0300 303 8162 or emailing swhpt@phe.gov.uk. Single cases will be picked up by the Somerset County Council Public Health team from testing notifications that are received.

Businesses should also take the following actions:

1. Make sure that any positive case is isolating for 10 days and identify any close contacts in the workplace who will need to isolate for 14 days.
2. Make sure that the environment where the case has been present has been thoroughly cleaned, paying special attention to hand contact surfaces, such as door handles, keyboards etc.
3. DO NOT close unless advised to do so by public health or because you are unable to operate safely due to the number of staff in isolation.
4. Staff should not be sent for testing unless they become symptomatic. Those who have close contact without symptoms must still isolate for 14 days, even if they go for a test and have a negative result.
5. Only close contacts of the case need to isolate. NB a close contact is defined as having had face-to-face contact with someone less than a metre away (even if a face-covering or face-mask is worn) or being within 2 metres of an infected person for 15 minutes or more

Detailed guidance is available here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance

It is really important to continue to adhere to the social distancing guidelines in the workplace, to stop the spread of the virus but also to limit the number of ‘close contacts’ that would need to isolate if a positive case was identified.

Communications: In the next week as we see case numbers rise, we will continue to reinforce the key HANDS FACE SPACE message as well as the importance of face coverings in reducing the spread of coronavirus.

We will be promoting and encouraging participation in our Somerset Covid-19 survey as well as reminding people to stay safe and continue to adhere to Covid-19 guidance on Halloween and Bonfire night.

Information on how to stay safe and reduce the spread of infection and focussing targeted communications will be shared in areas within SWAT and Sedgemoor as, although still comparatively low compared to the national average, their rates are currently the highest in Somerset.

Take our Covid-19 Survey: The Somerset Covid-19 Survey has been set up to understand the barriers people face doing the practical things we all need to do to stop the spread of the virus. We want to hear from as many people as possible across Somerset.

This survey aims to:
• Obtain feedback from Somerset residents about how Covid-19 has impacted their lives, to enable Somerset’s Public Health to respond and act accordingly
• Obtain views from individuals from wide ranging social, economic and cultural circumstances, to ensure their diverse perspectives, ideas and priorities are heard
• Make residents and communities feel valued and empowered that their voices are heard and trust in the local response to Covid-19
The survey covers:
• Covid-19 testing
• How isolation due to Covid-19 might affect residents
• Understanding the guidance, including local alert levels and Hands, Face, Space
• View’s on how others are adhering to the guidance
To response to the survey, click here. With this update, please find a communications toolkit with information on how you can share the survey.

Bonfire night: With many of the usual public firework displays cancelled this year because of the pandemic, we may see an increase in the number of private bonfire night parties. If you do decide to hold or attend one, it is really important that you stick to the current guidelines to make sure that you and your loved ones stay safe. In particular, please remember the rule of six which applies outdoors as well as indoors!
While the number of Covid-19 cases in Somerset remains low compared to the rest of the UK, local rates are rising and we can’t afford to be complacent. Remember, the easiest way to stop the spread of the virus here is to keep following the guidance:
• Wash hands – keep washing hands regularly
• Wear face coverings in enclosed spaces
• Make space – stay at least two metres apart
• Follow the Rule of Six
And while Covid-19 is at the forefront of our minds when we talk about staying safe at the moment, please also remember the basics of firework safety:

• Make sure children stand at a safe distance from the bonfire
• Keep everyone well back from the display
• Never return to a lit firework
• Make sure children stand at a safe distance from the bonfire
• Keep fireworks in a closed metal box
• Always follow the instructions when using fireworks
The Child Accident Prevention Trust has loads more information about firework safety – click here to see it.
Be Spooky but stay Safe this Halloween: With Halloween on Saturday, many of us would now be planning fun (and spooky) things to do with our families however with increasing rates of coronavirus in our county, we need to approach our celebrations differently this year.

Please avoid Trick or Treating if possible, and at all times follow the rule of six as well as the ‘hands, face and space’ guidance. Knocking on doors and picking up sweets can increase the risk of catching and spreading the virus through touch and close contact. Instead why not use the opportunity to be creative and find alternative Halloween activities within your own home. Organise a Halloween themed treasure hunt around your house and garden and hide the trick or treat sweets to be found in the safety of your home! Or decorate your doorstep and share your pictures with us on social media, we would love to see them.

Finally, please share the information and particularly the key messages that are informing our current campaigns with your networks. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for further updates.

Let us know if you feel there is a gap in our messaging, or a format or resource that the communities you work with or are part of would find useful. Your insights are valuable to us. Please email any feedback you have, to: lzrogers@somerset.gov.uk

Resources and Further Information: For the latest local information as well as digital resources, posters and flyers please visit: https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/
For information and resources on staying healthy happy and safe at the time please visit: https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/covid-19/

The Somerset Local Outbreak Management Plan outlines how we, the council, will work with the NHS Test and Trace Service, PHE, the NHS and other partners to ensure a whole system approach to preventing and managing local outbreaks.

20th October 2020

Update on Highway Works in South Somerset Area, Week Commencing the 19th of October 2020.

I am writing to update you on the latest progress of SCC highway works in the South Somerset Area, for the week commencing the 19th of October 2020.
For your information, I attach the planned programme of works. Works highlighted in red indicate that this is a new scheme introduced into the works programme. Dates highlighted in red indicate a change to the original dates that have previously been detailed.
Additional 'live' information can be found on our webpage by following the link, www.travelsomerset.co.uk.
Should you wish to discuss any particular scheme in more detail, please contact this office at your earliest convenience.
Regards

Neil McWilliams
Highway Service Manager
Somerset County Council
South Somerset Area Highways Office
Mead Avenue
Houndstone Business Park
Yeovil
Somerset
BA22 8RT

Highways update

19th October 2020

Update on Highway Works in South Somerset Area, Week Commencing the 12th of October 2020.


I am writing to update you on the latest progress of SCC highway works in the South Somerset Area, for the week commencing the 12th of October 2020.
For your information, I attach the planned programme of works. Works highlighted in red indicate that this is a new scheme introduced into the works programme. Dates highlighted in red indicate a change to the original dates that have previously been detailed.
Additional 'live' information can be found on our webpage by following the link, www.travelsomerset.co.uk.
Should you wish to discuss any particular scheme in more detail, please contact this office at your earliest convenience.
Regards

Neil McWilliams
Highway Service Manager
Somerset County Council
South Somerset Area Highways Office
Mead Avenue
Houndstone Business Park
Yeovil
Somerset
BA22 8RT

Highways update

12th October 2020

Climate Emergency Community Fund

We wrote to you earlier this month about a new grant scheme that is now available to help local communities take positive action to help Somerset become carbon neutral and mitigate the impacts of Climate Change.

It’s now less than 2 weeks away until 1 October when your council can bid for between £5,000 and £75,000 for innovative projects that can make a real difference in reducing carbon emissions and can contribute to making Somerset resilient to the effects of Climate Change.

I would like to highlight the fact that your application for this funding can include administrative costs for implementing the fund, for example your council may need to hire a part-time staff member or outsource some support. So please remember to include these costs in your bid.

As a reminder the scheme will be open from 1 October for six weeks and applications for funding of projects are invited from city, town and parish councils and community groups in unparished areas of Somerset. Qualifying projects will include those to reduce carbon emissions, reduce consumption and to implement activities around climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Full details are now available at www.somerset.gov.uk/climate-emergency

The following documents and information are now available on this website:

· FAQs about the Somerset Climate Emergency Fund

· Climate Emergency Community Fund – Guidance for Applicants

· Sample application form

The online application form will be available from 1 October.

Once you have read through all the information, if you need any advice or support please email climateemergency@somerset.gov.uk

Your sincerely,

Michele Cusack,

Director Economic and Community Infrastructure Commissioning

Somerset County Council

Community Fund

22nd September 2020

The Somerset Fund

Hello there,

We are getting in touch to let you know that The Somerset Fund is now open for applications until Friday 16 October, 2020.

If you are a grassroots community group based in Somerset and running on less than £100,000 per year, you can apply for a grant up to the value of £2,500 from The Somerset Fund. The grants are 'unrestricted', which means they can be used to pay for ongoing running costs, also known as 'core costs'.

What do we want to fund?

We're keen to support a wide range of groups from across Somerset. We are particularly interested in:

giving the best start in life to the most disadvantaged children
growing the life skills of young people
improving the mental health of people of all ages
increasing opportunities for better physical health
supporting people with disabilities and life-limiting illnesses, and their carers
combating loneliness and isolation


Please note that preference will be given to applicants that have not previously been awarded a grant from The Somerset Fund.

The Somerset Fund

14th September 2020

What3words

Hi,

I hope that you and your community are safe and well.

You might have recently seen what3words in the news and/or some adverts on Channel 4.

Just over 80% of services in the UK now use what3words, so I thought maybe an opportunity to (re-)encourage your community to download the what3words app on their phones in case they need to call 999.

Your community could also use what3words to report incidents with organisations like National Grid, Network Rail and the Environmental Agency.

The app is totally free to download and use, you can download it on iOS or Android.

I’m here to help if you have any questions or need support.

Warmest regards,

Molly

Molly Macgregor

what3words

Download document (pdf)

Find a full list of what3words services here

14th September 2020

Launch of Somerset County Council’s new £1m Climate Community Fund

Do you have any potential projects that could fit the criteria to secure funding to help make positive changes happen? In the coming months, Parish and Town Councils will be able to bid for grants of between £5,000 and £75,000 to support practical initiatives to reduce emissions and/or consumption, restore biodiversity, and raise awareness.
This funding will provide the opportunity for parishes and communities to push forward on potential schemes and projects.
Parishes can apply on their own, or in partnership with other parishes and organisations.
There are two application windows, 1st Oct 2020 – 12th Nov 2020 and 1st Dec 2020 – 12th Jan 2021.
If you have an idea and would like to take advantage of this funding for the benefit of our community and local environment, or if you would like to discuss potential projects, then please contact Tim Gilbert, the Environment Champion for North Cadbury and Yarlington on marcusgilbert@hotmail.com

Further details can be found here

13th September 2020

Somerset Waste

Somerset Waste Board RESOLVED to: Agree the revised roll-out timetable for the Recycle More collection service and authorise the Managing Director of the Somerset Waste Partnership to vary the roll-out due to the significant uncertainty created by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Regards

Nick Cater
Senior Communications Officer
Somerset Waste Partnership

Recycle

31st July 2020

Phased re-opening of Somerset Libraries with new order-and-collect service

We are very pleased to announce that as part of the phased reopening of library buildings, the order-and-collect service which was launched on July 6th in Taunton has now been extended so that collections of up to 10 books can also be picked up from Frome, Yeovil, Minehead or Bridgwater libraries when they begin re-opening on July 13th. Further details of opening times and which services are available can be found on our website, or on Facebook and Twitter

By filling in a Reading Request form, customers will receive a selection of up to ten hand-picked books, DVD’s or talking books, based on the types of authors or genres that are of interest to them. Requests can be made either by email, website or telephone (0300 123 2224) and the selection of books, talking books, and DVDs will be available for collection at a pre-arranged convenient time for people to pick up. No hire charges or overdue charges will be applied.

Internet access will be available in libraries that are open, but it will be primarily for users who don't have home internet access and require essential services. Computers will need to be pre-booked and will be available for one-hour slots. Each computer and workstation will be thoroughly cleaned between bookings and there will be at least a 2m distance between desks.

Customers can return any items currently on loan to any libraries that are open, but customers are being encouraged not to make an unnecessary journey to do this. All current loans that would have been due back during the lockdown period have been extended to the end of August, and any overdue charges that customers might have incurred as a result of library closures due to COVID-19 have been waived. It is hoped that all Somerset libraries, with the possible exception of a few community-managed libraries, will be open again by mid-August.

The Somerset Mobile Library Service is also back on the road and the Home Library Service, delivered in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service, has started to deliver books to people unable to leave their homes.

We are happy to provide flyers for anyone able to help ‘spread the word’ about this new service (see attached) – just email libsdevelopmentteam@somerset.gov.uk , letting us know how many you would like and we will arrange to get some posted to you.

Finally, just a reminder to follow our Facebook and Twitter posts for some engaging content including videos made by library staff, activities, quizzes, news and links to other useful resources.

13th July 2020

One Somerset

JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE LEADERS OF MENDIP DISTRICT COUNCIL, SEDGEMOOR DISTRICT COUNCIL, SOMERSET WEST & TAUNTON COUNCIL AND SOUTH SOMERSET DISTRICT COUNCIL IN RESPONSE TO 'ONE SOMERSET' AND THE FUTURE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN SOMERSET

"We want to make it clear that the District Councils of Somerset do not support 'One Somerset' and the proposals for a single council for Somerset. "The detailed work which the five councils of Somerset commissioned together clearly concluded that a single council was the wrong solution for the people and communities of Somerset. "Somerset's District Councils have been focused in recent months on supporting our residents and businesses through the Coronavirus crisis. This remains our priority including focusing on how we help Somerset's communities and economy recover. However, as Somerset County Council is determined to push the debate on the future forward during the pandemic, as four districts we will now be putting our collective efforts to developing an alternative proposal. We have always said would refocus on this when the time was right. "We know we can offer a better future for the people of Somerset that reforms local government and is ambitious for our communities and their quality of life. Somerset does not deserve the cheapest local Government. Somerset deserves the best local government. "We will develop the best plan for the future with the help and involvement of our communities."

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
Local government has seen big reductions in funding from central government and that means challenges for everyone. At the same time, the challenges our communities face require urgent attention which cannot wait. The key challenges for Somerset communities, alongside recovering from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, are: High rates of children growing up in poverty and poor social mobility Large numbers of struggling families, Growing numbers of older people who are increasingly living in poor health The climate emergency Homelessness and the lack of genuinely affordable housing The economy including productivity, skills and wage levels District Councils in Somerset have already undertaken radical change and as a result are financially sustainable, and able to protect services to communities without making cuts. However, we recognise that further change is required in the future. A team drawn from the five councils of Somerset, including the county council, undertook further work on the options, and we agreed the well-trodden path of a single Unitary model was not the right choice for Somerset. Our invitation to Somerset County Council to rejoin this joint work remains open. We will focus on a plan for widespread joint reform, that focuses on the needs of our communities. Our aim is not to simply cut costs. Our intention is to find a way, to improve life for all residents in Somerset now and for the future. Our communities do not deserve the cheapest local government. They deserve the best local government which will drive improvement in quality of life. Just as Somerset County Council, we need to be invited by the Government to submit our plan for positive change in Somerset. If that invitation is received, we will consult with our communities on our proposals to help the people we serve, alongside partners in the NHS, police and more, shape the way our plans develop. This will be a plan developed with our communities to create a better future for everyone in Somerset. This statement has been released by South Somerset District Council on behalf of Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset West & Taunton Council.

2nd July 2020

Local Government Association Model Member Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

21st June 2020

Community Grant Opportunities

SSDC press release dated 15. 6.20 on Community Grant Opportunities for Your Environmental Projects
South Somerset District Council has a long tradition of supporting communities, local voluntary groups and the wider community sector. One of the ways this is enabled is through the Community Grants programme for projects such as community transport, improving recreational facilities, community halls and many more schemes that enhance the lives of the local community. SSDC have now extended the Community Grants scheme to support local
environment initiatives.

Last year the Council acknowledged the climate emergency and are now committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030. This includes supporting environmental progression for communities across the district to develop existing, and kick start new exciting environmental projects. This new extension to the existing community grants scheme will place environmental progression at its core, offering funding for communities to inspire environmental projects across South Somerset's local landscape. We've seen significant changes in our communities over the past three months and this is an excellent opportunity to ensure the changes are positive with novel projects championing sustainability, carbon neutrality and biodiversity. The fund will cover up to 50% of the project costs and you will need support from your Parish Council.

Applications in the range of £100 to £1,000 will be reviewed by SSDC and your Ward Member, any applications for more than £1,000 are decided by your SSDC Area Committee with a maximum grant of £12,500. Applications can be made at any time throughout the year, but revenue funding is limited so do apply in good time, especially if you have seasonal deadlines to meet.

With the range of funding available, all forms of projects can benefit, from smaller funding projects such as a community orchard, building a bat hotel, or even paying for a regular meeting space where your group can meet to discuss and implement your projects.

Larger projects could be for schemes such as a local electric vehicle charging points, energy efficiency for your community hall, wild-flower meadow creation or even buying an acre of land. This new funding will give your community the opportunity to take a great eco idea and see it through to fruition.

If you would like to speak to someone about our grants programme you can email communities@southsomerset.gov.uk. You can also visit our website and find additional information on how to apply

15th June 2020

'Environment Champions' Wanted

Environmental Champions are volunteers whose role will:

- Be the recipient of any environment/climate information South Somerset District Council (SSDC) wishes to share with parishes, through emails and attendance at forums.

- Compile and return any information on their parish which would be useful for SSDC to know (environment groups, electric vehicle charging points, re-wilded areas, etc)

- Encouraging on specific green measures in the parish, to enable environmental sustainability to be at the core of the parishes’ decision making.

- Collaborating with surrounding parishes/groups to maximise impact and share expertise.

Environment Champion Leaflet (pdf)

6th February 2020