County Cllrs update -25/4/20

Dear All

This is our latest update being provided during this pandemic.

We are continuing to support residents and the wider Prudhoe Community in a variety of ways everyday.

Although our more traditional methods of operating have had to be curtailed.

Check out our dedicated Covid 19 page –CLICK HERE

But rest assured that if you need us we are there at the end of our e mails or mobiles.

We do receive a large number of enquiries every day and will respond quickly.

Our social media platforms are still being used to provide information we hope is useful and supportive, but we do not respond to questions raised on social media.

How is NCC operating differently ? – CLICK HERE

Our social media platforms –

Our main FB account – Prudhoe Matters – Click here

Our secondary FB account for businesses & community groups to use to promote their activities, but also where we post daily Covid updates provided by the Govt. PrudhoeNland – CLICK HERE

Our twitter account – PrudhoeNland – CLICK HERE

Our Instagram account – PrudhoeMatters – CLICK HERE

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Please see copied below an update sent by the NCC CEO to all County Councillors.

This briefing is to bring you up to date following the update before Easter, and to ensure that you as elected members are aware of the work that is being undertaken by the Council in the county, and have access to information you may need.

 

OUR EMERGENCY PLANNING ARRANGEMENTS AND HOW WE ARE MANAGING COVID-19 AS A COUNCIL

 

Our emergency planning response structures remain in place as we continue to respond to the situation.  We are grateful for the engagement and support of all of our elected members and communities to support our efforts across the county at this time.

 

As our response activities have developed over the past two weeks and we move into the next phase of the lock down we continue to benefit from  the strong communication structures allowing us to link in regularly to both regional and national information networks. This has allowed us to ensure we are receiving the most up-to-date and relevant guidance from Government and colleagues as well as ensuring the specific needs of the County are reflected in national planning.

 

On Saturday 18 April the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, wrote to all Local Authority staff thanking them for their outstanding contribution in responding to the current crisis.  The letter also set out a further financial contribution of £1.6bn nationally, in addition to the £1.6bn already announced, to support Local Authorities in meeting the additional costs we are all incurring through our response activities.

 

The internal arrangements I outlined in the last up-date continue to be in place with the work of the Executive Team I chair, acting as our Strategic Leadership Team (Gold Command); the Business Interruption Management Team (BIMT), leading operational matters, as well as our work with partners through the Local Resilience Forum (LRF).

 

Staff have continued to work tirelessly over the Easter period and beyond to deliver the priorities we set out in the last update, particularly the support to the most vulnerable in the community and financial support to our businesses, as well as continuing to deliver the essential services our residents rely on.  An update on these activities is included below.

 

NORTHUMBERLAND NEWS

 

You should have received your Northumberland News Covid-19 Special Edition through your door: a special residents’ newsletter delivered to every household in the county. The newsletter highlights the amazing work of our staff, volunteer and community networks, members of the community and our elected members in coming together to respond to the Covid-19 crisis. There is information for those who may wish to volunteer and importantly the newsletter also contains important information to keep residents safe, and get help should they need it. To make Northumberland News even more special in these unprecedented times all 154,000 copies were delivered by Council staff, redeployed from their day jobs to undertake these deliveries. Safety for both our staff and the public is paramount, and all our staff were provided with protective PPE gloves, following Government guidance, and social distancing was also applied throughout our distribution.  While the teams were out on the door steps they received a positive and warm response from residents.   A copy of the Northumberland News can be found here and if you have not received a copy please email communications@northumberland.gov.uk

 

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE) & TESTING

PPE has continued to be a national issue and we know how much these supplies are under pressure. With advice from the Director of Public Health and and Public Health England, we have prioritised our front line staff and provided simplified advice for managers and users. We are working with our national colleagues, regional and local networks and supply chains to secure the supplies we need, to proactively track down our own supplies for Northumberland, to try and ease some of the pressure on the care providers. I am pleased to be able to say that we have been successful in sourcing significant supplies, and we should be able to start to roll this out to providers from this week.

 

The Council has appealed for manufacturers and businesses to assist us in sourcing PPE across the county. If you know of anyone who may be able to help please contact ppe@northumberland.gov.uk

 

We are working with healthcare colleagues, our front line staff and those across our care homes to organise testing through the facility recently established in Gateshead.

 

SHIELDING OUR MOST MEDICALLY VULNERABLE RESIDENTS

 

One of the most critical roles we have been carrying out over recent days has been the support to our ‘shielded’ residents; those who are extremely vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus due to  underlying health conditions and who have been advised not to leave their home for 12 weeks.

 

As I set out in the last briefing, the Council has been providing vital support to these residents whilst the national food delivery service is established. This work is continuing, with close partnership working between the Council, Government, health partners locally and the supermarkets.

 

You will have heard in the press the incredible response to Government’s request for volunteers, with 750,000 people signing up to support their communities. Alongside the NHS the Council is able to draw on the support of these volunteers, and more recently we have been successfully using volunteers to support shopping and medicine deliveries to those unable to leave their houses.

 

If you are aware of clinically vulnerable residents individuals can register here for the support they need,  including help with food, shopping deliveries and additional care needs.

 

COMMUNITY ACTION – NORTHUMBERLAND COMMUNITIES TOGETHER

 

The response to Covid-19 from our communities has gone from strength to strength, thanks to you, our Town and Parish Councils and our amazing community groups and charities who have been doing incredible work to support our residents over the past few weeks. The Northumberland Communities Together initiative continues to support these networks, with over 850 volunteers now registered to support those in need. In the previous briefing, I highlighted the senior officers who have been identified to support you in engaging with the Community Connectors and the activities happening in your areas.  I hope you have found these arrangements helpful; the attached document sets out these names again for your reference, and if you have any further suggestions for us to support you in this work please get in touch with me or the senior officer allocated for your area.

 

Further information can be found here and if you or a resident need to contact the Community Hub for assistance the contact details are as follows:  northumberlandcommunitiestogether@northumberland.gov.uk – or call 01670 620015 between 9am to 6pm, seven days a week.

 

BUSINESS RESPONSE HUB

 

The Business Hub has continued its work to support the County’s businesses over this period of disruption. Financial support has been provided to businesses through Government’s Covid-19 small grant scheme, which I outlined in my previous briefing note.  Since the launch of this initiative only a few weeks ago, we have now paid out in excess of £63.8m to over 5,667 Northumberland businesses. We have received over 900 enquiries into the dedicated Business Hub and 90% have been found a financial package of support, either through the small business grants or wider support mechanisms available. The Secretary of State singled out Northumberland County Council, alongside a small number of other Local Authorities, for being one of the top councils nationally in getting money swiftly out to the businesses that need it.

 

There are still businesses who are eligible for the grant who have not yet applied, so I would encourage you to highlight this to businesses in your area. We are contacting businesses in the coming days where we think they may be eligible and have not yet applied.  We are also aware that there are a number of businesses who have not been able to access the national support schemes and we are working with Government to highlight these cases.

 

Businesses who are in need of advice, would like further information on the support available to them, or would like to apply for one of the grants available should contact the Business Hub, here www.northumberland.gov.uk/businesshub

 

CONCERNS REGARDING VULNERABLE ADULTS AND CHILDREN

 

Much of the regular work of the Council is continuing albeit in many different ways, however if you are concerned about the welfare, health and wellbeing of any adult or child within Northumberland, please do not hesitate to contact Onecall, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, on 01670 536400 – please note, this is not for food parcels.

 

COUNCIL TAX SUPPORT

The Council has launched a new initiative to help thousands of vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 outbreak, as part of the Government’s Hardship Fund.

Over 15,000 families in Northumberland who may be struggling to pay council tax during the coronavirus epidemic could be entitled to (up to) £150 off their bills over the 2020 to 2021 financial year – meaning that 12,262 claimants will now pay no council tax for the year.

 

A further 3,638 will have their bills cut by £150 and for further information please see here.

 

LOCAL SERVICES & PUBLIC SPACES

 

The Council has continued to make all of its refuse collections with new measures in place to protect the crews and ensure social distancing. We have also been able to continue, where it is safe to do so, grounds maintenance and street cleansing given the benefits to public health and its importance in maintaining a positive public spirit, and will continue with our flower-bed planning for the same reasons.

 

I reported in the last briefing that many of the County’s car parks had been closed to dissuade people from making non-essential car journeys. These  closures have in the main been effective and together with Civil Enforcement Officers offering advice and preventing unsafe parking the measures are supporting the stay at home guidance.

 

Our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) remain closed, as our provider Suez advised us on 24 March that all would close until further notice.

During this time, residents are being asked to avoid activities that would generate additional waste such as DIY projects and spring cleaning, to reduce pressure on waste services, and to try and recycle what they can and crush cartons and boxes down to make room for more, while storing larger items until collections can begin again or until the tips reopen.

The closures, and suspension of the bulky waste removal service are being kept under constant review, with the council looking at all options for helping residents.

While we have not so far seen any particular increase in flytipping, we will pursue enforcement action for all incidents.

 

SCHOOLS

 

As I updated before Easter, a number of our schools stayed open over the Easter weekend to provide essential childcare for key workers and the schools continue to be open, as do a number of pre-school childcare providers. Our school admissions team will manage and secure any last minute provision for any key workers. Over 1,100 children of key workers returned to school on Monday following the Easter break.

 

The National free School Meal Voucher scheme was launched just before Easter and we have been working with schools to implement the system, alongside the measures many schools put in place to ensure children eligible for free school meals continue to receive food. If parents feel their child is entitled to a free school meal, and are not currently claiming for one, they can do so here. They can also call us on 0345 600 6400 (weekdays 8.30am-4.30pm).

 

Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, confirmed last weekend that no decision has been made on when we will reopen schools.

 

If members have any queries regarding any aspect of needing to access education provision at this time, please do not hesitate to contact Dean Jackson, Director of Education.

 

CHILDREN’S SOCIAL CARE

The services are continuing to run as near to business as usual as they can, although are using remote contact where possible and safe to do so. Communications are being pushed out to encourage communities to raise concerns. Children’s Centres are now closed but the staff are supporting families who need additional support.

For Looked After Children, direct face to face parental contact has ceased in almost all cases, and they are being offered and facilitated via Facetime and Skype. Foster carers are being managed effectively, albeit some are shielding or self-isolating.

We are closely monitoring our most vulnerable children, and measures have been put in place to make sure support packages are put in place where they are needed most. Ongoing dialogue with partner agencies including NSPCC continues for assurance.

ADULT SOCIAL CARE

 

The biggest immediate concern for us is access to personal protective equipment (PPE) as outlined above, particularly for the independent care providers who deliver most hands-on care, and as outlined above we are securing additional supplies which we hope will meet this demand. We recognise that our care homes are at the front line of fighting the Coronavirus, and I want to thank the dedicated members of staff who are working in these challenging conditions to support our elderly and most vulnerable residents. We are working with our care homes and other providers on infection control guidance via the development of infection control specialist teams to provide advice and support.

 

MEMBER SUPPORT

 

Given the extended lock down period, all Council meetings have been cancelled until 7 May 2020.

 

Democratic Services and the Monitoring Officer, alongside the Director of IT,  are developing procedures and digital solutions to implement the new regulations for virtual meetings. We will update members as soon as we are able to on this matter.

I appreciate that this is a very difficult time for everyone, and I am most thankful for the support of all elected members of the Council at this time.

 

Thank you all for your continued support.


We are involved in planning for when life gets back to normal (possibly in different stages) and have some great plans for Prudhoe to get us all back on track.

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 Have you made a nomination yet for these awards ?

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We know that Prudhoe has some of the kindest and most helpful people anywhere.

We are delighted to announce that we are now organising the ‘Proud of Prudhoe’ awards.

This is for the #PrudhoeCommunity to show their appreciation to one of their own who goes out of their way to help others right here in Prudhoe.

This year we would like to hear your nominations for people who have been working tirelessly for others during this terrible pandemic.

Going beyond what they normally do to support individuals, groups or #PrudhoeBusiness it could be online, on the telephone or in person.

Helping to cheer people up and to put a smile on their face.

Please send your nominations via e mail giving your details and those of the person you are nominating along with a few words about how they have made a real difference.

Keep them coming in, we will announce the winners at a special event in the town when circumstances allow.

E mail  here – CLICK HERE

(we will take nominations via letter at a later date)

Lets all be very #ProudOfPrudhoe The  #FriendliestTown

 

Please keep safe #StayHome #SaveLives #ProtectTheNHS

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Dealing with everyday issues everyday of the year.

(We do not take reports or enter into discussion via social media but offer a wide range of methods for residents to contact Gordon & Ken their County Cllrs

https://prudhoeconservatives.wordpress.com/contact-us… )

#Prudhoe a great place to live work visit learn & invest in.

 

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