Borough Insight

This Issue

In this issue...

Over the past few weeks as everyone has been adjusting to the new measures that have been put in place to deal with the spread of covid-19, we have been busy ensuring that we can continue to support the most vulnerable in our community and deliver essential services.

In this issue, we're going to take a look how we have been responding to the pandemic, what our priorities are and what you can do to help yourself, your family and your community.

The government is now instructing us to avoid all but essential social contact. This means that we are spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities are no longer available to us.

Try to view this as a new and unusual experience that might have benefits. Create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You could try reading more or watching boxsets, having an exercise routine, trying new relaxation techniques or finding new knowledge on the internet.

It is important that you keep up to date with the evolving situation from trusted news sources (UK Government, NHS UK, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, Surrey County Council and news websites such as BBC and Sky for example) but limit your exposure so as not to become overloaded.

Keep in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you. If you are sharing content, use this from trusted sources and remember that your friends and family might be more worried than you, so try not to sensationalise things

It has been impressive to see how our community has pulled together with lots of people coming forward to help during this time and you can do your bit by keeping your distance.

And remember...

#SocialDistancing #StayHomeSaveLives

stay at home

News

UK Government statement

This is the full statement the government issued on Monday 23 March 2020.

For full guidance on staying at home and away from others (social distancing) please see: https://bit.ly/StayHome1

New rules on staying at home and away from others

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now (23 March 2020) introducing three new measures.

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Staying at home

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons.

  • Shopping for basic necessities , for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household
  • Any medical need , or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work , but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

If you work in a critical sector outlined in this guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.

Closing non-essential shops and public spaces

Last week, the Government ordered certain businesses - including pubs, cinemas and theatres - to close.

The Government is now extending this requirement to a further set of businesses and other venues,
including:

  • all non-essential retail stores - this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail alons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities
  • communal places within parks , such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms
  • places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families
  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).

More detailed information can be found here, including a full list of those businesses and other venues that must close. Businesses and other venues not on this list may remain open.

Stopping public gatherings

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all
public gatherings of more than two people.

There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  • where the gathering is of a group of people who live togethe r - this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home
  • where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This will exclude funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.

Delivering these new measures

These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.

Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures.

The Government will therefore be ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply.

They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Five things you can do...

A Surrey-wide campaign, led by the county council and supported by all the Surrey borough and district councils, health care providers, police and other relevant public service agencies has been launched. For more information please visit: www.surreycc.gov.uk/coronavirus

Five things

The five things are:

  1. Keeping up to date and following the official advice at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
  2. Sharing only official information and guidance from trusted sources – not spreading rumour or panic
  3. Staying sensible – washing hands regularly, keeping physical distance from each other
  4. Thinking about what help you need or how you can help
  5. And making sure we’re keeping in touch with each other and keep our minds healthy

In addition a new community helpline has been established to direct you to services that can help during the coronavirus pandemic.
Community Helpline number: 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).
This community phone line is here for two things:

  • To help direct residents who need support, such as picking up shopping, prescription collections or having someone who can be a telephone friend, to services who can help.
  • To provide advice on where to register your offer of help to support your community.

It is not a medical helpline. For any medical enquiries you need to visit https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/.

Helping others

We are very aware of the increased need to support vulnerable people across our communities, and the enormous response from people wanting to help in any way they can.

With many people self-isolating or reducing social contact, particularly those who are over 70, it can be a challenge for them to get to their local supermarkets or even have a conversation with someone outside of their home.

Reach out to family, friends and neighbours

Check in regularly on friends and family.

If you know someone who is self-isolating, contact them via phone and text and check that they are ok. By its very nature, self-isolation is a solitary experience and their wellbeing will likely be improved by talking to someone. They may also need assistance in obtaining groceries or medication.

Please be mindful with your comments and actions, so as not to cause undue concern or anxiety.

Public Health England has advised people who are self-isolating to do what they can to avoid visitors to their home and any deliveries of groceries, medications or other shopping to be left at the door so please ensure that when you are providing support this advice is followed.

For those who have been diagnosed with Covid-19, it’s likely to be an anxious time. Due to patient confidentiality, their details will not be publicly confirmed, so please do what you can to respect and protect their privacy, and do not speculate on social media.

If the person you know agrees they need additional help, please contact the community helpline which will direct you to the relevant services
Community Helpline number: 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)


Volunteering

Epsom and Ewell is renowned for its generosity and its incredible community groups. The role of volunteers at this time is invaluable.

We are working with our trusted partner, Central Surrey Voluntary Action (CSVA) who are registering a pool of potential volunteers who may be able to assist voluntary organisations across Epsom and Ewell during the current pandemic.

Please see - https://www.centralsurreyvoluntaryaction.co.uk/volunteer 

Telephone 01372 722911

Email: admin@csva.co.uk

Social distancing in our open spaces

One of the exceptions of the stay at home rule for those without the Covid-19 symptoms, is that one form of exercise is permitted outside your home each day.

We recognise that our parks and open spaces are excellent places to exercise and to get fresh air, and they are great for physical and mental wellbeing. However, we will have to close them if people do not follow the government’s social distancing instructions.

Unfortunately, due to people not following government instruction and in consultation with the police, we have now had to close our parks to vehicular access.

To ensure that everyone can continue to use our parks and open spaces safely, you must follow all government social distancing instructions.

Some simple rules which you should follow are: 

  • You must keep two metres distance from people not in your household 
  • Do not take part in group fitness activities or group dog walks 
  • Plan ahead, as many amenities, including playgrounds, toilets and cafes are closed 
  • Stay local 
  • Epsom Downs is used to train racehorses every morning from 6am to 12 noon. To allow the training to take place safely, do not visit Epsom Downs before 12 noon and please try to avoid the area if you can entirely 
  • Take your litter home. Our staff are being diverted to deliver critical services, and we need you to take your rubbish home with you rather than using litter bins or littering 
  • If you arrive and there are crowds return another day or time
  • Observe the social distancing rules at ALL times.

Parks 2 mCan we also highlight that the cemetery in Ashley Road is an inappropriate location to undertake physical activity (or sun bathing) especially if a funeral is taking place.

We will be monitoring visitor capacity at our parks and open spaces. If necessary we may need to take immediate action to ensure the government’s instructions are followed.

    Recycling and waste update

    We are doing all we can to maintain our service to collect and process your household rubbish and recycling. Please help us by putting the right thing in the right bin.

    Our employees and those of our partners who work in this sector are facing the same pressures we all are over childcare, supporting vulnerable members of their families and self-isolation if they or their families develop symptoms. We have therefore been forced to run the service with reduced staff.

    There are inevitably going to be changes to the service, the first of which has been to temporarily suspend the garden waste and bulky items collections.

    Surrey County Council has also closed all the community recycling centres (including the one in Blenheim road) to meet government social distancing requirements.

    While we will try and maintain collections on the days you are used to, the times we visit may change, So please put your bins out as early as possible and don’t be surprised if we don’t arrive at the normal time – we could be later or earlier (and yes, you do still need to take your bins to the edge of your property, even if self-isolating, just remember to keep two meter minimum distance from others).trash

    Our staff are wearing gloves but are touching a lot of bins, so when you have returned yours to where you store them, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands.

    We know that, with a lot of people forced to stay indoors, they may use the opportunity to have a good clear out. Please hold onto your additional rubbish until the normal service resumes, the waste and recycling system will not be able to cope in the present circumstances if inundated.

    If anyone within your household has symptoms, the government has said that that personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

    And finally, please recycle correctly. Last week, the recycling of around 1,200 households in our borough was rejected by the recycling companies because of contamination (food waste, nappies and sanitary waste) placed in the wrong bin by just a few households.

    Further information

    Changes to our services will be highlighted on our website

    Changes to the Surrey County Council community recycling centres will be highlighted on their website

    Community support hub

    We are rapidly setting up a new Community Support Hub to provide support and advice to our most vulnerable residents in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

    We have seen a huge increase in the need for the services we provide for the most vulnerable within our community, especially those requiring Meals at Home and our Community Alarm. These services will be run out of the new hub.

    In addition, the intention is for the hub to provide the co-ordination and distribution of supplies to those extremely vulnerable residents which the government has identified should be ‘shielded’. The NHS is currently contacting those residents and once we have the relevant guidance from the government we will be able to provide further information to those residents..

    Goverment business support

    A range of measures have been made available to support businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The measures available to business announced recently by the Chancellor are:

    1. A Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where small and large employers will be eligible to apply for a government grant of 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month. The scheme will be backdated to March 1 and available for at least three months, with first grants to be paid within weeks.
    2. A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be delivered by the British Business Bank. It will enable businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees. Businesses can access the first six months of that finance interest free, as government will cover the first six months of interest payments.
    3. For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of Statutory Sick Pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full. This will provide two million businesses with up to £2 billion to cover the costs of large-scale sick leave.
    4. A dedicated helpline to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress and with outstanding tax liabilities receive support with their tax affairs. Through this, businesses may be able to agree a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to coronavirus, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.
    5. A £10,000 cash grant to for the smallest businesses, delivered by local authorities. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority – you do not need to apply. The funding will be provided to local authorities in early April. Guidance for local authorities on the scheme will be provided shortly.
    6. A business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020/21 tax year A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
    7. For further information and updates on these schemes, please visit https://bit.ly/BizSupportSite

    For the latest Government guidance on businesses and premises to remain open and close see: https://bit.ly/BizClose
    For the new FAQ section on the business support website, see: https://bit.ly/FAQsStayHome

    For the latest government guidance regarding support for those that are self-employed see: https://bit.ly/SelfEmployedSupport
    For FAQs relating to the scheme, please see: https://bit.ly/SelfEmployedFAQs

    Spotlight on

    Wellbeing while staying at home

    Information supplied by NHS, Every Mind Matters

    If you have to stay at home because of Covid-19, it's important to take care of your mind as well as your body.

    You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you.

    It is OK to feel like this – everyone reacts in their own way to challenging events and uncertainty. It's important to remember that staying at home may be difficult, but you are helping to protect yourself and others by doing it.chess

    The tips and advice below are things you can do now to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel while staying at home.

    Make sure you get further support if you feel you need it - call the Surrey Community Helpline 0300 200 1008 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

    1. Find out about your employment and benefits rights

    You may be worried about work and money if you have to stay home – these issues can have a big effect on your mental health.

    If you have not already, talk with your employer about staying at home, and learn about your sick pay and benefits rights.

    Knowing the details about what the pandemic means for you can reduce worry and help you feel more in control.

    Click here for Government Covid-19 support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses

    2. Plan practical things

    Work out how you can get any household supplies you need. You could try asking neighbours or family friends or find a delivery service.

    Continue accessing treatment and support for any existing physical or mental health problems where possible. Let services know you are staying at home, and discuss how to continue receiving support.

    If you need regular medicine, you might be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone, or online via a website or app. Contact your GP and ask if they offer this. You can also ask your pharmacy about getting your medicine delivered, or ask someone else to collect it for you.

    If you support or care for others, either in your home or by visiting them regularly, think about who can help out while you are staying at home.

    Click here for Carers UK advice on creating a contingency plan if you care for others

    3. Connect with others

    Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing.

    Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family while you are at home – by phone, messaging, video calls or online – whether it's people you usually see often or reconnecting with old friends or neighbours.

    Lots of people are finding the current situation difficult, so staying in touch could help them too.

    4. Talk about your worries

    It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless work outabout the current situation. Remember, it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – doing so could help them too. Or you could try a charity helpline or webchat.

    Click here for NHS recommended helplines

    5. Look after your body

    Our physical health really affects how we feel. Try to make sure you and your family eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly.

    Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol. It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse.

    The government has said we can leave the home once a day for exercise as long as we maintain social distancing instructions. Get outside for a walk, run or bike ride

    Click here to access a NHS home-workout video.

    6. Stay on top of difficult feelings

    Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their day-to-day life.

    Try to focus on the things you can control, such as how you act, who you speak to and where you get information from.

    It's fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about the situation are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, there are some things you can try to help manage your anxiety.

    Click here to access some mental wellbeing audio guides

    7. Do not stay glued to the news

    Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and think about turning off breaking-news alerts on your phone.

    You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to checking a couple of times a day.

    Use trustworthy sources, such as GOV.UK and the NHS website – and fact-check information from the news, social media or other people.

    8. Carry on doing things you enjoyreading

    If we are feeling worried, anxious, lonely or low, we may stop doing things we usually enjoy.

    Make an effort to focus on your favourite hobby if it is something you can still do at home. If not, picking something new to learn at home might help – there are lots of ideas online.

    9. Take time to relax

    This can help with difficult emotions and worries, and improve our wellbeing.

    Relaxation techniques can also help deal with feelings of anxiety.

    10. Create a daily routine

    Life is changing for a while and whether you are staying at home or social distancing, you are going to see some disruption to your normal routine. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines and set yourself goals.

    You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week. If you are working from home, try to get up and get ready in the same way as normal, keep to the same hours you would normally work and stick to the same sleeping schedule.

    You could set a new time for a daily home workout, and pick a regular time to clean, read, watch a TV programme or film, or cook.

    11. Look after your sleep

    Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, so it's important to get enough.

    Try to maintain your regular sleeping pattern and stick to good sleep practices.

    Click here for advice on how to get to sleep

    12. Keep your mind active

    Read, write, play games, do crosswords, complete sudoku puzzles, finish jigsaws, or try drawing and painting.

    Whatever it is, find something that works for you.

    Key Facts

    Some information you may have missed

    Council services

    Please see the council website page detailing changes to services and how we are operating our venues.
    This page is being updated multiple times a week
    https://www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk/news/coronavirus-covid-19-council-services-update

    Council meetings
    The Town Hall is currently closed to visitors and most meetings of the formal bodies of the council have been cancelled for the time being, with only essential meetings continuing to go ahead.


    A round up of some of the information that we have been asked to highlight by third parties

    MOT exemption
    From 30 March, MOT vehicle tests will not be required for six months
    Information here https://www.gov.uk/government/news/vehicle-owners-to-be-granted-mot-exemption-in-battle-against-coronavirus

    Job Seekers Allowance and Universal Credit
    People receiving benefits do not have to attend Jobcentre appointments until further notice.

    May elections
    Local, mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner elections that were due to take place in May this year will be postponed until May 2021.

    Telephones and broadband
    BT and Vodaphone have both announced that visits to the NHS 111 online service are free during the pandemic and won't consume allowances.
    BT have removed all caps on their broadband packages so every customer has unlimited data during this time. For BT landline-only customers they have capped the charges of calls to UK landlines and mobiles to £5 a month (this doesn’t include international calls and premium calls).
    Please check with you provider for current status.

    Rainbow Leisure Centre
    All Better Leisure Centres and Better Gyms across the UK are closed.

    Specsavers Surrey Youth Games
    Active Surrey have announced that the county’s largest multi-sport youth event will not be taking place in 2020

    Age Concern Epsom & Ewell
    Age Concern Epsom & Ewell is continuing to provide information and advice to their clients.

    Epsom Employment and Skills Fair
    The organisers of the Epsom and Ewell Employment and Skills Fair due to take place on 20 May have confirmed its cancellation

    Epsom Downs Racecourse
    The British Horseracing Authority has suspended all horseracing until the end of April 2020. This will include the Investec Spring Meeting race day at Epsom Downs Racecourse due to take place on Wednesday 22 April.

    Charity shops
    We have been asked to highlight that charity shops, like other 'non-essential' retailers, have had to close. Staff and volunteers will not be available to collect donations, so please do not leave items you wish to donate outside the shops. Hold onto your donations until the shops reopen.

    London Bus museum
    Our friends at the London Bus Museum in Weybridge have asked us to highlight that all scheduled events until the end of June have been cancelled.

    Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell
    Citizens Advice Epsom & Ewell is open and providing advice but will not be operating a face to face service until further notice.
    Anyone requiring advice should phone their Adviceline on 0300 330 1164, which is open Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm.  You may be required to leave a voicemail, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. It may take them longer to respond than usual, but they will endeavour to answer all queries as quickly as they can. Additionally, their website has a body of information on various topics. This can be accessed at www.caee.org.uk and entering the matter type in the orange search box on the top right. 

    Registry offices
    Registry offices are currently open to continue with the registration of deaths only. All other services have been suspended.

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