HCC COVID-19 Stakeholder weekly update

Welcome to the first edition of Hertfordshire County Council's new weekly stakeholder bulletin. This bulletin will provide you with updates on how the county Council is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, detailing actions the Council has taken over the past week, as well as future preparations currently in development.The bulletin is intended to support the knowledge included in the Council's other frequent communications provided to MPs, Councillors, staff and residents. In addition, a more detailed COVID-19 update report will be going to the council's Special Cabinet Panel on 6 May.Now entering the sixth week of lockdown, it makes us both extremely proud to see how well everyone is working together to overcome the challenges we are all currently facing. Like many of you, it has been another busy week for all at HCC as we adapt our routines and processes to the challenges of this time.The bulletin below highlights some of the key priorities and updates from the county council this week:Residential Care Homes / Supported Home Care

  • We continue to see a rise in the number of deaths of care home residents - in hospital and in the care homes.
  • We are working closely with health partners as part of a coordinated effort to support homes with an outbreak, including advice on infection control and staff swabbing. We have seen a welcome increase in care home residents and staff who are being swabbed through the Herts Urgent Care pathway.
  • We have also helped the NHS to release beds through a mixture of buying extra spaces in care homes and working to temporarily bring back into use two former care homes.
Supporting our most vulnerable residents
  • As part of Operation Shield, we have now made over 2,500 food and toiletry deliveries to individual households and have delivered over 1,700 parcels to Districts, food banks and charities. 494 prescription deliveries have also been made, supporting over 900 individuals.
  • HertsHelp have continued to receive increased call levels as a result of a leaflet being distributed to all Hertfordshire households, which offers advice and guidance for residents.
  • The Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Partnership continues to operate and to accept referrals, both from the public and from professionals. Up to date information on support available on Domestic Abuse is available on the Herts Sunflower website.
Our work to support Hertfordshire's schools
  • Discussions continue around planning for possible partial reopening of schools as and when Central Government provide a directive to do so.
  • Further work is being carried out with the Department for Education and the Cabinet Office in relation to those who are most vulnerable/subject to child protection measures and their school attendance.
Libraries
  • Whilst Hertfordshire libraries remain closed, the council is recommending the use of all online services. More information about library services can be found here.
  • Hertfordshire County Council has also recommenced a Home Delivery Service to supply books to Hertfordshire residents.
Redeployed HCC Staff
  • As of 15 April, a total of 849 Hertfordshire County Council staff have been redeployed to work in critical services to help fight Covid-19.
  • Around 270 Public Health clinicians have moved to frontline NHS roles, 17 on-call firefighters have been trained to support the East of England Ambulance service and 562 staff from suspended council services are being redeployed to Covid-19 response roles.
Testing
  • Council teams worked with NHS colleagues and the Military to establish three mobile test sites last weekend in Hemel Hempstead (69 tested), Watford (161 tested) and Stevenage (261 tested) for symptomatic key workers and essential staff.
  • We are pleased to see this response to our concerns about key workers previously having to travel to regional centres in Stansted and Wembley and are keen to retain greater local testing capacity.
  • We are working with the military to secure additional local testing facilities this coming weekend.
Household Waste Recycling Centres
  • The plan for reopening Household Waste Recycling Centres in Hertfordshire is being finalised and sets out a phased approach.
  • Communication to accompany any reopening will stress that visits should only be made if they are essential and highlight the rules on site, in line with national government guidance.
  • We anticipate traffic congestion around opened sites and are liaising with the police and highways over traffic management options.
More information
  • HCC website – containing coronavirus guidance and service updates
  • PPE online hub - providing guidance on PPE
  • Herts Help contactable on 0300 123 4044 – support for all Hertfordshire residents
  • Please contact our Corporate Policy team if there are other areas you would like more detail about.
With the Prime Minister now returning to work after recovering from coronavirus, we expect the government to deliver further national announcements next week, detailing both the country's continued response to the pandemic and its strategy for delivering its recovery programme. We intend to use these bulletins to keep you informed on HCC updates and future plans in line with these announcements.Finally, we would once again like to reiterate our thanks to all of you for helping us work through the challenges this country, and all of us here in Hertfordshire are facing. We must continue to work together through these challenges and ensure that Hertfordshire is united against coronavirus.


Looking after your mental health and wellbeing during Coronavirus Information for Adults


Berkhamsted Town Council
Covid-19
Community Support Initiatives in Berkhamsted
15 April 2020 update

At the time of writing it is just overthree weeks since we were put into lockdown and told:

"Stay at home

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Do not meet others, even friends or family; you can spread the virus even if you don't have symptoms."

People in Berkhamsted have been observing these rules, however, the Town Council has been overwhelmed by the creativity, inventiveness and care for the plight of others demonstrated by local groups and organisations. Support offered to groups by the Town Council is set out in section 6 below. In the meantime, here is a snap shot of what is going on in the Town together with useful contact details in case you need to get in touch with any of the services:

  1. 1. Community Action Dacorum

website: https://www.communityactiondacorum.org;

e-mail: reception@communityactiondacorum.org.uk;

Amongst their many services CAD's community transport scheme is to:

Provide essential transport for non-routine healthcare appointments

Provide a shopping service for isolated individuals

Provide a prescription collection and delivery service.

To make a booking contact the Community Transport team on 01442 212888.

If you would like to volunteer e-mail volunteering@communityactiondacorum.org.uk;

  1. 2. Age UK Dacorum

Website: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/dacorum/about-us/contact-us;

E-mail: adminofficer@ageukdacorum.org.uk

Age UK Dacorum have forged an essential link with the Berkhamsted Covid 19 Mutual Aid Facebook group and Open Door (see below for more details) , here is an example of what has happened as a result:

An appeal was made by Age UK Dacorum through Berkhamsted Covid 19 Mutual Aid Facebook group for befriending phone volunteers. The response was immediate and a number of community minded people stepped forward, and within days approximately 50 vulnerable isolated people [of all ages] experienced an enriching befriending phone call, resulting in help with some urgent issues like shopping and prescription collection. These phone calls and ongoing support will continue on a regular basis which is equally as important.

A grand daughter who initially made contact with the Berkhamsted Covid 19 Mutual Aid Facebook group has subsequently told Age UK Dacorum " I have a weight lifted off myshoulders … thoughts of my Gran with her favourite coffee and some lemon cake bring me great happiness" Moreover the granddaughter went on to say " you guys are doing a greatjob and it's amazing that all the way from Dorset I was able to help my gran by contacting you. This page seems so helpful to many. Keep up the good work "

Telephone:Tel: 01442 259049

If you would like to volunteer e-mail DO@ageukdacorum.org.uk;

  1. 3. Open Door

Website: https://www.opendoorberkhamsted.co.uk

Open Door was set up in 2017 by The Way Inn Christian Centre Trust, a registered charity. The founders had identified demand from various community groups and individuals for a lower cost venue, or community space, within Berkhamsted. Their vision was to extend the outreach of Way Inn, to provide a place of welcome and security for local people and somewhere to meet, make friends and have fun together.

Although the premises in the High Street have had to close for the time being, the work continues.If you need help with shopping, picking up prescriptions etc - or if you can offer to help - please email opendoorberko@gmail.com or phone 07778 399353.

Volunteers are busy behind the scenes preparing some online activities for you to do at home. Visit the Facebook page to see what's coming up.

Open Door has joined forces with Berko Food for Friends to prepare and deliver free meals to those in need.. The service has just been set up and is in its early days with one chef and one kitchen – expansion of the service is being considered if facilities can be found and discussions are underway. If you're elderly, vulnerable or self-isolating – or know someone who is – volunteers can bring evening meals to your household between 5pm and 6pm. If you'd like to order food or would like more information, email bff@opendoorberkhamsted.co.uk or call Joan Fisher on 07778 399353. You can also let Open Door know your order using this online form: https://bit.ly/BerkoMealDelivery

  1. 4. Berkhamsted Covid-19 Mutual Aid Facebook Group

Link to pagehttps://www.facebook.com/groups/140520593982262/

e-mail: info@berkocommunity.org;

The purpose of the group is to provide a forum for people in Berkhamsted and Northchurch to support each other during the crisis. In less then four weeks the group has set up a network of volunteers in most streets and they provide valuable services such as social contact, collection of prescriptions and shopping, provision of hot meals in addition to bringing some fun and entertainment to people. They have also forged links with other agencies that people may need help from such as DENS and Mind.

  1. 5. South East Craft for Causes

The local Berkhamsted and Tring group originally came together last year to help make items to save animals in the Australian bushfires. They have over 1k members on their local Facebook group.

In the last few weeks the group has been asked directly by Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Watford General Hospital and Luton and Dunstable Hospital to sew scrubs and scrub bags. These are for staff who do not normally wear scrubs but are required to now due to Covid-19. Hospitals are overwhelmed and the factories that provide scrubs are in China. They are weeks behind in production and the global demand is very high.

The local group has now raised over £5,000 in a very short period and hopes to start its first production run next week (week commencing 20 April). This will also be a test run to check the production processes and if all goes well they hope to fulfil more orders.

  1. 6. Town Council Support for Groups

The Town Council has been in close contact with the above groups. It has set aside £20,000 to offer financial support during the emergency and in its aftermath. It is anticipated that this will cover a good number of applications. Some funds have already been distributed, for example, Age UK Dacorum has so far received £1,400 to support local Berkhamsted initiatives and South East Craft for causes are applying for funding for future stages of their project. We are also sourcing protective gloves and hand sanitiser for Open Door volunteers and others who are delivering goods to people.

We are sure there will also be other groups that are working hard for their community. Any group, organisation or charity supporting people in Berkhamsted during the crisis can apply for funding and can contact the Town Clerk (Janet Mason) by phone 01442 800152 or e-mail townclerk@berkhamstedtowncouncil.gov.uk; There is a short form on which to make applications and this can be e-mailed out to you or is available on the Town Council website

https://www.berkhamstedtowncouncil.gov.uk/news/2020/04/berkhamsted-town-council-grant-application-form-covid19-community-support

We look forward to hearing from groups.

JEM 15-04-20


Berkhamsted Town Council Grant Application Form Covid 19 Community Support

Background information and available funds: Berkhamsted Town Council is committed to supporting initiatives in the Town that are there to support our community during the Covid19 pandemic. How this might be achieved was discussed at a virtual town council meeting held on 30 March 2020. At the meeting an initial budget of £1,400 was allocated immediately to Age UK Dacorum, who will be broadening their age criteria for the emergency. Age UK Dacorum are working through volunteer groups and organisations to provide low level needs for people affected by isolation. At the end of March work was still in its early days and the key organisations involved in discussions, in addition to Age UK Dacorum, were Open Door, the Berkhamsted Community Facebook Group, and Berkhamsted District Chamber of Commerce. A further £3,600 of funding was also agreed that the group can ask to draw upon going forward as the situation regarding demand and services crystallised.

In addition, and as a separate but linked initiative to the above, a £15,000 earmarked reserves fund has been created. Funding from this reserve could be made available to volunteering organisations, groups or charities serving the people of Berkhamsted to mitigate the impact of the current crisis (including its aftermath). £15,000 is the total amount available and would cover a number of separate applications. The Town Council agreed that such applications should be made to the Town Clerk and include details of the service(s) offered, safeguarding measures, other funding applied for, project plan and financial controls. On receipt of an application the Town Clerk would contact all members of the Finance &Policy Committee for consideration and authorisation of such applications.

Who can apply and how Any organisation, group or charity providing a service that will help the people of Berkhamsted through the current crisis and who wish to apply for some funds should make such applications to the Town Clerk (Janet Mason) by completing the attached application form and returning it via e-mail to: townclerk@berkhamstedtowncouncil.gov.uk;


How GCSEs, AS & A levels will be awarded in summer 2020

Ofqual sets out details for schools, colleges, students, parents & carers on how GCSEs and A levels will be awarded following the cancellation of this year's exams.

More information.


Joint statement from CEOs of WHHT and Herts Valleys CCG: Temporary closure of St Albans Minor Injuries Unit as part of Covid-19 response


West Midlands Trains: Introduction of revised timetable

The government has announced today that all train operators will begin running revised timetables from next week.

With the unprecedented global crisis, staff availability across the railway industry has been affected, as well as customer demand, making changes to the timetable necessary.

For West Midlands Trains – operating under both West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway brands - the timetable we will operate for our customers represents significant change from the normal daily timetable, with particular focus on early morning and later evening services, to deliver an effective public transport service for key workers.

With more railway staff being affected by the impact of the Coronavirus, revising services also accommodates infrastructure changes, and allows safety critical roles to be performed across the country.

The service level will deliver more than enough seats to meet the current demand levels and the timetable will be kept under regular review to react to any further developments.

The revised timetables are currently being finalised and will be made available at www.wmr.uk/coronavirus and www.lnr.uk/coronavirus over the weekend. Journey planners will be updated by Sunday afternoon.

Please be assured that our own people are absolutely committed and are working flat out on the front line to help keep the country moving, while also keeping themselves safe.


London Northwestern Railway - timetable from Monday 23 March onwards

You may already be aware that today the government have announced that all train operators will begin running revised timetables from next week. More information can be found on the below weblink;

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/reduced-rail-timetable-agreed-to-protect-train-services-and-staff

With the unprecedented global crisis, staff availability across the railway industry has been affected, as well as customer demand therefore making changes to the timetable has been necessary. For Northwestern Railway the timetable we will operate for our customers represents significant change from the normal daily timetable, with particular focus on early morning and later evening services, to deliver an effective public transport service for key workers.

With more railway staff being affected by the impact of the Coronavirus, revising services also accommodates infrastructure changes, and allows safety critical roles to be performed across the country. The service level will deliver more than enough seats to meet the current demand levels and the timetable will be kept under regular review to react to any further developments.

In summary we will run the following services;

Outer suburban

to/from London Euston

Northampton – 3 trains per hour

Milton Keynes – 5 trains per hour

Watford Junction – 4 trains per hour

Bletchley, Leighton Buzzard, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead – 3 trains per hour

Tring, Harrow & Wealdstone – 2 trains per hour

Cheddington, Aspley, Kings Langley, Bushey – hourly

to/from Birmingham New Street via Northampton

Northampton, Rugby, Coventry, Birmingham International – 3 trains per hour

Coventry, Birmingham International – 4 trains per hour

Tile Hill, Marston Green – 2 trains per hour

Canley, Berkswell, Hampton-in-Arden, Lea Hall, Stechford, Adderley Park – hourly

to/from Birmingham New Street towards the north-west

Stafford – 3 trains per hour

Crewe, via Penkridge and via Stoke-on-Trent – hourly

Long distance

London – Birmingham – 3 trains per hour

London - Crewe, via Lichfield Trent Valley – hourly

Birmingham – Liverpool, via Crewe – hourly

Birmingham, via Penkridge and via Stoke-on-Trent – hourly

Branch lines

Bedford – Bletchley (Marston Vale) – hourly

St Albans Abbey – Watford Junction (The Abbey) - hourly

The revised timetables are currently being finalised and will be made available at www.wmr.uk/coronavirus and www.lnr.uk/coronavirus over the weekend and journey planners will be updated by Sunday afternoon.

Please be assured that our own people are absolutely committed and are working flat out on the front line to help keep the country moving, while also keeping themselves safe.