First Bus Services

A message from local County Councillor Andy Roberts.

The County Council has been informed by First Bus that the Department for Transport has instructed them to reduce their operational mileage to around 75%-80% of their current operation. First Bus has confirmed that they will reduce the network to the levels back in June, starting week commencing 17th January 2021. This will mean a reduction in frequency of services, but will continue to provide for key worker journeys, shopping services and weekend services.

Notices will be put up at bus stops to convey this message, update Real Time Information boards and the County Council website. Similarly, First Bus will also undertake their own communication to passengers.

All regular subsided services will continue to operate to their normal timetables. However, some operators are already starting to report staff capacity issues due to positive Covid-19 cases, or where staff members have needed to self-isolate. We will continue to work with operators to minimise disruption where possible and keep you updated.

For more information go toFirstbus

https://www.firstgroup.com/worcestershire

 

Professor Whitty COVID warning

Professor Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer) warns that COVID-19 is spreading quickly across the Country

Play his video message here:

https://news.sky.com/video/covid-19-professor-chris-whittys-warning-in-new-government-advert-12182686

COVID-19 – Message from Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health in Worcestershire

A message from Dr.Kathryn Cobain, the Director for Public Health in Worcestershire 

Dear Residents,

I know that the news of a new lockdown for England, will be frustrating and upsetting for many people. Worcestershire has tried very hard to keep Covid-19 cases down, and many of you have made sacrifices to protect yourselves and others. We have all had to make changes to the way we live our lives in recent months, and that included over Christmas, when so many were not able to spend time with loved ones.

But some stark realities remain for us all. Worcestershire’s infection rates are at the highest we have ever seen. In the past 7 days alone, the county has 1,888 positive Covid-19 cases, which is more than all positive cases seen during May, June, July, August and September 2020 combined. I am concerned about this level of spread, and the risk it poses to our health and the lives of our vulnerable and elderly residents. We need to act now to protect one another, prevent the virus spreading further and reduce the demand on our hospitals.

The pandemic continues to dominate our daily lives, cases are rising nationally and we know the new variant of Covid-19 spreads very quickly. Our NHS is also facing considerable pressure on its services. All of these factors have led to the government’s announcement of a new lockdown across England. This means once again, we are facing tough restrictions on our way of life. I know this is hard, but by doing as we are asked, we are saving lives. The restrictions have been brought in to protect every one of us.

Please now stay at home, don’t go out unless you need to, for example to buy food or collect medicines. The Government has set out the clear limitations of the lockdown and I ask you to read the restrictions and follow the rules. You can read a full explanation of all the restrictions on the government’s website; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home

Once again, Worcestershire County Council’s Here2Help service is available to anyone who needs support or is clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding). If you have no-one to turn to for help, our service can respond and provide help such as collecting medicines and getting shopping. You can reach the service online; https://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help

If you are on the Government’s shielding list, you will be receiving guidance about what to do now. It is key that you socially distance, and you reduce your physical contact with others. The governments webpages are updated regularly and you can read detailed guidance at; https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

While we are all at home, please do remember to check on vulnerable or isolated residents. Just a phone call or a text message can provide a vital link to the outside world, and can ensure those who need comfort or help, have someone to turn to.

You will know that a programme of vaccination has begun nationally, and we are already seeing Worcestershire residents receiving the first doses. This process is being co-ordinated by central Government, and following a strict order for administering the doses. Worcestershire County Council is supporting NHS colleagues to ensure the roll-out is progressing. The vaccines are safe, and if you are called forward to receive one, I strongly urge you to do so. In the meantime, please keep following the rules, wear face coverings, wash your hands, keep your distance. These simple measures help reduce the spread of the virus.

We are all in this together. Throughout the pandemic, you have shown your resilience, kindness and compassion for others. We have seen many examples of people supporting one another, lending a hand or going the extra mile. The situation has demonstrated how working together, we are able to support one another and get through. I am asking you to do this once again. The single most important thing you can do for everyone, is to stay home. Please do this for yourself and for others. We all want to protect people who are precious to us, our family and friends. Let’s take care of each other, and work together.

Thank you for doing this. Our actions now will hopefully bring brighter days for us all in 2021.

Best wishes

Dr. Kathryn Cobain

 

West Mercia Police alert – Catalytic Converter Thefts

There have been a series of Catalytic Converter Thefts in the South Worcestershire area.

We are working to apprehend the offenders but you could assist us by following this advice to protect your vehicle;

Protect your vehicle from catalytic converter thieves

  • If you can, park your vehicle in a locked garage when it is unattended.
  • If it’s not possible to garage your vehicle, park it in a busy, well-lit area as close to your property as possible.
  • Consider installing a Thatcham approved alarm to your vehicle. Ones that activate if your vehicle is lifted or tilted are particularly effective.
  • Use a catalytic converter protection device or marking system http://www.catsafe.org.uk/

Further information on crime prevention products can be found at the below Police approved websites

https://www.thatcham.org/what-we-do/security-certification/

https://www.soldsecure.com/

https://www.securedbydesign.com/member-companies/accredited-product-search

Catalytic converters control and convert exhaust emissions from your vehicle into less toxic substances. If yours is stolen, you will know because your vehicle’s engine will sound different.

If you suspect your catalytic converter has been stolen, report it to us immediately by calling 101.

If you require any further assistance or information do not hesitate to contact your Safer Neighbourhood Team. If you have information about a crime, phone the police on 101 or anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

 

Worcestershire placed in Tier 2 – COVID update from Worcestershire County Council

Tier Two restrictions for Worcestershire

The Government has announced that Worcestershire will go into Tier Two category of restrictions on December 2nd.

Worcestershire has worked very hard during the lockdown to reduce the number of cases of Covid-19 in the county.

We have seen some good progress, which has resulted in the county avoiding tier 3 restrictions. We now need to continue the good work and bring the number of Covid-19 cases down further.

From Wednesday 2nd December, everyone in Worcestershire will need to observe Tier Two restrictions.

Tier Two restrictions include:

  • 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.

The full list of restrictions are available on the dedicated pages of the Government’s website.

These restrictions are considered necessary because the infection rate remains too high. The virus doesn’t stay in a single area but spreads where people are mixing. It is very important that we all now follow these new rules, to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases and stop the virus spreading further.

 

COVID 19 – Latest guidance from Worcestershire County Council

We know that people over 60 can be badly affected by the virus. It can make you very poorly, need hospital care and even cause death. This is, of course, very worrying. It also has implications for our NHS. It leads to pressure on our services and creates a rising demand for intensive care beds. We need to act now, to prevent this situation becoming any worse.

How can you help?  How can you protect yourself and others?  Please follow national restrictions during the lockdown period and then any new guidance from 2nd December. You should also keep your distance, wash your hands regularly and wear face coverings where needed. These measures are our best defence against the virus. We know it can be hard, keeping a distance from others, avoiding travelling to places, not meeting up with friends or family. But the virus spreads when we mix and have contact and don’t stay apart. Stay local, don’t visit areas with higher levels of restrictions. If we can stay local, stop visiting areas with greater numbers of infections, we can protect ourselves and others.

Please ensure you self-isolate as soon as you have a symptom of Covid-19. The symptoms to look out for are;

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

If you have any of these, no matter how mild your symptoms, please self-isolate immediately and book a test. You can do this online https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

With a second national lockdown in place, the County Council’s Here2Help service is on hand to help residents who require extra support.

A phone number has been set up to help fill out the form for those who can’t access the internet. The dedicated number is: 01905 768053 and is open Monday – Thursday 9:00 – 5:00pm and Friday 9:00 – 4:30pm.

Guidance for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable has been updated to include additional measures to keep this group safe during lockdown. This information is available on the Here2Help shielding advice page on the county council’s website https://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/info/20769/coronavirus_covid-19/2274/coronavirus_covid-19_shielding_advice

The Government is encouraging people in this group to register for support on the national website where they, for example, can get access to priority supermarket deliveries.

For more information, please visit: www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help

Warndon Parish Residents Food Drive – new collection times

Warndon Parish Residents Food Drive

with

Dear friends and neighbours,

Thank you for your continuing support and donations to Worcester Foodbank, your generosity makes a huge difference!

When do we collect donations?

  • From your doorstep on Thursday evenings at 6pm
  • From your doorstep on Sunday afternoons at 3pm

What to give?

Small packs of: tea, coffee, sugar, toiletries, cleaning products, laundry liquid or powder, pet food, in-date tinned / dry food, all other non-fresh foodstuffs, supermarket gift cards and money.

For updates, shopping lists of most needed items, or to donate money, please go to http://www.worcester.foodbank.org.uk

 

Disclaimer: This is a community initiative, led and managed by volunteer local residents. The cost of printing the leaflets were paid by Warndon Parish Council, who accept no liability for any accident or misconduct associated with this initiative. Volunteers take part at their own risk and responsibility.

 

St Richard’s Hospice Lights of Love 2020

St Richard’s Hospice is inviting residents to dedicate a Light of Love to celebrate and remember all those who hold a special place in our hearts.

For almost two decades St Richard’s has held Lights of Love events in the Worcestershire community. This year, they will still reflect on the wonderful people who have touched our lives, particularly those who are loved and no longer with us. But the coronavirus pandemic will make this year’s Lights of Love slightly different, but just as heartfelt.

Virtual service

Lights of Love will shine out from the St Richard’s Christmas tree at St Andrew’s Spire, Worcester, during the festive season and dedicated names will be there for all to see as usual on banners around the city landmark.

However, rather than gathering together at services around the county, St Richard’s will be asking you to join them at a virtual Lights of Love event from the comfort of your own home.

This unique virtual event in the hospice Sacred Space will be available to view on the St Richard’s website http://www.strichards.org.uk on Friday, 20th November from 7pm.

The hospice Chaplain Clare Griffiths, will lead this 15-minute service, dedicating the Lights of Love, lighting a candle and reflecting on those we cherish. You will also see the Lights of Love sparkle as they are switched on at the tree in St Andrew’s Spire, Worcester.

Make a Dedication

To make a donation to support the care of St Richard’s for local patients and families, dedicate a Light of Love and let your memories shine this Christmas, please go online to https://www.strichards.org.uk/lights-of-love/ or call the Fundraising Team on 01905 958151.

Your dedicated name(s) will be placed together on display around St Andrew’s Spire, Worcester.

The dedicated name(s) will also be placed in the Worcester News on the 24th December, 2020 if you choose, and in the hospice thanksgiving book and on a virtual Christmas tree. If you dedicate and donate online you have the added benefit of being able to include a message and photo on the virtual Christmas tree which you can also share with family and friends.

Your support is greatly appreciated by the hospice and by the patients and families, particularly at this time of uncertainly for us all.

Calling Community Project Creators – £85,000 funding available

Crowdfund Worcestershire has been launched by Worcestershire County Council to help local organisations gain funding through the Spacehive crowdfunding platform – https://www.spacehive.com/movement/worcs

Worcestershire County Council has a funding pot of £85,000 available through Crowdfund Worcestershire to support organisations in their bid to help in the county’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – https://www.spacehive.com/movement/worcs/supporters

This is an opportunity for organisations that have project ideas, which need financial backing, to create a project on Spacehive and pitch for a pledge via the Crowdfund Worcestershire platform by 30th September, clearly outlining how they may be able to help maintain progress in these five key areas:

o             Food Poverty – predominately focused on families.

o             Social isolation/befriending – looking at virtual community connections / or adapted schemes that comply with social distancing.

o             Return to work – helping people prepare for a return to work or helping them into work.

o             Maintaining our volunteering offer – helping to create a legacy of community and volunteer action post Covid-19.

o             Healthy Communities – activities to improve the health and wellbeing of your local community.

Projects may also qualify for pledges from the County Councillor’s Divisional Fund.

In addition, organisations in Malvern Hills and Wychavon will also have the chance to tap into pledges for community based transport projects. This funding, via the same Spacehive platform, will be led by Malvern Hills and Wychavon District Councils and there’s pledges of up to £50,000 up for grabs for this first round.

If you would like to find out how you can create a project and access funding please register for the FREE on-line events taking place on the 13th August and 4th September  by visiting https://www.spacehive.com/movement/worcs/news Project Creator Workshop and click on BOOK A PLACE.

Help to pay your Council Tax bill

Worcester City Council wants to remind residents of the help available if their finances have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and they are struggling to pay their council tax bill.

The council recognises the financial difficulty which some of our residents have faced over the last three months – they are therefore trying to be understanding and supportive in relation to unpaid council tax instalments. Support is available and we would encourage anyone having difficulty making payment to contact us immediately, so we can help them at this difficult time.

For details of how to claim council tax support or to extend your payments through to March 2021, visit http://www.worcester.gov.uk/council-tax/discounts or call 03004 560 560 – a member of the Revenues & Benefits team will assist with the query.