Guildford Borough Council
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13 May 2020
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Leader Statement: Thank you to our residents
Following the government’s change to their Coronavirus guidance this week, Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves made the following statement:
‘We are now nearly two months into staying home to stay safe in order to protect our brilliant NHS workers and save lives and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our residents who continue to diligently follow the government guidance. Even though the rules are being slightly relaxed we must stay alert, continue to stay at home as much as possible and take time to look after ourselves. Please work from home if you can, limit your contact with other people and if you go outside please maintain social distancing by keeping two metres apart. It also still vital to keep washing your hands to minimise the spread of the virus and do not leave your home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
‘Some of our services have now changed in light of the new guidance. To support those who can’t work from home and must travel to work, our town centre parking is open and remains free for now. For those of us who have been Spring cleaning and gardening during lockdown you can now take black bag and garden waste to one of Surrey County Council’s Community Recycling Centres. Please ensure you visit the website before you travel as measures are in place: www.surreycc.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/community-recycling-centres. Our bulky waste service is still operating for those bigger items. Please keep up to date with all service changes on our website.
‘One of the biggest changes to the guidance is that we can spend more time outdoors while making sure we stay two metres away from others. This is because scientific evidence shows the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside. Fresh air and exercise are so important for our physical and mental wellbeing, more so now than ever. We have now re-opened our countryside car parks and look forward to welcoming you back. Please enjoy visiting them whilst making sure you keep your distance from others, take your rubbish home and follow the Countryside Code.
‘Our Tourist Information Centre: Visit Guildford have some great walking maps for you to follow https://www.guildford.gov.uk/visitguildford/toursandwalks or you can download the app and find some new routes. Our wonderful wildflowers are currently blossoming so please keep to paths and don’t damage them. Skylarks are currently nesting on the ground too, so be mindful and careful where you tread.
‘You can also return to ball sports and our courts are now open. Tennis bookings will start on Monday. In line with the guidance, our playgrounds, mini-golf, trim trails, skate parks and paddling pool remain closed. If you prefer to exercise indoors, our Leisure Team recommend Active Surrey’s #StayInWorkOut for fun free daily video home workout sessions www.activesurrey.com/get-started/active-at-home. Surrey’s Virtual Wellbeing hub offers support from the comfort of your home with a variety of different sessions from Coffee Mornings to Creative Writing. https://virtualwellbeing.healthysurrey.org.uk/find-a-session/
‘For those of us who continue to work at home in this ‘new normal’ please do keep thinking of your neighbours and remember we are more sensitive to noise and odours being safe at home. Please carry on being considerate to each other when thinking about DIY or noisy activities around the house and do check washing on lines before having BBQ’s. We recommend you do not have bonfires.
‘We continue to offer new food and support services for our borough’s vulnerable groups through our community helpline, where we have made over 11,000 phone calls over the past seven weeks offering help with food, prescriptions and someone to talk to. We’ve delivered nearly 1,100 meals-on-wheels and over 1,300 food parcels. We are working with so many fantastic community groups across the borough – thank you to you all. We are currently also welcoming donations of children’s clothes and toys to The Hive at our Park Barn Centre and we can distribute to those who need them.
‘If you or someone you know needs this help, please register on behalf of them here: www.guildford.gov.uk/article/23881/Can-we-help-during-self-isolation-. If you have recently left hospital to come home and need help to manage your household, we can help with urgent repairs and advice from landlords on potential issues. Please call our Safe and Settled team on 01483 444476.
‘It’s also been an extremely uncertain and difficult period for local businesses. We have provided business support through business grants where we have currently paid over £17.5 million to 1,300 local companies. We still have £4.5 million of unallocated government funding for our businesses and we are doing everything we can to contact them. If you think you may be eligible please get in touch. Many of the fantastic restaurants in Guildford have been able to adapt and are now offering takeaway food. Our town centre Business Improvement District, Experience Guildford have a full list of restaurants offering this service here http://experienceguildford.co.uk/news-article.php?newsid=930. The North Street market still operates at weekends, where you can buy local fresh produce. The market follows government guidance with social distancing and other measures.
‘The community spirit you have shown has been incredible and the recent Guildford Live free variety show that we supported was to thank all of our NHS staff, key workers and carers in our borough. Taking time to relax, keep smiling and enjoy ourselves is so important. Thanks to Nick Wyschna and the Guildford Fringe Theatre Company for this event which is being repeated with some new faces on Thursday 28 May at 6.30pm – please do join us again and perhaps virtually bring a friend. Donations from the event will go to Guildford Philanthropy, which the Council set up in 2014 to support our vulnerable groups. They have already raised £100,000 since the start of the outbreak and our thanks goes to them.
‘Please remember we are here to help. You, our residents and our businesses, will always remain our top priority and we will do all we can to continue to support you. We will get through this together.’
Press contact: Matthew Cross, Assistant Communications Officer; tel: 01483 444335 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
For all the latest Guildford Borough Council news go to www.guildford.gov.uk and follow us on Twitter @GuildfordBC
Guildford Borough Council
Follow us @GuildfordBC
01 April 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Statement From Caroline Reeves, Leader of Guildford Borough Council
As we move into the 'new normal' of staying home, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank our residents who are diligently following the government guidance. We remain at a critical stage in the fight to stop the spread of the Coronavirus and we all need to continue to play our part to help save lives and ease the pressure on our brilliant NHS staff.
I'm so proud to see Guildford playing its part locally with our hubs at the Park Barn Centre (The Hive) and the Shawfield Centre to the north of the borough with an increased meals on wheels and well being checks services. We have already set aside £50,000 extra funds for our local hubs to ensure we can meet the needs of our vulnerable groups. We are also very pleased to open Spectrum Leisure Centre as the county's hub for distributing food to those who are classed as shielded as they have received a letter from the government. The centre is a collaboration between Surrey County Council and partners and will be run by Red Cross volunteers with support from the military.
We are looking at new ways to support those in need in the community and we will make announcement on Friday about how we do this. Guildford’s Business Improvement District, Experience Guildford are currently setting up some really useful contact lists of essential businesses and restaurant takeaways and as soon as they are finished we will help share this helpful information.
Our local foodbanks, North Guildford Foodbank and the Guildford Salvation Army drop-in and food crisis centre, on Woodbridge Road, welcome donations and financial assistance. North Guildford Foodbank has branches at St Clare’s, New Hope Centre and Bushy Hill Community Centre.
Sadly we anticipate a rise in domestic violence during this period. South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Services remain available for confidential support and advice on 01483 898884. Similarly, any children under 19 should contact Childline on 0800 1111 if they feel unsafe.
Whilst we are advising residents to avoid burning garden waste at this time, with everybody at home for longer periods, composting is a great way to recycle garden and organic waste that will continue to enrich your garden. It might even be a fun and educational activity for young children to enjoy! Surrey County Council and the Surrey Environment Partnership offer compost bins from just £13 and offer some advice to help you get started – visit https://www.surreyep.org.uk/reduce-reuse-recycle/garden-waste/composting/buy-a-compost-bin/ for details.
Our waste collection service remains fully operational, but we ask you to take extra precautions if you are self-isolating. Please place all personal waste, such as used tissues or disposable cleaning cloths, in a secure bag or bin liner, which itself is then placed in another plastic bag. Store this for 72 hours before you place it in your general rubbish collection. Please also remember to separate your recycling and regular waste as normal.
As part of our move to go paperless as a Council we said farewell to our borough newspaper and will soon launch our new email newsletter. In these difficult times it will be another way to keep up-to-date about what we are doing to help you and of any necessary changes to our essential services. Please sign-up by emailing email@example.com or visiting www.guildford.gov.uk/subscribe.
Our residents and businesses remain our top priority, and we are doing all we can to help everybody face the unique challenges of this pandemic. By working together, we will succeed. For details on all changes to our services please see www.guildford.gov.uk.
Please ensure that you continue to follow all government guidance on staying at home for all but the most essential travel, and practice social distancing, by staying two metres apart, when in contact with other people. We must only leave home for one of three reasons: to buy food and medicines; to go to work if you absolutely cannot work from home; and for one period of exercise each day, either alone or with members of your household. It is also essential that you wash your hands as soon as you return home.
Our parks remain open for exercising not socialising – please enjoy them in accord with the guidance. Driving to beauty spots for essential exercise is unnecessary and causes crowding, so please think of others. Our fantastic Play Ranger team have also created four short ‘how to’ videos for some fun activities to keep children entertained at home, including home-made ten pin bowling and a wall run – visit https://www.guildford.gov.uk/playrangers to get involved.
Most importantly, though, please remember: anyone can contract Coronavirus, and you can still spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms.