We have attached two city council briefings below- today’s as well as the briefing from Friday. I have also attached updates from the local NHS and below pasted updates from Healthwatch.
Today both Hannah and I attended a special policy and resources committee which was considering the financial implications of the Covid-19 crisis on the council and some of the implications in terms of our care homes and protective equipment. We continue to raise serious concerns about the pandemic’s effect on our neighbourhood on your behalf. A deepening concern for us is the financial position the council is in. Conservative government ministers said at the start of the pandemic that they would provide councils with “whatever it takes.” Yet only two weeks ago, the minister for local government, Robert Jenrick warned that not all costs would be reimbursed.
Further to many reports of anti-social behaviour along the beach huts and seafront, we are lobbying hard for the opening of the public toilets at the bottom of Second Avenue. This reaffirms the call we have been making now for weeks. Yesterday with residents of Norfolk Square we met Sussex Police and I have contacted Divisional Commander Nick May about the re-emergence of anti-social behaviour ‘hot spots’. We continue to liaise with the PCSO.
I will be taking part in the pandemic ‘recovery’ committee on Friday and welcome your thoughts. The agenda for the committee is published here.
Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty
Leader of the Official Opposition
Green Party Councillor for Brunswick and Adelaide, Brighton and Hove City Council
Opposition Spokesperson on the Policy and Resources Committee
Member of the Tourism Development and Culture Committee and Planning Committee
Greater Brighton Economic Board, Strategic Delivery Board, Board of Trustees Brighton Dome & Festival Limited, Representative to the Local Government Association
Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, Hove BN3 3BQ
Ward surgeries at 7.15pm on last Weds of every month at the Cornerstone Community Centre, Palmeira Square (except August and December)
Subject: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
Date: 5:30pm Wednesday 27 May 2020
Briefing number: 54
Queries about this briefing can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t miss out on financial support for your business
The council is working hard to make sure businesses in Brighton & Hove get vital financial support they are entitled to help them stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since the government announced its grants scheme for small businesses, the council has paid out £63 million to more than 4,600 businesses in the city, and we’re still working through applications as they are received.
These grants don’t have to be paid back, but we estimate there are still up to 800 businesses that might be eligible and have yet to apply.
Council leader, Councillor Nancy Platts, said ensuring small businesses get the support they need is an absolute priority.
“We urgently need businesses to claim so that we can ask government whether we can use any remaining money for businesses that have so far fallen between the cracks of the various government schemes,” Councillor Platts said. More information can be found on our newsroom.
Discretionary fund for small businesses
We are developing a local discretionary grant scheme for the city’s small businesses.
Brighton & Hove’s fund, anticipated to be around £3.6 million, will provide small grants for some of our independent businesses who have not been eligible for the government’s small business grants.
The proposed criteria and application process will be discussed at the first meeting of the Policy & Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee on Friday, 29 May.
We will design the criteria so that it captures small businesses who make a significant contribution to the city’s economy, including the visitor economy, retail, events, creative and digital, as well as charities and not-for-profit organisations. These reflect the core sectors identified in the Economic Strategy and our Corporate Plan priorities.
Once agreed, guidance about who can apply and an application process will be posted on this page where we will also provide regular updates on how to apply and when it will be open for applications.
We are aware of scam emails asking businesses for information relating to small business grants. Please do not reply to scam emails.
More information for businesses can be found on our website.
Brighton & Hove Buses
From Monday 1 June, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company will be increasing its number of services as more people return to work.
They are continuing to accept Older Person’s and Disabled Person’s concessionary passes 24 hours a day until further notice and they continue to ask that you pay using contactless payment methods or have exact change.
There is important information about travelling and physical distancing measures on their website.
Help to get the information out to the city
We are sharing these graphics highlighting support available in the city. Please share on your social media platforms to help the information reach residents.
Subject: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update
Date: 4:45pm Friday 22 May 2020
Briefing number: 53
Queries about this briefing can be sent to: email@example.com
In this briefing: Information you may need over the Bank Holiday weekend ahead.
Restricting access to the beach
Cllr Appich, Chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee, has called for people to avoid crowding our public spaces and to maintain physical distancing.
From today, the central beach area from East Street to West Street will be monitored to restrict the number of people accessing the area if necessary.
This measure is about public safety. There will be stewards stationed at entry and exit points from 12 noon to 9pm each day up to and including bank holiday Monday to encourage physical distancing and direct people to less busy parts of the seafront if the area becomes too busy.
Read more on our newsroom
No lifeguards on duty
The seasonal lifeguard service for Brighton & Hove will start a little later this year and there will be no provision in place for the upcoming May Bank Holiday weekend.
Lifeguards normally patrol the city’s beaches from the end of May until the end of the school holidays in September. The Covid-19 pandemic and social-distancing restrictions interrupted our usual recruitment drive for lifeguards.
Find out more
Councillor Nancy Platts wishes Eid Mubarak to everyone celebrating in very different circumstances this year. Eid al-Fitr falls at the end of this week and marks the end of the month of Ramadan.
Councillor Platts acknowledges that it’s been a very difficult time for our Muslim community, who have been unable to get together with family, friends and community to celebrate Ramadan as they usually would. She also thanks the city’s Muslim community for their part in supporting the residents of Brighton & Hove throughout the Covid-19 crisis
For Eid, it’s important to retain physical distancing to continue to protect lives. As places of worship remain closed, the Muslim Council of Britain has produced some guidance on Celebrating Eid Al-Fitr during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Read more in our newsroom
Thank you to our school, nursery and early years staff
Schools and early years providers will continue to be open for children of keyworkers and vulnerable children during another Bank Holiday and half term week.
Councillor John Allcock, Chair of the Children, Young People and Skills committee, has written in praise and thanks of all working in schools and early years settings.
Household waste recycling sites
We have reopened our Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRS) in Brighton & Hove.
There are two recycling sites – also called tips – one in Hove, off Old Shoreham Road and one in Brighton, off Wilson Road. They take household waste or recycling, electrical items, garden waste and some DIY waste.
Strict traffic measures are in force with people driving to the sites only being allowed to queue on the smaller access roads leading to the tips, and not the major approach roads. Find more information on the reopening of our Waste and recycling sites.
Only cars will be allowed on site, with no trailers, vans or camper vans being given access. Pedestrians – those on foot and not in a car – will not be allowed to enter the site.
At busy times, we will close the queues an hour before the site closing times to manage physical distancing.
Where to go for healthcare
It is important not to ignore health concerns. Healthcare is still available for those who need it, so please use it. Find out about the NHS services available in Sussex this bank holiday weekend
(A) Your Healthwatch
In case you missed it, David Liley, CEO of Healthwatch, made his first video update last week. David describes the role Healthwatch has played during the current COVID-19 crisis. You can access the video here
We have published a series of Healthwatch reports which you can access on our website:
1. Stakeholder report which gathered the views of those we work with and represent; our work and activities over the previous year.
2. Activity report describing the work we have done between January to April 2020.
3. An Equality Impact Assessment of our work and activities over the previous year.
Our Hospital Discharge Wellbeing project continues to support people who have recently left hospital. Our volunteers are calling recently discharged patients to check on how they are since being discharged, as well as asking how they are coping during this lockdown and if we can signpost or refer them for any extra support. We have received very positive feedback from those contacted about this service – a big thank you to our team of volunteers who are doing this vital work.
(B) Health care updates
(1) Mental Health Awareness Week, 18-24 May
At this present time looking after your own mental health, and the mental health of loved ones, friends, neighbours and employees is so important. The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is Kindness. We have posted more information, advice and guidance on the Healthwatch website
(2) New opt-out organ donation law comes into force in England 20 May.
The change in the law aims to make more organs available for those in need. Make sure your choice is based on facts. Tell your family about your decision and register it on the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Remember: you are free to register your decision whenever you like, before or after the change in law.
You can view a video on organ donation law change and the impact of COVID-19 here.
And a link to official fact sheets relating to different aspects of organ donation, such as organ donation and religious beliefs can be found here.
(3) Cancer survey
The Speak Up Against Cancer team at Albion in the Community have launched a survey to find out what people in Brighton and Hove know about sun safety and skin cancer. Please do complete and share this. The survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete and will close on Monday 25th May 2020. Please click here. As a thank you, responders who leave contact details will have the opportunity to enter a free prize draw to win a £50 shopping voucher.
(4) Maternity and pregnancy
We are pleased to present information on maternity and pregnancy from Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group and Brighton and Hove Maternity Voices Partnership. Please see the document which is attached to this email.
(C) COVID-19 updates
(1) Data on COVID
There are 410 confirmed cases in Brighton and Hove, out of a local population of 290,885
In Brighton and Hove there were 108 coronavirus-related deaths up to the 8 May. In this area 20% of all deaths involved coronavirus between 29 Feb and 8 May. Note: Cases only include people who have had a positive test for the virus. Not everyone with the virus will have had a test. Deaths include any death where COVID-19 was mentioned on the death certificate. Death data updated weekly; cases updated daily.
The Office for National Statistics is publishing a wide range of data. This link will enable you to enter your postcode and see the number of confirmed deaths in your area. All data should be viewed with some degree of caution.
Slides and datasets to accompany last night’s coronavirus press conference can be accessed via the link.
(2) Face masks
The general public are urged not to buy medical grade masks so they can be saved for frontline health and care workers, and instead make your own face coverings at home You can make your own cloth face covering using this guidance.
(3) COVID-19 symptoms
You may have seen in the news this week that the government added loss of taste or smell to the list of common COVID-19 symptoms. You should stay at home if you have:
· 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)
· or loss of smell or taste
If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you need to stay at home for 7 days.
(4) COVID-19 Testing
There has been a lot of talk about who can be tested for COVID-19, when this can be performed and how. If you are confused about this and the different tests for COVID19- sampling tests or self-tests – then these articles should help to explain things:
Testing for COVID-19 was extended this week to anyone over 5 years of age who has suspected symptoms. Should a child under 5 develop symptoms, please call NHS 111 for advice. Children returning to school can also apply for a test, along with any members of their household.
Today, the government announced a trial of a rapid coronavirus test in Hampshire involving 4,000 people. The test provides results in 20 minutes without any need for it to be sent to a laboratory.
The Healthwatch Frequently Asked Questions document has also been updated with more information about testing.
(D) Government updates
The current situation means that new guidance is being issued daily. Below we have provided links to some announcements which may be of interest.
An explanation of ‘R’ number (i.e. an estimate of how many people one individual may pass the virus onto, and an indication of whether the virus is spreading or declining)
The Government’s plan to allow children to begin returning to school from 1 June, including their scientific evidence.
The government has announced a new care homes support package backed by a £600 million adult social care infection control fund. This has been introduced to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in care homes.
A new dedicated app for social care workers has launched to support staff through the coronavirus pandemic.
Government begins large scale study of coronavirus immunity
A major long-term study will track spread of coronavirus in general population. The research, involving up to 20,000 people of all ages, will measure blood antibodies to help determine what proportion of the population has already had the infection, the duration of immunity after being infected, and why the virus affects people differently
The government will invest up to £93 million to accelerate construction of the new Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre which, when completed, will have capacity to produce enough vaccine doses to serve the entire UK population in as little as six months.