Page last updated 29 May 2020
We are regularly updating this page to provide you with links to help and advice for individuals and businesses in Somerset.
CCS Agent Response Call Back
CCS Village, Community and Carers Agents provide confidential, practical community-based solutions for people, wherever they are in Somerset. During this COVID-19 emergency, our CCS Agents are still providing their regular service via telephone or email, and are a key point of contact within the community – especially if you do not know who to turn to.
Contact your local agent by clicking here, complete the very short form and a member of the team will be in touch.
NEW! The CCS Thatch Newsletter is out now!
It’s packed with useful advice and information. Find out how CCS Agents have been supporting vulnerable people since lockdown began and read heartwarming stories of individuals who have gone above and beyond to make sure help gets to those in our communities who need it most. Download or read online: https://issuu.com/communitycouncilforsomerset/docs/ccs_thatch_newsletter_summer_2020
CCS Talking Cafés offering help and advice are going online
CCS (the Community Council for Somerset) is delighted to announce Talking Cafés are starting up again! Not in the physical sense, as sadly venues are still closed, but you can access the same invaluable help and support from the comfort of your own home through a new Facebook Live stream beginning 14th May.
Following the first session on the 14th of May, the Talking Café will be a live daily event with the rest of the CCS team from Monday 18th May at 11 am. Go to www.facebook.com/talkingcafesomerset to set a reminder to listen in and take part!
Citizens Advice employment and benefits advice videos now available
Citizens Advice South Somerset has produced advice videos to help you understand your rights, your situation and your options if you’re affected by COVID-19.
There are two valuable advice videos, covering Employment and Benefits including furlough, sick leave, determining benefit eligibility and how to claim.
Visit the CAB South Somerset website to watch the advice videos: www.citizensadvicesouthsomerset.org.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-videos
If, after watching the videos, you remain unsure, you’re welcome to contact the CAB phone advice service on 03444 889623 open Monday – Friday, from 10 am until 4 pm.
CCS Praises Village Agents for COVID-19 Response
CCS has made a short film to recognise and thank its Agents, who are working hard on the ground to keep vulnerable people safe and well during the COVID-19 emergency. CCS Village, Community and Carers Agents have been providing support for individuals and communities in Somerset since 2012 and are well placed to adapt their services to provide much-needed help and support now, and in the months ahead. Read the full story here.
Bridgwater Together multicultural event goes ahead despite COVID-19
Bridgwater Together, an annual event celebrating the Somerset town’s vibrant cultural diversity through music, food, storytelling, dance, film and information sharing, recently took place online. Read the full story here.
Do you run a village or community hall?
If you run a village or community hall you can apply for the COVID-19 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant and a number of halls in Somerset have already been awarded the £10,000 grant.
Access the Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) guidance below.
To apply, check your district council website for information and to complete the online form (links below).
Somerset County Council has put together a webpage giving you all the current information on the help that’s available for self-employed people, with useful links to more details on each scheme: www.somerset.gov.uk/c…/coronavirus-support-for-self-employed
Stay home, stay safe, stay Scam Aware – that’s the advice from Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards. Read up on some of the scams to be aware of during the coronavirus outbreak and how you can protect yourself against them. Plus download and print a poster to put up in your communities: http://soc.devon.cc/9Pc9M
So many people are helping out in their communities at the moment but remember and remind everyone – especially those most vulnerable – to:
If you suspect someone is involved in crime contact Crime Stoppers 0800 555 111 who will guarantee your anonymity 100%.
COVID-19 Advice for Carers
If you are an unpaid carer it’s important to know what support is available to you as a carer and those you look after. Visit the Carers UK website for the latest guidance and information: carersuk.org/coronavirus
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that everyone must now stay at home except in exceptional circumstances, to protect our NHS and save lives.
Stay up-to-date with the latest advice and information here.
Do you want to make a difference in your local community?
SPARK SOMERSET has launched CORONA HELPERS, a free online platform on which COVID-19 support groups can recruit and manage volunteers, and individuals can pledge their support. Sign up to help make sure everyone receives the help they need.
The Community Council for Somerset recommends that everyone should follow all guidance issued by Public Health England and the NHS and keep abreast of the ever-changing situation.
Protecting Isolated and Vulnerable People
The latest Government advice on shielding and protecting vulnerable people can be found here.
Translations of COVID-19 Advice
COVID-19: guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people with translations included can be found here.
Doctors of the World (DOTW) are sharing COVID-19 advice for patients in 45 languages, which were produced in partnership with the Red Cross, Migrant Help and Clear Voice. The guidance is based on the government’s updated advice and health information. Access these resources here.
The following Twitter accounts will be regularly posting the latest factual advice and information related to COVID-19:
UK Government (@GOVUK)
Public Health England (@PHE_UK)
Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk)
Somerset County Council (@SomersetCouncil)
NHS England (@NHSEngland) – the NHS advises to only trust NHS organisations on Twitter that are ‘blue-tick verified’
Avon and Somerset Police (@ASPolice)
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFireUpdates)
Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (@somersetccg)
Advice for Businesses
Visit the Heart of the South West Growth Hub website for up-to-date advice for businesses in the South West of England, designed to inform their response to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Guidance for Village Halls and Community Buildings
Community buildings to close unless hosting essential voluntary or public services.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday 23 March 2020 that most shops and other premises must now close until further notice.This includes ‘community centres, youth centres and similar’, with the exception that ‘Facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services.’ In the context of village halls, this may also include those hosting services such as a village shop, post office or preschool with provision for the children of key workers.For more information go to page 4 of the guidance atthis link.
Allied Westminster (VillageGuard) has issued the following statement:
Loss of revenue cover comes into force only after damage to property caused by an insured peril. It is designed to cover loss of income when the hall is closed for a period of time in order for repairs to be carried out. Unfortunately, if the hall has to be closed due to a breakout of the virus, no property damage has occurred so there is no business interruption cover in place.
Property insurers would not cover closure due to pandemic.
Guidance for Community Transport
The Community Transport Association has produced a document called Coronavirus/COVID-19: Guidance for Community Transport for community transport groups.