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News Archive for 2020

Spark a Change

Dear Clerk and Councillors,

We hope the following will be of interest – we would also be very grateful for any wider publicity to residents and groups you can give through your own networks and community newsletters.

Spark Somerset runs the county wide volunteer service. We have recently launched Spark a Change: a new free digital volunteering platform designed to help people use their time and skills for a good cause. Take a look at www.sparkachange.org.uk

Whether you’re an individual who would like to volunteer, or an organisation looking for people to support your work, you can use Spark a Change to:

Register as a volunteer or charity and create a profile
Discover or share volunteering opportunities
Make a connection and begin your volunteering journey

Spark a Change is easy to use and has lots of great features for both recruiters and volunteers. It was developed with help from the team behind the Corona Helpers website, through which over 1,300 people signed up to support their community during the pandemic.

Recent events have inspired many people to want to give something back, and there are hundreds of local Somerset charities and community organisations who would love to hear from new volunteers - so there's never been a better time to get involved!

Visit www.sparkachange.org.uk to find our more.

For any enquiries about our volunteering service contact volunteer@sparksomerset.org.uk

Join our Volunteers in Somerset Facebook group or sign up for our regular Spark newsletter on our website www.sparksomerset.org.uk

Best wishes,

Sandra Smith
Community Development Worker
My working hours are Mon-Fri 09:00 - 17:00 (Lunch 13:00 - 13:30)

7th December 2020

COVID-19: Funding support available for business through lockdown

Funding support is available to businesses in South Somerset due to the national lockdown restrictions that came into effect from Thursday 5th November.

South Somerset District Council are administering two schemes:

Local Restriction Support Grant

Eligible businesses are now able to apply for a business support grant under the Local Restriction Support Grant scheme. Grants are available of up to £3,000 and this will cover the 28 day national lockdown period. The funding will be provided on a rolling 28 day period for as long as the current lockdown restrictions apply.

Under this scheme, support is available for businesses that are legally required to close and are business rate payers. Businesses that have been required to close by Government include:

- Non-essential retail

- Leisure

- Personal Care

- Sports Facilities

- Hospitality


A full list of businesses required to close can be viewed on the Government website.

If you own or manage a:

- Pub, cafe or restaurant and have changed your business model during the lockdown period to operate as a takeaway.

- Shop required to close but offer click and collect or online with delivery services. Additionally

- Hotel or accommodation business that continues to provide services only for those who are travelling for work purposes or other exempt purposes.


You are also able to submit application into this scheme.

Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) – Discretionary Grant Scheme

From Monday 23rd November at 12.00pm, eligible businesses will be able to apply for a business support grant under our discretionary scheme. This scheme is designed for:

- Businesses who have lost 25% or more of their normal operating income during the current lockdown period

- Businesses that are required to close but do not have a business rates valuation

- Businesses that mainly supply or trade with businesses required to close, or have experienced significantly reduced customer levels


South Somerset District Council have limited funding available for this scheme and encourage businesses to apply as quickly as possible. Should demand outweigh the amount of funding available, we will be required to operate on a first come first served basis and reserve the right to review the scheme should we feel absolutely necessary.

How do I apply?

Applications for both schemes can be submitted online and can be accessed by visiting www.southsomerset.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport. You will need to be registered for a basic ‘My Account’ in order to apply and can do that online at www.southsomerset.gov.uk/register.

What will you need?

Businesses will need to provide:
- Latest Business Bank Statement

- An image of your latest business rates bill (Local Restriction Support Grant)

- Evidence of fixed costs, for example lease / rental agreements or a bank statement highlighting outgoings relevant to this application (ARG only)

- Business information including:

· Number of employees

· Type of business

· Contact information

· Information specific to the business (e.g Business Rates reference number)


I applied for a Business Support Grant during the first lockdown. Can I apply again this time?

Yes you can. This is a Business Support Grant that covers the 28 day national lockdown period between Thursday 5th November and Wednesday 2nd December 2020.

How long does it take to process an application and how do I find out if and when I will receive the grant support?

We are expecting a high volume of applications and have reassigned staff to help deal with the expected extra workload. We will work through them as quickly as possible. In addition, the Government may still make changes to the grant scheme and we may have to get back to you for more information.

Once we have all of the information we need to process your application, you will receive a decision and/or a notification of when to expect the grant support payment. During this time, we ask that you are patient and give our team 14 clear days before you follow up your application.

What other support is available for my business?

Further support for businesses can be found on our website: www.southsomerset.gov.uk/covidbusinesssupport.

Council Leader Val Keitch said: “This is clearly a challenging time for all businesses and at South Somerset District Council we are committed to doing all we can to support businesses through the current crisis.

“We’ve acted quickly to try and inform businesses how they can access Government Business Support Grants and I am grateful to the staff at South Somerset District Council for moving swiftly to get processes in place and inform businesses across the district of the help and support they can receive.”

As a District Council, we have implemented many actions from Thursday 5th November for public safety in line with new Covid-19 restrictions.

In addition, South Somerset District Council will continue to work will local community organisations to ensure those who are vulnerable or facing hardship are supported, and facilitate a number of grants to local foodbanks.

The council will also continue to ensure anyone who is homeless or facing homelessness has a safe place to stay.

The Council is also issuing payments to those that are entitled who are required to self-isolate.

For the latest information about Coronavirus in the UK, including how to keep yourself and your community safe, visit the Government website.

If you are facing financial hardship and need support, please contact South Somerset District Council on 01935 462462 or use our online form - https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/life-events/coronavirus-support/who-can-i-speak-to/.

The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline number, 0300 790 6275, is also live to help you access help you may need, including emotional support, in the current crisis.

To view all of our news releases, please visit www.southsomerset.gov.uk/latest-news

South Somerset District Council is also on social media:
www.twitter.com/southsomersetdc
www.facebook.com/SouthSomersetDistrictCouncil
www.youtube.com/southsomersetdc

For more information:
Martin Hacker, Specialist (Communications, Marketing & Media)
Tel: 01935 462130

Issued by:
South Somerset District Council Communications Team
Tel: 01935 462130

18th November 2020

Step Up Somerset

Dear colleague
Step Up Somerset is a multi-agency one-stop-shop launched to provide support for those individuals who are job hunting, seeking training in new industries or working to strengthen their skills by providing details of employment and skills services and resources. For anyone without internet access, further one-to-one help can also be provided by phoning the Coronavirus Helpline on 0300 790 6275.

Best wishes

Debbie Rundle
Communications Officer
Somerset County Council
County Hall
Taunton
Somerset TA1 4DY
01823 356197
drundle@somerset.gov.uk

10th November 2020

Support for Somerset residents during lockdown

Help is available for anyone in Somerset who may need additional support during the second national lockdown.

The five councils in Somerset have been working together since the first lockdown to provide a single phone number for anyone in Somerset who needs Coronavirus-related support.

Residents are reminded they can call 0300 790 6275 if they need any help themselves or are concerned about relatives or neighbours.

Although the national restrictions and guidance on shielding are different this time, it remains really important for people to stay connected and also keep active, particularly during the winter period.

Help and advice is available and phonelines are open seven days a week between 8am and 6pm to offer support with:

· Personal care and support including food and delivery of prescriptions
· Support for the homeless
· Emotional support if you're feeling worried or anxious
· Employment, skills and business advice
· Transport to medical appointments
· Waste collection and disposal
· Financial support

The five councils will again be proactively contacting a number of those residents identified as needing additional support during the previous lockdown.

Please be alert to potential scams and remember a caller from the council will never ask for personal details or bank details. If you're concerned, please hang up and get in touch via the helpline.
If people are interested in volunteering, for example helping people out with shopping or picking up prescriptions they can go to https://www.corona-helpers.co.uk/ to register.

For further info please contact the communications teams from any of Somerset's local authorities – the County Council, four district councils and the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group.

Kind regards

Peter Elliott
Head of Communications
Somerset County Council
Mobile: 07976 696865
Press Office: 01823 355020
Email: pelliott@somerset.gov.uk

6th November 2020

The Covid Community Champions Network: Helping people to stay happy and healthy.

Hello,

I hope this email find you safe and well?

I’m writing to tell you about an exciting new opportunity. Spark Somerset is working in partnership with SASP (Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership) to set up the Covid Community Champions Network. The network will give local people a role in helping their community to get up to date information and make the right choices to stay healthy.

After attending a short online training course, Covid Community Champions will be able to help their family, friends and the wider community to understand the latest guidance around Covid-19, and signpost to other health and wellbeing support. This can done informally as the Champions go about their day to day lives. Whether they chat to someone while queuing outside the shop, talk to work colleagues, or challenge something they see online, they will play a vital part in helping keep local people informed, happy, and healthy.

Champions will have the opportunity to attend regular meetings, where they’ll get to know the other Champions, keep up to date, and feedback about how things are going where they live and work.

We’re particularly keen to involve people living or working with communities that might find it hard to get the right information about how to stay happy and healthy at the moment, and areas where Covid infections rates are highest in Somerset.

If you, or someone you know who might be interested in a becoming a Covid Champion, you can find more information and sign up here

The first induction/training session will be via Zoom on Tuesday 17th November at 7pm. Sign up details will be sent to people who have registered on the link above.

If you’d like to discuss how your organisation might support the network, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I look forward to working with you.

Best wishes,
Helen

Helen Fielden
Volunteer Development Officer
Please note: I am part time and work mainly 9.30-2.30, Monday-Friday

4th November 2020

What3words

Hi,

I hope that you and your community are safe and well.

You might have recently seen what3words in the news and/or some adverts on Channel 4.

Just over 80% of services in the UK now use what3words, so I thought maybe an opportunity to (re-)encourage your community to download the what3words app on their phones in case they need to call 999.

Your community could also use what3words to report incidents with organisations like National Grid, Network Rail and the Environmental Agency.

The app is totally free to download and use, you can download it on iOS or Android.

I’m here to help if you have any questions or need support.

Warmest regards,

Molly

Molly Macgregor

what3words

Download document (pdf)

Find a full list of what3words services here

14th September 2020

Local Government Association Model Member Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct

21st June 2020

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