We are now over a week into the four week period of new national restrictions in force in England until 2 December.

We continue to see a rise in Swindon’s case rate – there will be a time lag before the impact of the national restrictions shows up in the data. As of today (13 Nov), Swindon’s case rate was 197.1 cases per 100,000, which remains above the average for the South West region of 167.3 per 100,000 but below the 254.5 per 100,000 case rate for England as a whole. In the last seven days, there have been 438 new positive cases in Swindon.

COVID-19 continues to impact communities across Swindon. This week the Council wrote to over 8,000 clinically extremely vulnerable residents to explain the support available to them. These residents are advised to stay at home, except for exercise or essential health appointments. Others living in a household with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable should continue to attend work and school following the general national restrictions guidance.

I know that some residents rely on car sharing to get to work or as part of carrying out their duties. As it is difficult to keep your distance during car journeys, we have seen how car sharing has helped the virus to spread in Swindon. You can reduce the risk of transmission by not car sharing if at all possible but if you must then:

  • share transport with the same people each time
  • minimise the group size at any one time
  • ensure the driver and passengers wear a face covering
  • open windows for ventilation
  • travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
  • face away from each other
  • consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
  • ensure the car is cleaned between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch

There are no shortcuts to protecting ourselves, our loved ones and the community. Our behaviours, decisions and the actions we take each day are critical – they all count towards our collective effort to reduce the spread of infection in the community to save lives and protect the NHS.

Supporting you through the national restrictions posterWe will continue to support you during lockdown

As we settle into a second lockdown, we understand that many of you may feel worried, deflated or unsure of where you can turn for help. We want you to know that our teams are doing everything they can to support you and keep you safe.

Below are some of the things we’re doing to help you through the next few weeks and beyond:

  • Checking in with our vulnerable residents
  • Providing mental wellbeing advice for lockdown
  • Keeping our parks open for exercise
  • Running our local test and trace service to stop the spread
  • Supporting our clinically extremely vulnerable residents
  • Processing business grants to support local firms
  • Providing financial support for residents on low incomes
  • Providing accommodation and support for rough sleepers
  • Continuing to deliver food and medicine
  • Helping residents to access library services safely
  • Keeping our care home residents connected

Visit our website or follow us on social media for the latest advice and support.

Supporting our clinically extremely vulnerable residents posterSupport if you’re clinically extremely vulnerable

If you are one of the 8,000 people who were previously instructed to ‘shield’, over the next few days you will receive a letter from us, outlining the support available to you during the national restrictions.

Anyone without a support network to help collect prescriptions and food shopping for them can get support from the Council and our partners. More here.

If you’re in urgent need of food and essentials and do not have the funds to pay or anyone to support you, you can apply for our Emergency Assistance Fund online, or by calling 01793 445500.

If you’re struggling financially to pay your mortgage, rent or utility bills, contact Citizens Advice who will be able to offer you free, confidential advice.

Answering your COVID-19 questions

Yesterday evening (12 Nov), our Director of Public Health, Steve Maddern, took to Facebook to answer some of your COVID-related questions. If you missed it, you can take a look by clicking on the video below:

Picture montage of people helping othersYour council cares

It’s been an extremely busy and important year. To support our town through the pandemic, our staff have worked tirelessly and so far, they’ve delivered more than 1,000 food boxes and 2,135 prescriptions, made over 8,000 welfare calls, recruited 307 volunteers, helped 38 rough sleepers into accommodation, distributed 248,846 items of PPE, re-arranged 112 weddings, processed over £30m in business grants, provided free childcare for key workers and in most cases, these duties were performed alongside normal day jobs.

We’ll always put Swindon first, find out more about #CouncilsCan Day.

Fostering posterMake a difference by becoming a foster carer

Have you ever thought about becoming a foster carer? Come along to one of our virtual information sessions to find out what fostering is all about, what training you’ll receive, how the application process works and how you’ll be supported as part of our team. The next session is being held next Thursday (19 Nov) at 6pm. Visit our website to register your interest with the team.

Have you ever been caught out by a flu myth?

There are lots of myths and misconceptions around the flu which do the rounds every year. Take our quiz to find out how much you really know about seasonal flu.

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Other news

  • Barnardo’s has launched a free UK-wide helpline which advises on issues specifically affecting children, young people and families from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities as a result of COVID-19
  • To help make the Census 2021 become a reality, the Office for National Statistics are recruiting for a variety of roles. Click here to find out more
  • A development brief for Swindon’s former Groundwell Park and Ride has been approved – read more here