SWT Council Business Bulletins

Benefice Newsletter 26th Jan 2023

Somerset Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) –Evening bus services get underway

Evening bus services on some key routes in Somerset begin running from next week, (Monday, 30 January 2023).

SCC is subsidising evening services from Monday to Saturday connecting Taunton with the towns of Minehead, Bridgwater, Wellington and Chard after 8pm and running to at least 10.30pm. Currently most of the services stop between 8-8.30pm.The evening bus proposals are part of Somerset’s Government-funded Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) which aims to increase bus patronage by introducing a number of important initiatives.

From 5 December a £1 fare became effective for any single bus journey in Taunton, and further measures are planned under the BSIP in the coming months.

 Please click here to read the full press release.


Exmoor National Park Authority (ENPA) –Have your say on Exmoor’s Heritage

What are your favourite places on Exmoor? Exmoor National Park are appealing to locals and visitors to share the sites they think deserve recognition.

Thousands of years of history have shaped Exmoor’s settlements and landscapes. Whether a little hamlet, a bridge across a moorland stream, a favourite standing stone or deserted sheep fold in a secret combe, a war memorial or even distinctive old gate posts at the end of a lane. What is important to you?

In 2020 Somerset and Exmoor were one of 22 areas across England to receive government funding to launch a local heritage campaign. The campaign encourages communities to nominate locally important buildings and sites for inclusion on a Local Heritage List (LHL).

Local Heritage Lists are one way in which local heritage – buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas, historic parks and gardens or other designed landscapes – can be formally identified and their significance considered in local plans and planning applications, which might the building or site or its setting. Being on the Local Heritage List can also help to highlight historic importance to grant giving bodies.

Please click here to read the full press release.


Rural Services Network (RSN) – Rural cost of living survey

The Rural Services Network (RSN) in partnership with the Citizens Advice Rural Issues Group has launched a Rural Cost of Living Household Survey. They’ve had 3,000 responses so far but would like more and are hoping our communities can help. The survey will run until the 31 March 2023.

Independent research commissioned by the RSN in summer last year shows rural areas are suffering more acutely from the cost of living crisis compared to urban areas. To lend more weight to the argument for more funding for rural areas the RSN is calling on as many rural residents as possible to complete a Rural Cost of Living Household Survey. 

The purpose of the survey is to understand more about rural household budgets at, what is, a very difficult time for many.

Research has shown that those living in rural areas face extra costs and the RSN now want to explore the impacts for households. Please click here to read the full press release, and participate in the survey.


Health and Welfare – Make sure you get your winter vaccinations

With winter upon us, Somerset residents are being reminded to protect their health and the health of people around them by getting their flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.   Covid and flu vaccinations are safe and effective ways to prevent serious illness. If you’re 50 and over, a frontline health or social care worker, pregnant, have a long-term health condition, or are a paid or unpaid carer, you are eligible for the free flu vaccine, and you can likely get the COVID-19 seasonal booster. Children aged 2-15 years old are also eligible for free flu vaccination, which is delivered through either their GP for pre-school and school for school age children – parents need to sign a consent form.

Vaccinations- COVID-19

If you are eligible, you can book your seasonal COVID-19 vaccine using the online booking service by calling 119 or finding a local vaccination walk-in site.  If you have not yet had your earlier doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s not too late to come forward and you can get these at any time. Getting both vaccines is important because more people are likely to get the flu this winter, and you’re more likely to be seriously ill if you get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. 

A number of clinics across Somerset are also open for walk-ins. More details can be found at COVID-19 and Flu vaccinations in Somerset – NHS Somerset.


In Somerset, we are seeing an increase in hospitalisations from flu, and lots are younger than you might think. Many people do not realise that they’re at risk of catching flu and being affected by complications such as pneumonia, so it really is important to get your jab to protect yourself and those around you.

The pressure from flu on our NHS continues to grow with the latest figures showing that cases in hospital are now more than seven times higher than last month. You can help the NHS this winter by getting your flu vaccine. It is effective in stopping you getting seriously ill from the flu and means the NHS can stay focussed on helping people with other illnesses. If you get the flu vaccine, it can stop you from getting ill from flu meaning that you can keep doing the things you enjoy like going out and seeing friends.

If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can book an appointment at your GP surgery or a pharmacy that offers it on the NHS. You may also get an invitation to get the vaccine, but you do not have to wait for this before booking an appointment. Everyone who is eligible for the free flu vaccine will be able to get it. If you have an appointment for a Covid-19 booster vaccine at a GP surgery or pharmacy, you may also be offered a flu vaccine at the same time.

Do not delay booking your flu vaccine appointment so that you can get both vaccines together. Only some people will be offered both vaccines at the same time. Please click here for more information about the Flu vaccination.

Living safely with respiratory infections including COVID-19

The Government has published important advice for people with symptoms of respiratory infections, such as COVID-19; people with a positive COVID-19 test result and their contacts; and advice on safer behaviours for everyone. There are simple things you can do in your daily life that will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, such as flu and protect those at highest risk.

Things you can choose to do are:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Wear a face covering or a face mask.
  • Let fresh air in if meeting others indoors.
  • Stay at home if you have symptoms
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Practise good hygiene:

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and you have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities, you are advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

Please click here to read the guidance on what to do if you have symptoms but have not taken a test.


Need to seek help?

If you, or someone you know are feeling like things are too much, please know that you / they don’t have to be alone. Here are some numbers of organisations that can help:

  • Samaritans – 116 123
  • CALM – 0800 58 58 58
  • ChildLine – 0800 1111
  • Anxiety UK – 03444 775 774
  • Mindline Somerset – 01823 276892
  • Somerset Domestic Abuse helpline – 0800 69 49 999



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.