Blog

Somerset Council Covid-19 Update

All our help and information is now available in a single place on the SCC website https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-latest-advice/  This page is refreshed through the day so please check in regularly to keep across developments and news.

Public Health dashboard: Detailed Public Health information dashboards are available on our website http://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus just scroll down to ‘Covid-19 dashboard’. These are updated daily.

More support for families in lockdown
Somerset County Council has allocated a further £427,000 of funding to help schools provide families with food support during this lockdown.

During term time, the Department for Education (DfE) has asked schools to provide meal options for all pupils who are in school – including vulnerable children and the children of critical workers – as well as those children being home-schooled who are eligible for Free School Meals.

The decision on whether to provide boxes or vouchers rests with the individual schools. However, Somerset County Council is working with them to ensure that Somerset food boxes meet or exceed the DfE standard.

Somerset County Council is providing schools with an additional £427,000 to enhance the level of food provided and meet dietary requirements. The Council recognises that some children are not eligible for Free School Meals but for one reason or another would benefit from receiving food support. Therefore, this funding can also be used by schools to support a wider range of children.

Before the February half term, all schools in Somerset have also been provided with funding from the Winter Covid Grant scheme for every child who receives Free School Meals. This funding can be used to provide vouchers or food.  For more information: Families in Lockdown

Somerset County Council supports the national vaccination effort
Hundreds of Somerset County Council staff are working tirelessly alongside the NHS and within communities to help support the fight back against Coronavirus.  Somerset County Council officers are redeployed from their ‘business as usual’ jobs to project manage the setting up of Somerset’s GP vaccination hubs, now live across Somerset.

Council staff are also contacting eligible residents inviting them to vaccination appointments, supporting the ‘Test and Trace’ effort if a Somerset resident tests positive, running the care home vaccination programme and delivering vital food parcels and PPE.  Read more here:  Vaccinations

Lateral flow tests in Somerset
On 10th January 2021 central government announced that a community testing offer, using lateral flow devices, was to be expanded across all local authorities in England to test people without symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Lateral flow testing involves a swab of the nose and throat to collect a sample and provides a result within around half an hour.  This screening test will require twice weekly testing and will be targeted at people who cannot work from home during lockdown.

In Somerset, targeted testing is already in place for workers who care for vulnerable groups such as the elderly in their own homes.  This testing sits alongside the multitude of national testing programmes.  This latest announcement expanding the offer across a wider group of workers presents a new challenge.  Any new testing programme in Somerset will need to be phased and designed to reach the most urgent areas of our community first.

Coronavirus Appeal raises £1.5m for communities in Somerset
The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal, launched by charity Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) at the start of the pandemic, has raised a phenomenal £1.5 million.  The funding has enabled the Foundation to award grants to more than 300 local charities [correct as of 19/01/2021] in just 10 months, thanks to the generous support of local individuals, businesses, charitable trusts and public sector partners, as well as funding from a national appeal run by The National Emergencies Trust (NET).

Donations to the Somerset Coronavirus Appeal are continuing to help provide grants of £100 up to £5,000 to local groups and charities, helping those in our communities across the county who are most affected by the outbreak, including vulnerable older people, domestic abuse survivors, people experiencing mental health problems, and children and families living in poverty.  Coronavirus Appeal

Feeling anxious? You’re not alone
The impact of coronavirus has affected people in so many different ways.  If it has made you feel more anxious, that’s perfectly natural.

You are not alone and there’s some helpful advice on how to cope with feelings of anxiety that can, sometimes, be overwhelming.  You can find top tips here: Anxiety | Every Mind Matters | OneYou (www.nhs.uk)

Support for Somerset residents
Help is available for anyone in Somerset who may need additional support.  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.  Lines are open seven days a week between 8am and 6pm.

Reduce the risks and follow advice
It’s vital everyone acts to reduce their own risk, and the risk to others, from getting ill with coronavirus.  There’s really important information available to help Somerset residents, businesses and visitors take all-important precautions:  Reduce the Risk

Highway Problems

A358 Closed for Vital Repairs From Next Week
The A358 near Combe Florey is scheduled to be closed from Monday 25th January until Friday 12th February. Emergency repairs need to be carried out on a severely eroded embankment running alongside the A358, which is posing a hazard to road users.  A diversion will be in place. An inspection established that the highway verge between the road and the embankment had collapsed into a stream close to the highway, and was causing cracks in the road surface.

Reporting Problems

You can report a pothole, or any other road defect, directly to Somerset Council by using this link: https://www.somerset.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/report-a-pothole-or-road-defect/

If your problem is urgent please phone Highways on 0300 123 2224 (Monday – 08:00 – 18:00, Tuesday to Friday 08:30 – 17:30, Saturday and Sunday closed)

If there is an urgent problem outside these hours and it is a risk to public safety please phone the police on 101.