Update - Dorset Council
1 May 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) news and updates from Dorset Council
May Cabinet to be online
As a result of the current COVID-19 outbreak, we will be hosting our committee meetings virtually following changes to legislation, starting with Cabinet.
The council had suspended face-to-face meetings since the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions. New regulations now enable decision-making processes to continue in accordance with the Government’s guidance on social distancing.
The first virtual meeting is Cabinet starts at 10am on Tuesday 5 May. See more details here.
Dorset Council’s Cabinet members will be taking part in the internet-based meeting. A live transmission of the meeting will also be viewable via Microsoft Teams Live Events or by following the links to 5 May Cabinet at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/committees.
A recording will also be published on the council’s website after the meeting has taken place.
Commemorating VE Day
Friday 8 May marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day – the official end of the Second World War in Europe, and we want everyone to commemorate this special day safely. Sadly, we cannot have the public celebrations many of you had planned, but we can still remember the heroes of WWII and continue to follow social distancing rules. We’ve put together some ideas to commemorate and celebrate. We hope you enjoy the day, however you plan to spend it.
Photos of Mayors - reminder
We have asked town clerks to send us a photo of their mayor, either raising a glass to toast VE Day, or making the V for Victory sign, or both. Many thanks to those of you who’ve already emailed us photos. We hope others will be able to send them to us by Tuesday 5 May so we can prepare a slide show of all the photos.
The Royal British Legion have recently received a number of enquiries from branches and members about the possibility of holding branch meetings and attending War Memorials on the 8 May to lay a wreath and hold small services.
They are taking their lead from government advice on social distancing and strongly recommend that all non-essential meetings are cancelled or postponed. These include branch and county/district meetings and remembrance events at war memorials.
New Coronavirus helpline for parents and carers
We have set-up the helpline to support those who are worried about their child or teenager during the lockdown.
Our educational psychologists are available to help. They will listen to concerns and can offer practical advice and guidance.
The helpline number is: 01305 228300. It is open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.45pm. Callers need to ring and make an appointment for a 30 minute phone consultation.
Laptops for learners
We’re doing everything we can to make sure Dorset pupils have equal access to devices and the internet, so they can continue their learning at home during these unusual times.
More than 270 reconditioned laptops and 30 mobile phones have now been delivered to children across Dorset to help them with online learning.
New supplementary planning documents
Two supplementary planning documents (SPD) have been published that will help us decide on future developments in areas of the county that are protected.
These documents establish a framework to balance the economic needs of the county with our responsibilities as custodians of our natural environment.
They cover Dorset Heathlands and Poole harbour and can be viewed online:
24 April 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) news and updates from Dorset Council
The impact of COVID-19 on our financial position
We are incurring additional costs of £13m per month as we support Dorset’s residents, communities and businesses through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in March, the government provided £1.6bn in additional funding to councils across England to help them tackle the crisis. Dorset Council’s share of this funding was £10.7m: this funding was spent in the first month of response.
Last weekend, the government announced a further £1.6bn of additional funding for councils. We are still waiting to hear what our share of this funding will be.
Coronavirus regional testing centre to open for key workers
A drive-through coronavirus testing facility is to open at Creekmore Park and Ride in Poole as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing for thousands more NHS and other key workers, and is operating on an appointment-only basis for NHS staff and other key workers.
This new testing facility is very much welcomed in Dorset. It will enable us to significantly increase the number of tests that we can provide locally, which will in turn assist all agencies in getting key staff back to work swiftly and safely.
Dorset Coronavirus Community Fund
Within weeks of setting up the Dorset Coronavirus Community Fund, Dorset Community Foundation has awarded over £173,000 to 57 groups from all across Dorset.
Funded projects included medication and food delivery, mental health support, online support with a priority of helping those most affected by the Coronavirus pandemic such as elderly people, individuals leaving hospitals and expectant mothers.
Post Office cash schemes
The Post Office have made it easier for those self-isolating to access cash products with the following schemes:
‘Payout Now’ - this is a voucher sent by text, email or post to a self-isolating customer who can then share it with a trusted individual to withdraw cash on their behalf
- ‘Fast PACE’ – this is a service that allows a self-isolating customer to arrange for a trusted individual to collect the cheque from them, cash it at Post Office, and return with the cash
Helping with vital travel
Drivers in the council’s travel team have been lending their skills and support to help Dorset’s vulnerable residents.
The travel team is playing a key role in transporting people home following a stay in temporary hotel accommodation after leaving hospital. They are also helping key worker and SEN children get to school.
We are doing everything possible to maintain public transport services across the county and are committed to honouring services for public and school transport as well as maintaining concessionary bus pass re-imbursement and providing grant support at the usual levels.
Dedicated support available for unpaid carers during Covid-19 crisis
If an unpaid carer is self-isolating because of coronavirus symptoms and needs urgent help to access food and essential household items for themselves or the person they usually look after they should contact the council’s community response helpline on 01305 221000. Lines are open 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Even if a carer receives Carers’ Allowance, they should still consider themselves as unpaid and help and support is available.
Dorset schools make protective kit for health workers
Schools have been responding to the crisis by making face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to help the NHS and other workers avoid infection.
Many schools have also donated their own supplies of goggles and face shields, usually used in science and technology lessons, to local hospitals.
Cllr Andrew Parry, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help, said: “I’d like to thank Dorset Schools for doing their bit to help our community get through these difficult times – it is very heart warming. We will get through this together.”
#Unacceptable – An officer tells her story…
We are, with the support of the police, ambulance, public health and others, calling out #Unacceptable abuse on our key workers.
There are, regretfully, an increasing number of threats against our frontline staff. It’s horribly sad to hear our colleagues having to face abuse as they try to go about their daily job and go home to their families. There are some of our officers who cannot do their jobs from home – which is in line with Government advice.
Our key workers are following the rules around social distancing to stay safe and help protect our NHS whilst keeping vital supply chains going. Please respect our colleagues as they do their work during these difficult times.
Childcare for key workers
If people's work is critical to the coronavirus response, or they work in one of the critical sectors and cannot keep their children safe at home, they will be prioritised for childcare provision.
They can contact our Family Information Service Outreach Team if they're having difficulty finding childcare.
Family Information Service - Dorset Council