Daily update on Bolton Council’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Prime Minister has announced a number of strict measures requiring people to stay at home except for a small number of exceptions.
Update on council services
Due to the nature and scale of the situation, we are making decisions on a daily basis as things evolve. We are doing this through our Corporate Leadership Team, which is supported by our Incident Management Team and the Health Emergency and Resilience Group.
Decisions are being taken to ensure the safety of our staff and our residents.
A summary of affected services is now available on the council website.
Support for residents who are “shielding”
The council has set up an emergency contact number for the extremely vulnerable people who have been told stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact (shielding), during the current situation.
This group includes organ transplant recipients, those undergoing immunotherapy and people with specific conditions (see the full list). If you are in this group, you will receive a letter from the government with further instructions.
Contact 01204 337 221, if you, or someone you care for, have received a letter from the government and require support.
The number will be open 8.30am – 5.30pm Mon – Fri and Sat 9am – 1.30pm.
We will talk to you about your most urgent needs such as food, medicine or other requirements.
Alternatively, tell us about any help you need using the online form and we'll arrange for someone to call you back within 24 hours.
If your charity or volunteer group would like to help with the coronavirus response, please contact Bolton CVS at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01204 546 055.
If you are not in one of these extremely vulnerable groups and have concerns please see www.bolton.gov.uk for the help available or ring 01204 333 333.
Stalls selling food are open as normal until further notice.
Customers are being reminded to observe social distancing guidance via signs and public announcements every 15 minutes.
How you can help
Urgent Response Volunteers
Bolton CVS is developing a list of people who are able and willing to help and support various services and activities during the time of the Coronavirus.
If you would like to register please complete a form here.
You do not need to be a current volunteer and you may not be called upon. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
Read our Being a Good Neighbour tips for the best ways you can offer help in your community.
Further information can be found on the Bolton CVS website.
Urban Outreach, working with key partners, is the food hub for Bolton. They need a large amount of particular types of food to feed individuals and families in Bolton.
If you have excess items e.g. tinned foods, toiletries, toilet rolls, etc you can donate to Urban Outreach or your local foodbank.
Please do not bulk purchase even if you intend to donate the goods.
Please drop off at Unit 4 Trinity Retail Park Springfield, Bradford Street, BL2 1HY (former Staples Store).
Call the office on 01204 385848 or visit their website.
Foodbank Volunteering Opportunities
There is also a huge task in putting together the food parcels ready to transport to communities across the town.
If you have time to spare and are willing and able to come down, then Urban Outreach would really appreciate your help and support. This will be happening at Unit 4 Trinity Retail Park Springfield, Bradford Street, BL2 1HY (former Staples Store).
It will be open every weekday between 10am and 4pm and will be observing safe practices outlined in the government guidelines.
If you wanting to be involved then please email Samuel.firstname.lastname@example.org.
In line with government advice, Crompton Place shopping centre and car park will be closed until further notice.
The health of our retailers, centre teams and visitors is paramount and we are working hard to ensure people are being supported wherever possible.
The following stores remain open as they fall into the category of essential services and commodities.
- Boots the Chemist, Mealhouse Lane – open Monday to Saturday 9am – 5.30pm and Sunday 10.30am – 4.30pm
- Poundland, Victoria Square – open Monday to Saturday 9am – 5.00pm and Sunday 10.30am – 4.30pm
- Specsavers, Victoria Square – open Monday to Saturday 10am – 4.00pm for emergencies only
Bolton at Home
Bolton at Home are providing regular updates on how they are delivering services differently and other ways they are trying to keep people safe.
They have provided information on essential services, help for money worries, support for older tenants, emergency repairs, closure of UCAN centres and reception areas, postponed community events, and help for those worried about domestic abuse.
For further information and for advice about paying your rent, please visit the website.
NHS call for volunteers
The NHS is asking for volunteers to help vulnerable people stay safe and well at home.
They will help up to 1.5 million people who have been asked to shield themselves from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions.
Members of the public can sign up quickly and easily at goodsamapp.org/NHS to become NHS Volunteer Responders, and can be called on to do simple but vital tasks such as:
- delivering medicines from pharmacies;
- driving patients to appointments;
- bringing them home from hospital;
- or making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home.
Tax helpline for businesses and self-employed
HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus.
Practical help and advice are available by calling 0800 024 1222.
Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. The helpline will not be available on Bank Holidays.
Government WhatsApp information service
The Government has launched a coronavirus information service on WhatsApp.
The service is an automated ‘chatbot’ which helps users to get answers to the most common questions.
Simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.
Vehicle owners are to be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, enabling them to continue to travel to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home, or shop for necessities.
All cars, vans and motorcycles, which usually would require an MOT test, will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March 2020. Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.
For further information see the advice on keeping a vehicle in a good condition.
Arts Council England
Arts Council England has announced a £160m emergency response package to support individual artists, freelancers and cultural organisations.
The move is part of a series of measures designed to support the cultural sector during this difficult time.
NHS round of applause
People in the UK are being encouraged to show their appreciation for NHS staff and carers fighting the coronavirus by taking part in a mass round of applause at 8pm tonight. People at home are encouraged to clap from doors, windows, gardens and balconies to set off an applause for NHS staff working on the frontline of the crisis.
Links and information:
- Business Bolton has the latest advice and guidance for local businesses