Published: Friday, 3rd Apr 2020

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.

For further information please visit the NHS website and the GOV webpage.

Please continue to follow the guidance on social distancingself-isolation and hand washing.

If you have been told stay at home at all times to avoid any face-to-face contact, and have no friends or family who can support you, please call us on 01204 337221.

Council services

  • Recruited, trained and fully inducted within a week!

Our first casual workers in care have been recruited to within a week, applying speedier yet safer recruitment standards.

In addition, seven permanent support workers also began employment this week in Home Support Reablement. With excellent support from our Organisational Development Team, the Home Support Team have created a complete programme to fully train these staff with the required standards in the most essential skills required.

A huge thanks to our existing staff in these areas who have not only shown amazing resilience during this challenging time, but have welcomed our new staff, sharing with them their wealth of experience.

We have also received a good response from our ‘Your Community Needs You’ advert with more than 40 applications, registered to date. Several social workers have contacted us offering to help wherever possible and have also applied to the targeted casual recruitment in this area. 

We will be continuing to conduct a simplified, expedient recruitment process of telephone and Skype interviews and aim to have more staff join us within a week.

Our HR teams have worked diligently alongside Customer Services during the last week, to process essential checks and documentation and to process staff ID badges of more than 80 key workers.

Thank you to everybody involved in making this happen and to those who are joining us to help.

If you know of anyone who may be interested in working for us on a casual basis please direct them to: https://greater.jobs/search-and-apply/job-details/BN-37610/

  • Schools

Most schools and education providers will be open for children of keyworkers during the Easter break, including the bank holidays, where required.

  • Blue badge scheme

All Penalty Charge Notices for Blue Badge holders with an expiry date of 1 January 2020 onwards have been suspended until 30 September 2020. This update comes from the Department for Transport in line with new UK Government recommendations.

  • Scam text message warning – bins

We have had reports that some residents have received text messages claiming to be from Bolton Council about bin collections.

The message asks people to reply if they would like their bins collected.

The message is not from Bolton Council – please do not reply to it. Our official advice and information is online here.

Bolton's Humanitarian Response

  • Emergency contact number

Food packages are being delivered to those extremely vulnerable people who have been asked to stay indoors for 12 weeks (shielding), who have no other means of support.

The support is available through the council’s Response Hub, which has been set up by the council and partners.

If you are struggling because you need to stay at home and have no family or friends to support you, with shopping or other help, please contact the council on 01204 337221.

Community support

  • Private testing kits not approved

Public Health England is advising people not to buy private testing kits for coronavirus (COVID-19).

There is little information about the accuracy of the tests, or whether either a positive or negative result is reliable.

There are no tests approved for home use and it is illegal to supply such products.

  • Mental health support for young people

Kooth is a free online mental health support for children and young people, providing the opportunity to chat with a professional councillor, join a peer-to-peer forum and access self-help articles. Visit www.kooth.com for further information.

  • Keeping up to date with immunisations and vaccinations

During the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic it is particularly important that children and families are still vaccinated against serious diseases, such as measles and meningitis.

Babies and toddlers in particular need vaccinations to protect them from many infections including measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis, polio, tetanus, tuberculosis and more. 

Families and children should continue to receive vaccinations offered through the Childhood Immunisation Programme so that there is no resurgence of these highly infectious diseases in our communities and to protect the most vulnerable.

  • Domestic abuse support

For those who are at risk or experiencing domestic abuse, support is available and we urge you to seek help. This bulletin has information about national support.

Call 999 if you are in immediate danger. If you are in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and then press 55. This will transfer your call to the relevant police force who will assist you without you having to speak.

Support is also available locally from Fortalice on 01204 701846 and Endeavour on 01204 394842.

  • Looking after yourself during this time

Help on how to maintain your mental wellbeing is available at the Every Mind Matters website and from the government.

There’s further information to help adults with caring responsibilities.

Business Support

  • Advice if employees are furloughed

The Treasury has updated their Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance with specific reference to National Insurance and pension contributions for furloughed workers. 

  • Financial support

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. The essential information is live on our Business Bolton website.

  • Help with business rates

Businesses entitled to Expanded Retail Discount and Nursery Discount have now been notified about their award.

Businesses entitled to a payment from the Small Business Grant Fund or a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant – there are the forms you need to complete.

Please fill the form in as this will help the council to get the information it needs to process payments.

  • Keeping Greater Manchester working

If you are an employer with an urgent temporary vacancy that needs filling, Employ GM can help you. More information here.

Our partners update

  • Greater Manchester Fire Service

From March 23 to March 29, firefighters were called to 183 nuisance fires - an increase of 90 nuisance fires from March 16 to March 22.

Deliberate secondary fires are the majority of outdoor fires including those involving grassland and waste. Stay at home and save lives.

  • Greater Manchester Police

There has been an increase in reports of groups of people gathering in back gardens to socialise.

Many of these gatherings involve people from different households and are not following the government guidelines.

Residents are being reminded that they can spend time in their own garden time but should not be inviting others. Stay at home and save lives.

  • Grants to voluntary sector

Funding for voluntary and community groups supporting the borough’s efforts to deal with the virus is available.

The Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Resilience Fund will provide vital support.

It has been set up by ‘Bolton’s Fund’ which was set up by Bolton Council, NHS Bolton CCG, Bolton at Home and Bolton CVS.

To apply contact funding@boltoncvs.org.uk

  • Pharmacy opening times

Our local pharmacies are working hard to ensure local people receive key services and medicines during this difficult time.  

Opening times for pharmacies may change with many closing for a couple of hours each day to carry out essential cleaning, catch up on work or have a break.

To find out the nearest one to you and its opening times please check the NHS website.

  • Pet owners

The RSPCA has issued advice for pet owners: basic guidance and detailed advice

  • Radio dedications

Bolton FM is playing dedications and messages of thanks to NHS staff, health and social care, and other key staff every Friday from 6pm-7pm. To send a message or request a dedication, email keyworkerhour@boltonfm.com

  • Other Partners

Follow:

Greater Manchester Fire Service

Bolton at Home

Transport for Greater Manchester

Bolton CVS

for their latest updates on the coronavirus situation.