October 23, 2021

COVID -19 – sources of information and support

COVID-19

These are difficult and unusual times. Amid the welter of information ‘out there’ some is confusing and some is not up to date. The  Government website is regularly updated to provide information on current regulations and any planned changes. The  Government ‘roadmap’ out of the 2021 lockdown sets out the rationale for changes in regulations.

All COVID-19 Restrictions in England now lifted

Please refer to the links below for the latest Coronavirus-related advice, help and guidance, should you need any help in the future. The situation is being reviewed locally on a daily basis to follow the latest advice from Public Health England.

Regular, rapid, coronavirus tests if you do not have symptoms

New type of lateral flow testNew lateral flow kits are in circulation from 9 August. Please use up any NHS Innova kits you may have before moving onto the new Acon or Orient Gene kits. The advantage of the new kits is that they only require both nostrils to be swabbed, and a result will be available within 15 minutes. However, the process is slightly different so please do read the instructions provided with the kit that you receive.If you’d like to know more, a video which shows you how to use the new kit can be viewed here. By testing yourself regularly you are helping to reduce the spread of the infection.If you have symptoms of the infection you need to take a PCR test, which can be arranged by phoning 119 or by clicking here.

Local information and advice

A Somerset County Council online  service provides regularly updated local information.

Click here to read up to date information on how Somerset West and Taunton Council continues to respond to Coronavirus.

A county wide helpline, open from 8am to 6pm weekdays, is available for anyone needing assistance from Somerset’s county or district councils during the Covid-19 situation. Phone 0300 790 6275 and read more about this service here 

Somerset Village Agents can provide information and signposts to services. Click on the links here for information for our parish: Village Agent march 2020 and Covid-19 village agents march 2020

Covid-19 is circulating in Somerset and it is vital that people actively reduce their risk of contracting and transmitting the virus. For advice about what to do if you have symptoms of Covid-19, ring 111, or use the 111 online coronavirus (COVID-19) service.

If you have symptoms and want to get tested, use the new NHS portal to arrange a test. Please click here to go to the website.

For the latest local information and digital resources, posters and flyers visit: https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/

For information and resources on staying healthy happy and safe at the time visit: https://www.healthysomerset.co.uk/covid-19/

For businesses:

Heart of the SW Growth Hub (https://www.heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk/) is the main source of advice and guidance. Alternatively, email info@heartofswgrowthhub.co.uk or phone – 03456 047 047.

There is also a support phone number for anyone self-employed available at 0300 456 3565.

Information about government support for businesses is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Our area Trading Standards team offers advice to businesses seeking to respond to the current situation. A dedicated information and advice page for businesses and consumers is available online.

When a case of Covid-19 is suspected or confirmed in a workplace, no matter where it is or what it does , a series of actions are required. Detailed guidance is available here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance

Somerset West and Taunton ‘Help for Business’ 

For more information and to sign up for the newsletter, please visit www.visitsomerset.co.uk/business

To date, SWT has been able to issue Restart Grants totalling £9.1m to eligible businesses within the District. The Government requires the Council to undertake certain checks through 3rd Party companies in order to identify any potential fraud or irregularities before making payment. Staff are undertaking manual reviews on a large number of cases prior to approving payments hence the delay in some businesses receiving their grant.

Please click here for further information.

New grants to boost tourism

Hinkley Tourism Action Partnership (HTAP) is offering grants to help fund business projects aimed at boosting tourism in the West Somerset and Sedgemoor area. Led by SWT the Tourism Innovation Grant Scheme has been set up by the HTAP partners in response to the impact on tourism by the pandemic.

The new grant scheme is specifically designed to support small and medium-sized businesses in offering a greater range of visitor products and experiences. Grants between £5,000 and £10,000 will be made available to businesses and organisations operating in the tourism, hospitality and events sector.

Applications for the Tourism Innovation Grant Scheme will close on 10 September 2021, or until all the funding has been allocated.

Any small business partnerships or networks looking to apply should visit SWT’s Hinkley tourism partnership webpage.

For our community:

The Community Council for Somerset (which supports the network of community / village agents) is working in communities with different groups and individuals to make sure the vulnerable are identified and supported. Local village agent details can be found at https://somersetagents.org/somerset-village-agents/

Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK is compiling a list of local groups set up on social media in an effort to share learning, resources and support.  To find out what groups may be in your area, or to register a group, go to: https://covidmutualaid.org/local-groups/

For all of us:

The legal duty to self-isolate came into force on 28 September 2020 and requires people, unless fully vaccinated or otherwise exempt,  who test positive for Covid-19, or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace, to self-isolate.

The NHS webpages for Covid-19 provide information including about tests and vaccines.

A webpage at https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-mental-health-information/ provides advice on a range of matters in the current situation including: healthy lifestyles and keeping in touch when isolated; advice for those of us who are self-isolating; supporting children.

If you would like to talk to someone, Somerset Mindline is open seven days a week on 01823 276892.

The Somerset Community Council for Somerset can take calls from vulnerable / self-isolating individuals. The number to call is 01823 331222.  People can also use the CCS website (https://somersetagents.org/) to ask for a call back. They will need to give their name, number, postcode and an outline of the person’s need. The CCS will then look at how help may be provided via village agents and volunteers.

Information for parents, carers and guardians:

Consumer advice 

Our area Trading Standards team offers a series of consumer guides on the following COVID-19 topics:

The Trading Standards  information and advice resource for businesses also includes consumer information available online.

Council Tax 

Somerset West and Taunton Council  is inviting anyone struggling to pay their Council Tax due to the pressures of Coronavirus to get in contact. The Council offers a range of information on this and other support available at: https://www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-and-information/

SCAMMERS ! 

It appears that scammers and doorstep traders are exploiting people’s fear and anxiety in the current situation with offers of false testing kits, also some people are posing as helpers or volunteers. Financial scams have included false donation schemes like a ‘COVID-19 vaccine’, fake holiday refunds and fake calls from people claiming to be your bank or other financial service. BEWARE.  If in doubt put the phone down, shut the door, dont respond. For advice contact the service the scammer was referring to or Trading Standards:  https://www.devonsomersettradingstandards.gov.uk/contacts/

or the Citizens Advice consumer helpline:   https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/get-more-help/if-you-need-more-help-about-a-consumer-issue/ or telephone:  0808 223 1133