Matters

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Coronavirus recovery

Wash Your HandsThe Government has announced that we are entering the recovery phase of the coronavirus pandemic. However, it remains just as important for us to continue with our efforts take to help prevent the spread of this virus.

We can now participate in unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise, sit in the sun at a local park, drive to other destinations and even play sports with members of our household. 

It's a welcome relief to spend more time outside, some children may soon be able to go back to school and shops are set to reopen in June. However, increased freedom comes with increased risk and it's absolutely vital that we continue to take all the necessary precautions to keeping the 'R' rate of infection down and restricting the number of new cases.

We may have been through the initial peak but it is coming down the mountain that is often more dangerous. Make sure you wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, always keep a social distance of 2 metres away from anyone who is not from your household and self-isolate immediately if you experience a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a change or loss of your sense of taste or smell.

The efforts and sacrifices we have all made over the past 12 weeks have helped to stop the spread of coronavirus and ensured that the death rate and hospital admissions are coming down.

We have helped to protect our NHS and saved many thousands of lives. It would be madness to throw away that achievement now by allowing a second spike.

We must stay alert. We must continue to control the virus and save lives.

News

Homes England provide online update

Northern Arc Virtual MeetingHomes England held a virtual community drop-in session on Tuesday 5 May 2020 to provide an update on progress at the Northern Arc in Burgess Hill.

The Northern Arc development will create a new community of approximately 3,500 homes (30% affordable) employment opportunities, three new schools, health provision, improved pedestrian and cycle connections, sports and leisure opportunities as well as supporting highways infrastructure.

The drop-in took the form of a series of live online presentations, with updates on key areas of the Northern Arc project, such as
infrastructure, ecology and biodiversity, building work and future phases.

The online presentation was recorded so that anyone who was unable to tune in live can watch it back at any time over the next six months. To view the presentation visit https://bit.ly/Northern-Arc-5-May

Over 100 people joined the event and Homes England received over 90 questions from members of the public. Due to the number of questions asked and wanting to reply to all of them in full, Homes England has uploaded a comprehensive document that includes responses to all of the questions raised at https://burgesshill.net/perch/resources/admin/qa-5-may-2020.pdf 

Place and Connectivity public engagement

Place and ConnectivityWe are currently working with West Sussex County Council to deliver a Place and Connectivity Programme in Burgess Hill that will provide significant infrastructure improvements and link key destinations in the town.

The Programme is designed to support the Burgess Hill Growth Programme, which includes approximately 5,000 homes (30% affordable) employment opportunities, three new schools, health provision, sports and leisure opportunities as well as new roads and bridges.

Over £21 million of Government and developer funding has been secured for the Place and Connectivity programme to create improved, high quality walking and cycling routes and public spaces to and through the town.

Proposals include the creation of new pedestrian and cycle paths linking Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath, enhancement of the Burgess Hill Green Circle network and improvements at both Burgess Hill and Wivelsfield train stations. Real time passenger information will be provided to residents at bus stops using electronic notice boards and there will be significant improvements to pedestrian and cycle routes around the town.

The coronavirus outbreak means it is not currently possible to host a public exhibition so we have provided all the relevant information for you to view online at http://www.burgesshill.net/placeandconnectivity

We would like to hear your views about these projects so please visit the website and let us know what you think by completing the online feedback form provided. Our online platform will be live until 25 June 2020.

New free online learning platform to boost workplace skills

The Skills ToolkitThe Skills Toolkit is a new online platform that will help you build skills during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond. Access high quality, flexible courses in digital and numeracy skills to support learning while you stay at home.

We know lockdown has made life difficult for many of us but if you can find the time, grab this opportunity to build up your existing skill set and discover new talents.

Digital and numeracy skills are among those that are most sought after by employers and can help you progress in work and boost your job prospects. Digital skills can be anything from using social media and staying safe online to coding, programming or digital marketing.

You can choose from a selection of high quality courses put together in collaboration with experts.

Find a level and time to study that’s right for you. The Skills Toolkit makes it easy for you to boost your skills. For more information visit https://theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk/


Virtual VE Day celebrations

Friday 8 May 2020 marked the 75th Anniversary since the day guns fell silent in Europe at the end of the Second World War. To commemorate the occasion Mid Sussex District Council awarded grants of £250 local groups towards local events in the community.

Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent social distancing measures meant that the planned community celebrations could not take place. However, we didn't want the day to pass without recognition so we asked our residents, Councillors and Council staff to share their photos and memories to help us commemorate a Virtual VE Day for 2020.

The response was tremendous and we were able to create a short video. We hope you like it.

Care for others and make a difference

Social Care posterThe coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we view the world and in particular the way we view certain jobs. In the past it had been easy to miss the important role key workers play in our society but over the past two months we have realised just how vital their work is to our everyday lives.

The Department for Health and Social Care is currently recruiting nationwide for people who would like to make a difference to the lives of others everyday by starting a career in Adult Social Care.

All you need to start working in adult social care are the right values, but if you want to build your skills into a career, adult social care offers plenty of opportunities for progression.

While every role requires core life skills like teamwork and problem solving, it's your values, behaviour and attitude that will set you apart. So if you're the sort of person who treats others with respect, listens to their needs, understands their emotions, and is warm, kind and honest, then adult social care could be the career for you.

To find out more about how varied and rewarding a job in Adult Social Care can be visit https://www.everydayisdifferent.com/home.aspx 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme The Government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is now live to help self-employed people or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus.

The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant of 80% of your average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months, and capped at £7,500 altogether. 

The grant does not need to be repaid but will be subject to Income Tax and self-employed National Insurance.

You can claim if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and all of the following apply:

- You traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year
- You traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020
- You intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021
- You carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus

If you receive the grant you can continue to work, start a new trade or take on other employment including voluntary work, or duties as an armed forces reservist.

For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Coronavirus Pandemic Resident Survey

Survey imageIn these difficult and unprecedented times, it is crucial that we keep connected with how residents are feeling about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is important that we have a good understanding of how you are interpreting national guidance, how the pandemic is impacting your life, your use of Council services in West Sussex, and the concerns that you may have during this time and when looking at the future.

With this in mind, West Sussex County Council has produced a short 10-15 minute survey to find out how the coronavirus pandemic has affected you as a West Sussex resident.

To let them know simply visit http://ow.ly/MkJK50zHjGL

The survey closes on 31 May and the responses you provide will be used by West Sussex County Council to help inform their response to Coronavirus going forward.

What’s on

Mid Sussex Marathon Weekend Goes Virtual

Virtual MarathonThe annual Mid Sussex Marathon Weekend was postponed in March due to the coronavirus outbreak, however event organisers are not going to let that spoil the fun.

The traditional races may have been cancelled but Mid Sussex Marathon Weekend Virtual Race will be open from 23rd May to 1st July, with entries closing on 28th June. Once entered, runners have 40 days to complete the challenge of their choice, the Family Fun Run, Junior Mile, a 5K, 10K, take on the Half-Marathon or the full Marathon.

Walk, run, on a bike or in a wheelchair; it doesn't matter how you do it, in fact the more creative the better! Walk a marathon in 40 days, complete 422 100 metre sprints, hop for a Mile, or cycle a marathon in two hours, let's see how creative you can be!
  
Simply record your activity using a GPS watch or an activity tracking app then email the data to info@nice-work.org.uk. Once the required distance and time is checked, all entrants will be placed on the leader board and you will receive a beautiful, bespoke commemorative medal in the post.
 
There’s no age limit and all are welcome to take part anywhere! However, please remember that you must complete your challenge in accordance with the Government’s latest social distancing guidelines.

To be part of the action, visit the event website: www.midsussexmarathonweekend.co.uk 

Your Council

Council Meetings

Meetings postponedMid Sussex District Council meetings have been postponed since 24 March 2020 to comply with the Government's social distancing measures and to help prevent the spread of corornavirus.

As group gatherings are still prohibited and are likely to remain so for some time, the Government has passed new legislation to allow Councils to meet virtually using modern technology.

Our first online meeting will be Cabinet on 1 June at 4pm and you can follow all the debate via our YouTube Channel.

For more information about our scheduled Council meetings visit http://midsussex.moderngov.co.uk/mgCalendarMonthView.aspx?GL=1&bcr=1

Your services

Am I entitled to Universal Credit?

If you are on a low income or out of work, you could be entitled to Universal Credit - a monthly payment to help with your living costs.

Apply online at www.gov.uk/universal-credit and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will call you back if they need to check anything as part of your claim.

Here’s a short video which explains all the information you will need to provide to the DWP to make a claim.

Help with Council Tax

Council Tax billThe Government is providing a £500 million Hardship Fund to help UK households on the lowest incomes. The fund will enable us to support local people by quickly reducing or removing the need for you to pay Council Tax if you are on a low income.

If you are struggling to pay Council Tax during the Covid-19 pandemic then please visit our website at www.midsussex.gov.uk/revsandbens/payments/unable-to-pay/ to apply for Council Tax Support.

If you are already in receipt of Council Tax Support, or other eligible benefits, then you do not need to do anything and we will automatically apply a discount (up to an additional £150) to qualifying accounts.

Rubbish, recycling and garden waste collections

Thank you messagesThank you to everyone who has written a supportive note, waved from windows and left out biscuits for our bin men and women. They are doing a tremendous job in difficult circumstances to keep our Rubbish and Recycling collections going during this coronavirus pandemic and your goodwill means so much to them.

If you’d like to join in and show your support, here’s a link to a template poster on our website at https://www.midsussex.gov.uk/media/4848/we-love-bin-collectors-because.pdf

We had to pause our garden waste subscription service for a month during April and May but that service is now also operating normally once again.

We have worked hard to establish and introduce a range of new safety measures, including providing additional vehicles to further enable our crews to practice social distancing where possible, and to make sure we can safely collect increased volumes of household recycling and rubbish.

Our Bulky Waste Collections also resumed on Monday 18 May and you can book a collection online at https://www.midsussex.gov.uk/waste-recycling/bulky-electrical-household-waste/

Thank you all for your patience during this difficult time.

Business Support Grants

The coronavirus pandemic is having a big impact on all of our lives but it's a particularly tough time for local businesses who have been asked to close in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Government has introduced a range of business support measures to help businesses through this difficult period and full details can be found online at www.businesssupport.gov.uk/

We are helping the Government by distributing their Business Support Grants of £10,000 - £25,000 to businesses that are in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief and businesses in the Retail, Hospitality or Leisure sectors. So far we have allocated £23 million to over 1800 local businesses but there are still many local businesses who have not applied.

These grants are to help your business meet the costs and challenges you're currently facing so please don't miss out.

Check now to find out if your business is eligible for support.

To qualify your business must occupy a business property that has a rateable value of less than £51,000 and either:

* Receive small business rate relief or rural rate relief; or

* Be a retail, hospitality or leisure business

Apply now at www.grantapproval.co.uk

Housing Advice

HouseWith many local people managing on a reduced income during the coronavirus pandemic we have seen an increase in demand for our housing advice and support services.

Our Housing Needs team has continued to provide help and support to all those who need our assistance and has remained open throughout the crisis. To comply with social distancing measures, we have provided the majority of our support by phone or e-mail but in emergency circumstances we have arranged face-to-face appointments with a housing officer.

Anyone who is in need of advice or assistance should call our Housing Needs team on 01444 477574 and leave a short message. The phones are monitored throughout the day and an officer will call back to discuss your case and the options that may be available. You will also be asked to complete our online housing advice form to provide details of your household and your current circumstances. If you are unable to access or complete the form then our officers are available to assist over the phone.

We have worked closely with our partners at Turning Tides to support rough sleepers through this crisis. Homeless people are some of our most vulnerable citizens and are at significant risk from the virus whilst sleeping rough. We have placed a number of rough sleepers in temporary emergency accommodation but if you know anyone who is still sleeping rough then please notify us at https://www.streetlink.org.uk/  

Our Housing Needs Team is responding quickly to emergency situations but prevention is better than a cure so if you are at risk of homelessness or you are worried that your home is at risk then please contact our Housing Needs team so that early intervention work can be undertaken.

Emergency housing situations will be given the highest priority for a response but please do not visit our offices until you have arranged an appointment with a Housing Officer.

Wellbeing

Falls prevention classes move online

The Mid Sussex Falls Prevention programme has wasted no time in adapting to life during the coronavirus pandemic.

Before COVID-19 the WellBalanced programme was going from strength to strength – quite literally – delivering a 24-week programme of Strength & Balance classes to a growing number of elderly and vulnerable people across Mid Sussex. The courses helped the participants to improve their strength and balance, therefore making them much less susceptible to falls. 

As soon as it became clear classes could no longer be delivered as normal due to social distancing, the team set about adapting the service.  They contacted all 168 current participants to offer them a weekly support telephone call and sent them home exercises by post and email.

The main aim of the calls is to support participants with their home exercises and advise on maintaining a good level of physical activity for health but they have also been an opportunity to ensure that more vulnerable and isolated people are well supported and managing at home. In some cases the calls have helped the team to direct people to other support services and for many they have become a very welcome weekly chat and contact with the outside world. 

The Wellbalanced Team has continued to develop services online

  • Clinical Lead and Postural Stability Instructor Emma Rollings has produced a range of online exercise videos available at https://wellbalancedprogramme.co.uk/online-resources/ 
  • Website and Facebook pages offer a range of useful downloads, plus useful links to other information.
  • Virtual classes are now offered to all current participants who have access to the internet.

 Here’s what the participants have to say:

 “Thank you for your lovely phone call, you are so kind and helpful, and I really appreciate what you are doing for me.”

 “Thank you very much for a great Zoom session yesterday - it was really good to follow you and to have the discipline and feel part of the class again.”

 For more information email: info@wellbalancedprogramme.co.uk or telephone 01444 657099.

Wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces

Face mask guidanceThe public is advised to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces such as shops, trains and buses where you may be more likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

The Government guidance follows careful consideration of the latest scientific evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which confirms face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances.

Face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus but not showing symptoms. People with coronavirus symptoms, as well as members of their household, should continue to follow the advice to self-isolate.

It is also important to remember that face coverings are not a replacement for social distancing and regular handwashing, which remain the most important actions.

The public are urged not to buy medical grade masks so they can be saved for frontline health and care workers, and instead make their own face coverings at home

Mental Health Support

Mental Health SupportThe coronavirus pandemic has reminded us all just how important it is to be kind to ourselves and prioritise our mental health. 

We are more much more susceptible to anxiety and depression during these uncertain times and it's not just the threat of the virus that can weigh heavy on our minds. The isolation caused by lockdown, worries about job security, a relationship breakdown or a bereavement can also have a serious impact on our mental health.

Thankfully there are a number of support groups, both nationally and locally, that are available to support us through this difficult time.

Sussex Oakleaf, a local provider of mental health services, has launched a new online platform aimed at providing advice, information, support, and resources to people who are struggling with their mental health.

The platform, which can be accessed through the Sussex Oakleaf website www.sussexoakleaf.org.uk allows visitors to chat one to one, through any internet enabled device, with one of Sussex Oakleaf’s trained mental health Recovery Workers.

Visitors can ask questions, share their concerns, or receive guidance on how best to manage their mental health or the mental health of a loved one. Recovery Workers will be on hand to signpost visitors to services or resources relevant to their needs.

The Sussex Oakleaf website also hosts a new resource library with links to useful websites, videos and apps which can help to support better mental health. Visitors will find a link to Sussex Oakleaf’s Community Support Facebook Group, where members have already been supporting each other since the onset of the UK lockdown.

Find out more at www.sussexoakleaf.org.uk.

For a full list of national mental health support groups and helplines visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines 

Has Covid-19 changed your drinking pattern?

Alcohol posterAlcohol Change UK has commissioned new research from Opinium to find out whether people’s drinking habits have changed during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) lockdown. As you would expect, we aren't all responding in the same way, and changes in drinking habits are happening in two directions.

More than one in three of the 1,555 drinkers surveyed said they have either stopped drinking or reduced how often they drink, since the lockdown. However, around one in five drinkers (21%) said that they have been drinking more frequently since the lockdown. This suggests that around 8.6 million UK adults are drinking more frequently.

If you are concerned about your drinking, the Mid Sussex Wellbeing Team offers a non-judgemental support service for anyone over 18 who wishes to reduce their alcohol intake. One to one sessions are offered on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, depending on the needs of each individual, and all services can be provided digitally to ensure social distancing is followed.

To take back control and change your drink pattern call the Mid Sussex Wellbeing Team on 01444 477191 or email wellbeing@midsussex.gov.uk

Time to give up smoking?

Stop smoking posterHas the coronavirus pandemic given you the extra motivation you need to give up smoking?

We all know that Covid-19 can cause significant breathing problems and it's only natural to want your lungs to be as healthy as possible in case you become infected with the virus. Maybe you'd like to eliminate that trip to the corner shop to buy cigarettes because you're worried about spreading the virus. Or maybe your income has reduced and you would like to eliminate the expense. 

Whatever your reason, our Wellbeing team can help.

If you're thinking about giving up then they can provide 12 weeks of one to one support and free Nicotine Replacement Therapy. The support sessions can be carried out either over the phone or online to provide the support you need whilst following Government social distancing guidance.

You will have an introduction session with a trained Stop Smoking Adviser to discuss your options and to work out a suitable quit date and support plan. After this, weekly appointments will involve working around challenges, discussing how to change old habits and routines, and working out how to sustain your new Smokefree lifestyle.

If you would like to start your Smokefree journey, contact the Midsussex Wellbeing on 01444 477191, email wellbeing@midsussex.gov.uk or visit https://midsussex.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk  

‘After smoking for almost 50 years, I never thought I would be able to quit but here I am. I can’t stop smiling about it”
CH, Haywards Heath

Increased support for victims of domestic abuse

WORTHSince the start of lockdown, West Sussex County Council’s WORTH Domestic Abuse Service has seen a 24% increase in reports of domestic abuse compared to this time last year.

To help meet this increased demand the WORTH service is now available seven days a week to support anyone who needs help:

  • Monday to Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm on 0330 222 8181
  • Weekends, including bank holidays, 9.00am-5.00pm on 07834 968539

There is also a list of other support and resources available for victims of domestic abuse and friends and family members who may want to help, but don’t know how. These include:

  • local support for people being abused
  • things you can do if you're in an abusive relationship
  • the signs of an abusive relationship
  • information for friends and family of people being abused
  • national support for people who are experiencing abuse

Now, more than ever, it is important to make sure that any victim of domestic abuse knows that they don't have to go through their situation alone. There is help out there and the WORTH team is dedicated to do whatever they can to help those individuals get out of their abusive situations in a safe manner.

If you or someone you know needs any help or support, please call the WORTH Domestic Abuse Service directly.

Parks & Rangers

Parks, playgrounds and tennis

Tennis courts available againThe latest advice from the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is that the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside, so people are now permitted to spend more time outside in our local parks and open spaces. However, social distancing is as important as ever in order to control the spread of coronavirus, so people must remain at least two metres apart and can only meet up with one person from outside their household.

Our playgrounds and outdoor gyms remain closed to the public due to the higher risk of close contact and the health implications of touching shared surfaces.

The good news is that tennis activity in England is now allowed to take place outside and our outdoor tennis courts are available for online booking. Visit www.lta.org.uk/coronavirus for the latest guidance for players, coaches and venues prior to booking.

You can book online using our website 
www.midsussex.gov.uk/sports-and-bookings

Please keep dogs on leads

DogsWhen you are out exercising in public areas please ensure your dog is kept under close control.

Use a lead in areas being used by other people as this helps ensure the required two metre distance to others. Our pets don’t understand social distancing and are naturally inquisitive, wanting to interact both with people and other dogs. Please be mindful of this and keep your distance to help everyone stay safe.

The Dogs Trust has produced a useful guide to ensuring your canine companion stays healthy during lockdown and there are some top tips on how you can keep your dog happy and active at home if you need to self-isolate due to coronavirus. 

For more information visit https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-care/dog-advice-during-coronavirus-lockdown?fbclid=IwAR3Il5lXJiGX3iNyRmbqdia-Sxf1hYMoRPnZT9v55jnC0tIJEe56kbYb6AQ 

Follow the countryside code

countrysideThe coronavirus pandemic and the need to maintain social distancing has led many of us in Mid Sussex to explore the local countryside. Getting out of the house for essential exercise is important for both physical and mental health.

We live in a beautiful part of the country and we all have an important role to play in protecting it and each other. If you're exercising in your local countryside, please act responsibly by following the Countryside Code.

Make sure you always pick up after your dog and take your litter home with you.

Follow the advice on local signs. England has about 190,000 km (118,000 miles) of public rights of way, providing many opportunities to enjoy the natural environment. Please wear gloves or use hand sanitiser when using gates.

A farmer will normally close gates to keep farm animals in, but may sometimes leave them open so the animals can reach food and water. Leave gates as you find them or follow instructions on signs.

Protect the natural environment by taking special care not to damage, destroy or remove features such as rocks, plants and trees. They provide homes and food for wildlife and add to everybody’s enjoyment of the countryside.

For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code 

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