Day 86 of (stairway to) Lockdown – the ‘MC Escher’ edition

Escher impossible staircaseDay 86 of (stairway to) Lockdown

Day 86 starts off with an update from the Parish Council.  It is also MC Escher‘s birthday who was famous mostly for his ‘Impossible Stairs’ – navigating the pandemic sometimes seems a bit like this!

A couple of mini-snippets:

  • Recycling back to normal apart from textiles on 22nd June,
  • Colchester Zoo opens tomorrow pre-booked entrance only,
  • If you are going into town, remember to keep left on pavements.

After all that we have:

Quality Local Council AwardParish Council Work Continues During the Pandemic

As well as routine activities, the Parish Council had also hoped to make progress on a number of projects from its’ 3-year plan this year:

Projects:

Orpen Memorial Hall projects £6,000
Lexden Road Pond renovation £4,000
Historical Honour Board £1,500
Play Equipment – Lorkin Daniell Field £10,000
Neighbourhood Plan Action Plan / Infrastructure projects £8,500
Grants: (awarded by the Parish Council) £1,000
TOTAL £31,000

Some of these projects are now being delayed or considered for the future:

  • Installation of the new Lorkin Daniell playground equipment has been put on hold until the company is back working once more.
  • Lexden Road Pond renovation will wait until restrictions lift.
  • Historical Honour Board will wait until restrictions lift.
  • Neighbourhood Plan/Infrastructure projects will wait until restrictions lift.
  • VE Day celebrations were cancelled, however the council has registered to be part of the beacon lighting celebration planned for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

Routine

In the meantime, much routine activity has continued with some variations to normal:

  • Council business is continuing within Government restrictions and all staff are employed either working from home or on limited outside duties.
  • All full council and committee meetings are operating through remote technology.
  • All council-owned open spaces are being maintained, along with any trees on that land and litter picking is continuing.
  • The Lorkin Daniell playpark, although closed is being maintained and upgraded where possible.
  • All ponds (although of no known ownership) are being regularly monitored and maintained.
  • Planning applications are still being reviewed and comments sent in.
  • The allotments are open and being run according to Government guidelines.
  • Highways issues are still being reported to Essex Highways.
  • The MUGA is open for tennis only according to the latest Government guidelines.
  • Some of the Orpen Memorial Hall projects will go ahead if restrictions allow and match-funded grants are still available.
  • The Hall is currently only open for Bluebells Pre-school until July 6th in line with Government guidelines.
  • A grant of £500 has already been awarded to WBFC for refurbishment and essential maintenance during lockdown.

The West Bergholt Health & Wellbeing Plan

The plan, below, documents the Parish Council’s response to COVID-19 in supporting the village & its residents:

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East Sufflk & North Essex NHS logoLocal Hospitals Reopen to Visitors

Visiting rules are being relaxed at hospitals run by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) so that some patients and their loved ones can see each other again.

The Trust reintroduced visiting yesterday (15 June). It comes after the publication of new national guidance on hospital visiting during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. One visitor a day will now be able to see patients who have been in hospital for more than 48 hours.

The visit will be for 45 minutes and must be ‘booked’ in advance by ringing the ward where the patient is receiving care. Staggered visiting times are running from 10 am to 9 pm, Monday to Friday.

Face Coverings

At the same time, patients and visitors using any of ESNEFT’s services must now wear a face covering at all times to help prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect themselves and others.

The covering can be made of fabric and does not need to be a medical mask. Anyone who comes to hospital in an emergency will be given a mask when they arrive.

Patients may have up to three different visitors during their admission, but these visits must be booked by the person closest to the patient, such as their next of kin. Only this nominated person will be able to book visits for the patient.

Not all areas are open

Some areas of the hospitals are still closed to visitors, such as critical care units. Family liaison teams will support virtual visiting in those areas.

The letters to loved ones service is still running and teams will continue using iPads and phones to help people keep in touch too.

Visiting arrangements in exceptional circumstances, such as when a patient is receiving end of life care, have not changed.

How to arrange your visit

ESNEFT is asking visitors to:

  • Book a time for your visit by calling the ward caring for the patient you would like to see. Please ring between 10am and 3pm on weekdays only. All the ward telephone numbers can be found
  • Wear a face covering (please supply your own) when you come to our hospitals to visit or for an outpatient appointment.
  • Make sure you observe social distancing at all times and wash/sanitise your hands.
  • Please do not linger in shops or communal areas.

ECC Support for BusinessECC Expands Business Support

Businesses can access 12 hours of direct support and advice via an Essex County Council business support service aimed at helping Essex get ‘Back to Business’.

Working with business advice agency Let’s Do Business Group, Essex businesses can access fully-funded support to help them survive or recover from the impact of COVID-19, improve, change or expand, or to help them consider their options for the future and develop a longer-term business strategy.

Builds on Business Support Team

The enhanced business support service builds on the existing support the COVID-19 Essex County Council Business Support Team has been providing Essex businesses since March 2020. Now Let’s Do Business Group, funded by Essex County Council, is offering up to 12 hours of consultancy services to individual businesses for the rest of the financial year.

Whether businesses have been adversely impacted directly by COVID-19 or the challenges of the pandemic has resulted in businesses needing to reassess how they operate or will do in the future, or reconsider their target market and how or where they may choose to expand, Let’s Do Business Group’s fully funded advice could help.

Essex businesses can access advice and support including:

  • Finance and risk
  • Customer interaction, target markets and marketing
  • Supply chain management
  • Staffing and recruitment
  • Workplace Operations

Graham Marley, Group Chief Executive, said:

The Let’s Do Business Group are delighted to continue to help the businesses of Essex through what have been exceptional times. Our experience in helping businesses to plan for the future and access the finance they need whilst helping develop forward-looking strategies will ensure the businesses of the county survive and then thrive into the future.

Full details of the support available can be found at: www.backtobusinessessex.co.uk

Businesses interested in the free advice and support available via the Essex business support service from Let’s Do Business Group can contact the team via their website or by calling the dedicated Essex ‘Back to Business’ phone line 0800 970 8981.

Family cyclingFree safer Cycling Courses

Have you been enjoying cycling more since Covid-19?  Do you want to learn more skills and become an even better cyclist? The Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) can help.  SERP is offering family groups free 2-3-hour courses, designed to boost confidence with cycling in traffic and to promote safety until 18th July.

One to one sessions with adults are also available which will be bespoke and tailored to individual needs.

Hilary Wicks, senior road safety officer, said:

Cycling has so many benefits. It’s convenient, environmentally friendly and can support good physical and mental health.

We know more people have taken up cycling as a hobby since the pandemic and we want to encourage this to continue by offering free Bikeability sessions.

All riders must have bikes and helmets.

Please visit https://saferessexroads.org/road-users/cycling or email [email protected] to book.

Colchester BCTemporary Changes To Planning Rules

Colchester BC is introducing a new planning process for temporary buildings, structures and changes of use, to help businesses recover from the effects of the coronavirus crisis.

The changes are intended to make it easier for firms to accommodate more physical space to adhere to social distancing rules – including placing more tables and chairs outside bars and cafes.  The council has worked with key stakeholders to address the challenges that the pandemic has had on local businesses and organisations and this action is one way of supporting them.

Ordinarily, new buildings and structures need planning permission. The temporary rules will mean existing businesses and organisations in the town will be able to create temporary buildings or structures without needing planning permission. These temporary rules are set to end on 1 December 2020.

David King, Portfolio Holder for Business and Resources, explained:

We are determined to give all the help we can to businesses, as they emerge from the lockdown, including more physical space to accommodate social distancing and help make it profitable enough to open. This will help jobs, recovery, and offer the best possible experience to residents and visitors as they return to the town.

Businesses will be required to submit details to the council for approval, but this is expected to take just a few days and will not involve a fee. There may be other permissions that are required, however, and more information on the changes can be found on the council’s website.

Stairway to Heaven – A tip of the hat to Escher