Open for Business.
Almost 70 per cent of Worcestershire businesses say that they have introduced new ways of working following the outbreak of coronavirus.
That is according to an online survey conducted by Worcestershire County Council, Worcestershire Business Central, HW Chamber and other partners.
Of the businesses surveyed as part of research into the effects that the pandemic has had on the economy in Worcestershire, 70 per cent have introduced new ways of working. For many businesses this has meant their employees working from home, and in some cafes and restaurants this has meant offering takeaway services.
Children and Families
Schools and settings have remained open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children as well as supporting virtual learning for pupils since 23rd March.
From the week commencing 1 June, Government have asked primary schools to welcome back children in nursery (where they have them), reception, year 1 and year 6.
The highest priority and consideration is the safety and wellbeing of Worcestershire’s children, young people, families and staff. Worcestershire Children First are in contact with the Department for Education (DfE) and have emphasised that their approach is rooted in doing the right thing for children, families and schools, ensuring that children return to school when it is safe for them and the staff in their schools.
Worcestershire Children First are working very closely with a group of school leaders and other colleagues to ensure that each school has an individual tailored plan for re-opening, based on their individual circumstances as well as looking forward to the future.
The reopening and inclusion for reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils will be risk assessed and any decision about timing of the safe wider opening from June 1 will be based on the outcomes of risk assessments.
As you may be aware the Learning and Achievement Services, currently delivered by Babcock Prime, is transferring to Worcestershire Children First on Monday of 1 June 2020.
The main reason for this transfer is to have one joined up, unified service for children, young people and families in Worcestershire. Everybody working as one organisation to ensure our services can work closely together valuing families, ensuring a good education for all children and young people and protecting children when needed.
Health and Wellbeing.
The County Council’s Here2Help, community action campaign is still operating and taking referrals from people who need extra help while staying at home. Thousands of Worcestershire residents have been supported with food parcels, shopping, medicine collections and tasks around the home such as gardening or putting out bins. The Here2Help team is also working with colleagues and partners from the voluntary sector to tackle things such as loneliness and mental health issues.
We are celebrating all our volunteers who have offered help, during Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) and continue to promote the campaign to ensure everyone who needs help is able to ask for it. Some people are still reluctant to contact us, are too shy or don’t realise we are able to help out with things like cutting grass.
If you know someone in need of non-urgent support, urge them to complete our online form www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help
If they are not able to access the online forms, this number is available Monday to Saturday, 8am – 6pm: 01905 768053.
Other than safety repairs, our larger highways maintenance operations thus far have been predominantly rural, however we are moving into a number of urban sites as of next week and through June and beyond.
A number of sites involve night-time working. Each site is being risk assessed from a point of view of Covid19 & Government guidance and works will all be undertaken with regard to appropriate rules and regulations. We are completing letter drops & carefully placed advance warning signs and actual works signing is being put in place.
Highways Liaison Engineers will be able to advise Members of details in your Division.
Major project work has already restarted on schemes at Worcester Southern Link Road, Churchfields at Kidderminster and the A44 improvements at Pinvin.
Next week will see works commence on the congestion improvement scheme at St Johns, Worcester and later in June the public realm scheme in Pump Street, Worcester will restart.
Open parks, walking routes and large spaces around Worcestershire are now available for use. We’re encouraging residents to visit trails they may not have walked before as well as visit country parks, picnic areas and other outside spots. These spaces can be enjoyed safely, with social distancing measures in place.
Council News Update.
Paula Furnival, the Council’s new Strategic Director for People, started in her role on May 18. Paula joins the Council from Walsall Council and will head up the People Directorate. Elaine Carolan, who had stepped into the role of Interim Director of People prior to Paula’s appointment, started in her role of Assistant Director for Adult Social Care this week.