This update includes information on:
- Home adaptations for disabled residents to restart
- Property inspections to resume
- Thousands of residents benefit from online library, leisure and museum activities
- Legionella bacteria reminder
- Unitas’ repairs update
- Father’s Day weekend advice
- PPE training for businesses
Home adaptations for disabled residents to restart
Work to install stair lifts, ramps and other adaptations to help disabled people in their homes will restart on Monday as part of Stoke-on-Trent’s continuing pandemic recovery journey.
Government coronavirus guidelines had temporarily restricted the service to emergency work only. These cases were identified by our social care occupational therapy team.
Now the rest of the service is set to resume from the start of next week. The city council has identified 46 properties where teams will begin to carry out surveys of the work that needs to be done.
There are also 43 council properties and 31 privately-owned homes where changes will start to be made from Monday by Unitas’ teams.
As well as stair lifts and ramps, the adaptations work will also include work such as level-access shower installations and property extensions.
Our teams have contacted residents to ensure that it is safe for the adaptations to take place.
In some cases the city council will not be able to carry out work if the resident is shielding and there is no direct risk if the changes are not made now.
The installations will be prioritised based on residents’ needs and to ensure the safety of the public and workers.
We are asking residents to please be patient as both Unitas and the Housing Assistance and Adaptations Team work through a backlog of adaptations.
Property inspections to resume
From Monday, the city council will also restart inspections of private sector properties where the tenant has reported that their landlord has not responded, or failed to undertake a repair.
Officers will inspect houses of multiple occupancy, to ensure that they comply with safety standards, as well as looking into reports of nuisance within properties.
Empty homes officers will also inspect properties and work in the community to address issues.
Thousands benefit from online library, leisure and museum activities
Online sports, leisure and culture activities provided by the city council have helped thousands of residents to get through the pandemic lockdown.
Several services have been offering resources including materials for home learning, fun ideas for families at home, library e-books and e-magazines, and virtual exercise sessions.
The council’s websites and social media channels have seen an influx of visitors, with thousands more people using the pages to search for new forms of entertainment and ways to look after their physical and mental health.
Despite Stoke-on-Trent libraries being temporarily closed, the lockdown has so far seen 210 more people become members online.
Those who have signed up for provisional membership online can get access all of the service’s e-audiobooks and e-magazines. For details, click here.
Because of this, there have been 751 new e-book registrations and 3,217 e-books issued over the past three months.
The use of digital magazines also rose sharply, with 1,883 in May and 4,290 in the past three months.
The number of online resources used across library services hit 4,264 last month and 9,738 in total during lockdown.
Library users with a standard membership card number (28080xxxxxxxxx) are able to access a full suite of online services – including e-audiobooks, e-books and e-magazines – which can be found here.
The service is also running a number of activities and challenges on social meida. For more information, visit https://www.stoke.gov.uk/libraries or go to https://www.facebook.com/stokeontrentlibraries/ or https://twitter.com/SoTLibraries
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery has also seen hundreds of people using its website and social media resources during the outbreak.
More than 1,000 people have visited the museum’s home learning page, which includes resources inspired by its collections such as Ozzy Owl trails and word searches.
Also, 1,100-plus people have used the galleries page, which contains a community section with contributions from residents, artwork based on museum items and people’s ‘mini museums’ at home. The museum has also published a series of blogs and vlogs, with lots of information about the site’s collections including behind-the-scenes tours.
The YouTube channel also now includes ‘event’ activities for families such as performers and a range of craft workshops to enjoy at home, as well as a series of talks for adults. Those videos have attracted almost 1,000 views.
For more details on all the information above and more, click here.
Gladstone Pottery Museum has also seen significant increases in its online audience.
More than 1,600 families and history enthusiasts have used its website since the beginning of the lockdown.
During that time one of the most popular pages has been the Just For Fun section, which provides activities as well as educational resources for home learning. There are drawing activities, a Gladstone board game, pottery jobs quiz, potbank puzzles and more.
Many parents and teachers in Stoke-on-Trent have used the information, as well as families and schools from other parts of the country.
The site’s recent blogs, which include topics such as the saggar maker’s workshop and Gladstone China, have also been popular with visitors.
The museum also has almost 200 new followers across its social media channels. Its Twitter page has been particularly successful, with 180,000 views across last month – the most successful May on record and over 70,000 more than their previous highest monthly figure.
Lockdown demonstration videos on Youtube have also proven popular, with 359 views in May compared to 111 the previous month.
To access all of the information above, please click here.
Virtual exercise classes provided by our leisure centre teams have also been extremely popular.
There have now been 23 live classes. These had been viewed a total of 35,676 times with an average 1,763 per session.
By the end of May, the teams had also created 45 pre-recorded workouts, which were viewed a total of 33,155 times with an average 754 per session.
Residents who want to take part just need clothing suitable to exercise in, enough space to work out safely and water to stay hydrated. Some of the sessions may need equipment but are designed to use items from around the home.
Anyone can access the videos – even if they are not a member of a council gym.
You can also find them on YouTube here.
Legionella bacteria reminder
The city council is reminding businesses of the increased risk of Legionella bacteria being present in premises when people return to buildings after lockdown.
Public protection teams have contacted around 3,000 businesses across the city to advise them of the steps they should take.
A combination of warm external temperatures and low use of water systems may give rise to an increased risk of conditions in which the Legionella bacteria can grow.
It is essential that water systems are not put back into use without considering this. Businesses need to flush their water systems before reopening.
Controlling the risks of Legionella is a legal requirement for all duty holders and they should have a water risk assessment and plan in place, which will identify what measures are necessary.
The water checks or services undertaken before lockdown should be reinstated before the buildings reopen to ensure the water does not pose a risk to health.
The city council’s public protection team has also identified approximately 60 high risk businesses in the area and contacted them to give advice and guidance. Officers are also dealing with several enquiries from other companies who have requested information.
Unitas’ repairs update
As part of the recovery work across Stoke-on-Trent, Unitas is investing in the creation of a new 24/7 online repairs reporting service. This will allow tenants, in the next few weeks, to log a repair and book an appointment at a time convenient for them.
This service will be available soon to all city council tenants requesting routine repairs and will remove the need to contact the call centre.
If you would like to benefit from access to this service, please email your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org and the team will set things up for you.
Unitas restarted all routine repairs and reactivated all planned maintenance activity from June 8 – some £26 million worth of major works to council housing across the city.
There will be a backlog of repairs that we will need to address, so it may take longer than normal to carry out more non-essential work. For more information, read the press release here.
Father’s Day weekend advice
Warm weather is forecast for this weekend, which includes Father’s Day on Sunday. The city council is urging people to respect the countryside and each other as they enjoy the sunshine.
Concerns have been raised after a spate of fires, littering and groups of people appearing to disregard social distancing requirements.
Drivers are warned that car parks may close at short notice to enforce social distancing and that if they cannot find a place, they must not block lanes or gates needed for emergency service access – nor park across entrances to people’s homes.
Most public places also still have public toilets and information centres closed, so visitors should plan accordingly.
PPE training for businesses
Free training is being offered to help businesses better understand PPE requirements. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute in partnership with the Office for Product Safety and Standards is running a series of webinars. For more information, use the following links.
- 22 June: PPE – Product Requirements for Importers
- 22 June: Hand Cleansing & Sanitising Product Requirements for Importers
- 24 June: PPE – Product Requirements for Manufacturers
- 24 June: Hand Cleansing & Sanitising Product Requirements for Manufacturers
- 26 June: PPE Product Requirements for Retailers/Distributors
- 26 June: Hand Cleansing & Sanitising Product Requirements for Retailers/Distributors
The training comes after the HSE warned that KN95 facemasks are not suitable PPE and approximately 90% of concerns it receives surrounding PPE involved such masks.