This update includes information on:
- #StokeonTrentTogether number to change, after 100,000 proactive welfare calls to the vulnerable
- Face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England from tomorrow
- Facebook Live from City Central Library
- Leisure centres take bookings from members ahead of phased reopening
- Join virtual Summer Reading Challenge
- Business & Planning Act 2020
The #StokeonTrentTogether campaign to support vulnerable people through the coronavirus pandemic has seen over 100,000 proactive welfare calls made to city residents.
The campaign was launched by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and voluntary sector partner VAST in March. In that time, the campaign has received around 10,000 calls from residents requesting help. Now the telephone number for the service is to change, after demand has fallen and people’s needs have been supported, as the city continues its recovery from the lockdown.
Since the campaign launched on 23 March, a total of 100,308 calls have been made to vulnerable residents, including those who have been identified as shielding by the NHS, and those who are over 70. Support has also been given to families through the council’s children’s services teams. The proactive calls have helped to identify any needs of residents and ensure they have the right support, which has reduced the number of calls into the service.
In that time, a total of 4,745 requests for food parcels have been received, there have been 1,886 requests for prescription collections, and 112 referrals have been made to support services for people experiencing loneliness. There have also been requests for assistance to walk dogs and help with topping up utility metres.
Demand for the service has fallen from a peak of 220 calls a day to 40 calls a day, which is a further positive sign that the city is recovering well from the lockdown. The reduced demand now means that support can continue to be given to people who may need it through the contact centre. We are now looking at how #StokeonTrentTogether continues as the lockdown eases, building on the incredible success of so many partners coming together to give their support.
Face coverings mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England from tomorrow
We are encouraging shoppers to wear face masks at our indoor markets in the city. Please help us make sure our markets are a safe place to visit.
Under the new rules, people who do not wear a face covering will face a fine of up to £100, in line with the sanction on public transport and just as with public transport. You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to.
- Young children under the age of 11
- Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- If you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
- To avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- To avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- To eat or drink, but only if you need to.
- To take medication.
- An employee of the operator who is acting in the course of their employment or anyone providing services under arrangements made with the operator (Transport Companies)
- If a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering.
- A constable or PCSO acting in the course of their duty
- An emergency responder (other than a constable) acting in their capacity as an emergency responder
Please do not get caught out – it is up to individuals to ensure that they have a face covering. Should an individual without an exemption refuse to wear a face covering, a shop can refuse them entry and can call the police. The police have formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine. This is in line with how shops would normally manage their customers and enforcement is of course a last resort.
We have been informed in recent days of face masks being promoted for babies, in other parts of the country. Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of three or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. These masks have the potential to cause serious risk of harm to a baby and should not be used. If people find them for sale in the city, they should contact our Public Protection Team, via 01782 234234 or Public.Protection@stoke.gov.uk
We have also had reports of PPE being dumped in residential and commercial streets, including earlier this week a pile of approximately 60 used face masks fly-tipped in Media Way, Etruria. Clear guidance for how businesses must dispose of their waste including PPE and face coverings can be found here.
Facebook Live from City Central Library
Our next Facebook Live session will be broadcast from City Central Library in Hanley at 4pm tomorrow, Friday, July 24. You can put your questions to city council leader Abi Brown as she visits the site to talk about the expansion of our Click, Call and Collect library service, the phased reopening of libraries, the virtual Summer Reading Challenge, #Stokecation, other council services restarting and more.
To submit a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org or comment/direct message us on Facebook or Twitter.
The session will be available on our main Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/sotcitycouncil/
Leisure centres take bookings from members ahead of phased reopening
Leisure centre members can start to book gym and exercise class sessions from today, Thursday, ahead of the phased reopening of sites and activities. We have received a large number of enquires and are working hard to respond to everyone. We ask that customers can bear with us. Phones lines are available between 8am and 5pm on Friday July, 24 and 9am-4pm on Saturday July, 25 and Sunday July 26.
Gyms at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, Dimensions Leisure Centre and The Wallace Sport and Education Centre will open for existing members only from Monday July 27.
At the same sites, a selection of fitness classes – aerobic, relaxation and indoor cycle sessions – will be available to existing health club members from Monday, August 3.
Please note, all activities must be pre-booked by calling individual centres.
Since our centres temporarily closed in March, all memberships and subscriptions have been frozen. As a thank you to our existing members, available facilities and activities will be free to use throughout August. Following this, membership fees will be capped at £10 for September, with a view to membership packages returning to normal after our full range of facilities and services resume. During August, we are also giving all members ‘global’ access, so they will be able to use any of the facilities available at Fenton Manor, Dimensions and The Wallace.
A range of safety measures will be in place to support visitors, including one-way systems and social distancing. Gym users will also be given materials to clean equipment.
Leisure centres temporarily closed on 28 March, as part of national coronavirus lockdown measures. Our sport and leisure teams are now analysing specific guidance from national governing bodies to ensure we can open other indoor facilities in a safe and controlled way. This includes facilities and activities at New Horizons and Stoke-on-Trent Gymnastics Centre, swimming, sports halls, club and coaching sessions, the health spa at Fenton Manor, cafés, and events or parties.
Join virtual Summer Reading Challenge
Children in Stoke-on-Trent are being encouraged to ‘get silly’ this summer during a reading challenge – and take advantage of a new way of borrowing library books during a phased reopening of libraries.
The Silly Squad Summer Reading Challenge 2020, produced by The Reading Agency, asks four to 11-year-olds to read any six books – or more – over the school holidays.
This year, as Stoke-on-Trent libraries are not fully open due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Summer Reading Challenge will be entirely digital and there will be no physical materials and rewards available in the city’s libraries.
Instead children can take part in the challenge online at sillysquad.org.uk. There will also be a host of virtual local activities available at librariesonline.stoke.gov.uk and on @sotlibraries on Twitter and /stokeontrentlibraries on Facebook from now until September 12.
Families can borrow books using the new Click, Call and Collect service at Tunstall, Longton, City Central and Meir libraries. This will also be available from Bentilee library from this Monday, July 27. Customers can browse the library catalogue online via www.stoke.gov.uk/libraries to order specific titles. Alternatively, contact a library by phone or email, tell staff the age of your child and the type of books they enjoy, and the team will put a selection of books together for them.
E-books and e-audiobooks are available to download and borrow for free at www.stoke.gov.uk/libraries and they both count towards the challenge.
Click, Call and Collect is part of plans for a careful, phased reopening of all six Stoke-on-Trent libraries. The city council will provide more details on plans for the further reopening of libraries when they are available. For more information on Click, Call and Collect, visit www.stoke.gov.uk/clickcallcollect . For other details, visit www.stoke.gov.uk/libraries
Business & Planning Act 2020
The Business and Planning Bill 2019-21 received Royal Assent yesterday (Wednesday, July 22) and its provisions come into effect immediately under section 24 of the new Act. In this bill included the temporary pavement licenses process to allow businesses to obtain a license to place temporary furniture, such as tables and chairs outside of cafes, bars and restaurants quickly, and for no more than £100. The aim of this is to support businesses to operate safely while social distancing measures remain in place. To read the full details click here.
We are working through the details of the government guidance, and have already been talking to businesses and the Business Improvement District. Businesses who may be looking to make an application can call 01782 234234and ask to speak to the licensing service, or email email@example.com.