COVID-19: National Lockdown - staying home saves lives
Hampshire residents are being urged to stay at home to curb further spread of the coronavirus and help save lives. With cases of COVID-19 on the rise everywhere and a new variant that spreads more easily, it’s never been more important to follow the rules and remember ‘hands, face, space’ if going out for an essential reason.
It is vital that we all play our part to minimise any further spread of the virus and protect ourselves, our loved ones and our local services.
Residents must stay home, apart from limited exemptions set out in law such as shopping for basic necessities. Further information about national lockdown restrictions is available here.
Getting a coronavirus test
There are ample opportunities for residents to get a coronavirus test in Hampshire.
Residents displaying symptoms can access testing by appointment, at the Regional Test Site (Southampton Airport), or any of the Local Testing Sites across Hampshire. Location details for these are on the County Council website. These test centres are supported by three mobile testing units that are allocated on a 4-weekly basis, across 18 geographical areas.
In addition, two further Local Testing Sites will open this month – in Andover and Ringwood.
All testing sites are appointment-only. Tests can be booked online or by calling 119. Anyone displaying symptoms must follow self-isolation guidance.
The Government has also recently announced that asymptomatic testing is being rolled-out across the UK.
Testing is a nationally-led programme, and local authorities have been asked by Government to prioritise lateral flow testing for those who work in care settings.
This is because people receiving social care are more vulnerable to the virus and its effects. In the meantime, the County Council is working with Government to actively explore the options for rolling out rapid community testing more widely across Hampshire.
For more information visit www.hants.gov.uk/testandtrace
Hampshire Coronavirus Support and Helpline – open seven days a week
Residents who need a helping hand due to the impact of COVID-19 can access support seven days a week. This includes anyone who is classed by the NHS as being clinically extremely vulnerable and advised to ‘shield’ at home.
The Hampshire Coronavirus Support and Helpline is operating seven days a week throughout the national lockdown and can be contacted on 0333 370 4000 (calls charged at local rate).
People can also request a call-back from the helpline by completing the call-back request form.
The helpline is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm.
Carers Wellbeing COVID Fund
We know that the ongoing restrictions are making life even more challenging for people who care for family members. Hampshire County Council is working with Andover Mind, Carers Together and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers to prioritise support for residents who provide unpaid care.
This includes offering information on the Carers Wellbeing COVID Fund from which people can access a one-off payment to help with any additional challenges during this unprecedented period.
The money is designed to address the individual carer’s needs, for example financial help with technology, equipment or personal care. It is open to anyone, including younger carers. We will be promoting the fund on social media, (Twitter and Facebook – via @hantsconnect) – please do help us spread the word.
For information on how to apply and general advice visit http://www.connecttosupporthampshire.org.uk/
The Hampshire Coronavirus Support & Helpline - 0333 370 4000 (calls charged at local rate)
Andover MIND - 01264 332297 (select option 3). Monday to Friday: 9am – 5pm. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Hampshire - 01264 835246. Monday to Thursday: 9am - 5pm / Friday: 9am - 4.30pm. email@example.com
Carers Together - 01794 519495. Monday to Friday: 9.30am-1.30pm (answer machine outside these hours). firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications to the Carers Wellbeing COVID Fund can be made up until the end of March 2021.
There are an estimated 60,000 people in the UK thought to be experiencing Long COVID, which means they are unable to shake off the effects of the virus, months after initially falling ill.
Help available in Hampshire
The NHS has established more than 60 nationwide sites to help combat Long COVID.
This service is already up-and-running in most parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and people can be referred by their GP.
The service offers:
• Physical, functional, cognitive and psychological assessments to improve health outcomes and quality of life
• Improved pathway access to post-COVID syndrome services
• Face-to-face, virtual or clinical app based interventions, to co-design a management plan to suit individual need
• Once assessed, a health professional will work with the local multiple disciplinary team to develop an appropriate management plan
For details about the 60 plus sites where people can get help for Long COVID, click here.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of Long COVID, should contact their GP. Advice and guidance is available on the NHS website.
For more details about Long COVID symptoms visit the NHS website.
Staying Well at Home this winter
It is more important than ever for older residents to look after their health and wellbeing especially if they are spending most of their time at home. There are some simple lifestyle changes that can also avoid hospital admissions, for example preventing falls, staying well, good nutrition and regular exercise.
Look out for our social media messages promoting tips to stay well at home. Find out more here.
Supporting Hampshire’s vulnerable children and families during this February Half Term
Hampshire County Council has confirmed that vulnerable children and those eligible for Free School Meals should not go hungry during the February Half Term as funding has been provided for food vouchers for families.
For more information visit the County Council's web pages.
Help for people whose income has been affected by COVID-19
Families and individuals struggling to cope financially, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, are being reminded that help to pay for food and energy, as well as essential items, is available from the County Council’s connect4communities programme via the Citizens Advice Service and local community groups across Hampshire.
For more information visit the County Council’s web pages.
Helping communities affected by COVID-19 - First grants awarded
Don’t miss out – that’s the message to community, charity and voluntary organisations as the first Community Grants are awarded from the ‘connect4communities’ programme – led by Hampshire County Council – to support families and individuals affected financially by Coronavirus and national lockdowns. For more information visit the County Council’s web pages.
County Council confirms continuation of key services for Hampshire
All Hampshire household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) remain open for those who need to use them during the national lockdown. Residents wishing to visit an HWRC will need to make a booking in advance and are asked to check the website ahead of their visit in case a site needs to close at short notice due to staffing levels being affected by COVID-19.
Keeping Hampshire moving during cold weather
Hampshire Highways teams are out across the county to keep the main roads clear during cold weather.
The focus for Highways teams is on the roads that are used most for those who need to make essential journeys during the current national lockdown.
The salting lorries treat the highest priority roads first - this includes main roads and also routes to hospitals, COVID testing sites and vaccination centres. During periods of prolonged severe weather, Priority two’ routes, which include remaining B roads and single access roads to villages, may also be treated.
There are thousands of blue salt bins across Hampshire being filled for community use. Salt from these bins is for use on public roads and pavements and can be particularly useful to ‘join up’ salting from the main road, carried out by Hampshire County Council salting vehicles, to smaller access roads or on the pavements. One tablespoon of salt (20 grams) is sufficient to treat one square metre of road or pavement surface. Salt bins have also been placed at the COVID test sites.
More information on Hampshire’s winter service is available at: www.hants.gov.uk/transport/roadmaintenance/severeweather
Prepared for the impact of wet weather
Keeping Hampshire’s roads clear of water by maintaining and improving highways drainage is a year-round job for the County Council. Hampshire Highways teams routinely clear and cleanse thousands of gullies and catchpits every month and cut grips in roadside verges, and they do this on top of a continued programme of improvements to highway surface water drainage systems to make Hampshire more resilient to the effects of extreme weather.
With groundwater levels currently high in some areas of the county, combined with intense and heavy rainfall which can quickly overwhelm drainage systems while water drains away, some roads may suffer from surface water flooding.
It is important landowners maintain their ditches and watercourses for which they are responsible to help prevent the roads from flooding. Watch a short video about responsibilities of landowners here.
Help shape 21st century travel and transport in Hampshire
The County Council is asking for views on the principles and vision of the Hampshire Local Transport Plan. Partners, organisations, and communities are being asked to share their views on travel and transport as part of a detailed engagement process which will take place over the next year to help develop a new transport strategy and plan for the county.
Hampshire County Council’s Climate Change Strategy sets a target of net zero carbon for the county by 2050 and the County Council has set out a 2050 Vision for Hampshire that puts environmental issues at the heart of the Authority’s decision making. One third of Hampshire’s total carbon emissions comes from transport, so how people choose to travel is a key factor in meeting the target set in Climate Change Strategy.
Once established, the new Local Transport Plan will set the objectives, policies and strategy for transport across the county for the next 30 years.
To view more information and leave feedback, go to: www.hants.gov.uk/transport/localtransportplan
Hampshire County Council plans £67m investment to create thousands of new school places
Hampshire County Council is creating thousands of new school places for children – by continuing to invest in its existing schools while building new ones across the county.
For more information visit the County Council’s web pages.
Next steps agreed for more special school places in Hampshire
|Extra school places for children with special educational needs in two areas of Hampshire are a step closer, as Hampshire County Council’s plans to increase capacity at two special schools progress to the next stage of consultation. For more information visit the county council’s web pages.|
Young readers can now sign up to Hampshire Libraries’ Winter Reading Challenge and read any four books by 27 February. The challenge is aimed at children aged 4-11 but all ages can take part. In line with Government guidance to stay at home, participants are encouraged to use the Hampshire Library Service’s digital library as far as possible – eBooks and audiobooks count towards the challenge.