Staff from across New Forest District Council have mobilised to create a vital new service providing food and support to those most in need, seven days a week. Together with partners in Hampshire County Council and Community First, the service is ensuring that vulnerable New Forest residents get the essential supplies and support they need while shielding from the coronavirus.
For some time now, we have been unable to produce our usual Parish Council Newsletter (sadly due to the absence of a permanent Clerk) but I felt it was an opportune time to at least pen a few lines to our residents in the hope of offering some reassurance during these immensely challenging times of Covid-19.
Somebody said – could you make your message positive and upbeat? That has certainly proved more difficult than I would have anticipated. Personally, I seem to oscillate between feeling fairly low and depressed and then, almost for no reason, except when the sun is shining, I return to a sense of optimism and thankfulness for what I do have. We have beautiful surroundings, good homes and space to enjoy and above all, a wonderful sense of community spirit to help see us through these dark times. We are so much more fortunate than many in our country?
The Coronavirus epidemic has, of course, affected us all but perhaps in so many different ways? I don’t need to repeat the government message but the isolation can mean impacting our lives in a way we would never have imagined. For some, and hopefully many of you, there is the opportunity of contacting and obtaining support from family and friends, maybe renewing old friendships, spring cleaning the house (?!) and working hard in the garden so as to enjoy a weed-free environment? We can also exercise (within limits) in this beautiful part of the New Forest.
However, for others and this is often for our more elderly residents, it is a bewildering and lonely time when they find it hard to cope without social contact. Are they worried about possible symptoms or how to manage an existing condition? Maybe they just find it difficult to ask for help?
Geographically, ours is a difficult ‘Parish’ to coordinate as it lacks a village centre unlike many of our adjoining parish neighbours. This can further increase the sense of isolation. However, we do have a number of hamlets which in turn, help to focus the sense of community spirit and in that regard, I thank you all.
A word of caution – there will doubtless be an increase in crime as opportunists find ways to exploit the current circumstances. Other than cyber crime, please also be aware of those posing as volunteers and offering to get shopping or spend your money in other ways? Always check credentials and if in doubt, please don’t accept their offers?
There is a wealth of information, help and assistance to be found on both national and local websites, (newforest.gov.uk) Local Response Centres, and local community support groups, religious organisations – the churches are closed but not the people who reach out to their friends and colleagues.
Most of us are fortunate to have access to the internet and discover the information for ourselves but I really want to reach out to those residents who do not fit in this category.
What can we all do to help? Please take a moment to think of your nearest neighbours and maybe a few beyond who are possibly more isolated. Are they in need of an offer of help – to buy some urgent supplies, to pick up a prescription, post some mail or perhaps they just need a friendly phone call?
Unfortunately, this message can only be seen by those of you who have registered to receive our Newsletter by email and those with access to the Parish Council website (www.ehipc.co.uk)
If you need guidance or know of someone who could do with assistance, please do telephone myself (01202 814698) or the Acting Clerk, Kate Mason (01425 654277) and we will do our best to direct you to the appropriate responder. My fellow Councillors, Roly Errington, Richard Loader, Gordon Taylor, Alleyn Wilson & Emma Blake are also happy to assist where and when they can.
Cllr Laura Stainton-Burrell, with her husband and staff, is already doing a sterling job of running Hockey’s Farm shop and delivering supplies where essential.
On Parish Council matters, we had advertised for a new Clerk and received an excellent response. Interviews and short-listing were to be held in March so that appointment has been postponed.
The same with our Annual Parish Meeting due to be held later this month but we will endeavour to rearrange for the Autumn. If you have any urgent issues relating to planning or otherwise, please do not hesitate to contact the Clerk at the new email address of email@example.com
So, my final thought and message to everyone is for Easter. It will be peaceful, certainly, but I sincerely wish you all many blessings for a Happy Easter weekend and in the days and weeks to come in the hope and anticipation that we will in the foreseeable future be able to return to a sense of normality.
Stay safe everyone and please stay in your own homes.
A helpline is available to provide information and advice, as well as practical support to frail or vulnerable Hampshire residents. The Coronavirus Hampshire Helpline (Hantshelp4vulnerable) can be contacted on 0333 370 4000. The helpline is available seven days a week, from 9am-5pm, and is for vulnerable people who do not have support from families, friends or their local community, and who need urgent assistance with practical issues.
Appletree Careline community alarm service continues to operate 24/7 and has retrained staff from other services to ensure continuity of the service. New alarm installations will be fitted only where essential to facilitate a hospital discharge or prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. When visiting people’s homes, we are taking all the necessary precautions around social distancing, self-isolation, and hand washing. http://www.newforest.gov.uk/appletreecareline
Monitoring of the District’s CCTV cameras remains unaffected.
Advice from Safer New Forest
Safer New Forest is a partnership of public organisations working towards reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and to make the New Forest a safer place to live, work and visit. They can advise on children at risk, modern slavery and human trafficking, drug and alcohol related harm, and domestic abuse.
The Hampton Trust can offer support to those feeling unsafe at home during this difficult time www.hamptontrust.org.uk
Scams – Get the latest information on how to protect yourself from criminals using the Covid-19 pandemic to scam the public – don’t become a victim at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/covid19
Cemeteries and funeral services
Our cemeteries service is working closely with the area’s funeral directors so that the rules around funeral attendance and social distancing at cemeteries can be followed.
Funeral services in NFDC cemeteries are still permitted, but only immediate family should attend, and only where it is safe for them to do so in line with current government restrictions.
Interments for cremated remains and burials are expected to continue unless the Government advises otherwise.
Waste, recycling, and environment
Collecting household rubbish and recycling is a priority but there are likely to be some adjustments to refuse collections. Residents are being asked to keep an eye on website announcements, and to share information with any family or friends who are unable to access the website
Black and clear sack collections
Please put sacks out for collection at the edge of your own property – do not stack-pile sacks with neighbours’. It’s important you can identify your own sacks as, if refuse is not collected on the collection day, you will need to take yours back in. (Our operatives may still stack-pile as part of their collection patterns)
Refuse crews have been given guidance on how to maintain social distancing and adjustments are being made to the way we carry out the service to follow this in a safe way. Residents are asked not to approach crews with questions and to keep to 2m distance.
How to store rubbish if you are self-isolating
Advice on how to store rubbish for anyone with confirmed or possible Coronavirus or self-isolating (COVID-19) – double bag all waste that contains tissues and do not put it out for collection for at least 72 hours
Garden waste collection is suspended until further notice.
Bookings for bulky waste collections have been suspended until further notice.
Glass recycling collections
Currently glass collections are still taking place.
Clinical waste collections
Both orange sacks and yellow sharps boxes are being collected as normal.
How you can help
Residents can help us continue to collect waste by minimising what is put out for collection:
Hold on to unwanted items for the time being – house clearance waste, DIY materials and old clothes and toys
Garden waste – start a compost heap or add to a compost bin.
Reduce food waste – don’t buy or cook more than you need, store or freeze leftovers, keep an eye on use by dates, compost what you can
Recycling banks (‘bring sites’) and textiles banks are no longer being emptied. Visiting recycling bank sites is considered an unnecessary journey. Residents are advised to stay at home, present any recyclable materials at the kerbside and hold onto any unwanted textiles.
Police and Council officers are patrolling for fly tipping. Fly-tipping is a serious criminal offence for which you can be prosecuted. You may be fly tipping if you;
-put rubbish, glass or other recyclables on the floor next to a full bin or recycling bank, or
-leave a bag outside a closed charity shop, or
-give your DIY and rubble to someone to dispose of who doesn’t have a waste carriers license
Clean streets and dog waste
Our teams continue to clean streets and empty dog waste and litter bins in public areas, whilst also providing back up support to our crucial refuse teams. Residents are reminded that dog waste can be placed in any litter bin, so if dog waste bins are full are asked to use a different public litter bin or take the waste home with them.
Business / trade waste
Advice on any changes to services for our business waste customers is available at http://www.newforest.gov.uk/businesswaste
Rents, Benefits and Council Tax
Your council tax pays for essential services for all residents, so it is important that you continue to pay your council tax if your circumstances have not changed.
Council Tax payments
Residents struggling to pay their council tax due to loss of earnings or illness resulting from Coronavirus can seek financial assistance through our council tax reduction scheme. Flexible payment options are being offered to residents in difficulty. If you are contacting us to claim for a Council Tax reduction, please have your details and documents to hand so we can process your claim as quickly as possible.
Important changes to benefits from 1 April:
The Local Housing Allowance rates are increasing. We will update these soon and notify you. You can view the new rates at newforest.gov.uk/LHARates
Working Tax Credit is increasing by £20 per week. This will not affect the amount of Housing Benefit you get.
We are working on the Hardship fund payments and will provide an update on this soon.
Information and links have been added to the website on other benefits
Housing, housing maintenance and homelessness
Our Housing Services is continuing to provide key services to our tenants who require housing related assistance and we are prioritising essential work.
Paying your rent
Please continue to pay rent on your council property if your circumstances have not changed. If you are concerned about making rent payments due to loss of earnings or illness please check advice at: www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19378/Coronavirus-Rents-Benefits-and-Council-Tax
You can also seek advice by emailing the rents team firstname.lastname@example.org (or calling 02380 285 222 option 2 if you have no access to email.)
We are continuing to provide advice and assistance to households facing homelessness.
If you are about to become homeless because you are losing your home or you are at risk of homelessness because you have been asked to leave your accommodation complete this form: www.newforest.gov.uk/article/4309/Are-you-homeless-or-threatened-with-homelessness
If you are homeless today, please submit the online form and call the team on 023 8028 5234
We have accommodated all known rough sleepers who have accepted accommodation.
Repairs and housing maintenance
Only essential repairs to council homes are being carried out; emergency repairs and work necessary to prevent danger to life or extensive damage to property, or if the problem will have an adverse effect on a medical need and urgent repairs that are essential to prevent undue inconvenience or further damage to property.
All non-essential work programmes (kitchens, bathrooms, windows, doors, roofs etc.) will cease until further notice. Housing maintenance staff and contractors will be following social distancing guidance when visiting tenants’ homes and will continue observing good hygiene standards in accordance with the national guidance.
All disabled adaptation works in private homes have now halted. We are continuing to respond to urgent property safety incidents or hazards in private rented properties.
Gas safety inspections
Landlords still have a duty to carry out annual gas safety inspections on private rented properties, whilst observing social distancing guidance. Advice for:
Tenants, if your annual inspection is due, please allow access for this to happen. If you are self-isolating, please make your landlord aware of this, so that they can make appropriate arrangements for the inspection to be carried out at a suitable time once you have stopped self-isolation. See latest government advice: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/
Landlords, you are encouraged to arrange your annual gas safety checks as early as possible. In the event you are unable to gain access to the property, e.g., refusal of access due to tenants self-isolating, you will be expected to be able to demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to comply with the law. This will need to include records of communication with the tenant and details of your engineers attempts to gain access. You should seek to arrange the safety check as soon as all parties are available. For further information please follow the latest advice: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others
Support for local businesses
We have approved two new policies to support businesses from 1 April 2020. These are the expanded retail discount and nursery discount. Our Business Rates team is applying the new policies and where a business qualifies under the new policies, they will be sent a revised bill. There is no need for businesses to contact us about this.
Businesses also need not apply for Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and
Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF. These will be paid directly to eligible businesses.
We’ve contacted over 3,000 local businesses likely to be eligible for the Government’s Business Rates Support Grant. The grants are available to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value up to £51,000, and any small business getting Small Business Rate Relief. You can request your Business Rates Support Grant online at: www.newforest.gov.uk/Business-Support-Grants
Businesses operating as a takeaway
Regulations have been relaxed to allow public houses and restaurants to temporarily operate as food takeaways. Whilst pubs and restaurants don’t need to apply for planning permission to do this, they must notify the Local Planning Authority in writing. Support for food businesses considering offering take-away services is available from our Environmental Health team on 023 8028 5230 or email@example.com
Advice and webinars
We are working with our partners to deliver a range of business support initiatives beyond the financial support available. This includes free advice, support and community webinars. Details of this support can be found at http://newforest.gov.uk/coronavirusbusiness
Links and further information on the following are available on our website:
-which businesses are required to close
-the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
-Government measures to support business
Planning, Building Control, Environmental Health and Protection
We continue to process planning and tree work applications, though there will be no site visits that require going into properties that are inhabited. Planning applications can be submitted in the normal way, and electronic submissions are encouraged where possible.
Advice on planning, trees, conservation and listed buildings continues to be available by phone or email. Please visit http://newforest.gov.uk/planning
Building Control continues to operate as normal, but internal inspections of buildings that are inhabited will not be carried out. This may impact on the issuing of completed certificates.
Advice for consumers who may be using takeaway or food delivery services during this time has been produced and can be found at http://newforest.gov.uk/article/19383/Consumers-Advice—Takeaway-Food-During-the-Coronavirus-Outbreak
Complaints for alleged nuisance, including noise and bonfire, will be taken by e-mail, letter or telephone calls (we are not making visits unless deemed absolutely necessary) and we ask residents to be considerate to neighbours during this period and ensure their activities do not cause a nuisance. We urge residents not to burn waste, including garden waste, due to the potential health and nuisance impact.
Animal welfare and home boarding for pets
Licensed home boarding establishments for pets can continue to operate during the Coronavirus outbreak, providing they maintain all social distancing guidelines.
only accepting animals from key workers, those in a vulnerable group or people self-isolating who are unable to look after their pet themselves, and
following the advice to only leave the house for exercise once a day.
Our full advice for the operators of licensed home pet boarding businesses is here http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/19393/Animal-Welfare-Advice-during-the-Coronavirus-Outbreak
Government advice for animal owners is at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-people-with-animals
The service is operating at a reduced level but will prioritise issues that have a public health impact.
Car Parks, public facilities, Health & Leisure
All our public facilities including public toilets and playgrounds are closed.
Our seafront car parks are closing to meet the Government’s restrictions to reduce non-essential travel https://gov.uk/coronavirus
Town and village car parks will remain open for use in line with the current guidance and charges have currently been suspended to help the large number of volunteers in obtaining essential supplies for those who are self-isolating or are vulnerable people.
Parking clock sales have been suspended. Although refunds will not be given for current parking clocks, we are looking at extending the expiration date of the Clocks depending upon the duration of this suspension.
Notices have been placed in all our car parks.
Those parked in an NFDC car park unable to move the car and exceed the parking duration for reasons associated with Coronavirus, this will be treated with sensitivity if you need to contact us about any Penalty Charge Notice you may have received.
Advice on access to local open spaces
The government’s priority is to save lives and the best way to protect yourself and others from illness is to stay at home. If you are leaving your home and exercising once a day, stay local and use open spaces near to your home.
Health and Leisure
Our Health & Leisure centres remain closed to the public. Customers have been advised that all direct debit payments for memberships and swim lessons have been frozen until further notice and invoices will be amended for clubs and hirers once a date for reopening is known. Customers who paid for classes will be given a credit and for larger payments like children’s parties, refund scan be arranged
Customers with queries about refunds and payments can see more information at at: http://www.newforest.gov.uk/healthandleisure/article/19375/FAQs-related-to-current-closure
Home fitness is available with online Les Mills Bodybalance, Bodycombat, and Bodypump classes, as well as Born to Move classes for 4-16 year olds. Access it for free at https://watch.lesmillsondemand.com/at-home-workouts
The NHS Fitness Studio also offers a range of instructor-led exercise videos that count towards the recommended guidelines for weekly physical activities https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-fitness-studio/…
Contacting the Council and keeping up to date
You can contact us by email, phone and web chat, as well as keep up to date on social media. We are extremely busy prioritizing essential work so please only contact us if the matter cannot wait. You can find out ways to get in touch here: http://www.newforest.gov.uk/article/4512/Contact-us
Keep up to date
Sign up to get residents emails, with information about how our services, including refuse collections, are changing as we respond to the Coronavirus crisis. newforest.gov.uk/artic…/19411/COVID-19-service-update-emails
Observing the Government’s rules about staying at home to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, all our offices are closed until further notice.
All our public meetings have been cancelled until further notice.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 has now been introduced and we are awaiting further guidance from Government on the regulations for future meetings.
Advice on how to store your rubbish for anyone with confirmed or possible Coronavirus or if you are self-isolating (COVID-19): 16/03/2020
• Double bag all waste that contains tissues
• Do not put it out for collection for at least 72 hours
Double bag: Personal waste (such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloth) should be stored separately to other waste, put in a rubbish bag and then put into a second bag / black sack. This should be tied and kept separate from other waste in the room/s in which you are self-isolating.
Keep aside for at least 72 hours: Do not put it out for collection for at least 3 days. As an example, if you have filled/tied a bag on a Monday and your collection is due on a Thursday, that bag can be put out for collection on Thursday morning. However, if you have filled/tied a bag on a Monday and your collection is due on a Wednesday, you would need to hold onto that bag until your collection day the following week.
Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.
This advice is based on guidance form central government, designed to prevent transmission of the virus.
NFDC service updates are being added to our website:
Can we help?
For anyone stuck at home and unable to get out we are very happy to help. We are offering a free delivery service within 10 miles of Hockey’s for any goods we sell. We have bread, milk, fruit and vegetables, cheeses, eggs and cakes all available along with our usual butchery service.
Just call or email with your order. Payments can be taken via card or bank transfer. Orders over £25 if possible please.
If you need any more information please call us on 01425 652542.
Stay well everyone.
Following the latest advice from the government all Parish and Planning meetings are suspended until further notice. Urgent matters and planning applications will be dealt with between councillors by email.
Please contact the Clerk with any issues you wish the Council to consider: