Good Council Practice

Winter Well-being Hub (Ceredigion CC)  

Ceredigion County Council have created a new online Winter Well-being Hub to support the wellbeing of Ceredigion residents over the autumn and winter months.  

Activities and events that would normally take place during this time of year are no longer possible due to the pandemic. So, the Hub provides a range of activities to undertake on-line and includes information and videos on a range of topics such as available support, health and wellbeing, young people and learning.  

The Winter Well-being is in line with the Council’s Winter Strategy, to protect the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable, including care services for the elderly and those whose medical conditions make them particularly at risk from COVID-19. 

Launch of the Carers Card (Ceredigion CC)  

Carer Card has been launched by Ceredigion County Council, for unpaid carers who look after family members or friends who would not be able to manage on their own without the support and care of an unpaid carer. 

The Carer Card is a photo ID card issued by Ceredigion County Council’s Carers Unit to carers aged 18 and over who have registered with the councils Carers Information Service. 

The card has been developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. During the early months of the pandemic, many carers contacted the council to ask for something they could use to prove that they are caring for someone if they were challenged when collecting and delivering essential supplies for that person. 

Cardholders will have access to priority shopping opportunities with retailers who are participating in the scheme. A list of retailers and other benefits is available on the councils Carer Card page. 

Conwy Community Support Service (Conwy CBC) 

Conwy County Borough Council established the Community Support Service(CSS) helpline in March 2020, the purpose of which was to provide assistance to anyone within the community who wasn’t able to call on friends, family or neighbours to ask for help with picking up shopping, delivering medication etc. Assistance was initially provided through volunteer matching and we then moved on to using temporarily redeployed staff from other services within the council. Volunteers were encouraged to register with Community & Voluntary Support Conwy(CVSC) to be matched with local organisations. Conwy CBC have an agreement with a number of local shops and both Tesco stores in the county to take payment over the phone from individuals using the CSS for shopping requests. When the Conwy Staff are at the till, the shop ring the customer who then pay for their shopping over the phone. There is also a process in place to assist if individuals have no means to pay by card over the phone. The CSS service has been scaled back in line with easing lockdown rules and the number of requests we receive reduce. All surgeries and pharmacies have been informed and have been encouraged to register with the RedCross if they need assistance with prescription deliveries.

Neath Port Talbot Council supports schools with home learning (Neath Port Talbot CBC) 

Schools supported home learning throughout the lockdown period.

Neath Port Talbot Council surveyed all of their schools on their distance learning provision and a Continuity of Learning Plan was written and shared with all schools as a result.

The survey identified any shortcomings with regards to training and support required and council officers supported any school that required technical support in order to deliver distance learning.

The council has provided over 1000 devices for pupils with no appropriate IT equipment and / or internet access.

In preparation for re-opening, all NPT schools prepared recovery plans and risk assessments based on the guidance provided by the council school improvement team and Welsh Government, and the council provided guidance on Blended Learning. During reopening, the council ensured Headteachers received weekly support to update them on key developments and to discuss concerns. A dedicated FAQ portal was established.

Tackling Food Poverty through the Pandemic (Swansea CC) 

At the beginning of the pandemic Swansea Council and its partners in the Health and Voluntary Sectors came together to form a coordinated response. One element of which was the establishment a working group consisting of redeployed officers from Cultural Services, Poverty and Prevention, Local Area Coordination and Swansea Council for Voluntary Service (SCVS). The Council and SCVS began to map food provision across the county to ensure that any individuals in need had access to information on where to source appropriate food. The information was provided on the Council’s website, and also via the SCVS direct signposting service, which gathered information by GP Cluster area. The Council has supported the community foodbanks throughout the pandemic, via the donations and purchased product, managed at the Food Distribution Centres, and SCVS have successfully secured FareShare deliveries for several independent food banks in the County. If there is an urgent need for food and other essentials, all individuals are linked into this network and a ‘crisis pack’ will be delivered either by the local authority or SCVS. Swansea Together, a public-third-private sector partnership between SCVS, the Local Authority, Matthew’s House, Crisis, The Wallich, Zac’s Place and Mecca Bingo has provided thousands of meals to very vulnerable people during the crisis. The partnership has been supported with advice, promotion, food supplies, volunteers and transport by both SCVS and the Local Authority.

Supporting Isolated Vulnerable People through the Buddy Scheme (Caerphilly CBC) 

During the third week of March Caerphilly CBC wrote to all 70,000 plus households in the county borough offering support for people concerned about the UK Government advice to self-isolate if over 70, or with an underlying health condition, if they felt they would be unable to cope with daily shopping or picking up prescriptions. 1560 older and vulnerable adults rang the dedicated helpline asking for support. At the same time a call to action was issued to staff able to help as volunteers to provide an immediate response. Over 590 staff eventually ended up acting as Buddies being matched with up to 10 older and vulnerable adults/families each. As accessing cash was a difficulty, and no WCVA cash handling guidance existed at that time, corporate credit cards and petty cash access was set up at short notice to prevent allegations of financial abuse and fraud. Residents were invoiced at a later date for shopping bought on their behalf. At the same time the Council provided enhanced DBS checked drivers to local pharmacies to help with deliveries of medication as normal driver services were not operational. As the lockdown eased and shielding ended many staff have continued to maintain a befriending role with the people they have been supporting. The scheme is now working with the voluntary sector and local community groups to support the lesser number of people still requiring support through the Community Regeneration Team working with the local CVC. A jointly appointed Volunteer Coordinator is helping to manage the Buddy Scheme with a view to developing a more formal corporate volunteering scheme as a legacy. The Community Regeneration Team are working closely with local community COVID volunteer groups particularly in helping isolated people registered on the Buddy Scheme become more connected to their communities.

Locality Response Service to support Vulnerable People (Blaenau Gwent CBC) 

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council pulled together a Locality Response Service staffed by redeployed staff to support the increased demand for non-statutory support related to COVID-19 restrictions during the height of the pandemic and to protect front line social care. This service worked closely with the Third sector to provide ongoing support through this time for residents. Residents have been supported with grant applications, food banks, ongoing referrals for specialist support such as mental health, Gwent Drug and Alcohol Support, supporting people services and social services if required. At the beginning of lockdown and through the summer the council dealt with over 1000 requests for help with shopping, collecting prescriptions and other befriending activities. As restrictions eased and shielding paused, the council looked at options to scale back the service. The team directly contacted all open cases to ensure they could transition into a more sustainable support arrangement. 

Communicating with Bridgend residents during COVID-19 (Bridgend CBC) 

Bridgend County Borough Council’s website has been a key source of information for residents during the pandemic, with daily updates on Covid-19 support.

To reach residents without access to digital platforms, the council distributed leaflets to all households in the borough highlighting support from the council during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This included making people aware that support is available in a variety of different languages - for example, the ‘support for people in the pandemic’ page of the council website features links to multilingual Welsh Government resources.

The council issued 90 specific Covid-19 lockdown news updates to key audiences, at a rate of one a day between March and July, and have developed this into an ongoing bi-weekly media update to keep key audiences informed about latest developments during the pandemic.

The council works closely with umbrella organisations, e.g. the Bridgend Community Cohesion and Equality Forum and the Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations, to distribute information to specific groups.

They work alongside partners such as Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board, South Wales Police, town and community councils etc. to disseminate information, and support these partners by using their council communication channels to share information that they have produced.

Denbighshire Proactive Calling Project and befriending service (Denbighshire CC) 

During the lockdown period, Denbighshire County Council set up the ‘proactive calling project’. In addition to calling all of the shielding residents in the county, they called all non-shielding vulnerable people over the age of 70. Scripts were produced and followed to ensure all residents were offered all support available, including a referral to the Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council (which links volunteers with those who need a bit of extra help) or support from the council’s befriending service.

The befriending service was set up to help those who feel isolated and want someone to chat too. Volunteers, including councillors, have a chat with residents to help their well-being during this uncertain and for some, lonely, time.

The be-friending service is continuing after much success during the lockdown.

The Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council are also continuing their support, linking volunteers with those who need a bit of extra help e.g. shopping and collecting prescriptions.

The Denbighshire County Council Community Resource Pack, put together to help residents with support during the lockdown period, continues to be updated and available on the website. 

Welfare checks and support for council tenants (Wrexham CBC) 

Since 23 March 2020, 21,595 welfare calls have been made by Wrexham County Borough Council Housing Officers to their council tenants.

All Council tenants have been contacted at least once and officers are continuing with a second round of welfare calls, although this is now being impacted by the re-commencement of other housing functions and many tenants returning to work.  Tenants who couldn’t be reached by telephone have received a letter asking them to make contact with their Housing Office.

During the pandemic the support offered by the council’s Housing Officers has included financial advice and assistance, assistance with submitting Universal Credit claims and Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP), arranging affordable rent payment plans with tenants who were furloughed, and referrals to the Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham for food parcels, prescription delivery and shopping. 

Officers also promoted services that may be beneficial for isolating tenants and made referrals to agencies offering support and advice on loneliness, domestic violence, mental health, and anti-social behaviour. Officers were also advising on the free school meals provision and raising awareness of scams to help keep vulnerable tenants safe.  For some tenants, the calls just meant a friendly person for them to speak to as they were feeling isolated.  The calls were very well received and appreciated by tenants.

Supporting Bridgend’s carers during the pandemic (Bridgend CBC) 

In Bridgend, considerable effort has been made to ensure carers have the support they need during the pandemic.

The Council’s existing Carers Wellbeing Service provided a 24 hour helpline to support carers during Lockdown. The service received a high level of calls and proved to be of high value to carers during the challenging period.

The council’s carer services have developed/introduced a range of ways to communicate with carers during the pandemic, including posters and information, direct telephone calls to check on the wellbeing of carers, regular emails, using video technology such as zoom and using social media.In addition, services such as counselling sessions and advice have been provided over the telephone to support carers.

Arrangements have been made for carers in Bridgend county borough to be provided PPE in line with the national guidance.

Adapting support for Merthyr Tydfil’s young carers (Merthyr Tydfil CBC) 

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council’s service for young carers has needed to adapt to a new way of working during the pandemic, to meet young carers needs and support their safety.

Assessments are now undertaken via digital means or via socially distanced garden sessions.

Group sessions, such as the young carers choir, are now undertaken via zoom. There has also been a move to digital and outdoor one to one sessions.

The council makes contact with all young carers weekly, during which emotional and practical support is explored. Practical support includes help with tasks such as shopping, an activity which may previously have been supported by an extended family member. Supporting young carers to engage in educational sessions and access digital learning has been an area of support the young carers service has worked with education colleagues to achieve.

The council has also frequently provided young carers with activity and resource packs.

The high level of contact maintained with young carers during the pandemic has allowed the council to adjust to their support needs, whilst working in a manner that adheres to government guidance.

 

Partnership working at the heart of reopening tourism (Pembrokeshire CC) 

Pembrokeshire County Council’s approach to managing the destination to ensure visitors, staff and communities were kept safe over the summer involved significant partnership working.

At a regional level, the council worked with Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion County Councils, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (PCNPA) and Hywel Dda University Health Board to advise Welsh Government on the approach to safely reopening the tourism economy. On a Pembrokeshire footprint, the tourism infrastructure task and finish group, comprising Pembrokeshire County Council, PCNPA, Pembrokeshire Tourism and PLANED, along with other partners such as the National Trust and Dyfed Powys Police, have worked together to coordinate the approach to reopening the visitor infrastructure and the risk planning and communication strategies.

The authority established an Incident Management Centre (IMC), which operated seven days a week, morning to night, throughout the summer holiday period and included multiagency meetings involving the Police, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Fire and Rescue, Ambulance and PCNPA. A visitor welcome team, alongside other staff from a range of council departments and partner agencies, fed information on the ground through to the IMC for speedy resolution. Issues being managed included social distancing, litter, anti-social behaviour, wild camping, parking infringements etc.

17 September 2020 14:35:00 Categories: COVID-19 COVID-19 (Tourism - Partnership) Economy Pembrokeshire

Residents, businesses and local stakeholders involved in economic recovery (Newport CC) 

Economic recovery, including the safe reopening of the city centre, is critical for Newport City Council and an economic recovery plan has been adopted by the council’s cabinet.

A survey of residents and businesses was undertaken to understand people’s concerns and priorities and a Task and Finish Group was set up to focus on how to embark on economic recovery in a safe and informed way. This group includes representation from the Newport Now BID, Gwent Police, Registered Social Landlords, Business Representatives (including the Chamber of Commerce) and third sector groups such as the Newport Access Group, Guide Dogs Cymru and Newport People First. The focus of the group has been on communication and information, supporting Newport businesses, place making and public safety.

Libraries go online to support users remotely (Vale of Glamorgan C) 

During lockdown, libraries in Vale of Glamorgan developed online initiatives to continue to support library users remotely. As services re-open, they are maintaining or increasing levels of online activity and see this as being the start of a new way of working and providing content online.

The libraries have made extensive use of social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to provide numerous activities including bilingual storytimes from Cowbridge library, and interactive sing-a-long rhyme time videos from Penarth library.

Much of the work to create these videos is done by staff from home using their own equipment and their own expertise in filming and editing video content.

Online clubs for both adults and children have been established in place of existing library-based clubs, including an online book club, online lego clubs, code clubs and art clubs.

Phase one of re-opening Vale of Glamorgan libraries involved providing a Click & Collect book service to customers, for which they developed an online booking system which has proved effective.

The general presence of Vale of Glamorgan Libraries on social media became a focus and they have found they are reaching a wider new audience through regular posting of interesting and humorous content, rather than simply making announcements, and sharing updates.

Repurposing tourist attraction to support the community (Caerphilly CBC) 

Llancaiach Fawr Manor is a tourist attraction located in Nelson, Caerphilly which portrays life in 1645 through live interpretation to approximately 60,000 visitors and school children each year. There are also conference rooms, an education centre, a café, restaurant and gift shop.

During the lockdown period, the majority of staff volunteered to be redeployed to the buddy scheme, to pick up prescriptions and shopping for the vulnerable residents of the county borough who were shielding. Others joined the Track and Trace Programme Team.

The education centre has been temporarily repurposed as a distribution hub. Donations are collected by staff and parcels created for delivery to food banks.

The bar and restaurant have been utilised for the provision of a childcare hub run in partnership with the Caerphilly County Borough Council Youth Service, School and Music service, Arts Development Team and Healthy Schools Service to ease childcare issues during the summer holidays for Blue Light Workers.

Preparations for the ‘new normal’ have included delivering workshops online and providing an outreach service to schools. The café has re-opened and the formal gardens and patio area furnished with outdoor seating. Take away meals and Sunday lunches have gone from strength to strength. 

 

Theatr Clwyd remains vital for its community during pandemic (Flintshire CC) 

Theatr Clwyd in Mold, Flintshire has not put on a show in months but has remained vital for its community during the pandemic.

It has been the main centre for blood donations in North East Wales, supporting the NHS to keep up their blood stocks.

Working with the council’s social services, they have helped to get food stocks out to families in need within the county. They have also run a successful ‘Rainbow Box’ appeal, which asked members of the community to donate boxes of arts and crafts materials for vulnerable young people. Over 300 were donated and distributed.

The theatre moved all of its weekly workshops online (from dementia groups to youth sessions) and has been delivering them to over 200 people per week.

Over the summer, the theatre became one of the main hubs for vulnerable and disabled children in Flintshire and also offered spaces for North Wales NHS children during the summer holidays.

The theatre has also supported a young local boy, who was accepted at the Royal Ballet School but whose place has been postponed. Following contact from his local Councillor, he has been training twice a week on stage.

Neighbourhood Hubs support vulnerable residents during lockdown (Newport CC) 

Newport’s four Neighbourhood Hubs proved invaluable in supporting and assisting some of the city’s most vulnerable residents during the lockdown.

A Freephone number was established to ensure residents had easy access to support and the hubs teams have distributed over 800 emergency food parcels. Activity packs have been provided for younger and older residents and in collaboration with Health colleagues, baby bundles have been provided for new parents struggling during the lockdown period. 

Hubs staff have also contacted over 5000 shielding residents. They have provided a check in service during these calls, offering support and making referrals to partner agencies where required. General support with shopping, prescription collection, befriending and dog walking has been provided by referrals through to Volunteering Matters Wales

Other community groups have been eager to help vulnerable residents, including the Newport Yemeni Community Association, who have been delivering food to isolating residents and Save the Children, who have provided essentials to families, including access to digital resources. A Newport wide survey identified more than 2,500 children without access to a digital device or a reliable internet connection. As a result nearly 800 devices were loaned to pupils along with 1261 units to provide a 4G internet connection.

Safe and Well Project to support vulnerable residents (Neath Port Talbot C) 

The Neath Port Talbot Council Safe and Well Service was established at the start of the coronavirus outbreak to support residents who were shielding and had nobody to call on for help with daily living tasks such as shopping and collecting medicines.

Members and officers also identified other groups of people who needed support, including people who needed to self-isolate and had no support, young carers, parents of children entitled to free school meals unable to receive BACS payments; and carers of people shielding and self-isolating.

Approximately 1,300 people received support from the service between the end of March 2020 and the end of June 2020.

A food hub was established where staff from a number of different departments collaborated to source food, ensure its safe storage, handling and distribution, made deliveries, kept good records, prepared healthy menus that catered for specific dietary requirements and ensured emergency food provision where circumstances warranted it. These arrangements were identified by Welsh Government as an example of good practice.

Circa 100 employees volunteered in their own time and circa 450 residents registered an interest to volunteer with the service. Volunteers were trained and then worked with local councillors to support the local community. A Volunteer Co-ordinator will be recruited in order to support the project and function and a strategy is being developed with input from councillors and community organisations to establish what will be needed in the ‘new normal’.

Council Buy Local directory (Neath Port Talbot CBC) 

At the start of the lockdown, Neath Port Talbot council created NPT Buy Local, a simple online directory on NPT.gov.uk showing which local businesses were providing home deliveries and support.

This was built to test the hypothesis that it would help residents during Covid-19 by signposting them to local businesses, provide exposure for local businesses with a digital listing on our website and help support and grow the local economy.

It has had a positive impact, with 6,000 page views since its launch. Many residents shopped for the first time with their local greengrocer, butcher or farm store as they were unable to shop online with the major supermarkets who could not cope with demand and for the first time many local businesses who were digitally excluded had the opportunity to reach new customers online.

Further iterations have been delivered, improving the layout of the directory, creating categories to make it easier for residents to locate businesses and setting up a database to store and manage business listings.

The Council now intends to build on the work already delivered during Covid-19 to bring the council, its businesses and residents closer together, with the vision of creating a platform for a virtual high street to complement (not compete with) the traditional high street.

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