A Community Support Hub has been launched to help community groups, vulnerable people and to coordinate and support the community response to Covid-19. Click HERE to view the webpage.
A number of organisations, including Healthwatch West Berkshire, have come together to offer help and support to residents of West Berkshire during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
West Berkshire Council has teamed up with the voluntary and charity sectors to launch a Community Support Hub where people can go for advice and information.
The aim of the hub is to try to keep people updated on the situation and let them know what they can do and where they can get help if they need it.
The hub has also been set up to ensure that the district’s elderly and most vulnerable residents have access to food, medication and anything else they need.
Organisations including Newbury Soup Kitchen, West Berkshire Foodbank, Citizens Advice West Berkshire, the Community Furniture Project, Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, Healthwatch West Berkshire, Greenham Trust and Newbury Weekly News are all involved.
The initial meeting of the community hub was held on Monday and the group intend to convene every Monday going forward to discuss how best to communicate with residents.
A dedicated website has been set up which you view by clicking HERE and there is also a telephone number people can call if they need to – (01635) 503579.
Healthwatch West Berkshire Chair, Mike Fereday said, “ We are of course delighted, as a trusted key independent statutory Health Champion, to be joining voluntary and professional colleagues in ensuring that the public in West Berkshire get the best information and help, or in fact, step forward to volunteer during this difficult period”
Those wishing to volunteer their time or services can also call this number and they will be directed to whichever organisation or area is relevant.
However, this number should not be called by anyone seeking medical advice or displaying symptoms.
Greenham Trust chief executive Chris Boulton, who helped set up the hub, said: “As things linked to coronavirus continued to unfold last weekend, it became clear to me that we needed to help mobilise the charitable sector in West Berkshire, including Greenham Trust, to work collaboratively with the council to support those who will be most vulnerable over the next few weeks and months.
“There was a tremendous response from local charities and voluntary organisations to a call for a meeting on Monday evening and from that the Community Support Hub was formed.
“This hub will now meet weekly in order to help guide and assist those who can provide help in the most productive ways possible.”
In addition, a number of community groups have been formed across the district – many of them on Facebook – which are also offering help to the most isolated.
27/03/20 – Letter from Lynne Doherty Leader of West Berkshire Council and Nick Carter Chief Executive West Berkshire Council
|“As we come to the end of a difficult week, both in West Berkshire and across the country, we thought it would be useful to write to you to give you a rundown of the communications activity we have undertaken this week. We hope that this will be useful to you and your communities as we respond to the impact of Covid-19. Our Community Support Hub is up and running. This is being organised by our excellent Building Communities Together team in partnership with Volunteer Centre West Berkshire and Greenham Trust.|
The Hub will offer guidance and help coordinate organisations representing their communities. If someone you know needs help or you would like to volunteer, please contact us on: 01635 503579 or: email@example.com
Our designated page for residents provides vital updates on our services, of which more below, as well as support that is available, such as assistance for those struggling to pay their council tax. This can be found here: www.westberks.gov.uk/coronavirus-residents
We are also working hard to support our businesses. We announced this week that on top of the support outlined here by national government: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business
We will also be offering all businesses in West Berkshire a business rates deferral for April 2020. This puts vital cash flow into the pockets of businesses when they need it most, which is key to the economic success of the district. For more, go to: www.westberks.gov.uk/coronavirus-business
The Council Offices are now closed to the public in accordance with Government advice. We will review this as that advice is updated. However, officers are still working where possible, albeit from home in many cases, and are available to assist residents and communities in need of help. Please get in touch if you need us.
Our Household Waste Recycling Centres, Libraries, Leisure Centres and Family Hubs are now closed and bulky waste collections have been suspended in line with national social distancing guidance. We would encourage anyone who comes across workers from our contractor, Veolia, to respect the important job they are doing.
Car parking charges have been suspended in all of our surface car parks. This is to minimise the burden on key workers at this difficult time and will also assist everyone to comply with social distancing guidance.
There have been changes to some bus routes across the district. Local bus services 5, 5a, 5c, 41, 44, 47 and H1 operated by West Berkshire Council are suspended until further notice. As of next Monday, the JetBlack1 will also be reduced to an hourly service, and the 1a/1c will be withdrawn. Keyworkers who require assistance with essential travel can contact us for help on 01635 551111.
The team has been busy producing an advice leaflet that will be going out to every household in the district. This outlines the support available from West Berkshire Council.
In line with national guidance, we are encouraging residents to ‘Stay at Home’. This is vital as we seek to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on our community and we are grateful for the cooperation of people across West Berkshire in this. We appreciate that this is a big ask, particularly in terms of mental health and for those who live alone, so the Public Health Team has put together some tips and advice for coping with self-isolation which will be updated as the situation progresses. These can be found here: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/publichealth
We hope you, your families and your communities are staying safe throughout this time. I would emphasise again that West Berkshire Council is here to help and if you are struggling, we will do all we can.
Lynne Doherty Leader of the Council firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Carter Chief Executive email@example.com”
27/03/20 – Have there been changes to bus services?
Information about changes to bus services during the coronavirus pandemic
If you are a key worker and a West Berkshire Council run bus service that you normally use is not running due to suspended services or timetable reductions, please in the first instance try to arrange alternative transport such as a household member giving you a lift or calling a taxi.
If you are still finding it difficult to travel to or from your workplace then contact West Berkshire Council’s Community Support Hub on: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 01635 503579 to ask for assistance/advice. We may be able to help.
Changes may happen at short notice, so check with operators before you travel. Unfortunately, these services have had to be suspended until further notice:
- 5, 5a and 5c from Newbury to downlands villages
- 41 serving Newbury, Thatcham, Chapel Row and Theale
- 44 serving Thatcham, Brimpton, Tadley, Aldermaston and Beenham
- 47 between Lambourn and Swindon
- 75 serving Theale, Beenham and Newbury
- 154 from Beech Hill to Reading
- H1 Hungerford Town Service
In addition, Going Forward Buses services M1, 133 and 142 operating in Pangbourne and Streatley will not be running from the 28 March 2020.
Reading Buses are operating on a Saturday timetable on Jet Black 1, Lime 2/a and Reading local services. The Jet Black continues to serve Arlington Business Park. From the 30th March 2020 the Jet Black 1 will be reduced to an hourly service, changes to other bus services will also come into effect. Further information and timetables can be found on Reading Buses website.
All other routes are still operating normal school holiday services, including Kennections, Newbury and District, Stagecoach and Swindon Bus.
However, from the 30th March 2020 Stagecoach are making changes to following routes: The Link Service (Newbury to Basingstoke will run every two hours), The Jazz 2 service (Basingstoke to Baughurst) will run every 30 mins, 7 & 7a service (Newbury to Andover) will only run on Tuesdays & Thursdays with a reduce timetable. Information can be found on Stagecoach’s website.
Thames Travel are currently operating normal services. From 30 March 2020 the 143 will operate a Saturday timetable, information on changes to other services can be found on Thames Travel’s website.