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From Oxfordshire County Council media team - June 2020
 
 
 
 
 
 
For the latest Coronavirus advice, local information and support from SODC, please check the SODC website link below:

http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/services-and-advice/coronavirus-community-support
Parking charges to be re-introduced in South and Vale car parks

Released on 1 June 2020
Parking charges will be re-introduced in district council car parks across South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse from Monday 8 June.  
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have allowed people to park for free since 26 March, to support key workers and those who need to shop for essential food or medical supplies during the Coronavirus pandemic after travel restrictions were put in place. 
However with many restrictions now lifted, and following the government’s announcement that outdoor markets and car showrooms can re-open on 1 June and non-essential retail on 15 June, the councils will now re-introduce parking fees.
The move will help to improve the availability of parking spaces as people start to visit local shops again and encourage them to consider using more sustainable travel methods when visiting our town centres.
Car parks will operate as normal, meaning that motorists must display a ticket or have a valid online or text payment confirmation, including during any free hours offered in the charging period.  Normal rates will apply.  New permits will be issued or re-issued to anyone whose permit would’ve normally expired since lockdown began. 
NHS staff and care workers who display a national COVID-19 pass can continue to park for free.  To claim a pass, staff should email carparks.southandvale.uk@sabagroup.com, including proof of their employment.
Cllr Jenny Hannaby, Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “I’m sure many people will have appreciated being able to park for free during the recent weeks.  However, with restrictions being reduced and shops soon be able to open again, we must now ensure that we have sufficient spaces available for people who wish to visit our local shops.”
Cllr David Rouane, Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “To support NHS staff and care workers we will continue to offer them free parking when displaying a COVID-19 pass.  This is just a small gesture of thanks for the vital work they have carried out, and continue to carry out, during the pandemic.”
For more information about district council car parks please visit southoxon.gov.uk/parking or whitehorsedc.gov.uk/parking.


Communications
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
01235 422400
www.southoxon.gov.uk | @southoxon 
www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk | @whitehorsedc 
Volunteers make all the difference in South and Vale

Released on 1 June 2020
 
At the start of national volunteers’ week, the leaders of South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have offered their heartfelt and sincerest thanks to the thousands of volunteers that are helping in their communities.
 
Within days of lockdown starting, charities and voluntary groups in our districts were helping those in need. As it became clear more support was required hundreds of residents set up informal help groups in their local communities to make sure their most vulnerable and isolated neighbours were able to get help.
 
They used the powers of social media to recruit other volunteers and to get the message out to those who needed it. They also used more traditional methods to reach people, such as telephone calls, door-knocking and posting home-made leaflets through their neighbours’ doors.
 
There’s no doubt these local heroes have saved lives in their communities – they have been the backbone of the country’s response to the crisis.
 
To help coordinate the community response, the district councils set up a community hub, which has helped bring the hundreds of independent groups and individuals into a huge linked network of volunteers responding to requests for help.
 
Working together with the district councils and others, local volunteer groups have made an enormous difference to people who are having to self-isolate.  They’re carrying out tasks that in normal circumstances would normally seem simple such as doing the food shopping or picking up people’s prescriptions. 
 
More than 30 members of staff at the council have been redeployed to work on a community support helpline to support the coordinated effort across the county.  So far, the helpline has referred 910 people onto community groups for ongoing support.  The district councils have also created a food hub, which has supplied meals for 783 adults and children. 
 
Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council said, “I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of local volunteers that have been helping their neighbours and some of our most vulnerable residents. I hope the work that we have been able to do as a council creates a long-lasting legacy of active community groups that support vulnerable and isolated residents far beyond this pandemic to support ever more cohesive and connected communities”
 
Cllr Sue Cooper, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council said, “We are so grateful to our local community groups, volunteers and own staff that have stepped up and helped to provide all the extra support.  Without them, vulnerable people would have undoubtedly suffered so much more during the pandemic.”

Note to Editors: Anyone in South Oxfordshire or Vale of White Horse that is vulnerable but not considered high risk can call our Community Support team Monday to Saturday 9am-6pm on 01235 422600 or email communitysupport@southandvale.gov.uk 


Communications
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
01235 422400
www.southoxon.gov.uk | @southoxon 
www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk | @whitehorsedc 
Bulky waste services return - message from SODC - 23/4/20
 
To help residents deal with some of the waste they may have built up during this pandemic, we have reopened our bulky waste collection service for large household items, such as sofas and washing machines. We had initially suspended the service to focus on collecting kerbside household waste while some of the waste crews were off sick or self-isolating. We will keep the situation under constant review and if necessary, suspend it again if staffing levels become an issue. 
 
Whilst recycling centres and charity shops stay closed, we’re urging residents to store any waste that we cannot collect through our regular kerbside service.
Businesses in South and Vale urged to submit COVID-19 grant requests

Businesses in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse that are yet to submit their details for grant support in response to COVID-19 are being urged to do so as soon as possible.

More than 65 per cent of businesses based in southern Oxfordshire have already submitted their details and South Oxfordshire District Council and Vale of White Horse District Council have promised all those who have done so, and are eligible for support, that they will receive their grant money by 30 April. 
However, with just under 35 per cent of businesses still to submit their details, the councils are urging all those who haven’t already done so, and who need funding support, to go to their respective council’s website and complete the online form.

So far more than 2,500 businesses have submitted their details for the grants which are available to help those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.  By the close of play on Monday 20 April, the two councils will have paid out more than £15 million in grant funding to local businesses.

For more information and to confirm your eligibility for a Small Business Grant please go to:

Cllr Leigh Rawlins, Cabinet Member for Finance at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We know this is an extremely challenging and worrying time for many people. However, we would urge business owners who are struggling and have not submitted their details for the available grant to get in touch.”
Cllr Andy Crawford, Cabinet Member for Finance at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Our team is working hard to provide urgent assistance to businesses badly affected by the pandemic. Unfortunately, it has affected many businesses very suddenly meaning we’ve had a huge number of submissions to deal with in a very short period of time. We are pleased to say that they are being processed and businesses are starting to receive this funding.”  
Additional information for businesses about the grants
Businesses receiving Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief who wish to receive grants of £10,000 are required to provide information via the form on their respective council website. Awards will be considered in accordance with government guidelines.
Businesses which are in receipt of the Enhanced Retail Discount for 2020/21 and have a rateable value of up to £15,000 which are not covered by the Small Business Grant Fund will also receive a grant of £10,000, in accordance with Government guidelines. Retail Leisure and Hospitality business properties with a rateable value of up to £50,999 will receive a grant of £25,000.
Businesses are eligible for a grant on more than one property, providing they meet the criteria.  However, they must submit a separate form for each property.
Please note – it may take several days for grant money issued to appear in businesses bank accounts.
If you are self-employed and in urgent need of financial assistance the government has advised that you should apply for Universal Credit  and Council Tax Reduction.  This will provide you with support until a grant for the self-employed becomes available in June.


Communications
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
01235 422400
Press Release from OCC

Oxfordshire residents warned against coronavirus scams
 
Residents have been warned to be on their guard against criminals and scammers exploiting the coronavirus situation.
 
In Oxfordshire, County Council’s Trading Standards has received reports of scams targeting people via emails, text messages, and on the doorstep.
 
There are many genuine community efforts to help residents; to provide good quality advice and support. But unfortunately, not everyone is trustworthy, and some people will take advantage of this unprecedented situation.
 
Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Community Safety, said:
 
“It is hard to believe that some people will look to take advantage of the situation our country is facing, but unfortunately this is a reality.
 
“Where possible, Trading Standards will pursue and tackle these despicable individuals, but preventing people becoming victims in the first place is key.
 
“Be a good friend; help protect your family, friends and neighbours from scams.”
 
Jody Kerman, Head of Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards, said:
 
“Action Fraud has recently reported that coronavirus-related fraud reports have increased by 400% in March. 
 
“These scams come in many different guises so, before taking any action or agreeing to an offer: Stop, ‘take five’, and discuss with a trusted friend or family member.”
 
 
Here are some of the scams Trading Standards is aware of…
Remember, criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:
 
  • Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19).
 
  • People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
 
  • Emails offering a refund on council tax, utility bills, or similar are usually bogus and they are just after personal and bank details.
 
  • There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect against or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
 
  • There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give updates on the virus, but instead they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
 
  • People offering to do shopping or collect medication, asking for money upfront and then disappearing.
 
  • People offering home cleaning services.
 
  • Remember: Banks or the police will never ask for account details over the phone.
 
 
Tips to avoid being scammed:
 
  • Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Do not be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it, or shut the door.
 
  • Take your time; do not be rushed into making a decision that you will probably regret.
 
  • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone is trying to tempt you into accepting a service, they are unlikely to be genuine.
 
  • Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help if unsure.
 
  • If online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Type-out email addresses. Don’t click on links in emails.
 
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
 
  • Protect your financial information, especially from people you do not know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.
 
  • Know who you are dealing with. If you need help, talk to someone you know or use the contact numbers provided below.
 
Contact information:
 
  • If you think you have been scammed, report it to Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040.
 
  • If you need advice, call Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline: 0808 223 1133.
 
  • If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
 
  • Contact your bank if you think you have been financially scammed.
 
  • Age UK runs a telephone support service (for older people and carers): 01865 411288.
 
To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk and complete the free online training.
 
End
Press Release from OCC

Scam advice for Oxfordshire residents (charity worker scams)
 
Oxfordshire residents have been warned to be on their guard against criminals and scammers exploiting the coronavirus situation.
 
Some scammers are claiming to be charity workers, offering assistance with shopping, or requesting donations.
 
Here are some tips from Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team on how to check charity workers are genuine:
 
How to check if they are genuine:
 
  • Check the charity’s name and registration number at gov.uk/checkcharity. Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered.
  • Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information – it’s ok to decide not to give on the spot. Be wary of unsolicited emails from charities you have never heard of and be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them.
  • Exercise the same caution as with any other internet transaction, for example, to donate online. Visit the charity’s own website and always type the website address into the browser yourself.
  • Contact or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with, to find out more about their spending. Ask a trusted friend, neighbour or relative if you are unable to research this or need a second opinion.
  • Ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company.
 
Full details and advice from Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team here:
https://news.oxfordshire.gov.uk/oxfordshire-residents-warned-against-coronavirus-scams/
 
Many thanks
 
Chris Dyson
Press Officer
Oxfordshire County Council
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Support for people struggling financially due to the Coronavirus pandemic

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils are putting a range of measures in place to help people who are being affected financially by the Coronavirus pandemic, including support for individuals and for businesses.
Support for individuals - council tax
Hardship fund for people on Council Tax Reduction
The government has confirmed details of a £500million hardship fund.  Under this scheme, people in receipt of Council Tax Reduction will receive a minimum of £150 off their council tax bill for 2020/2021, unless their bill is less than £150, in which case their bill will be reduced to zero. This is in addition to any support they already receive.  
The councils are now working to confirm the amount each individual qualifying household will receive off their bill – as soon as this is complete, revised bills will be issued.
Council tax payments
Where possible, people should continue to pay their bills as normal.  If someone is genuinely having difficulty paying their council tax, they should contact our council tax team on:

People who are currently not being paid, and are struggling to pay their bill, are encouraged to apply for Council Tax Reduction – their account will then be put on hold for 30 days while their application is processed.
To apply for Council Tax Reduction please visit southoxon.gov.uk/ctrs or whitehorsedc.gov.uk/ctrs
For more information about support and advice for individuals please visit southoxon.gov.uk/covid19 or whitehorsedc.gov.uk/covid19
Advice and support for businesses
The councils are prioritising awarding the extensions to retail rate relief to existing accounts and working to identify eligible ratepayers.  Work has also taken place to identify and collate the necessary information to allow the councils to pay Small Business and Retail Grants.
 
Letters have gone out to ratepayers who we believe qualify.  To claim a grant, businesses should complete the required form which can be found at:

Payments will begin to be processed from week commencing 6 April. 


Those that can pay their bills should do so as normal, however those businesses who are genuinely having difficulty paying their business rates should contact our business rates team via:

 
The South & Vale Business Support team publishes the latest government advice and support on svbs.co.uk and via twitter (@TeamSVBS), including about rates relief and business support grants.  Business can also sign up to receive an e-newsletter via the website.
 
The website also lists the latest job vacancies for individuals seeking temporary employment, exercises to stay healthy while working from home, and links to mental health organisations.
 
The government has advised those who are self-employed who are in urgent need of financial assistance to apply for Universal Credit and Council Tax Reduction.  This will provide them with support until a grant for the self-employed becomes available in June.
 
Cllr Andy Crawford, Cabinet Member for Finance at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “We are working hard to put measures into place to provide urgent assistance to council tax-payers and businesses that have been badly affected by the pandemic.  Thank you to everyone for their patience during this time.  Following each announcement, we have to wait for government guidance and these schemes can take time to set up and check who is eligible.”  
 
Cllr Leigh Rawlins, Cabinet Member for Finance at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We know this is an extremely challenging and worrying time for many people.  We hope that the measures we are putting in place will help to put people’s minds a little more at ease.  Above all though, our advice is, if you are struggling to pay please get in touch with our council tax or business rates teams and they will do their best to help you.”



Communications
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
01235 422400
www.southoxon.gov.uk | @southoxon 
www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk | @whitehorsedc 

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ALL CHURCH SERVICES FOR THE WHOLE LANGTREE TEAM ARE CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

ST MARY'S CHURCH IS NOW CLOSED

Shielding our most vulnerable

Our most vulnerable residents across Oxfordshire will have recently received correspondence from the NHS, identifying them as high risk and advising them to strictly self-isolate for 12 weeks.
 
We know this long term restriction may cause additional concerns for those without any nearby support and we want to make sure any shielded resident, who doesn’t know where to turn, are not handling these additional worries alone.
 
Local authorities across Oxfordshire have worked with the local Voluntary and Community Sector, to develop a simple point of contact for those who have been told by government that they have been identified as extremely vulnerable, and who have no support network and would otherwise be completely isolated.
 
From tomorrow this new, dedicated line will provide our extremely vulnerable residents access to a central team who will be able to offer advice on a range of issues and will be operational from 8:30am to 8:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am - 5:00pm Saturday and Sunday. 
 
If you or someone you know has been identified as extremely vulnerable by the NHS and have no support network, please contact the dedicated team on 01865 89 78 20 or email shield@oxfordshire.gov.uk. If you live in Oxford City, you can also phone 01865 24 98 11 between 8:00am and 5:00pm or visit www.oxford.gov.uk/CommunityAssistance
 
For those residents who are not in a high risk category but still in need of support, there are a number of initiatives taking place across the county. You can visit Oxfordshire All In or Oxford Together for more information on community support near you.
 
In South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse, anyone that is not considered high risk and does not have a support network around them to help, will be able to call their dedicated support line from 27 March at 9:00am on 01235 422600 or email communitysupport@southandvale.gov.uk 
 
The County, City and District Councils in Oxfordshire are all working hard to maintain frontline council services, so for any queries related to everyday council service please check out the County, City or relevant District website.
 
For more advice and information on Covid-19, please visit Public Health England



Communications
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
01235 422400
www.southoxon.gov.uk | @southoxon 
www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk | @whitehorsedc 

The list of Local Ipsden Suppliers can be found at:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14I0iwQo3nCDMifuMCS9C1KpKSCnTxmxE7yZrSdVBp0c/edit?usp=sharing

Please feel free to edit the spreadsheet to add in any other suppliers or services which might be on interest to others.

Oxfordshire residents warned against coronavirus scams

Residents have been warned to be on their guard against criminals and scammers exploiting the coronavirus situation.
In Oxfordshire, County Council’s Trading Standards has received reports of scams targeting people via emails, text messages, and on the doorstep.
There are many genuine community efforts to help residents; to provide good quality advice and support. But unfortunately, not everyone is trustworthy, and some people will take advantage of this unprecedented situation.
Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Community Safety, said:
“It is hard to believe that some people will look to take advantage of the situation our country is facing, but unfortunately this is a reality.
“Where possible, Trading Standards will pursue and tackle these despicable individuals, but preventing people becoming victims in the first place is key.
“Be a good friend; help protect your family, friends and neighbours from scams.”
Jody Kerman, Head of Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards, said:
“Action Fraud has recently reported that coronavirus-related fraud reports have increased by 400% in March.
“These scams come in many different guises so, before taking any action or agreeing to an offer: Stop, ‘take five’, and discuss with a trusted friend or family member.”

Here are some of the scams Trading Standards is aware of...

Remember, criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:
  • Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
  • Emails offering a refund on council tax, utility bills, or similar are usually bogus and they are just after personal and bank details.
  • There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect against or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
  • There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give updates on the virus, but instead they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
  • People offering to do shopping or collect medication, asking for money upfront and then disappearing.
  • People offering home cleaning services.
  • Remember: Banks or the police will never ask for account details over the phone.
Tips to avoid being scammed:
  • Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Do not be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it, or shut the door.
  • Take your time; do not be rushed into making a decision that you will probably regret.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone is trying to tempt you into accepting a service, they are unlikely to be genuine.
  • Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help if unsure.
  • If online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Type-out email addresses. Don’t click on links in emails.
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
  • Protect your financial information, especially from people you do not know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.
  • Know who you are dealing with. If you need help, talk to someone you know or use the contact numbers provided below.
Contact information:
  • If you think you have been scammed, report it to Action Fraud0300 123 2040.
  • If you need advice, call Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline0808 223 1133.
  • If you are in immediate danger, contact the police on 999.
  • Contact your bank if you think you have been financially scammed.
  • Age UK runs a telephone support service (for older people and carers): 01865 411288.
To learn more about different types of scams and how to protect yourself and others, visit www.FriendsAgainstScams.org.uk and complete the free online training.
South and Vale district councils launch online form to help businesses access government grants
 
 
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils are committed to supporting all local businesses and have launched an online form to help them apply for small business and retail grants.
 
Businesses in South Oxfordshire, can find the form and more details via the South website and businesses in the Vale of White Horse can access the information via the Vale website.
 
The two councils are working with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to understand the UK Government’s support for businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. The Government’s package of measures to support businesses include:
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
 
Both South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils are responsible for administering these programmes. Officers are working with BEIS to ensure the payment process adheres to the latest Government guidance. The businesses that are eligible for the grants and rates relief will be notified when the grants are ready to be distributed.
 
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused distress to a lot of business owners and the councils want to do all they can to support them. Officers are working hard to issue the grants as soon as possible and provide feedback to BEIS on specific issues raised by businesses in our districts.
 
Cllr Robin Bennet the Cabinet Member for member for Economic Development and Regeneration at South Oxfordshire District Council said: “Small businesses in particular are likely to find the coming weeks and months difficult – that’s why we’ve made it as easy as possible for them, and all businesses in South Oxfordshire, to apply for the financial relief they’ll need.”
Cllr Bethia Thomas the Cabinet member for Economic Development and Regeneration for the Vale of White Horse District Council said: “I am pleased we have been able to get these online forms up and running so quickly. We’re doing everything we can to make sure our local businesses are able to see this incredibly difficult time through with all the support we can give.”
For further advice and support, please visit the South and Vale Business Support website: https://www.svbs.co.uk/coronavirus-guidance-and-support/ .
 
The quickest way for South and Vale businesses to receive information about the latest government support is to sign up to receive the newsletter at  www.svbs.co.uk.
 

Communications
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils
01235 422400
www.southoxon.gov.uk | @southoxon 
www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk | @whitehorsedc 

Coronavirus