This note provides an update on the information posted on this blog yesterday (25.3.20).
Key messages for today
- From Monday, March 30, home to school transport will be suspended until further notice across the county borough.
- If your children are entitled to free school meals, you’ll be able to collect ‘grab and go’ packed lunches from one of 10 sites from tomorrow.
- We’re suspending the introduction of the new garden waste collection service, and will continue to collect everyone’s garden waste for free for as long as we can. If you’ve already paid, you won’t lose out…you’ll still get a full 12 months service from when the scheme begins.
- Please don’t put tissue paper in your blue recycling sacks or top wheelie boxes.
- You can now make a claim for Child Benefit or Universal Credit before you register your child’s birth.
- Make sure you know how new laws introduced to fight Covid-19 affect your business.
- The volunteer scheme operating in the Wrexham area is run by AVOW and you can register online.
Ian Bancroft – Chief Executive
Mark Pritchard – Leader of the Council
The UK has changed dramatically over the past few days and – as you know – we’re only providing critical council services now.
These are things we’ve identified as absolutely crucial to our communities and the running of the council. Social services, sheltered accommodation, emptying bins and other things that people really depend on.
Our staff are working hard to keep these services going, but it’s a challenge. A challenge like we’ve never faced before.
As our customers and residents, there are things you can do to help us – so we can keep these services going, and provide help where it’s most needed.
Call volumes to council phone numbers are extremely high, so please…only contact us by phone when it’s absolutely essential and about a critical service.
This means our staff can provide a quick response to people who really need it.
Please continue to keep your distance from one another and follow the Government’s instructions. By staying apart, we’re saving lives, and helping to keep Wrexham as safe as it can be.
We’ve put together the following information to help you understand the latest changes to council services.
As you know, schools in Wrexham have been providing places for the children of ‘key workers’, as well as children registered as vulnerable.
If you’re a key worker, please note the following guidance from Welsh Government.
“If you’re classed as a critical worker, but are able to perform the critical parts of your job effectively when working from home, then you should do so.
“If one parent is a critical worker, but the other parent is not, then the other parent should provide safe alternative arrangements at home when possible.”
Free school meals
We’re working hard to try and provide free school meals to children who aren’t in school at the moment.
If your children are entitled to free school meals, you’ll be able to collect ‘grab and go’ packed lunches from one of the following sites from tomorrow.
- Caia Park Estates office
- Plas Madoc Estates office
- Broughton Estates office
- Gwersyllt Estates office
- Rhos Estates office (Stiwt)
- Memo Hall Wrexham
- Plas Pentwyn Coedpoeth
- Llay Resource Centre
- Overton Library (Cocoa Rooms)
- Ysgol Y Waen Chirk
You can go to the nearest site.
Packed lunches must be collected between 11.30am and 1pm by a parent or carer.
You’ll need to give staff the name of your child / children and the school they attend, and you’ll only be able to collect a packed lunch for your own child / children.
You’ll also need to follow social distancing measures…maintaining your distance from other people.
We’ll continue to provide this service during normal school days.
From Monday, March 30, home to school transport will be suspended until further notice across the county borough.
This is to reduce non-essential travel and to ensure social distancing of children.
The take-up of home to school transport has been extremely low this week, which has also contributed to the decision.
SEN (Special Education Needs) home to school transport will continue for children travelling to their usual facilities.
Waste and recycling
We were due to implement a new garden waste collection service in April that residents would have to pay for each year.
We’re now suspending the introduction of that service, and will continue to collect everyone’s garden waste for free for as long as we can.
We’re unable to issue any refunds, but if you’ve already paid the £25 you’ll get a full 12 months service from when the scheme begins…so you won’t lose out. You don’t need to contact us, as we have a full record of customers who’ve paid so far.
To help ease pressure on our Contact Centre staff, we won’t be taking payments for the new scheme until further notice, and will only be handling enquiries for critical services.
If you haven’t already paid, don’t panic. We’ll start taking payments again when the emergency is over, and we’re in a position to introduce the new service.
Easing pressure on our Contact Centre staff is really important, as people with underlying health conditions will be receiving letters from the Government in the next few days, and some of them will need to contact us for support.
So it’s important our staff are available to help them.
Please don’t put tissue paper in your blue recycling sacks or top wheelie boxes.
Discarded tissues should be bagged and placed in general rubbish bins.
Our collection crews have reported an increase in the number of tissues being disposed of via recycling containers over the past week.
If any member of your household has shown symptoms of Covid-19, tissues should be double-bagged, tied securely and kept separate from other waste.
These bags should be put aside for at least 72 hours, before being placed into your external household waste bin.
Registering births and claiming Child Benefit / Universal Credit
You can now make a claim for Child Benefit or Universal Credit before you register your child’s birth.
Under normal circumstances, the birth must be registered before you make a claim, but the rules have been changed due to the current situation.
All appointments at the Guildhall for birth-registrations and marriage / civil partnership notices have already been suspended until further notice.
Make sure you know how new laws introduced to fight Covid-19 affect your business.
If you’re one of our commercial tenants or market stall holders, you will (if you haven’t already) receive an email from us about rent and service charges.
If your business is affected by the current situation, then a three-month ‘holiday’ period on rent and service charge payments is available (between April 1 and June 30).
This is the same time-period the Government has suggested for mortgage ‘holidays’.
Payment for the three months will still be due at the end of June, unless there’s a need to extend the holiday period (we’ll continue to be guided by the Government).
If the situation changes, we’ll keep our commercial tenants and stall holders informed.
Dogs on leads in public spaces
To support social distancing, we’re asking dog-owners to keep their pets on the lead at all times in parks, public open spaces and public footpaths.
Volunteering in Wrexham
There’s been some confusion following the Government call for 250,000 volunteers to support the NHS, and the app that people can use to register.
Please note this is an England-only scheme and doesn’t apply in Wales.
The volunteer scheme operating in Wrexham is run by AVOW and you can register online.
You can also email AVOW or telephone 01978 312556 to learn how you can help.
The AVOW scheme is in addition to the many schemes set up at street level in local neighborhoods. You should be able to find out more about local neighborhood schemes through your community council or councillors.
Homeless and rough sleeper provision
The council is continuing to provide its service to people who might be threatened with homelessness during this difficult time.
We’re asking customers to phone the homeless referral number on 01978 292947, so they can be assessed over the phone to ensure they receive appropriate accommodation, advice and support.
We’ve put in place urgent arrangements to protect those at the most acute end of homelessness – our rough sleeper community. This will help people move off the streets so they can protect themselves and others.
We’re working with all of our partners to provide additional facilities so that those without a home are safe, have access to temporary accommodation, good sanitation, access to food and clean water, and can safely self-isolate.
Any person sleeping rough is encouraged to contact us on 01978 292947.
Reminder – reliable sources of information about Covid-19
Latest information on the virus and what people should do about it is provided by:
- Daily TV statements by the Government (including by the Prime Minister).
- Daily official briefings from the Department of Health and Social Care at 2pm, and Public Health Wales at 3pm.
This is a rapidly changing situation, so we will issue further information as and when appropriate.
LATEST INFO ON COVID-19