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8th May 2020

COVID-19 update from Wiltshire Council

COVID19 UPDATE – Thursday 7 May 2020

Good evening

Tomorrow, marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day a momentous day in world history.

Whilst COVID-19 and the restrictions put in place to protect us, have meant that many planned VE Day community events have been cancelled, there are still lots of ways that residents across Wiltshire can get involved, show their support and commemorate this important anniversary.

Our specially produced ‘at Home’ VE Day toolkit, available on the Wiltshire Council website http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus provides lots of activities for people of all ages and we hope residents will decorate their homes red, white and blue and enjoy the day together as a household.

Today, the Wiltshire & Swindon Local Resilience Forum published an open letter urging people to adhere to government guidance on social distancing and take part in VE Day from the safety and comfort of their own homes.

Additionally, they ask that instead of visiting a local cenotaph, people should join ‘The Nations Toast to the Heroes of World War II’ at 3pm, raising a glass with people across the country to thank those who gave so much.
Other national commemorations taking place on VE Day include:
• 11am - A two-minute silence of remembrance
• 2.45pm - A broadcast of Sir Winston Churchill’s famous victory speech announcing the end of the war in Europe (BBC One)
• 9pm - a televised address from Her Majesty The Queen and a national singalong of We’ll Meet Again (you can find the lyrics in our VE Day at home toolkit)

Wellbeing Hub

The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub has delivered its 1,000th food parcel this week to support vulnerable residents of the community who are shielding or self-isolating.

The parcels, which provide emergency three-day food supplies to families or individuals who do not qualify for a Government food package, have been sent far and wide across the county by a team of council staff specially redeployed to critical front-line services to support efforts.

The hub is a great example of the way the council has responded to the crisis to support people with provisions and advice, and it’s part of a wider collaborative effort with partners and the voluntary sector to support those most in need.

We’re grateful to members of our staff who have moved from their existing jobs in the council to join the hub. They’ve brought commitment, skill, empathy and enthusiasm to their new roles which has helped provide the friendly voice and practical support that people need right now.

Those members of our community receiving food parcels this week will receive a special additional treat to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day in the form of tea cakes kindly donated by Salisbury-based bakers Nicholas & Harris (part of the Finsbury Food Group). Nicholas & Harris wished to join the council in marking the occasion and show their support for our community during COVID-19.

Other matters:
Fostering Service Update

A new campaign to encourage more Wiltshire residents to foster with the council has been launched today.

The campaign, which is accompanied by an improved pay structure for foster carers, is hoping to recruit 100 foster carers over three years to ensure children can find a loving home in the county.

We know people consider fostering because they want to make a difference, but we also want them to know they will be properly paid for the work they are doing as we value the incredible difference they can make to a child’s life. This is a paid career and people can foster because they are properly supported.

We are investigating how we can use changes brought in by the government so fostering assessments can be completed more quickly. In common with other local authorities we are looking at ways to have a proportionate assessment and approval process for Covid-19 temporary foster carers.

People can be retired, have time on their hands, out of work or be looking for ways to help and, if they have a spare room and can show us they have the qualities needed to be a foster carer, we would like to hear from them. We welcome approaches from single or married people of all religions, genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations. Whether they are able bodied or live with a disability, older or younger (over 21), all that matters is they are ready for the challenge and rewards of fostering.

Wiltshire Council is holding digital Information sessions on 12 May at 1pm and 21 May at 7:30pm. People can log in and ask questions of the foster care team and have an insight from a foster carer on what it is like to foster. Further details will be shared on social media on access to the information sessions.

People can find out more information by:

• Calling fostering on 0800 1696321
• Emailing [email protected]
• Visiting fosteringwiltshire.uk


May I wish you, your families and communities a very happy VE Day and Bank Holiday weekend.

Regards

Cllr Philip Whitehead

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