Coronavirus (COVID-19) - What you need to know
Here for Swindon: Council measures to support residents and businesses during the Covid-19 outbreak
Support for residents
1. Compassionate Swindon: volunteer support for those who most need it
- Over 500 Swindon residents have signed-up for volunteering opportunities, including speaking to someone over the phone to offer some companionship or collecting shopping for those who are staying at home.
- Following the great response from the community, we are not currently looking for further volunteers, but we will continue to monitor this. You are welcome to e-mail email@example.com if you would be interested in any future volunteering opportunities that arise.
- If you are a resident in need of help with emergency household supplies please see the information below.
2. Council Tax relief to vulnerable people and households to help those affected most by coronavirus
- Please call us on 0345 302 2316 if you having difficulty paying your Council Tax to discuss how we can help you.
- Council Tax bills of working age people receiving local Council Tax Support will be reduced for 2020/21. The Government has asked councils to grant each working age Council Tax Support claimant an additional one-off payment of £150 in Council Tax Support, or pay off their outstanding Council Tax balance if their Council Tax is less than £150. This will be applied to Council Tax accounts automatically and revised bills should be received in the middle of June.
- Find out about our existing Council Tax Support Scheme. You can apply online or call us on 0345 302 2316 to request a paper claim form.
3. Emergency household supplies for residents most affected by coronavirus
We can help residents with emergency household supplies.
Please call Customer Services on 01793 445500 from Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm.
If you’re unable to call, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have been shielding and receiving food parcels:
The government's food box service for people who have been shielding finishes on 31 July 2020. Your final food box may arrive any time during the week before this date.
We encourage you to ask friends, family and other networks to assist you with your food shopping moving forward. However, if this is not possible there are a few options available:
- Supermarket deliveries: If you registered online as needing support with food, the government shared your data with supermarkets so that they could give you priority access to delivery slots. This service will continue beyond the end of July.
- New online scheme: The government has set up a new scheme with Tesco and Iceland, offering priority online shopping slots to people who are self-isolating. You will be allocated a priority slot for your chosen supermarket (Tesco or Iceland). You will need to have access to the internet and be able to pay for your shopping online. To access this scheme, please contact Customer Services on 01793 445500.
- NHS Volunteer Responders: These volunteers can pick up your shopping and deliver it to you. To register, call 0808 196 3646 between 8.00am and 8.00pm, seven days a week.
f you need food urgently and are unable to access any of the above options, please contact our Customer Services team, who will work with you to find the best solution.
If you are self-isolating at home, able to afford supplies and do not have a support network to help you:
Our staff and volunteers will deliver food supplies:
- Household box - £5.00
- Fruit & veg bag - £6.50
- Dairy bag - £5.50
- Food box with meat (includes contents of fruit & veg and dairy bags) - £30.00
- Food box for vegetarians (includes contents of fruit & veg and dairy bags) - £30.00
If you need prescriptions collected and delivered and do not have a support network to help you:
We will collect prescriptions for people who are self-isolating or ‘shielded’ and deliver free of charge.
If you're in extreme hardship:
Please call us or complete the form at the bottom of the following webpage: Emergency assistance fund
We will assess your circumstances and decide on the most appropriate options to support you. These will include:
- Food vouchers or boxes
- Gas and electricity top-ups (not including British Gas)
- Signpost you to local food banks
- Refer you to Citizens Advice Swindon
If you have a concern and would like advice and support:
Please call 01793 445500 from Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm. You can request a call back from someone who can talk to you about how to stay well and active at home.
If you’re unable to call, please email email@example.com.
Please read the privacy notice before you call, as will ask you for personal information.
4. Supporting council housing tenants
- Tenants affected by coronavirus are requested to contact their Neighbourhood Housing Officer to discuss their circumstances.
- Support is available for those who fall behind on rent payments due to coronavirus. More information: COVID 19 - Support for council housing tenants
- Avoid evictions as long as tenants follow the advice and support from housing officers.
5. More parking options for key workers, volunteers and residents making essential journeys
- All NHS staff, social care staff, charities and volunteer groups can apply for a free permit in all Swindon Borough Council surface level car parks and on-street pay and display parking bays. The scheme is not currently open to people who aren't working in one of these roles.
- Car park season tickets and leases for spaces are eligible for up to a 12-week extension if they were due to expire during the Coronavirus lockdown period.
- Penalty Charge Notices won’t be issued to resident permit holders for parking in shared use bays, resident bays and limited waiting bays within your zone.
- Penalty Charge Notices will only be issued to cars parked dangerously, on yellow lines, in disabled bays, to non-permit holders, or in car parks with no payment or permit.
- Resident permit holders displaying their resident permit can park in the nearest surface level car park to their home (not in barrier-controlled car parks).
- This only applies to resident permit holders. It does not mean non-permit holders can park in these areas. Penalty Charge Notices may be issued to those not displaying a valid permit.
6. Offering free childcare to key workers during the Easter holidays and May half-term
- We are providing funding for 24 hours of childcare per week (6 hours a day or as flexibly as required) to help key workers carry out their essential work during the Easter holidays and May half-term. Further information available here.
- Any parents who are not in a position to be able to safely leave their children at home should email the council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. Helping residents access library services online
- All loans will be automatically renewed until libraries are reopened.
- All library memberships due to expire before the end of June will be automatically renewed for six months.
- If you’re not already a member, join the library online and immediately begin using our eBooks and audio books, plus eMagazines.
- A Click, Call and Collect service is available at Central, North Swindon, West Swindon, Highworth and Park libraries allowing customers to reserve books online or by phone. Find out more: COVID-19 - Reopening our libraries
8. Extending bus pass use for older and disabled people
- Elderly and disabled residents can use their bus passes before 9.30am, although the government has instructed that people must stay at home except for shopping for basic necessities, daily exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from essential work.
9. Priority re-booking and waiving fees for marriages postponed due to coronavirus
- Priority re-booking for weddings postponed at the Civic Offices.
- Charges waived for notice appointments for postponed marriages.
Support for businesses
10. Getting vital financial support to local businesses
- 100% business rate relief will be available for all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses for 2020-21. This will be reflected in their bills from April 2020.
- A £10,000 grant will be available to small businesses with a rateable value of up to and including £15,000.
- A £25,000 grant will be available to all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value between £15,001 and £50,999.
- We are contacting eligible businesses with information on how they can access the grant funding.
- We have received early notification about additional cash grant support for small businesses with fixed property costs affected by COVID-19. We are waiting on further guidance from government about these grants.
- More information: COVID-19 - Government support for businesses
11. Supporting not-for-profit and commercial tenants in council properties
- Businesses unable to pay their rent because of coronavirus will be given extra protection so they don't have to worry about being evicted.
- Three-month rent deferral to commercial and not for profit tenants.
12. Helping Swindon’s taxi drivers
- Extended Hackney and Private Hire driver licences with no charge for six months.
- Alternatively, drivers may wish to apply for a one-year licence at £70 instead of the usual three-year licences (£210).
- For more information please contact Kathryn Ashton, Licensing Manager at email@example.com or 07881 281883.