SPIRIT OF SALFORD NETWORK
The Spirit of Salford Helpline has received 5,900 telephone calls, and staff have made 2,200 outbound calls to people who need help, including 1,400 shielded people. Nearly 1,800 food boxes have been delivered.
We are assessing the support we are able to provide via the Spirit of Salford helpline in a community impact assessment. This will examine how different groups of residents have taken up the support offered to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. The attached charts include information about the split for protected characteristics of sex and age for example.
PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATES
We have received positive feedback from care agencies about the COVID testing process in Salford. Agencies have confirmed that they are aware of the system and how to refer and that they are identifying staff and that those staff members are able to access the testing service and are getting results back within 3 days.
There continues to be increasing demand on PPE stock due to the Local Resilience Forum requesting additional supplies including for Primary Care, funeral services, domiciliary care, supported housing and personal assistants. Forest Bank has also requested PPE but further clarification on need is required.
There have been a number of updates to government guidance on PPE. In particular, the latest from Public Health England for those working in care homes includes recommendations on the use of PPE for care home staff, as well as a training video. This was developed as a direct result of the pressure from local government for guidance to better meet the needs of social care.
I wrote to Matt Hancock last week to urge the government to provide better support for social care and care homes. I called for more and better-quality PPE for our care homes as the Council and health professionals in Salford are having to supplement national supplies with locally sourced materials.
In line with the national picture, Salford continues to see an increase in new cases. As of Sunday 26 April, 547 people in Salford have tested positive for coronavirus (an increase of 18% since last Monday, 83 more cases).
KEY SERVICE UPDATES
A full list of information about council services and access by the public can be found at council services information.
Tackling domestic abuse
The Salford Independent Domestic Abuse Support Service (SIDASS) reports that demand for support has not increased locally, which is a similar report to other Greater Manchester domestic abuse services and also reflective of calls to GMP on this matter. However the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is reporting an increase in calls, which are general enquiries rather than new referrals. We are very aware that domestic abuse may be taking place but not being referred to services. We are working with our Greater Manchester colleagues to anticipate a rise in demand when lockdown ends.
We are also working with our partners in Salford to tackle domestic abuse. GMP has moved experienced officers into their Domestic Abuse team, this team is making a real difference through robust triage and problem solving. GMP is working closely with Offender Management to manage domestic abuse perpetrators and working with probation to manage the risk when prisoners being released.
Salford City Council and our partners are doing extra communication to make sure residents are aware that our domestic abuse service is still available and SIDASS is operating expanded hours in order to support anyone experiencing domestic abuse during this challenging time. We are also using GM social media posts relating to domestic abuse and others about the silent solution to amplify our own campaign. Salford CCG and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust have shared our posts and used the GM campaign. Outdoor advertising, as part of the above mentioned campaign, is also in place across the city.
In order to sustain an effective flood warning service during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Environment Agency (EA) will be making some minor changes to the service. These measures are being introduced to protect their critical Flood Warning and Severe Flood Warning services, which protect lives and livelihoods, whist minimising disruption and potential anxiety in communities.
The EA will be focussing on the most important warnings, where flooding is expected or where there is a risk to life. The EA will continue to issue their lowest level of flood warnings – flood alerts - where there is a need to take action but will temporarily stop issuing flood alerts where there is a very low likelihood of flooding taking place.
Business support Our business support team has emailed a business support and advice Ebulletin to Salford businesses to remind them of the support available to them and how the council can help. The Ebulletin is full of links to further information about the grants and discounts available to businesses and how they can access support.
Recycling centres Some of the recycling centres will be opened within the next fortnight across Greater Manchester. Re-opening will need to be done in a careful and planned way, with involvement from Greater Manchester Police.
For Salford this means, effective from the 2nd May 2020, the following sites will be open:
- Cobden Street – Open Saturdays and Sundays
- Salford Road (in Bolton boundary) – Open Saturdays and Sundays
- Lumns Lane – 7 days a week
- Boysnope Wharf – 7 days a week
Officers are currently preparing traffic management plans for all sites, as social distancing within the sites will have to be maintained.
The Welfare Rights and Debt Advice team has provided specialist welfare rights and debt advice to an additional 298 people since 23 March. This is a considerable achievement as the team have had to get to grips with a raft of changes to social security legislation, procedural changes to debt recovery processes and also move quickly to providing complex advice over the telephone and by email, all while continuing to support their existing clients.
Schools and childcare
A significant number of schools continue to have major issues with the National Voucher Scheme, it is taking schools and parents an hour waiting on the website to validate one voucher and some parents are reporting that when trying to use the vouchers they are being rejected at the till. The concerns have been escalated to the Department for Education as the system is not fit for purpose.
Nurseries are unable to benefit from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The Government issued updated guidance prior to the scheme going live on Monday 20 April. The Government is expecting Nurseries to rely on the funding from the free childcare places to keep going, this is not just a Salford specific issue.
A new Bereavement leaflet has been produced to explain how to register a death and guidelines for funerals during the COVID-19 outbreak.
SUPPORT TO COMMUNITIES
Ramadan started on Friday 24 April. Ramadan lasts for 29-30 days and ends with the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr which is likely to be on 23 or 24 May 2020. The Imam of Eccles and Salford Islamic Society has issued a statement about observing Ramadan during the pandemic which is available on the SCVS site.
Morrisons have put together food boxes which can be ordered by families observing Ramadan.
Council managers are asked to check in on those in their teams who may be observing Ramadan to offer any support. Staff may need greater flexibility around how and when work is undertaken as well as agreeing additional breaks during the working day. There is some useful guidance available on people.nhs.uk around Covid19 and Ramadan.
Europia is setting up an Emergency Fund where vulnerable EU nationals living across Greater Manchester can easily apply for a grant of £30-60 to help them buy supplies such as food and medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications will open today, Monday 27 April 2020, to be submitted over the phone or via an online google form.
Websites for volunteering and business
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has set up two websites have been established, one to help coordinate the community response to the outbreak in Greater Manchester and another to ensure businesses can get the support they need. The first website signposts Salford residents to Salford CVS and the second provides links to Salford City Council support for businesses.
VCSE sector updates
There are still some reports of Greater Manchester (GM) food banks having issues maintaining stock levels and having adequate staffing. Emergency funding is being provided to food banks across GM from money donated by the GM Police and Crime Commissioner, GM High Sheriff’s Trust and National Emergencies Trust Fund.
I wrote to our council staff this week to thank them for the work they do and how they’ve responded to the crisis. Those on the frontline have not waivered and have continued to do their jobs with the utmost care, professionalism and attention to the needs of our residents and businesses within our City. The City Council is receiving lots of positive feedback from residents regarding the work our staff are doing, they are so appreciative and grateful and this is a real testament to them and the work they do day-in-day out for the people of Salford.
I want to share with you some of the great feedback our staff have had from residents and businesses.
Our refuse workers were in for a treat while doing their rounds in Monton this week thanks to a generous gift of cupcakes from Layla’s Cake Boutique. They also received this heartfelt thank you card from a resident.
To show their appreciation the refuse collection, street cleansing and grounds maintenance teams have put together a touching video thanking residents for their continued support.
Supporting our younger residents
I would also like to highlight how staff in the People directorate are continuing to support vulnerable children and families across the city. They recognise that visits still play a crucial role for many children and families but are also being creative with technology to engage in new ways too.
We’ve had some great feedback from the first online parents support group for Trans and non-binary young people. They found it helpful to be able to share the difficulties they were experiencing in the current situation and our team was able to offer ideas and support to help engage their children and signpost them to useful resources about keeping mentally healthy.
The Early Help Parenting Team are also supporting referred families via an on-line evidence-based parenting programme as we are not able to run our group-based parenting courses at this time.
International Workers Memorial Day
Tuesday 28 April is International Workers’ Memorial Day and, although we can’t commemorate the day in the same way as in previous years, we will still be marking the occasion with a virtual gathering.
All are welcome to join with us to mark the occasion, which is more poignant than ever as the coronavirus affects every worker regardless of their sector or locality. Please join us at 12.15pm on Tuesday to reflect and pay our respects to those who have sadly lost their lives as a result of their work.
Join the International Workers’ Day Commemoration at 12.15pm on Tuesday 28 April.