This is my latest roundup of local news and Coronavirus updates for Hunslet and Riverside residents. There are several links to more detailed information from the Government, the Council and others within the post. In this update you will find:
School Openings during Local Lockdowns:
Back to School Resources Translated
Back to School Resources Travel
The Kickstart Scheme
Tenancy Notice Changes
Supporting Others Guidance Update
Bonfires Cancelled This Year
Community Meetings and Venues
Businesses not following Covid-19 Guidelines
Adult Learning Courses
Planned Tree Works
My Meetings and Visits
Upcoming Community Events
Live Q&A Events
Previous updates can be found here: Local News Summary
Covid-19 Watchlist: Leeds is now formally on the Government’s watchlist as an area of concern due to the increase in our local infection rate over recent weeks, especially the increase in 18 - 34 year olds.
Being an area of concern is defined in the Contain Framework as an area that has a high prevalence of infection and where the local area is taking targeted actions to reduce prevalence, for example additional testing in local communities and care homes and increased community engagement and communications with high risk groups. The Council has been undertaking these types of interventions for several weeks, and the Council are working with NHS Test and Trace colleagues on additional measures that we can take.
Being an area of concern does not come with any additional local movement restrictions, but these could come into play if the infection rate continues to rise. It is therefore really important the Council, partners and residents need to do everything possible to avoid this outcome. The Council are putting in place, with partners, a number of additional measures to help minimise the spread. These include requesting the deployment of additional mobile testing units into the city, continued door knocking in areas of high prevalence, working with bars, venues and restaurants across the city to make sure that they follow the Test and Trace guidelines, working closely with West Yorkshire Police and community organisations to discourage gatherings and house parties, additional communications activity with young people where the spread is most significant, and working with schools, colleges and universities about the safe return to education.
The latest figures for the city as as of 5/9/20:
7 day infection rate is 33.1
Positive test results same as yesterday at 3.6
7 day testing rate increased to 129.5
Residents have been informed of the rise in cases and urged to act safely over the weekend, and this week’s gov.delivery bulletin to residents appeals to younger people to help reduce the spread of infection. Our communication resources and videos are available in several different community languages and can be used to support the Councils keep safe messages.
There are no new outbreaks reported this week, although there are single/low numbers of cases in some settings, all with appropriate action being taken and support provided. The outbreak at Greggs distribution centre continues to be closely monitored, no further testing is planned and all cases are isolating and have been followed up. Operations have now commenced following a deep clean and a site visit from Environmental Health.
There is a city wide communication campaign targeting young people - you can also access short videos created by the NHS and Cabinet Office aimed at younger people, available to download. The walk in test site at Leeds University is now available to all returning students and the local communities via the usual national system.
School Openings during Local Lockdowns: The Government has announced how it plans to keep schools and colleges open in the event of local lockdowns. Even where local restrictions are imposed, educational settings are likely to remain open, but in exceptional circumstances, different levels of restrictions, called ‘tiers’, will be applied to schools on a phased basis (see Annex 3 of the Contain Framework). Schools are being urged to plan how they would implement each tier.
Back to School Resources Translated: The Department for Education’s Back to School assets are now available in 13 community languages, to help reassure families about the safety of returning to school.
Back to School Travel: The Council has produced information on how to travel back to school.
Schools Update: Most of our schools will be reopening next week, and a handful opened on Friday. The Council and Administrations wishes the best of luck to heads and school staff who have worked so hard to prepare for the new term, and to pupils returning to classrooms often for the first time in a considerable while. A bulletin was sent to heads this week thanking them and providing them with information and resources, including advice related to contingency planning in the event of local restrictions (see above). Invitations have been sent to heads to join a Zoom call with Sal Tariq and Cllr Pryor this week.
The Kickstart Scheme: The scheme offers fully subsidised 6-month placements for 18-24 year olds, has opened for employer applications this week. Employers must be able to offer 30 job placements- or partner with another organisation to meet this minimum. Guidance for employers, and information for young people, is available.
Tenancy Notice Changes: Landlords must now give tenants 6 months’ notice of eviction, except in the most serious cases involving ASB or domestic violence, until March 2021. Guidance for tenants, landlords and Local Authorities has been updated, and the guidance on moving house during the pandemic has been updated to reflect recent developments around face coverings, shielding and repossessions.
Supporting Others Guidance Update: Guidance has been published on supporting people outside of their homes with activities like shopping, socialising and exercising.
Playgrounds: Over 90+ playgrounds across the city have been opened. The remaining playgrounds will be opened from the 9/9/20 and be completed by the end of October. Commencing in the inner city centre wards those playgrounds, the present unopened playgrounds will be cleaned, sanitised (using a long life solution) and public health and social distancing signage will be installed. Following the completion of the process, the playground will be reopened.
Bonfires Cancelled This Year: The Council annually hosts six bonfire and firework events at Roundhay Park, Bramley Park, East End Park, Middleton Park, Springhead Park and Woodhouse Moor. On 9/7/20 the Government announced guidance for events including firework displays, with detailed elements that organisers and land owners should adhere to, including ensuring social distancing, additional crowd management controls and ensuring that events and gatherings don’t put pressure on public transport. Taking these factors into consideration and given the scale of the events, with on average over one hundred and twenty thousand attending each year, it is not possible to ensure sufficient controls can be put in place to host the events safely. Therefore it has been necessary for the Council to reluctantly make the decision to cancel the annual bonfire and firework displays due to be held in November 2020.
Community Meetings and Venues: Public Health colleagues have provided the following advice regarding community meetings: a risk assessment of the premises should be conducted to determine the maximum number of people that can be accommodated while also facilitating social distancing. The size of the room will determine the number of people that can safely attend, rather than the number of people currently allowed to meet together. The risk assessment should take into consideration the number of people that can reasonably follow 2 metres distancing (or 1 metre with risk mitigation), the total floor space, and likely pinch points and busy areas e.g. entrances, exits. Where possible alternative or one-way routes should be introduced. Other Covid-safe guidance must be adhered to, including the provision of hand sanitiser to use on entering and leaving the room/premises, and the wearing of face coverings. Please consult Government guidance on meeting people outside the household, and guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities.
Businesses not following Covid-19 Guidelines: If you have any concerns about workplaces or retail premises not adhering to Covid-secure rules, please contact the environmental health team at: email@example.com. Relevant queries from residents can also be referred to the team.
Aire Park: The plans have been approved for Aire Park, a landmark new green space for the city centre which will be a fantastic asset for families and communities, as well as boosting regeneration of the South Bank, supporting new jobs, investment and growth. Construction is expected to start in early 2021.
Adult Learning Courses: As part of the Councils Employment & Skills offer, a programme of adult learning courses launched this month on www.leedsadultlearning.co.uk, offering a diverse range of skills development courses that are free for adults in receipt of benefits or those earning less than £17,004 per year and. The courses are delivered by a range of learning providers including Leeds City College and Swarthmore Education Centre.
NHS Information: Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group continue to share helpful resources to support health messages. Please see this link for videos covering patient stories of accessing services, health professionals providing reassurance messages, easy read animations, information in BSL and videos in alternative languages on accessing GP appointments. There is also this animation for parents and carers promoting the NHS is here for you message.
Planned Tree Works: Here are the next set of non-emergency public tree works in the ward.
My Meetings and Visits: Last week I attended meetings on; Fireworks Season Preparation with the Police; West Yorkshire Devolution; Hunslet Tenants and Residents Association; Hemingway Planting Session; Leeds Labour Group; Beeston In Bloom Plant Sale; and the Friends of Hunslet Moor Litter Pick.
This is on top of my doing casework for residents via email, telephone and social media.
Upcoming Community Events:
5 October: Friends of Hunslet Moor Litter Pick
If you have a community event you'd like me to share, please let me know. The events must be non-party political and for the whole community. I'll also offer to host the Facebook event page if your group does not have its own Facebook Page etc. to do so.
Live Q&A Events: Past event can be re-watched here. The next event(s) are below:
11 September Ask Paul