Council service updates

Back to Coronavirus response

Last updated: Thursday 2nd April

Changes and new developments to North Somerset Council services are highlighted.

North Somerset Together is helping residents who have no support from family or friends and who are socially isolated access the support they need during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

The new service was launched by the council last Friday (28th March) and by Wednesday 1st April had received around 200 enquiries and made 144 referrals to community support groups across North Somerset, including Yatton and Claverham. Most people contacting the service are needing help collecting food or medicines.

For those who do not have access to the internet, a telephone service will be launched imminently. The number is 01934 427 437

critical front line services

We have plans in place to make sure critical front line services keep running as the coronavirus pandemic develops. These include identifying and training staff for possible redeployment into essential services, and looking at service changes that could be made in the coming weeks.

Essential services are still being provided. by North Somerset Council during the coronavirus pandemic. Key services such as social care, community meals, waste and recycling and highway maintenance are still operating in these challenging times.

Council offices
The Town Hall reception in Weston-super-Mare has now closed to the public until further notice. If you need to contact the council please do this online or over the phone at 01934 888 888.

Council tax
If you usually come in and use one our council tax payment kiosks, please consider switching to online payments. You can find out more here or pay by phone by calling 01934 888 121. You will need your 10-digit council tax reference number, which you can find on your bill, and your credit or debit card.

Help with your Council Tax
The council is offering help to any residents having difficulty paying their Council Tax during the Coronavirus crisis and has already received 400 requests for Council Tax payment holidays.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) update
The council has had an excellent response to the plea to businesses for urgently needed PPE for care workers. Items donated include hand sanitiser, nitrile gloves and handmade masks and aprons. Thank you. Please keep them coming and help save lives.

Childcare support
If any critical worker needs support finding childcare for children aged 0-4 call the council’s Early Years team on 07920 082811.

Rough sleeping
The Council has been working hard to ensure that people are not homeless and since Thursday 19th March we’ve found accommodation for 36 people who were either rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping in North Somerset.

All the people in temporary accommodation have an allocated Homeless Prevention Officer who will work with them to find them a long term housing solution when this crisis is over. We are continuing to offer assistance to anyone who wants support. We are working with two B&B owners in order to respond quickly and accommodate anyone needing help, not just those at risk or symptomatic. Thank you to all our partner agencies for their ongoing support during this challenging time.

Recycling and waste
Recycling and refuse collections are continuing as normal at the moment. Increased volumes of recycling are being put out and residents are being urged to help the crews cope by correctly sorting boxes. Residents are also being asked to park sensibly to allow the crews to access kerbside waste and the crews are being supported by council contractor Glendale (who are collecting cardboard). The crews are receiving messages of appreciation, applause and kind words from grateful residents.

See my blog post from last week.

The council’s three recycling centres at Backwell, Portishead and Weston-super-Mare are closed until further notice.

Sport England Community Emergency Fund
Sport England has announced funding is available for sports clubs and community organisations who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but are experiencing short-term financial hardship due to the impact of coronavirus.

Bus services
Most bus services in North Somerset are now operating emergency timetables. Some services have now been suspended (please see below). We are directing all passengers to the Travelwest website for more information about local bus, rail and coach services. You can search for your local bus service number to find out if this service is operating and at what frequency.

First is running an X2 service every two hours this week, but this may change next week. There will be no service on Sunday 5th April or Friday 10th April (Good Friday).

We are asking people to only travel if their journey is essential and follow these travel recommendations:

  • Board the bus one at a time
  • Remain two metres apart
  • Pay via contactless or an app if you can
  • Do not travel if you feel unwell
  • Cough/sneeze into a tissue or the inside of your arm
  • Wash your hands before and after travelling.

To ensure the safety of drivers and passengers, we have now suspended the following council-supported services:

  • Bus Service 88 – Nailsea to Clevedon via Portishead
  • Bus Service A5 – Winford to Winscombe via Wrington
  • Community Bus L1 – Locking Parklands and Haywood Village
  • Community Bus B1 – Bleadon
  • Community Bus C1 – Worlebury
  • Community Bus C2 – South Road/Hillside.

Car parking
Due to a drop in usage the Sovereign Centre car park in Weston town centre has closed until further notice. Nearby on-street parking is available.

Parking charges in North Somerset are being waived for NHS staff and key workers during the coronavirus outbreak. Essential workers – such as NHS, social care staff, volunteers and key workers – can now park for free to enable them to carry out their critical work. This applies to on-street pay and display areas and council-run car parks. They can also park without time limit in areas where it is free but usually time restricted.

Nine car parks are closed to reduce the opportunity for people to visit areas following the government announcement about the introduction of more stringent social distancing measures. They are:

  • Salthouse, Clevedon
  • Bus Terminus, Kewstoke/Sand Bay
  • Beach Road (opposite Commodore), Kewstoke/Sand Bay
  • Marine Parade, Weston-super-Mare
  • Uphill Beach, Uphill
  • Knightstone Causeway, Weston-super-Mare (access will remain for residents)
  • Melrose, Weston-super-Mare
  • Worlebury Woods, Weston-super-Mare
  • Kilkenny Fields and cricket club car park Lake Grounds, Portishead.

Weston Air Festival, due to have taken place on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th June, has been cancelled.

Leisure centres and venues
All our leisure and sports centres are closed.

All events are cancelled until further notice at the following venues: The Tropicana and Playhouse in Weston-super-Mare and Somerset Hall in Portishead. The Bay Cafe is also closed.

The Campus
The Campus in Weston-super-Mare is closed until further notice. However, the midwifery care at The Campus children’s centre will continue so people are to keep attending appointments and will be able to access the building.

Children’s centres
All of our children’s centres are now closed, except for two – Yatton (Rowan Tree hub) and Ashcombe (Maple Tree Hub) – which are delivering midwifery services only.

If you need to contact a children’s centre please ring one of these and a member of the team will be able to help you with your query:

  • Portishead Children’s Centre – 01275 884 001
  • Clevedon Children’s Centre – 01934 426 440
  • Worle Children’s Centre and Library – 01934 426 618
  • Ashcombe Children’s Centre – 01934 426 380
  • Oldmixon Family Centre – 01934 426 881

If you need to contact your midwife please use the telephone number on the front of your yellow book.

Motex equipment and demonstration centre
The council’s equipment and demonstration centre at the Motex building in Winterstoke Road, Weston-super-Mare has closed today until further notice due to the latest government restrictions. There will be notices on site with details of where customers can go to access council support and other providers. Telephone calls will automatically redirect to Care Connect on 01934 888 801.

Play areas
Play areas have been closed until further notice to ensure any visits to parks are only for the purposes of exercise as outlined by the government.

Business checks
The council’s licensing team is working with the police to ensure local businesses are complying with the government’s closure order. Reports of any breaches will be investigated.

Business support
There is a round-up of the grant schemes and other measures in place to support businesses and employers here.

Registration Service
No ceremonies will be conducted from today and the service will be open for death registrations only, in line with the government announcement yesterday.

All North Somerset libraries, including the mobile library, are closed until further notice. While we recognise that libraries are important hubs of the communities which hundreds of people visit every day, our priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of our visitors and staff.

Libraries are more than just a physical space and we aim to continue to deliver a range of services, including access to eBooks, eMagazines and eResources. The libraries service will be working hard to develop additional digital outreach. This could include online activities for pre-school children such as online Rhymetimes, keeping in touch with home service customers by phone to reduce risk of social isolation and promoting home-schooling resources.

We will also be making it easier for people to join online and this will be promoted widely, with investment for the coming financial year switched from hardcopy to digital to extend the eBook and eAudio titles offer.

Existing loans will be automatically extended until Wednesday 1 July. Please do not return any items borrowed from the library during this time and please do not leave them on library doorsteps, as they could be stolen or damaged.

Extended Access is not available at Portishead and Winscombe Libraries and Worle and Yatton Library and Children’s Centres.

Congresbury Community Library, which is run by volunteers, is also closed.

Some libraries share a building with children’s centres. If you are currently under midwifery care at one of the area’s children’s centres, keep attending at your usual location as these midwife appointments will continue.

You can still access the online library, of course – including ebooks and audio books.