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Joint Warning Issued to Supermarkets in Sandwell

Sandwell Council and West Midlands Police have issued a joint warning to shops and supermarkets in Sandwell.

The letter has been sent to all large shops and supermarkets to urge managers to ensure customers and their staff are kept safe by urging them to ensure face coverings are worn, encourage customers to use hand sanitiser as they enter and limit the number of customers allowed in stores.

The letter also asks shop managers to reduce congestion and contact between customers such as queue management and one-way systems as well as other measures to ensure social distancing is possible for both staff and customers.

The letter is signed by both Lisa McNally, director of public health for Sandwell Council and Ian Green, Chief Superintendent at West Midlands Police.

Lisa McNally, director of public health for Sandwell Council, said: “In recent weeks, we have started to receive more reports from shoppers about breaches of Covid Regulations and Guidance within stores being ignored. This is both concerning and alarming.

“We need supermarkets to work with us to ensure the safety of both customers and staff so have issued this open letter to let managers know we will do all we can to make shopping safer for our residents.

“Sandwell currently has very high rates of coronavirus. Supermarkets are places where we are likely to come into contact with others and therefore present a risk for infection. As customers we need to take care, staying at least 2 metres away from others and wearing face coverings

Ian Green, Chief Superintendent at West Midlands Police, said: “With Sandwell Council staff we will be carrying out observations of supermarkets in the borough to ensure that stores are following the rules and doing everything they can to keep staff and customers safe.

Where we find significant issues of concern, we will have no alternative but to warn the public of our concerns regarding their safety in your store. Where we identify an offence being committed under the Coronavirus Regulations we will engage with that individual and formal enforcement action may be taken, where appropriate.

Councillor Maria Crompton, deputy leader at Sandwell Council added: “At this time our priorities have to be to protect the most vulnerable, protect the NHS and to save lives and we all have a collective responsibility to deliver this.

“Our regulatory services team has been carrying out extensive work with store managers.

“Officers are responding to specific complaints and carrying out proactive visits to stores to check that Covid-19 controls are in operation.

“We’re continuing to investigate any concerns and working with supermarket managers to tackle issues such as occupancy levels and social distancing in stores.

“We’ll also providing advice and guidance on any improvements needed following our visits.

“We urge all supermarkets to ensure that appropriate safety measures are in place.

“And if you don’t feel comfortable or it doesn’t look safe to shop in, don’t go in.”

The letter details the action Sandwell Council and West Midlands Police may take if shops fail to make shopping safer in Sandwell.

Read the open letter sent to supermarkets:

www.sandwell.gov.uk/downloads/file/31335/warning_letter_sent_to_supermarkets_from_sandwell_council_and_west_midlands_police

Customers can report their concerns about shops in Sandwell by emailing PHCovid19_Enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk


Stark Warning from Sandwell over New Variant of Coronavirus

Sandwell’s director for public health Dr Lisa McNally today issued this stark warning: “A new variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has now spread to most areas of the country.

“It is expected to be prevalent in our area very soon.

“The problem is the speed of transmission – we can expect a dramatic rise in cases over the next few weeks which inevitably means more pressure on already strained hospital critical care units and an increase in deaths.

“Our data suggests that shops, and especially supermarkets, are likely places for infection.”

Councillor Maria Crompton, deputy leader, Sandwell Council added: “We want everyone to stay safe this Christmas so please do not take any unnecessary risks.

“COVID-19 can be a fatal illness and it is vital we all do what we can to stop the spread and in particular protect our most vulnerable residents.”

Anyone with symptoms must get tested straight away and ensure they self-isolate for the full 10 days.


New Rapid Covid-19 Testing to Start in Sandwell

Rapid coronavirus testing will start on Monday (21 December) in Sandwell.

West Bromwich Town Hall has been converted into a large testing site able to accommodate 12 testing points at any one time.

In contrast to traditional testing methods which can take a few days to return a result, the new rapid testing technology offers a result on the same day.

The fastest and easiest way to book a test is online at www.sandwell.gov.uk/testsandwell

Anyone not able to access the internet can call 0121 569 6999 (weekdays).

To be eligible for a test you must not have any Covid-19 symptoms and you must not be self-isolating. Anyone experiencing symptoms should book a standard swab test at the Government website at www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.

Sandwell’s Deputy Council Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “If you have no Covid-19 symptoms but want to take a test, then this rapid method gives you a quick result – I’ve been one of the guinea pigs testing out our process and I can tell you it’s very easy.

“Some people will want to get tested on a regular basis so that they can reduce the chance that they will accidentally pass the virus on to someone they love.

“Rapid tests are also being made available to health and care workers, as well as other frontline staff, via their organisations.

“Having a large site at West Bromwich Town Hall will mean we can test lots of people quickly. We will also look to open up more sites in other areas of Sandwell in the near future.”

 

 


Think Sandwell

Sandwell Council advertises its procurement opportunities online. This is a single gateway to access procurement and networking opportunities. You may access goods or services via the Procurement Opportunities page at Think Sandwell. To register for wider access to procurement networking opportunities, please see Find it in the Black Country.

The electronic In-tend E-Procurement system is used by Sandwell Council to buy goods, works and services, rather than a paper based system. The Government is keen to see more business done electronically and the Council encourages companies to take on board E-Procurement. The authority will work only with companies which can trade electronically.

Find out more about In-tend.


New rules for bird keepers to prevent spread of avian flu

New ‘lockdown’ restrictions for poultry come in to force on the 14 December 2020. The message to any domestic poultry keepers in Sandwell is that any birds usually kept outside must now be brought inside to protect them from avian influenza. The Chief Vets in England, Wales and Scotland are bringing in the new measures to help protect poultry and captive birds following a number of confirmed cases of avian influenza in the UK.

The disease has recently been found in turkeys on a farm in North Yorkshire – following cases in Kent, Cheshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Leicestershire. Sandwell Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Maria Crompton, said: “These new housing measures mean it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers in Sandwell to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradication of this disease.”

Public health advice is that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers. It does not affect the consumption of poultry products, including eggs.

These housing measures build on the strengthened biosecurity regulations that were brought in as part of the Avian Influenza Protection Zone (AIPZ) on 11 November.  The AIPZ means that all poultry and captive bird keepers need to take extra precautions, such as cleaning and disinfecting equipment, clothing and vehicles, limiting access to non-essential people on their sites, and workers changing clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures.

The public and captive bird keepers are advised to be vigilant for any signs of disease in their birds and any wild birds, and seek prompt advice from their vet or report them to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

The housing measures will stay in place until the government deems the risk has passed.

Domestic poultry keepers can find the latest Government advice here.

 


Sandwell Council Events Team receives welcome grant from Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

Sandwell Council Events Team receives welcome grant from Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund

The Sandwell Council events team has been awarded £97,277 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they are able to work with creative talent across the Borough to bring cultural experiences to the communities of Sandwell.

Sandwell Council is one of almost 2,000 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving this much needed support – totalling over £300 million in awards – from the grants programme administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for culture, Councillor Danny Millard, said: “These funds will help us continue to deliver a variety of Covid-safe cultural events and activities across Sandwell. The council’s Discover Sandwell events team are working closely with teams across the council, local artists, events businesses and communities to find new ways of working and bring enjoyment to residents safely.

“This latest set of awards from the Culture Recovery Fund builds on those announced recently and will help hundreds of organisations to survive the next few months, ensuring that the cultural sector can bounce back after the crisis. We will continue doing everything we can to support artists and cultural and creative organisations, with further funding to be announced in the coming weeks.”


Sandwell Safeguarding Adults Awareness Week – Stopping Abuse is Everyone’s Responsibility

Sandwell’s Safeguarding Adults Awareness Week is getting under way today (16 – 22 November) to support National Safeguarding Adults Week 2020.

Sandwell’s Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) brings together partners and agencies across the borough to keep adults safe from harm and protect their rights. The awareness week will have an online focus, using social media and online resources to highlight real and important safeguarding matters which affect communities and individuals as well as raising awareness and sharing best practice among professionals and the public.

Over the coming week, each day will focus on a key area of abuse or risk that some people in Sandwell suffer daily and how they, or their loved ones, can seek the help and advice they need to keep them safe and well.
• Monday – Safeguarding and Wellbeing
• Tuesday – Adult Grooming
• Wednesday – Understanding Legislation
• Thursday – Creating Safer Places
• Friday – Organisational Abuse
• Saturday – Sport & Activity
• Sunday – Safeguarding in Your Community

“See something, do something. Safeguarding is everybody’s business.”
To find out more about Sandwell Safeguarding Adults Week – visit Sandwell Safeguarding Adults Board webpage at www.sandwellsab.org.uk or follow #SafeguardingAdultsWeek on Twitter.


Sandwell Adult and Family Learning Commission Opportunity

Sandwell Adult and Family Learning (SAFL) wishes to commission provision to support local voluntary and community sector organisations to deliver learning opportunities to targeted priority groups of residents. Any organisation that receives funding from SAFL will be classed as a subcontractor. 

Sandwell Adult and Family Learning have grants available of between £10,000 to £50,000 per project for the delivery of training in security, logistics, warehousing and digital skills on our behalf.

Full details can be found by clicking here.

Applications open 28th September 2020.

Stages:

  • Release of the 2020-2021 Community Learning Offer – 28th September 2020
  • Invitations to submit applications for delivery to commence from November 2020 28th September 2020 – 9th October 2020
  • Notification of results from Project Panel Review 19th October 2020
  • Contracts Awarded W/C 19th October 2020

All applications for funding will be received using the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council procurement process. If you are interested in submitting an application, please complete an application form available from the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council procurement web page by clicking here.

To access the full specification and application form, organisations will need to be registered on the Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council procurement system click here.

Please note: Applications will be approved subject to sufficient funds being available. Projects can be short or long but all activity must be completed by 30th June 2021

Community Learning Specification and Guidance can be accessed by clicking here.

For an informal chat about this opportunity please call SAFL on 0121 557 0837 or email Contact_SAFL@sandwell.gov.uk


Covid Recourses for voluntary and Community Groups in Sandwell

The new COVID-19 restrictions do not mean activities organised by community and voluntary organisations have to stop.

Community & voluntary sector sessions focused on activities like physical exercise, education, supporting vulnerable people, youth groups, charitable and voluntary work are allowed to exceed the limit of 6 people based on their individual risk assessment.

Be really stringent on social distancing, handwashing etc – and always take attendees’ details for purposes of contact tracing. There is guidance on how to produce a poster with a QR code for your community venue which you can access here . This is an easy way for you to know who has been in your venue and help with test and trace moving forward.

Your public health team can help you stay COVID-19 safe. Get in touch via PHCovid19_Enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk


Residents asked to help shape the future of Sandwell

Sandwell Council wants to hear from residents and businesses as its Towns Fund proposals move to the next phase.

In September 2019, the Government announced it had selected Rowley Regis, Smethwick and West Bromwich to submit a Towns Fund application for up to £25 million per town.

The towns able to submit a bid were selected by central Government. Sandwell Council continues to identify and seize investment and regeneration opportunities for all six towns.

Councillor Danny Millard, cabinet member for Inclusive Economic Growth, said: “In August we launched the first Towns Fund survey and I want to thank everyone who responded to that survey.

“We have listened to residents and I’m happy to announce the project proposals are ready for consultation.

“I want as many residents and businesses as possible to tell us what they think about these proposals and help us put forward the best plans to improve the lives of residents and shape the future of Sandwell.”

Sandwell Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Maria Crompton, added: “The Towns Fund is a fantastic opportunity to bring investment into Sandwell. These proposed projects will not only benefit selected towns but the whole of Sandwell. I would therefore ask everyone to have their say by completing the short survey.”

The Towns Fund Phase 2 survey is now live and people have until Wednesday 30 September to take part. To have your say or for more information visit www.sandwell.gov.uk/townsfund


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