Tuesday 11th August 2020
Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we will now be providing regular email updates for residents to let you know about the latest information we have and any changes to local services that may be affected.
If you do not wish to receive these updates please click on “unsubscribe” at the bottom of the page.
You can check the latest information on our website at any time by going to https://www.rotherham.gov.uk/coronavirus
Local infection rate is down but our guard must stay up
Thanks to the efforts of everyone in Rotherham, the local infection rate has fallen and the borough is no longer on the Government’s official national watchlist.
But Rotherham’s Director of Public Health, Teresa Roche has warned against complacency and if we all stop doing the right things, the risk of infection rates rising and the threat of a local lockdown will soon return.
She said: “While the infection rate in Rotherham has been slowly going down – and we are clearly pleased to have now been removed from the Government’s watchlist – this doesn’t change our plans locally or the need for everyone to keep doing the right things.
“The infection rate is still higher than we would like. People are still getting ill, and will for some time to come, and we are mindful that the infection rate has risen sharply again in other parts of the country.”
To Help Keep Rotherham Open, please continue to:
- Keep two metres apart whenever possible
- Wash your hands often
- Get tested immediately if you have symptoms, even if they are mild
- Wear a face covering
The walk-in Test Site at Forge Island in Rotherham Town Centre is expected to remain in place for the next three months. Click the button below to book a test, if you have symptoms or think you may have come into contact with someone who has the virus.
Local playgrounds begin to re-open
We’re pleased to announce that children’s playgrounds across the borough have now started to re-open.
The playgrounds in Clifton Park and Rother Valley Country Park opened up for the first time at the weekend. And the following sites have followed so far this week:
- Barkers Park
- Bradgate Park
- Coronation Park
- Fenton Road
- Ferham Park
- Greenlands Park
- Lodge Lane
- Maltby Manor
We maintain more than 100 playground across the borough, so please bear with us, while we work to get each site open safely as soon as we can.
Our Parks team provide daily updates on re-openings at the Rotherham Parks Facebook page as we work to open all sites over the next couple of weeks .
Before any playground is re-opened, a full maintenance check needs to take place and signage (like the below) installed, so that parents and children know about the new guidance they need to follow while using the facilities. Please ensure you stick to these rules which are there to protect you, your chldren and our staff.
To ensure accessibility to children and young people with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities, the use of the play area from 10am-11am is reserved for their use only.
New Covid support scheme to help ‘unsung hero’ carers
The Council has joined forces with Crossroads Care Rotherham to launch a new initiative to support local people who provide long-term support to loved ones who would otherwise struggle on their own.
The £50,000 project will give people who care for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems the access to help and support they need through the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.
In Rotherham, there are many people who provide informal care to family and friends. Being a carer can be both physically and mentally challenging and the ongoing pandemic has compounded the difficulties they face.
The project aims to reach out to local unpaid carers to ensure their rights and support needs are met in the same way as they would be for the people they care for.
It is hoped the new scheme will ease isolation as well as providing respite and support with skills training.
There are also a limited number of small grants available to those hardest hit by the pandemic and the project is now welcoming new applications.
Visit the website for more information about the project and the help and support available:
Businesses have just 5 days left to get Covid-19 grants
Businesses have now just five days left to apply for financial help from two Covid-19 support schemes.
Over 4,000 Rotherham businesses and charities have received more than £46m in financial support from Rotherham Council since the start of Covid-19 lockdown measures through a number of schemes backed by the Government.
Although around 90% of eligible businesses in Rotherham have now been paid the grants they are entitled to, we believe a small number are still yet to claim and we are urging them to check their eligibility on the Council website to ensure they don’t miss out.
These grants are vital to the wellbeing of our economy, protecting the jobs, businesses and livelihoods of thousands of local people. We want to see every last penny kept in Rotherham – please help us in these final few days by spreading the word with businesses in your community.
Test & trace service goes local
The national NHS Test & Trace service is to be given a new, local focus, the Government has announced.
The new way of working will see dedicated teams of contact tracers from the national service allocated to local areas across the country, including Rotherham. These dedicated teams of NHS Test and Trace contact tracers will work alongside local public health officials to provide a more tailored service.
If the dedicated national team cannot make contact with a resident within a set period of time, the local public health officials can use the data provided by NHS Test and Trace to follow up, which in some pilot areas has involved local authority teams and voluntary partners visiting people at home.
The new system has already been successfully used in Blackburn with Darwen, Luton and Leicester and is now being offered to all upper tier local authorities who are responsible for public health locally.
As part of the Government’s changes, the overall number of contact tracers will reduce from 18,000 to 12,000 before they are deployed to local areas from later this month.
Government proposes major changes to planning laws
The Government has unveiled proposals to radically change the local planning system.
Amongst the reforms proposed in the ‘Planning for the future’ consultation include overhauling the planning process, agreeing local housing plans in 30 months and requiring every area to have a local plan in place.
The way developers make contributions to support local infrastructure like schools, roads and GP surgeries would also change.
Under the plans, land will be designated into one of three categories – for growth, for renewal or for protection.
Meanwhile, a First Homes scheme will provide newly-built homes at a 30 per cent discount for local people, key workers and first-time buyers.
Cllr David Sheppard (pictured above), Chair of the Planning Board at Rotherham Council said: “The Government’s ‘Planning for the Future’ proposals announced last week represent a significant set of changes to the planning system in England and we are encouraguing residents to take part and have their say in the consultation.
“I am concerned about the proposals, as they appear to be removing local democratic oversight from the planning system. By giving developers automatic permission, this will severely reduce the voice of communities at a local level in the process.
“The removal of section 106 contributions and Community Infrastructure Levy in favour of a national scheme also threatens the ability to provide affordable housing and essential infrastructure improvements to our schools, roads and other vital assets in our borough.
“The Local Government Association have highlighted how, nationally, 9 in 10 planning applications are approved by councils, but more than a million homes given planning permission over the last decade are yet to be built. This highlights that the problem of not building enough housing across the country lies with the large building companies, not with the planning process or local authorities.
“Councillors and local residents must be not be blocked out from the planning process as it is important our voices are heard in the system at a local level.”
The proposals are now open for consultation. Click the button to have your say:
The ‘Pride’ of Rotherham brought to life at Clifton Park
Visitors to Clifton Park Museum will be greeted by a new mural of Leonard, the kind and courageous lion, created by award-winning children’s author and illustrator Ed Vere.
The mural will be on display in readiness for the museum reopening this September, reuniting residents with their very own lion, the much-loved, family favourite, Nelson.
The 8 foot by 12 foot mural can be found outside the Garden Building, close to the museum in the award-winning Clifton Park, from tomorrow, Wednesday 12th August.
Rotherham Council worked in partnership with local children’s literacy charity Grimm & Co to facilitate the mural in homage to the popular one-eyed lion Nelson who is on permanent display within the Clifton Park Museum and is said to have been the original model for the lions in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Nelson is a South African Cape Lion which is now extinct and has been a much-loved exhibit within the museum by generations of Rotherham residents, yet sadly inaccessible to the public for five months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The lion mural, along with the museum collections will be used to develop a new Early Years programme at Clifton Park Museum. There will be many opportunities for young children to explore the museum, enjoy stories and develop their creativity.
A programme of events with the artist will take place both in person and online over the coming months.
Getting in touch…
During this challenging time please, where possible and appropriate, use our online services rather than calling via telephone. We’re receiving a high level of calls daily and want to ensure we’re able to answer urgent calls regarding vulnerable residents and our front line services.