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Prime Minister announces new national restrictions

The Prime Minister has announced tougher national restrictions in England from Thursday.

With the NHS weeks from being overwhelmed, and a higher death toll than the first wave predicted without new restrictions, the Prime Minister, Chief Medical Officer, Chief Scientific Advisor, and Cabinet agreed there was no alternative to tougher national measures.

The Prime Minister will update Parliament on Monday, and MPs are set to vote on the measures on Wednesday. This follows a Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister earlier today.

He said that no one wants to impose these kinds of measures, but no responsible Prime Minister could ignore the evidence presented.

He also said that, whilst Christmas will inevitably be different this year, tough action now could mean families may be able to be together.

Belgium, France, Germany and other countries have already put in place national restrictions, following earlier local measures.

From Thursday 5 November, everyone must stay at home, and may leave only for a limited set of reasons. These include:

  • For education;
  • For work, if you cannot work from home;
  • For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household;
  • For all medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm;
  • To shop for food and essentials;
  • And to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.

A full set of exemptions will be set out in law.

Single-adult households will still be able to form an exclusive support bubble with one other household, and children can move between homes if their parents are separated.

Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will be closed. Click and collect services can continue and essential shops, including supermarkets, will remain open, so there is no need for anyone to stockpile.

Pubs, bars, restaurants must close, except for takeaway and delivery services.

People should work from home wherever possible. Workplaces should stay open where people cannot work from home – for example, in the construction or manufacturing sectors.

Shielding as practised in the spring will not currently be reintroduced. The clinically vulnerable, or those over the age of 60, should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise contacts with others. Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should not only minimise their contacts with others, but also not go to work if they are unable to work from home.

There is no exemption for staying away from home on holiday. This means people cannot travel internationally or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions. Overnight stays away from primary residences will not be allowed, except for specific exceptions including for work.

Inbound international travel will continue to be governed by the travel corridor approach, and those currently on a domestic holiday will be allowed to finish their holidays, but are still subject to the requirements in England not to go out without a reasonable excuse.

Public services, such as job centres, courts, and civil registration offices will remain open.

There is no exemption for communal worship in places of worship (except funerals and individual prayer), organised team sports, or children’s activities.

Elite sport will be allowed to continue behind closed doors as currently.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, known as the furlough scheme, will remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. The cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the current scheme, which ends today.

As the Prime Minister and Education Secretary have said, keeping young people in education is a national priority so early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. Parents and carers should make sure their children keep attending school. However, universities and adult learning providers should consider increasing online provision where possible.

Parents will still be able to access registered childcare and other childcare activities where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work. Parents are also able to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under.

Ministers are also clear that it is vital to keep the provision for non-Covid healthcare needs going. Unless clinicians tell patients otherwise, they should continue to use the NHS, get scans and other tests, turn up for all appointments and collect medicines and treatments.

Ministers have done everything in their power to avoid another national lockdown.

The natural rate of R is around 3, meaning local restrictions have helped slow the spread of the virus, whilst NHS Test and Trace is testing more than any other country in Europe.

But the R rate is still above 1, meaning infections, hospitalisations and deaths continue to double, and the virus is now a national problem.

On present trends, in the South West, where incidence is low for example, it is clear they would run out of hospital capacity in a matter of weeks unless we act.

Whilst work is underway to boost capacity, including preparing the Nightingales, it is impossible to create extra bed space, and recruit extra doctors and nurses, at the rate necessary to outpace the virus.

Litter Pick Cancelled

To safeguard our vulnerable volunteers, November’s community litter pick has been cancelled.
 
The next scheduled litter pick will be Saturday 9th January 2021 (all being well).

Second Lockdown Announced

The Prime Minister announced (Saturday 31st October) a second national lockdown, commencing Thursday 5th November and lasting until Wednesday 2nd December, requiring non-essential shops and hospitality to close.

In his speech, the Prime Minister said:

“From Thursday until the start of December, you must stay at home.

You may only leave home for specific reasons, including:

For education; For work, say if you cannot work from home; For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own with one person from another household; For medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm; To shop for food and essentials; And to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.

I’m afraid non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed – though click and collect services can continue and essential shops will remain open, so there is no need to stock up.

Pubs, bars, restaurants must close except for takeaway and delivery services.

Workplaces should stay open where people can’t work from home – for example in the construction or manufacturing sectors.

Single adult households can still form exclusive support bubbles with one other household, and children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated.

If you are clinically vulnerable, or over the age of 60, you should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others.

I know how tough shielding was, and we will not ask people to shield again in the same way again. However we are asking those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to minimise their contact with others, and not to go to work if they are unable to work from home.

I am under no illusions about how difficult this will be for businesses which have already had to endure hardship this year. I am truly, truly sorry for that.

This is why we are also going to extend the furlough system through November. The furlough scheme was a success in the spring. It supported people and businesses in a critical time. We will not end it. We will extend it until December.

There will be some differences compared to March.

These measures above all will be time-limited, starting next Thursday 5 November. They will end on Wednesday 2 December, when we will seek to ease restrictions, going back into the tiered system on a local and regional basis according to the latest data and trends.

Christmas is going to be different this year, very different, but it is my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now, we can allow families across the country to be together.

My priority, our priority, remains keeping people in education – so childcare, early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. Our senior clinicians still advise that school is the best place for children to be.

We cannot let this virus damage our children’s futures even more than it has already. I urge parents to continue taking their children to school and I am extremely grateful to teachers across the country for their dedication in enabling schools to remain open.

And it is vital that we will keep provision for non-Covid healthcare groups going.

So please – this is really important – unless your clinicians tell you otherwise, you should continue to use the NHS, get your scans, turn up for your appointments and pick up your treatments. If at all possible, we want you to continue to access these services, now and through the winter. Indeed it’s only by taking this action that we can protect the NHS for you.”

Light Up Fairfield

What a year it has been? You could say it has been very dark. We need to brighten our spirits, so this Christmas let’s “Light Up Fairfield”; this could be by having some outdoor lights, fairy lights in the window or an electronic candle.

From Saturday 19th December, friends and neighbours can wander around our village and, hopefully, “Light Up Fairfield” will lift all our spirits.

Please share your “Light Up Fairfield” photos and spread our Community Christmas Cheer.

Email: admin@fvca.org.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fairfieldinformation

Twitter: www.twitter.com/fairfield_info

Neighbourhood Pumpkin Trail

Halloween 2020 might look a little bit different to previous years. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still have lots of creative Halloween fun together!

This Halloween, we’d love to get as many homes as possible in our community involved in our Big Neighbourhood Pumpkin Trail!

All you need to do is display a pumpkin in your window – paper, real, decorated, plastic, painted….whatever you like! Then when children are out and about on Saturday 31st October they can see how many pumpkins they can spot – it will become one massive Pumpkin Trail!

Share your pumpkins by emailing a photo to admin@fvca.org.uk, message via Facebook (www.facebook.com/fairfieldinformation) or Twitter @fairfield_info 

Fireworks and Livestock

Farmers care deeply about the welfare of their animals, and are rightly concerned about anything that could jeopardise their wellbeing. Fireworks have the possibility to frighten livestock, which can lead to lower production and even stock loss. Poultry especially are at risk of a “smother,” where birds huddle together which can result in some birds dying. In addition fireworks can pose a fire risk if hot embers land on barns or in fields of standing crops. 

If you are thinking of marking the 5th of November (or any other event/date) with fireworks, we ask that you consider the safety and wellbeing of neighbours and neighbours animals. It is important to let farmers know beforehand that you are planning on letting off fireworks so they can take necessary precautions to protect their animals. Fireworks should always be used safely, and pointed away from buildings, standing crops, and fields with animals in them.

Always check the government advice before using fireworks: https://www.gov.uk/fireworks-the-law

Fire Chiefs & Burns Association Issue Fireworks Warning

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has teamed up with the British Burn Association (BBA) to warn families of the dangers of holding firework displays at home this Bonfire Night.

Between 2014 –19 there were more than 1,000 severe burn injuries involving fireworks in England and Wales, with 38% of these in youngsters under 15 years of age and the majority (67%) were sustained by males.

The NFCC advises that in order to hold a firework display, the space required depends on the type of firework and must be checked. The information for each firework will be printed on the side of the product so should be checked before purchase. In general, the distance required will range from five metres to 25 metres, this is equivalent to half the length of a fire engine to two and half times the length of a fire engine. So, spectators should be at least this distance away from the firework when it is set off. Therefore, the size of the garden will need to be greater than the distance shown on the firework.

If families do have the space in their garden, they must ensure that fireworks are bought from a licensed supplier or authorised retailer who can also provide appropriate advice. Fireworks must not be bought or used by anyone under the age of 18 and fireworks must have the CE safety mark printed on them.

Recently introduced government legislation gives police the powers to fine people who break the latest measures. Government restrictions on social gatherings – both nationally and locally – aim to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to ease pressures on the NHS.

Ultrafast Broadband Update

Full Fibre – Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) – is on its ways, as part of OpenReach’s upgrade of the Bromsgrove network.

In our Autumn newsletter we informed you that over the past few months contractors have been unblocking and preparing underground pipes for the upgrade.

It was initially thought that FTTP in Fairfield would be live sometime during the Autumn.  Contractors have encountered several issues with their preparation work that has delayed the “live” date, with talk now of early 2021.

Residents can register for OpenReach updates, visit https://www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fibre-for-home

Be s-careful this Halloween

West Mercia Police are asking those of you planning to take part in Halloween activities to be “s-careful” and follow Covid-19 regulations.

Whilst Halloween is going be different this year, for obvious reasons, we are sure that many of you are still hoping to seize the opportunity to have a good time.

Along with asking you to keep following the Coronavirus regulations (as the vast majority of you have been for the last eight months) we are also asking you to be “frightfully thoughtful” to those living around you. Some people, particularly those that live alone, can find parts of Halloween behaviour intimidating, so please be mindful of this. We have also produced our annual posters to help prevent visitors; these are available from our Safer Neighbourhood Teams and at the bottom of this page.

Chief Superintendent Sue Thomas said: “We want to get the balance right between ensuring everyone is doing their bit to prevent the spread of coronavirus by following the law whilst not stopping people from having a good, safe, time.

“As in previous years, we will have an increased number of officers on duty and will be carrying out additional high visibility patrols to ensure that anti-social behaviour remains low. We will also be engaging with those out and about and encouraging them to act responsibly and reminding them to follow Covid-19 laws. Where we need to though, we will take enforcement action.

“Perhaps most importantly, please remember that if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been told to self-isolate you shouldn’t take part in any in-person Halloween festivities and shouldn’t give out sweets to trick-or-treaters. There are, however, lots of other ways that you can still make a memorable evening for your family.”

Plant Pots Needed

If you have any used 5″ plant pots, the church office would be most grateful to have these to use for Mothering Sunday flowers next year.

If you are unable to get to the church office in Belbroughton, leave your pots in the porch of St. Mark’s and someone will take them there.

Remember, Remember Stay Safe This November

Think twice about home firework displays, in addition to the destress that fireworks cause livestock and family pets (we are a farming community), fireworks are dangerous and can cause serious injury. 

If you choose to go ahead plan and prepare – carefully, 

A £2 firework at a family display misfired & left Maisie with burn injuries. Hear her story in this video released by the National Fire Chiefs Council.  

WARNING:  Some people may find the film destressing.

Dog Walkers Urged to Clean Up Faeces on Farmland

Diseases found in dog poo can cause abortions in cattle and death in sheep

Local farmers and Fairfield Village Community Association are urging members of the public to clean up after their dogs when walking on or near to agricultural land.

Parasites found in some dog faeces can result in the abortions of cattle and death in sheep and with several reports over recent months, local farmers are pleading with the public to be more responsible.

As the lambing and calving season begins for another year, the message to members of the public is to remember to pick up any faeces from dogs they are walking, including when they are using agricultural land.

The two diseases of particular concern that can be present as a result of faeces on farmland are neosporosis and sarcocystosis.

Neosporosis can cause abortions in cattle and is thought to be responsible for the highest percentage of all cattle abortions reported in the UK. Neospora eggs are produced by infected dogs and excreted in their faeces. Cattle will then become infected if they eat food, i.e. grass, or drink water contaminated with the eggs.

Sarcocystosis is also caused by parasites, which can use dogs as intermediate hosts, and similarly the eggs are produced and excreted in faeces.

In terms of both these diseases, faeces from infected dogs can contaminate pasture and animal feed, water or bedding. There is currently no licensed vaccine or drugs available for these diseases.

Remembrance Service Cancelled

Having considered Government guidance and other advice received, the age & vulnerability of members of our community, the limited space around the war memorial and the restricted maximum number of people permitted in St. Mark’s church, it has been decided not to hold a Remembrance Service this year.

Members of the public & community groups may leave wreaths (that are pegged down) and crosses at the War Memorial at a time when that they feel safe to do so.

A national act of remembrance will be televised on BBC1.

Green Homes Voucher Scheme

The Green Homes Vouchers opened on 30th September 2020 and is a government scheme which can be accessed via the Simple Energy Advice website (this site also includes more information): https://www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/

The government will provide a voucher that covers up to two thirds of the cost of qualifying improvements to your home. The maximum value of the voucher is £5,000. You may be able to receive a higher level of subsidy if you are a homeowner and either you or a member of your household receives one of the qualifying benefits, covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. The maximum value of these voucher is £10,000.

Private rented properties cannot receive the ‘low income’ vouchers up to £10,000. 

The deadline for works to be completed is March 31st 2021. 

Anyone needing help and guidance about this government scheme can contact the council’s energy advice service, delivered by YES Energy Solution https://www.yesenergysolutions.co.uk/schemes/bromsgrove-and-redditch-energy-advice-service

Harvest Festival Service

The annual Harvest Festival service will take place on Sunday (11th October) at St. Mark’s church.  The short, family friendly, service starts at 11.15 am.

Non-perishable donations only, these will be passed to Foodbank.

Temporary Arrangement for 200 Club Draws

November sees the recommencement of 200 Club draws, giving members the opportunity to win up to £200.00.

As a temporary arrangement, whilst trustees meeting are being held remotely via Zoom, the monthly draw will take place during the first seven days of each month at Fairfield Café, with a member of the public witnessing each draw. 

Bromsgrove has the highest rate of infection in Worcestershire

Bromsgrove now has an infection rate of 80 per 100,000 people, that’s the highest in Worcestershire.

The Director for Public Health in Worcestershire, Dr Kathryn Cobain, is appealing urgently to the residents in Bromsgrove to follow the social distancing rules to help reduce the rapidly rising infection rate.

Many of the cases in the district have been in those under the age of 50 and are not related to any known situation. This indicates they could be easily prevented with simple measures, that individuals take as they go about their day to day lives.

While Public Health teams are supporting local areas, it is residents and their actions which are key to bringing the cases back under control.

Dr. Kathryn Cobain, the Director for Public Health in Worcestershire said; “I am extremely concerned to see the infection rate taking off as it has in Bromsgrove. This is the clearest indication yet, that some people are not following the rules. The rate is significantly high enough, to potentially see the district added to the Government’s watch list which could result in further measures being introduced. We don’t want to see that happen.

“I am now appealing to each and every person in Bromsgrove, now is the time to take this seriously. We must do everything we can to stop the virus spreading. It really isn’t that hard to think about how you are going about your daily lives, keeping your distance from others, reducing who you mix with, wearing a face covering and washing your hands regularly.

“These simple measures will make a difference because the virus only moves around when we mix and socialise. By sticking to the rules, you can reduce your risk and the risk of those you love.”

Councillor Karen May, Leader of Bromsgrove District Council added: “I cannot stress enough how vitally important it is for us to follow the rules. We must do this now or face tougher restrictions in the future.

“The figures clearly show that Covid-19 is in our community and spreading fast. When other areas have successfully followed the rules, their infection rate has gone down.

“Come on Bromsgrove, we can do this if we act quickly and together now.“

National Poetry Day 2020

This Thursday (1st October) is National Poetry Day, the annual mass celebration on the first Thursday of October that encourages people to enjoy, discover and share poetry.

What’s your favourite poem? Share it.

Did you know that Fairfield has a famous poetic son?

Sir Geoffrey Hill, described as “one of the greatest English poets” was born in Bromsgrove on 18th June 1932, the son of policeman, William, and his wife Hilda. The family moved to Fairfield when Geoffrey was 6 years old; his father the village policeman and the family lived at the Old Police House. Geoffrey attended Fairfield First School and then Bromsgrove School.

Sir Geoffrey once recalled “If you stood at the top of the field opposite our house, you looked right across the Severn Valley to the Clee Hills and the Welsh hills very faint and far off behind them.” A view that still exists from nearby fields.

Geoffrey Hill was knighted in 2012 for services to literature, receiving his honour at Buckingham Palace from The Princess Royal (Princess Anne).

Sir Geoffrey Hill died 30 June 2016, aged 84 years.

Take extra care on rural roads during harvest season

West Mercia Police are warning motorists of the dangers that may be present at this time of year as farmers are using the roads more when harvesting and moving their produce, and reminding them that extra care and patience should be taken during this important season.

Agriculture is one of the region’s key industries and this time of year is very busy in the farming calendar with many crops requiring harvest and transportation, often within a short window of opportunity in order to ensure consumers can enjoy the produce in prime condition. However, this burst of activity traditionally sees a rise in road collisions, many of which are preventable.

A significant proportion of the collisions involving agricultural vehicles occur on rural roads with 60mph speed limits, and many near turnings into farms. The typical causes of collisions are poor overtaking manoeuvres and inappropriate speed, with drivers finding themselves unable to stop in time when presented with a slow moving or wide vehicle.  Since the start of 2017 there have been 83 collisions across West Mercia involving an agricultural vehicle.

A further hazard is caused by mud and debris being brought onto the roads by tractors and other vehicles that have been working in the fields. Under the Highways Act (1980), farmers and contractors have a legal obligation to ensure their vehicles are cleared of any mud or debris before entering the public highway. Excess mud on the road is a danger to cars, motorbikes and cyclists and can change the way a vehicle handles, causing skidding, especially in wet conditions.

Superintendent Mel Crowther, West Mercia Police Force Operations comments: “Every year we face problems with agricultural vehicles leaving large amounts of mud and debris on the roads during the harvest season. While the majority of farmers take steps to ensure they keep the roads clear and safe, not all are as diligent.

“We would like to remind farmers and contractors of their responsibilities under the Highways Act and we will continue to take a tough stance against anyone who we believe is being reckless and irresponsible, this also includes other motoring offences such as mobile phone use.

“Although many drivers of agricultural vehicles use the roads in a responsible way, we are reminding them to be aware of the impact they can have and consider other road users while they undertake their work. During busy traffic periods, pull into a lay-by or safe place to allow other vehicles to pass safely, to avoid traffic build-up and prevent unsafe overtaking manoeuvres.  

“We would also like to remind general motorists that extra care and patience should be taken during the harvest season.  While it can be frustrating travelling behind an agricultural vehicle it’s not worth getting impatient and putting yourself and other road users at risk with dangerous manoeuvres.”

Drivers of agricultural vehicles or anyone wishing to report any issues regarding debris or mud on the road should contact West Mercia Police on 101 or online at www.westmercia.police.uk

Have Your Say: Bromsgrove Community Survey 2020 is open

Bromsgrove residents are invited to take part in a survey which helps inform the District Council’s plans and decisions for the year ahead.

The annual Community Survey asks residents for their views and opinions about issues affecting them, their local area, and district council services. The results are then reported to members and officers of the council.
 

Bromsgrove District Council Leader Karen May said: “Our aim is to build a Better Bromsgrove for everyone and to help us do this we need to hear from as many people as possible, so we know what’s important to them.
 

“All feedback will help to inform our plans and strategies for the year ahead so please fill it in and play your part in shaping the future of the district.”
 

The 2020 survey is available for anyone to take part at www.bromsgrove.gov.uk/consultations. It covers a range of areas and should take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete, with the option to ‘save and continue’ if you want to take a break while filling it in. The results of last year’s survey are also available on the council’s website.
 

The closing date for responses is 5pm on Monday 19 October.
 

For more information please contact the council’s Engagement, Equalities and Policy team at equalities@bromsgroveandredditch.gov.uk or on 01527 64252 ext. 2409.

Neighbourhood Watch – Neighbour of the Year Award 2020

Nominate a neighbour that goes above and beyond for your community for the Neighbour of the Year Award 2020
run by Co-op Insurance and Neighbourhood Watch

For the third year running, Neighbourhood Watch are excited to launch the nationwide search in partnership with our friends at Co-op Insurance to find and celebrate some of the UK’s best neighbours. 

Neighbourhood Watch members have said that to be a great neighbour people share some clear qualities: a willingness to look out for others; being sociable and friendly; offering practical help; and being kind, caring and respectful.

In addition to the Neighbour of the Year Award, there is also a brand-new category, Co-op’s Young Neighbour of the Year. This award will celebrate someone aged 18-24 who has gone above and beyond to help enhance their community and has brought people, young and old, together.
Nominations are now open

If you’ve got someone who ticks all these boxes and more in either category, tell Neighbourhood Watch all about them and how they go above and beyond.

Click here to be taken to their nomination form, where you can share your stories of great neighbourly activities and acts of kindness.

The deadline to nominate is 27th October.

NHS COVID-19 app launches across England and Wales

  • NHS COVID-19 app launches nationwide to help control COVID-19 transmission alongside national and local contact tracing
  • Features of the app include contact tracing using Bluetooth, risk alerts based on postcode district, QR check-in at venues, symptom checker and test booking – with user privacy and data security at its heart
  • Businesses are now required by law to display the official NHS QR code posters from today so people can check-in at different premises with the app

People across England and Wales are being urged to download the NHS COVID-19 app to help control the spread of coronavirus and protect themselves and their loved ones as case numbers rise.

The app launches today, and after positive trials and rigorous testing is an important new tool to work alongside traditional contact tracing to help reduce the spread of the virus.

It will be available to those aged 16 and over in multiple languages. It forms a central part of the NHS Test and Trace service in England and the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme – identifying contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus.

As part of a major campaign to encourage downloads of the app a new advertisement will launch on primetime TV tonight with the strapline ‘Protect your loved ones. Get the app.’

Today the UK’s major mobile network operators, including Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, Sky and Virgin, have confirmed that all in-app activity will not come out of customers’ data allowance.

The contact tracing element of the app works by using low-energy Bluetooth to log the amount of time you spend near other app users, and the distance between you, so it can alert you if someone you have been close to later tests positive for COVID-19 – even if you don’t know each other.

The app will advise you to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case. It will also enable you to check symptoms, book a free test if needed and get your test results.

The app has been designed with user privacy in mind, so it tracks the virus, not people and uses the latest in data security technology to protect privacy. The system generates a random ID for an individual’s device, which can be exchanged between devices via Bluetooth (not GPS). These unique random IDs regenerate frequently to add an extra layer of security and preserve anonymity.

The app does not hold personal information such as your name, address or date of birth, and only requires the first half of your postcode to ensure local outbreaks can be managed. No personal data is shared with the government or the NHS.

UK government Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

We are at a tipping point in our efforts to control the spread of this virus. With infection rates rising we must use every tool at our disposal to prevent transmission, including the latest technology.

We have worked extensively with tech companies, international partners, and privacy and medical experts – and learned from the trials – to develop an app that is secure, simple to use and will help keep our country safe.

Today’s launch marks an important step forward in our fight against this invisible killer and I urge everyone who can to download and use the app to protect themselves and their loved ones.

From today certain businesses in England are required by law to display NHS Test and Trace QR codes so customers with the NHS COVID-19 app can use them to check-in. QR codes will help businesses meet their legal requirement to log contact details and allow public health leads to send alerts based on whether people have checked in at venues. So far, more than 160,000 businesses have already downloaded QR codes. Venues in Wales that are legally required to collect and keep a record of visitors will still need to do so.

The NHS Test and Trace team behind the app has worked closely with major tech companies, including Google and Apple, scientists within the Alan Turing Institute and Oxford University, Zuhlke Engineering, medical experts, privacy groups, at-risk communities and teams in countries across the world using similar apps – such as Germany, to develop an app that is safe, simple and secure.

The app has been through successful trials in the Isle of Wight, Newham and among NHS volunteer responders. Lessons learned have informed the final version that is launching today.

Dido Harding, Executive Chair of England’s NHS Test and Trace Programme, said:

We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to engage with England’s NHS Test and Trace service. The NHS COVID-19 app enables the majority of people with a smartphone to find out if they are at risk of having caught the virus and need to self isolate, order a test if they have symptoms, and access the right guidance and advice.

The features of this app, including QR code check-in at venues, work alongside our traditional contact tracing service and will help us to reach more people quickly in their communities to prevent further spread of the virus.

This is a welcome step in protecting those around us.

Simon Thompson, Managing Director of the NHS COVID-19 App, said:

We have worked tirelessly to develop the new NHS COVID-19 app and we are incredibly grateful to all residents of the Isle of Wight, London borough of Newham, and NHS volunteer responders, the learnings and insight have made the app what it is today. We are now ready to roll-out the app across England and Wales.

This new version is so much more than just a contact tracing app – it has a range of features which will quickly alert you if you’re at risk of coronavirus. The more people who use it, the better it works.

We are confident that every person who downloads the app will be helping to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Wales’ Health and Social Services Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

The launch of the NHS COVID-19 app is an important part of Wales’ coronavirus response, bolstering our Test, Trace, Protect programme. The more people who download and use this app, the more it will help us to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We have worked closely with the app development team to ensure it works seamlessly across England and Wales, providing people with the right advice based on where they live. In Wales, the app will complement our existing contact tracing and testing services and will further support our co-ordinated response to COVID-19 at both a local and national level.

I strongly encourage everyone in Wales to download and use the app to keep Wales safe.

In a joint statement Apple and Google said:

We built the exposure notifications system to enable public health authorities in their efforts to develop apps to help reduce the spread of the virus while ensuring people can trust in the privacy-preserving design. We are committed to supporting the government’s effort to launch an app based on this technology.

Hamish MacLeod, Director at Mobile UK, said:

The mobile industry welcomes the opportunity to support the government’s efforts to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic by zero-rating access to the new NHS COVID-19 app. Customers can be reassured that all in-app activity will not come out of their data allowance.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

The NHS COVID-19 app is a great addition to the safety measures already being put in by retailers. We hope it provides extra reassurance for customers and their families all across the country.

As well as contact tracing, the app has a range of additional, enhanced features that will help to reduce personal and public risk from COVID-19 as part of the wider testing and contact tracing service:

  • alert: letting users know the level of coronavirus risk in their postcode district
  • QR check-in: enabling users to check-in at a venue and alerting them if they have recently visited somewhere they may have come into contact with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19
  • symptoms: allowing users to check if they have coronavirus symptoms and see if they need to order a free test
  • test: helping users book a free test through the app and get results to know whether they have COVID-19
  • isolate: if a user is told to self-isolate, a timer feature will help count down that period and access will be provided to relevant advice

Fairfield Flicks Screenings Halted

Last week Fairfield Flicks, which is operated by Fairfield Village Community Association, had their first film screening since lockdown, numbers  attending  Knives Out were low and the Community Association made a loss.
 
Yesterday, Fairfield Flicks screened their second film, Mrs Lowry & Son, which was well received.  Unfortunately numbers were once again low, 9 people including volunteers in the audience, and againthe Community Association made a loss.
 
The low numbers could be that people do not feel confident to support local community cinema, understandably worried about Covid-19.
 
Losses are not something that the Community Association can afford, with available funds very low. 
 
Until the Community Association  committee feels that there is confidence to support local community cinema, and risk to finances changes for the better, Fairfield Flicks will be suspended until 2021.
 
The Community Association  appreciate that there will be some disappointed people, hopefully when confidence grows and infection rates are lower the Association can relaunch their community initiative.

Here2Help Worcestershire

www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help 

Launched as One Worcestershire’s community action response.

Here2Help is a communication campaign as well as a dedicated response service for all residents who ask for help and those individuals and organisations who offer to help. It aims to complement the national scheme to support those individuals extremely vulnerable to becoming severely ill from Covid-19 (our shielded cohort) and the NHS Volunteer Responders. Districts are linking into this and information of local community support across the six Districts in Worcestershire is contained within the Here2Help Worcestershire database. *Please note*: Opening times has recently changed and is now 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

Support Bromsgrove

www.supportbromsgrove.com 

For anyone in need or would like to offer their help in their local area within Bromsgrove District.

Support Bromsgrove is a partnership of local voluntary and community groups, including our three local foodbanks and Fairfield Village Community Association. See website for contact details. Please note that since 1 July, the helpline became a 24 hour Answerphone Service. Information of local community schemes working across different Parishes / Villages / Neighbourhoods and a directory of organisations are included on the website to help connect the full range of local community support available across the District. The Bromsgrove Community Support Facebook Group, which initially set up the helpline, is continuing on Facebook, helping to connect people to the support they require.

Reducing Energy Bills

Act on Energy has a free specialist helpline open to all who need help with reducing fuel bills, switching suppliers, support with accessing emergency heating and much more.  The helpline number is: 0800 988 2881 or they can be contact via their website: www.actonenergy.org.uk

NEW Lifeline – *6 week FREE trial* 

NEW Lifeline (run by Bromsgrove District and Redditch Borough Councils) offer a free six week lifeline service, including the installation of key safe if required, for clients who are about to leave hospital and would benefit from Assistive Technology.  Contactless installations are available and no landline is required.  A leaflet with further details on the 6 week free trial is attached and more information is on the website, which includes a short YouTube clip on how the service works: www.newlifeline.org.uk/contactless.   

For further information, please call 01527 534060.

Green Homes Grant: Good News and Scam

Homeowners in England will be able to apply get up to £5,000 of vouchers for energy-efficient home improvements from September 2020. To get a government voucher, you’ll need to complete an online application for a recommended home improvement, get a quote from a listed supplier and have the quote approved.

For more information on this, please visit: www.gov.uk/improve-energy-efficiency. This new scheme fits in with a popular scam where consumers are contacted by phone and mail to explain that they can help consumers with applying for a grant, find suppliers and get the work done for them for a fee. Once the fee has been paid, no work is ever carried out and the money is gone.

What’s more is that these consumers will be added to a marketing list, which can be sold on to other fraudulent companies in an effort to target them with a completely different scam. If you receive a cold call or letter from someone claiming to be able to help you with the new government grant, hang up and report the call to Action Fraud.

Care Home visits in Bromsgrove to be halted

Care Home visits in Bromsgrove to be halted

Families in Bromsgrove are being asked not to visit loved ones in care homes, after a rise in Coronavirus numbers in the town

Worcestershire County Council Public Health teams have taken the precautionary decision to close visits to care homes with immediate effect. Only essential visits will be allowed.

In the past week Bromsgrove has seen a rise in positive Coronavirus cases from 6 to 22.

As part of the outbreak control plan, the county has a multitude of measures and support available to help prevent an outbreak and reduce the spread of the virus. The decision to restrict care home visits is one of those options. It’s considered a necessary precaution in Bromsgrove as the numbers have increased. The need to protect our elderly and vulnerable residents is paramount.

Dr. Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health for Worcestershire said: “We realise lockdown separated many families and how important care home visits have been. Sadly, stopping visits to care homes is a necessary measure to protect our most vulnerable in Bromsgrove. We have not taken this decision lightly. I am concerned about the rising numbers of Covid cases in Bromsgrove and have a duty to protect our most vulnerable. The measure is a sensible, precautionary move while we assess the cases and look at how we can reduce the figures.

 Our priority remains keeping our residents safe and our care homes free of Covid. Public Health teams will continue to work with our care homes to establish when it will be safe again for the re-opening for visits. This is a reminder to us all that Covid remains in our communities and the places we visit. It is vitally important that we wash our hands, use face coverings where necessary and keep our distance. We must not be complacent, the virus has not gone away. ”

County Councillor and Leader of Bromsgrove District Council, Karen May said; “It is essential that we take the necessary action to stop Covid spreading. Our most vulnerable residents must be protected from the virus and the decision to stop all but essential visits to care homes, is a sensible course of action.

This is a stark warning to the people of Bromsgrove that we are all still living with Covid in our community and we must not think it is someone else’s job to prevent outbreaks. We all have our part to play to keep everyone safe. Please keep your distance, wash your hands and wear face coverings. It really is simple to do and you will be saving lives.”

Visits to care homes outside of Bromsgrove, remain unaffected.

To read the latest guidance, please visit the Council’s dedicated Coronavirus page.

We’re Good To Go

The strict Covid Safge protocols adopted by Fairfield Village Hall comply with the nationally recognised “We’re Good To Go” scheme, and the Hall has been accredited with the “We’re Good To Go” mark.

“We’re Good To Go” is the official UK mark to signal that a tourism and hospitality business has worked hard to follow Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines and has a process in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing.

The “We’re Good To Go” recognition will provide some reassurance for people wishing to attend activities at the Village Hall

Spot checks may take place to ensure compliance, so it is important that all Hall Users maintain the standards detailed within the Special Conditions of Hire and in the Hall & User Risk Assessments.   

Hirers that do not have a FVH approved Covid Risk Assessment and/or can demonstrate the delivery of a Covid Safe activity will not be allowed to use the Hall.

Symphony of the Countryside

Please see the below invitation from Live and Local, the organisation that brings rural touring theatre to village halls like ours.

I would like to bring your attention to a fabulous new project that we hope you might be interested in taking part in, as it sounds perfect for Live & Local Promoters. Our friends at Carn to Cove – Cornwall’s rural touring scheme – are introducing a project called Symphony of the Countryside. Their aim is to collect a broad variety of short films and audio recordings from different rural locations around the country to create a record of this unique time in our lives.  

We need people from all over the country to get involved and give a snapshot of their village/home/community during this period, and that’s where you come in. By simply creating a short recording on your mobile phone (help from friends or younger relatives is, of course, allowed) you can create a document of your corner of the world – your little bit of England contributing to the wider mosaic of the project, and adding your voice to the overall symphony. Hence, Symphony of the Countryside!

If you would like to get involved or learn more about the project, please do read on, or feel free to ask me any questions. We hope you are as excited by the idea as we are, and that you’ll enjoy getting involved with a country-wide community project.

SYMPHONY OF THE COUNTRYSIDE


PROJECT SUMMARY

We want to create a new digital, collaborative work of art using the national network of rural touring schemes and in particular, the promoters from across the whole country to celebrate the sounds of our country. The Symphony will become an enduring mosaic representative of diversity and unity of rural lives.
The rural performing space is as exciting as the National Theatre and we want to engage new audiences online by using ideas from you, our promoters, and local artists. You can be part of this exciting project to create a brand-new piece of art. We would like you to take part to give the Symphony a national voice.

OBJECTIVES

In taking part you will:

  1. Help to address the break in engagement that COVID-19 pandemic has caused between promoters, audiences and the professional creative community which performs in those rural spaces.
  2. Participate in a huge and exciting digital project to create a distinctive, collaborative set of online artworks which can improve the digital presence of the rural touring creative arts scene.
  3. Help to engage new audiences online.
  4. Be part of a national project marking and documenting this point in our time in history.

THE TASK

All you have to do is record short, 6 x 30-second sounds and images of your community depicting “the countryside” together with an audio file “greeting” or a few lines of poetry from a local person(s) depicting their regional distinctiveness. The poetry could reflect the silver lining which comes out of the dark clouds e.g. community spirit, reaching out, acceptance of others and the benefits to the environment.
The recordings can be done on a smart phone camera or similar device and we are available to assist with this. The recorded files need to have the location identified and be submitted to Carn to Cove via a shared Dropbox or sent to Live & Local who can submit on your behalf. 

You must agree that the content can be used in perpetuity for the Symphony of the Countryside mosaic artwork and obtain the necessary permissions from anyone depicted in the footage.

In addition to contributions from promoters, a similar task is being given to professional artists, for them to create a piece of music or poetry to go along side these recordings.


OUTPUTS

Carn to Cove intend to employ a Film Maker to select and edit the content. The Film maker will mix content from contributors, which can be enjoyed beyond the project end.

The main output format and platform has yet to be determined but the main work will be hosted online, on the Carn to Cove Vimeo Channel. It is hoped to engage local radio stations to broadcast the final pieces. The decisions will be informed by the final shape of the content when edited. It is intended that there will be a searchable database online where audiences and locals can access all the content by geolocated tags.  

They will then creatively mix their content with the work of their professional rural touring artists recorded material to replace the absence of live events.


TIMELINE

DEADLINE 28th August 2020

  • 30th Sept – Post-production complete
  • 9th October – Pre-launch teasers published – Analogue (CD-DVD) requirement from NRTF
  • 15th October – Symphony of the Countryside published and distributed

Kind regards,
Selena Hackett
Technical Event Support Officer, Live & Local

Tel: (01926) 402173
liveandlocal.org.uk

Funeral – Jack Eades

A private funeral for Jack Eades will take place at St. Mark’s on Friday 21st August, 11.30am

To comply with government guidelines only the family can enter Church Grounds during the service.

General Public are asked to remain on the footpath away from the gate, Socially Distanced.

The Village Hall car park will be open for people attending the service.

Eight reasons to Shop Local

Here are eight reasons why you should support Fairfield Cafe, Post Office, Salon & Belbroughton Deli:

1. Help local retailers and support the local economy

Shopping at local businesses pumps money into the local economy, and by spending money in their local shop, restaurant, café or pub, shoppers can do their bit to aid our national recovery across the country.

2. Save jobs – and create even more

Supporting our high streets creates jobs in local communities, supporting often young and disadvantaged people to find employment. Helping to grow the number of jobs in our local areas makes for a better place to live and work, which then creates a healthy economy for the community.

3. Great deals

People might be surprised to see just how competitive the prices are in your local shops. Independent retailers often reward regular customers, while others often provide great deals that can’t be found in major outlets – meaning people save money as they spend. Consumers can also save money eating out – the Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme is being provided by the government, saving diners up to £10 per head on eat-in meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in one of the 73,000 participating businesses.

4. A safe way to shop

Businesses across the country have been following government guidance and implementing a range of measures to ensure people are safe while they shop, such as customer limits inside the store, plastic partitions at tills and hand sanitizing stations.

5. Preserving the heart of the community

A thriving high street is key to boosting the potential of a village or town where people can socialise as well as shop. Local businesses also generate revenue to support council services such as libraries, parks and roads that benefit communities across the UK.

6. Spoilt for choice

Small and local businesses often stock items which are made locally and aren’t available elsewhere else, providing a great range of choice and unique products that bring much-needed originality and variety into communities – including rare finds and items that aren’t mass produced.

7. A better shopping experience

Small businesses are often run by people who live nearby. As the UK continues to recover from the pandemic, the experience of buying locally from a friendly face offers a dose of normality that many people may have missed.

8. Help the environment

Local shops often source their goods locally, helping to reduce their carbon footprint. When shopping local, people are also more likely to walk or cycle to get there – doing their bit to reduce air pollution, reduce traffic and improve the quality of the nation’s high streets.

Would you like to give something back to your Community, but are busy?

Fairfield Village Hall is looking for people to become trustees.

Meetings are held on the first Wednesday evening of each month, but it is not expected that you should attend every single one.  Currently, due to Covid-19, meetings are held via Zoom.

As part of a team, your role will be to manage the Village Hall; scrutinising business operations, ensuring that the Hall is safe and financially sound and to give direction. 

You will not be expected to know everything, we are all learning.  What is important is having an enquiring mind.

The only condition – You must live in Fairfield, Wildmoor or Stoneybridge.

Interested?

For an informal chat, give Conrad a call, Email secretary.fvh@outlook.com or telephone 01527 833583 (evenings best).

Get a discount with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

From 3 to 31 August, get a 50% discount when you eat in at restaurants that are registered with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

Use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme at a participating establishment:

  • to get a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner)
  • every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3 and 31 August
  • as many times as you like

You do not need a voucher to use this scheme and you can use it at the same time as other offers and discounts. There is no minimum spend.

You cannot claim discount on alcoholic drinks or service charges.

The discount will be automatically available to you at participating establishments. Establishments will then claim a reimbursement from the government for the discount they’ve given you.

Participating establishments include:

Fairfield Cafe
Swan Inn
Nailers Arms
The Gate at Bournheath
Bell Inn

Fairfield Flicks Resumes

Fairfield Flicks will restart in September, with some great films in the Autumn schedule.

For the time being there will be some changes:

• There will be no refreshments or popcorn on sale.

• Chairs will be spaced 2 metres apart.

• Face coverings are to be worn by everyone in the Hall – it will be a legal requirement for face coverings to be worn in Community Centres, Cinemas and other buildings from 8th August.

• People wishing to see the films we are screening are encouraged to pre-book to avoid disappointment. Door sales will be possible for any unsold tickets. To reduce cash handling, payment by card will be accepted.

• The price of afternoon tickets will rises to £4.00 per person. Evening screening will remain at £5.00 per person.

For details of the films that will be screened this autumn, plus full revised Booking & Visitor information CLICK HERE

Are Your Neighbours Safe & Well?

Do you know someone who is vulnerable and struggling at home with fire safety?

Why not see if they can book a free home Safe and Well Check with Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service. Please go to their website for more details and information about social distancing:  CLICK HERE

Could you knock on your neighbours doors?

Volunteers are needed to help collect 200 Club subscriptions.

We are short of volunteers and urgently need helpers to visit 200 Club subscribers. 

This is a flexible opportunity, get to know your neighbours and visit them once a month, quarter or annually.

For further information, please contact Linda Garvin (200 Club Administrator), 83 Brook Road, or email secretary.fvh@outlook.com

200 Club Update

It is hoped, later in the Autumn, that the 200 Club draws will recommence.

The Village Hall committee will be considering resuming the 200 Club at their September trustees’ meeting.

A decision will be based on several factors, including whether it is safe for volunteers to visit properties to collect subscriptions; some people pay monthly, some quarterly, some annually. 

Any subscriptions that have been paid in advance of the last draw will be carried forward. Our Collectors will be calling to other subscribers, to enable them to pay their subscriptions for future draws.

Not a Member

Why not join?

There is a monthly draw with top prizes ranging from £25.00 to £200.00.

It’s only £1.00 a month, maximum 200 members and you will be helping the Village Hall.

Interested?  Download an application form from http://fvca.org.uk/200-club/ or contact Linda Garvin (200 Club Coordinator), 83 Brook Road.

Broadband To Get Faster

Full Fibre – Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) – is on its ways to properties that are connected to the Mount Road junction.

Over the past few months, contractors on behalf of BT Openreach have been unblocking and preparing underground pipes. Firm dates are unknown, we understand that BT Openreach will be laying the fibre this Autumn.  Initially the fibre will be laid from the Mount Road junction, through the underground pipes to telegraph poles near peoples’ properties.  Eventually, the fibre will continue to properties, so there will be no need for the currently copper wiring.  At this stage we do not know what the arrangements will be to get fibre between the telegraph pole and property.

Remembrance Sunday 2020 Plans

It is hoped that the annual act of remembrance will take place on Sunday 8th November.

The current plan is to hold a short service outside the Village Hall, starting at 10.45am, with family groups maintaining social distancing.

This year’s event will be coordinated by the Community Association, liaising with St. Mark’s church.  We will be following Government guidance that is applicable at the time of the service. 

To comply with current guidance; as we are highly likely to have more than 30 people attending this act of remembrance, we are unable to hold an indoors service and provide refreshments after the service, please wear suitable clothing. The Village Hall will be open for the purpose of using the toilets (follow displayed instructions).

Of course, if further lockdown restrictions are imposed, the service may have to be cancelled.  Updates will be provided via the FVCA e-Circular, website, Facebook and Twitter.

Fairfield Dining Group Update

The monthly Lunch Group will not meet (in view of the present Covid restrictions) for the rest of this year but we will look at the situation again in January 2021.  We are hoping that the situation will have improved by then (who knows!!).

Wood Lane Fly-tipping

Bromsgrove District Council and the Community Association have received several complaints regarding residents dumping garden waste in the hedge along Wood Lane.

Bromsgrove District Council placed “No Tipping” signage along Swan Lane in late July, two days later more grass & hedge cuttings had dumped in the hedge.

Residents are reminded that dumping garden waste is fly tipping and, apart from being illegal, can be harmful to wildlife and, if blown into neighbouring fields, livestock.

Please use a home composter or the Brown Wheelie Bin service from Bromsgrove District Council.

Get a discount with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

From 3 to 31 August, get a 50% discount when you eat in at restaurants that are registered with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

Use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme at a participating establishment:

  • to get a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner)
  • every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3 and 31 August
  • as many times as you like

You do not need a voucher to use this scheme and you can use it at the same time as other offers and discounts. There is no minimum spend.

You cannot claim discount on alcoholic drinks or service charges.

The discount will be automatically available to you at participating establishments. Establishments will then claim a reimbursement from the government for the discount they’ve given you.

Participating establishments include:

Fairfield Cafe
Swan Inn
Nailers Arms
The Gate at Bournheath
Bell Inn

To find other participating restaurants and cafes CLICK HERE  You will get results within a 5 mile radius of the postcode you use.  Some restaurants may not have registered for the scheme yet.

Message from The Lord-Lieutenant

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Lt Col Patrick Holcroft LVO OBE, has asked that the below message is shared with the community, thanking the many volunteers and staff that have respond to the Covid-19 crisis.

Fairfield Village Community Association would also like to thank the many people in our community that have helped others over the past few months; whether checking on our elderly residents, making phoning calls, shopping for others, delivering services at the Village Hall and more, you deserve a massive thank you.