Coronavirus Update 28th May 2020

stay alert

Yesterday the Health & Social Care Secretary announced that the NHS Test and Trace service will launch today (Thursday 28th May).

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.

People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.

Full details are available here.

Latest information and guidance

BDC Re-Opening of Town Centres

Re-opening of our town centres

Earlier this week the Prime Minister set out a timeline for retail to reopen in June. Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers.

All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.

We are currently working on safety measures to support our town centres for both businesses and shoppers and will share these details with you once they are finalised.

BDC Heroes Campaign

Our heroes campaign

heroes

Since we launched our heroes campaign, it’s received a great response on our social media channels by highlight individuals and groups across our district doing amazing things for others during the coronavirus outbreak.

Since we launched on 20th April to 4th May 2020, we shared over 40 individual stories, resulting in 24,000 engagements and have been seen by over 279,420 people across our channels.

We are still keen to highlight those doing fantastic things, so if you know of anyone, please do get in touch with us by:

BDC Virtual Street Market

virtual street market

As our way of supporting our local traders and businesses during these difficult times, we have decided to host our very first virtual street market this Saturday 30th May to connect residents and visitors with local businesses and to keep our street market community spirit alive.

We want to recreate a market-like atmosphere, to support our local businesses and makers – an online quarter to promote the best of our traders.

Anyone can join in via our Facebook event page on the day to keep updated with what our traders are up to at the moment, what they’re selling and how they can support them. Some traders will also be offering exclusive discounts especially for this event.

We’re encouraging people to spread the word, take part on the day by posting positive feedback and interacting with our traders, getting friends & family involved and having a bit of fun.

We would really appreciate your support by sharing on your channels. You can also share our posts on Facebook and Twitter.

BDC Garden Waste Collection Service Update

Garden waste collection service update

garden waste

The Garden Waste Collection Service has restarted initially on a four-weekly cycle.

We are encouraging residents to keep their postcard safe if they have received it.

If they have not received their postcard by Royal Mail by Monday 1st June, residents can email our Customer Service Centre their details as listed below, so we can advise them of their start date and Reference Code so they can look up your future four-weekly cycle dates online at www.braintree.gov.uk/coronavirus under the ‘Service Changes and Updates, Bins and Recycling’ section.

Business News Update: Adoption of new planning framework, an update on grants, online training courses and business support

Braintree District Council

Business news

Where are we with the business grants?

infographic

Business grants have now been issued to just over 70% of eligible businesses – with about another 200 applications in the pipeline being processed and paid this week.

This means that we have now paid out £21.1 million (so far) in small business grants and cash grants for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

This places us in the top 15% of Local Authorities in the country making grant payments to eligible businesses.

Our aim next week will be to make direct contact for a second time with those businesses that we’ve identified as eligible, but who have not yet returned their application forms.

Application forms were sent out to the trading addresses of eligible businesses at the end of March.

If you run a business which is eligible, but haven’t yet returned your form, please email it back to busrates@braintree.gov.uk as soon as you can.

If you’re unsure of your eligibility, you can email economicd@braintree.gov.uk for advice, help and support.

New tool to help businesses identify suitable grants

A new ‘support finder‘ tool has been launched to help businesses and self-employed people quickly and easily determine what financial support is available to them during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new online platform asks business owners and the self-employed to fill out a quick and simple online questionnaire. They will then be directed to a list of all the financial support they may be eligible for.

► Read more here.

Horizon 120 takes another step forward

Horizon 120 zones

The planning framework (Local Development Order) for the Horizon 120 Business and Innovation Park planned for Great Notley has been approved.

The zonal plan for the site will allow for the development of high quality office, manufacturing and industrial space. It will also allow for the creation of a central hub which could be home to a hotel and other facilities which will add to the experience of employees working on the site.

We are pressing ahead with plans, despite the current lockdown, in readiness for when businesses start moving again as and when the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are changed or lifted by central government.

The exciting thing for businesses about the use of a Local Development Order is that it automatically grants planning permission for certain forms of development and land uses within particular zones on a site, making it easier and quicker for businesses to build the premises they need without the need to apply for separate planning permission (as long as they meet certain conditions).

The Marshgate Group will take the lead on the delivery of this business park. The commercial property developer plans to deliver, for its business clients, a mix of commercial units compliant with the conditions of the new planning framework.

If you want to find out more: www.horizon120.com


Billion pound support package for innovative firms hit by coronavirus

Businesses driving innovation and development will be helped through the coronavirus outbreak with a £1.25 billion government support package. The comprehensive package includes a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms, called the Future Fund, and £750 million of targeted support for small and medium sized businesses focusing on research and development.

The Future Fund will issue convertible loans to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.

These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The scheme will be delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank and will launch in May 2020. Find out how to apply here.


E-learning

Cybersecurity virtual workshop amid COVID-19

A growing number of cybercriminals are exploiting the COVID-19 outbreak and security agencies across the world are issuing COVID-19 cybersecurity threat updates as more organisations are falling victim.

Dr. Audrey Guinchard, a leading expert working at the intersection between cybercrime, data protection, and cybersecurity, is hosting an online workshop on how to protect your organisation from cybercrime on Wednesday, 13th May at 10am.

Register for this webinar here.


Urgent need for more Personal Protective Equipment

Image which says PPE required with images of PPE

Essex companies have been donating unopened and unwanted stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Essex County Council to support those who work in social care across Essex, and while the council is incredibly grateful for any stock, much more is needed.

The council still needs masks, disposable gloves, aprons, eye goggles and also any sanitising gel. This will be provided to front line staff who are caring for the most vulnerable residents in Essex over the coming days and weeks.

The council recognises there may be a variety of reasons why companies have ended up with some PPE that they cannot currently reuse or distribute and would particularly appreciate hearing from those with larger volumes.

Essex County Council may be willing to purchase any stocks if needed.

To donate or advise of stock please email PPESupplies@essex.gov.uk with your PPE supply details including quantity and postcode, plus a contact name and phone number.

Any items offered and suitable will be collected safely with collectors observing social distancing and hand hygiene rules.

Celebrating our heroes: We are looking to celebrate and say thank you to the heroes in the Braintree district who are doing incredible work in the battle against Coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you want to share your story on how you’re donating PPE stock to help vulnerable residents, please email us on marketing@braintree.gov.uk.  

We will publish your stories in our newsletters and on our social media channels as a thank you for helping in the fight against coronavirus.


TALE Webinars: online briefings offering help and practical advice for company managers

E-learning

TALE Webinars focus on advice and action plans that can be implemented by company managers, with the emphasis on practical methods and examples.

The topics covered include:

  • How to write (rewrite) your business plan?
  • Practical tips to get your website in order post COVID-19
  • Enhancing your operations and processes
  • How can you start planning for your post COVID-19 strategy?

The FREE briefings will be held using Zoom Meetings. The webinars will not last longer than an hour with the presentation element lasting for 30-40 minutes.

For more information on the topics and the dates of the sessions.


Best Growth Hub business support

The BEST Growth Hub offers a completely free and impartial service, signposting businesses to areas which may benefit them.

During these unprecedented times, the hub would like to make business owners aware of all the COVID-19 financial and business support facilities available to them.

Business navigators are available for free discussions via phone or email to answer questions and concerns, as well as point you in the right direction for external or government advice.

If your business would like to receive direct support from your local business navigator please complete our Business Support form and indicate what support you are interested in and how COVID-19 has affected you so far.

Once we have this information a member of the Growth Hub Team will be in contact with you to discuss your individual case.


business support

Latest government information for businesses which details:

  • Access to funding and support
  • Responsibilities as an employer
  • Advice and guidance for managing your business
  • How you can help

We will continue to bring you the most up-to-date advice via these emails, our website and on social media.

You can also join our closed Braintree District Businesses Facebook group to find support from other businesses in our district.

Planning news: Braintree District Council adopts its first Local Development Order

Braintree District Council

Planning news header

Braintree District Council adopts its first Local Development Order

Horizon 120

Braintree District Council has adopted its first Local Development Order to encourage businesses onto the new Horizon 120 Business and Innovation Park planned for Great Notley in Braintree.

The planning framework, endorsed at a meeting of Braintree District Council’s Planning Committee at the beginning of March was approved last week (Thursday, 16 April 2020) by the Chief Executive Officer in accordance with urgency powers under the council’s Constitution.

We are adopting this type of planning framework for this site to encourage new businesses into the district and to create up to 2,000 jobs. We are pressing ahead with plans, despite the current lockdown, in readiness for when businesses start moving again as and when the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are changed or lifted by Central Government.

The exciting thing for businesses about the use of a Local Development Order is that it automatically grants planning permission for certain forms of development and land uses within particular zones on a site, making it easier and quicker for businesses to build the premises they need without the need to apply for separate planning permission (as long as they meet certain conditions).

The zonal plan (see image below) for Horizon 120 comprises of four separate zones with a mix of different land uses and the design code details acceptable standards in terms of landscaping, building design, quality and environmental ratings.

The Local Development Order will allow for the development of high quality office, manufacturing and industrial space. It will also allow for the creation of a central hub which could be home to a hotel and other facilities which will add to the experience of employees working on the site.

Proposals also include the creation of a high quality landscaped environment where roads and paths are tree-lined with green buffers and wildlife corridors. Close to the central hub will be a habitat with ponds, tussock grassland, hedgerows and trees.

This Local Development Order will last for 10 years after adoption.

The Marshgate Group will take the lead on the delivery of the business park having entered into an option contract with us last year. The commercial property developer plans to deliver, for its business clients, a mix of commercial units compliant with the conditions of the new planning framework.

Cllr Gabrielle Spray, Cabinet Member for Planning at Braintree District Council, said: “The approval of this planning regime is a significant achievement. The Design Code is the key factor here, it is really high quality and sets a high bar for applicants. It gives us a measure of control because proposals must comply with the criteria set. The centralised facilities, landscaping and the location next to the Great Notley Park will make this park a really pleasant place to work.”

Cllr John McKee, Cabinet Member for Corporate Transformation at Braintree District Council, said: “This decision is a major step forward for the Horizon 120 project. A framework which gives certainty and clarity and simplifies the planning process makes it less risky for developers to invest and easier for businesses to relocate from elsewhere. This is very good news for our district because it will bring more jobs and opportunities for residents.”

Businesses interested in being part of Horizon 120 can email Joscelyne Chase on property@joscelynechase.co.uk or Coke Gearing on richard@cokegearing.co.uk

Find out more: www.horizon120.com

Horizon 120 zones

►Due to the ongoing situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the social distancing measures announced by the government on 23rd March, we have had to make a number of changes to our planning service.

Take a look at the changes here.

Image which says PPE required with images of PPE
Essex companies have been donating unopened and unwanted stocks of Personal Protective Equipment to the council to support those who work in adult and children social care across Essex, and while Essex County Council is incredibly grateful for any stock, much more is needed.

Essex County Council may be willing to purchase any stocks if needed. To donate or advise us of stock please email PPESupplies@essex.gov.uk with your PPE supply details including quantity and postcode, plus a contact name and phone number, and someone will be in touch.

Any items offered and suitable will be collected safely with collectors observing social distancing and hand hygiene.

Maintain your wellbeing during coronavirus, Essex County Council urgently needs more PPE

 

 

Braintree District Council

Graphic which says News from the Emergency Planning Team at Braintree District Council

Essex County Council urgently needs more PPE

Image which says PPE required with images of PPE

Essex companies have been donating unopened and unwanted stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Essex County Council to support those who work in adult and children social care across Essex, and while the council is incredibly grateful for any stock, much more is needed.

The council still needs all items of PPE – masks, disposable gloves, aprons, eye goggles and also any sanitising gel. This will be provided to front line staff who are caring for the most vulnerable residents in Essex over the coming days and weeks.

The council recognises there may be a variety of reasons why companies have ended up with some PPE that they cannot currently reuse or distribute and would particularly appreciate hearing from those with larger volumes.

Councillor John Spence said: “The response from local companies has been great and we welcome efforts the government is making to ensure PPE is sourced and available, but we equally recognise the challenge they face in reaching beyond the NHS into other parts of the caring system.

“Quite simply we need more stock and so if you are able to help please get in touch, particularly if you have large quantities of items.”

Essex County Council may be willing to purchase any stocks if needed.

To donate or advise of stock please email PPESupplies@essex.gov.uk with your PPE supply details including quantity and postcode, plus a contact name and phone number, and someone will be in touch.

Any items offered and suitable will be collected safely with collectors observing social distancing and hand hygiene.


Bringing out the best in the community

thank you hero

We are looking to celebrate and say thank you to the heroes in the Braintree district who are doing incredible work in the battle against Coronavirus (COVID-19).

From friends, neighbours and family working on the front line to volunteers supporting their communities to people going the extra mile to show kindness to others facing hardship, we want to find and shine a light on those little pockets of brilliance.

We will publish stories about the efforts and achievements of residents who are helping in the fight against coronavirus. Tell us about your hero by sending an email to marketing@braintree.gov.uk or getting in touch with us on social media.

Tell us who you want us to celebrate, what they’ve done and what it means to you.

Councillor Graham Butland, Leader of Braintree District Council, said: “We know that so many people in our community are playing a vital role during this extraordinary time. Whether you work in the care sector or in the NHS or emergency services or maybe you work in a supermarket, we want to thank you. There are so many wonderful stories out there amongst the sadness and we want to give the whole district a morale boost by telling them.”


Maintain your wellbeing during coronavirus

Every Mind Matters has highlighted how we can all look after our mental wellbeing.

Top 5 Tips

  1. Talk about your worries: it is normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Maintain contact with friends and family via phone and video calls to share how you are feeling.
  2. Keep a regular routine and set goals: you may need to set a new routine for now. Try writing a plan for your day with the things you can still do at home, such as watching a film, reading a book or completing a puzzle. Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose. Maintaining good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically too, so it’s important to get enough (the Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice).
  3. Manage your media and information intake: if 24-hour news and constant social media updates are making you worried, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak to once or twice a day.
  4. Do things you enjoy and try something new: focusing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax indoors should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can help boost your mood. Look online for free tutorials and courses.
  5. Look after your body: our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. You can leave your house, alone or with members of your household, for one form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. But make sure you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others.

You can view these and more tips on Every Mind Matters.


Everybody needs good neighbours

Braintree Cricket Club

Braintree Cricket Club Ground is closed much like many other sports grounds across the district at the moment but they have come up with a brilliant idea.

They have given their neighbours at the McCarthy and Stone Retirement Home private access to the grounds for their daily exercise so they have an environment they feel comfortable in and can observe social distancing safely.

The club said it made sense to allow their neighbours to use their grounds especially because the majority of residents are over 70 and socially isolating and have no outside space of their own.


Got questions about your council tax bill?

council tax

If you are struggling to pay your council tax at this time due to a change in your income or employment, please remember that we are here to help.

Go to our website to find out what support is available.


Support for businesses in our district

infographic

Grants

Braintree District Council has issued more than 1800 grants to businesses facing financial difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – paying out £21million to struggling businesses so far.

Do you run a business in the district? Keep in touch. 

Sign up to our business bulletin here: www.braintree.gov.uk/tellmemore

Or join our economic development team on their closed Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/braintreedistrictbusinesses

Find more coronavirus financial support for your business

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to employers and the self-employed. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants.

Use this business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business. www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder


Advice on how to help others safely

help others safely

If you need to help a vulnerable person, you need to do so safely.

Take a look at www.gov.uk/safehelp because it outlines how you can help and importantly, how to do it safely.


Getting food and medicine to the vulnerable

Older lady knitting looking out of window

The Essex Welfare Service – set up by Essex County Council – is specifically for people who are not able to get any support from either family, friends, neighbours or from their local support groups.

Braintree District Council’s virtual community hub has received more than 100 referrals from the Essex Welfare Service about vulnerable people within our district and where possible we have provided support to these people or signposted them to the numerous parish councils, volunteer groups or individuals across the district.

Contact details for Essex Welfare Service:

www.essexwelfareservice.org.uk

0300 303 9988

provide.essexwelfareservice@nhs.net


Road repairs continue during lockdown

Road maintenance has been ruled as a necessity during the current lockdown due to Coronavirus COVID 19 and Essex Highways has been playing its part.

Crews have been out every day to mend potholes and repair other defects including mending streetlamps, traffic signals, white lines and signs. All this has been done while ensuring engineers follow the current self-distancing rules. Urgent response crews have been working at night and weekends.

Crews will soon be starting the resurfacing and redressing work to hundreds of miles of the county’s road network and preparing carriageways for next winter.

Read more.


Everything you need for home schooling

Man and boy looking at computer screen

Are you looking for additional support for your children during the current school closures?

This week saw the launch of the Oak National Academy, a new, government-backed online learning resource. It provides 180 video lessons each week for every year group – from Reception through to Year 10 – across a range of subjects, including maths, art and languages.

The BBC has also launched its own education package, BBC Bitesize Daily. This will deliver a tailored day of learning across TV and online, with curriculum-relevant offers for Years 1 to 10.

These resources are alongside new government guidance for parents on how to best support their child’s education and development.


Food safety for community cooking & food banks

The Food Standards Agency has published new guidance on community cooking and food banks.

Food provided for community groups must comply with food law and be safe to eat and this guidance provides food safety information for individuals or groups wishing to prepare meals at home for their community.

This can include preparing or donating meals for those in self-isolation, vulnerable groups, community groups and local organisations, and NHS staff.


Healthy relationships

livewell

The coronavirus pandemic presents us all with huge challenges in protecting ourselves and our families and it is important to stay at home at the moment. But over long periods of time, this can put a strain on relationships and might lead to arguments.

Here are some tips to help you reduce anxiety and stress at home:

  • Pause – is a disagreement escalating to a point where you are no longer in control and you are just reacting? If so, take a breath and re-assess the situation.
  • Think – try to reflect on why an argument started. Ask yourself how you were feeling before the conversation started and whether you were already feeling anxious or tense.
  • Resolve it – take a step back. Is this argument about something important, or can you come back to it when you are both calmer?
  • Find out more: www.livewellcampaign.co.uk/healthyrelationship