Kincardine and Mearns COVID-19 E-blog

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This bulletin is focused on what is currently happening or in place locally as a result of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

This includes sections which will signpost you to official guidance, changes in service provision, support and advice.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance

As we all deal with a number of questions around Coronavirus (COVID-19), we felt it would be useful to provide you with links where guidance can be sought.  The role of the Council in this event is one of signposting to appropriate advice. Please signpost anyone with concerns to the latest national guidance below.

Government Announcement
The government have introduced a lockdown to slow the spread of Coronavirus and help the NHS care for those who need it most. You can read the full statement here. The only permissible reasons to leave your home are as follows:

  • To shop for basic necessities (limited to once a day)
  • To take exercise once a day – alone or with your own household
  • For medical reasons or to care for a vulnerable person
  • To travel to essential work if that cannot be done at home

Scottish Government Guidance
The Scottish Government’s website has published a page with what you need to know about the Coronavirus in Scotland. This includes advice for health, travel, service provision as well as the Scottish Government’s action plan and what they are doing.  Information on funding to be provided by the Scottish Government was also published.

NHS Inform 
The NHS Inform page on Coronavirus contains frequently asked questions and advice including diagnosing symptoms, what to do if you think you have symptoms, whether people you live with need to take any action and anything else you can do to prepare. There is also a helpline and further information links including guides in British Sign Language and easy-read advice.

 

Grampian Assistance Hub

A new website and phoneline have been launched, providing people across Grampian with information on how to access social, practical and emotional support on Coronavirus (COVID-19).  The website can be found at www.GCAH.org.uk, and provides links to services and information across three local authorities.  The phoneline number is 0808 196 3384 (8am-8pm 7 days a week).
Aberdeenshire Council Guidance
Aberdeenshire Council have published information regarding the Coronavirus outbreak including advice, guidance and links. This includes up to date information on health/hygiene, travel, events, community groups, businesses, sports/leisure facilities, registrars and council offices.
There are also separate pages dedicated to:
• Schools and learning
• Waste and recycling
• Registrars service
Support for businesses

Service Changes

The following is a non-exhaustive list of major changes in service. Please follow the links and stay up to date with information from official sources.

Aberdeenshire Council – Car Park Charges Suspended
Aberdeenshire Council has suspended charges at all its pay and display car-parks as a result of the current Covid-19 (Coronavirus) emergency.
Stagecoach Buses – Reduced Service
Temporary changes to bus services in Aberdeenshire and Moray have been introduced following government advice around social contact and non-essential travel to help combat the coronavirus. A reduced timetable will operate across the region until further notice. The timetables have been carefully created to ensure that critical routes are maintained wherever possible. Minor adjustments will be made to some key services on Monday 6th April and are now available to download at stagecoachbus.com.  These adjustments have been made following feedback received from key workers who rely on bus services to get to and home from work.
Live Life Aberdeenshire – Facilities, Activities and Payments
LLA sports and cultural facilities have suspended services and closed facilities to the public as of 19th March. Closures have been extended to include swimming pools, libraries, museums and aquariums. The Active Schools programme has halted, Duke of Edinburgh expeditions have been suspended and all activities and events are cancelled until further notice. LLA will be suspending all Direct Debits for Active Aberdeenshire members. No payments will be taken in April and May. Please bear with staff as they continue to work behind the scenes, answer customer enquiries as quickly as possible and in some cases assigned to support other critical Council services.
AHSCP – Learning Disability & Older Adults Day Services Suspended
Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership has taken the difficult decision to suspend Learning Disability and Older Adults Day Services and Respite Services for the foreseeable future. Social Work Teams will be in contact with service users and their families as soon as they possibly can to provide support, information and advice.
Shops/Supermarkets
Multiple shops and stores are under immense pressure due to the current pandemic which has resulted in panic and bulk buying. To try and relieve these problems, different shops and supermarkets have implemented a few changes. This includes changing opening hours – some are dedicating a time slot (usually mid-morning) for elderly customers, some are closing earlier to allow staff to restock fully, and some are limiting how much of one item a customer can buy. Unfortunately there is no definitive list of changes as it varies from store to store.
Cafe/Restaurants/Takeaways
Following the advice of social distancing, various cafes and restaurants have implemented different changes. Some are providing “drive through” options where staff will take food out to your car. Others have offered a delivery service or reduced delivery rates for takeaway food. Like above, there is no definitive list of these changes.
Support
Groups and organisations are continuing to operate throughout the pandemic, offering critical support and services.
Scottish Community Development Centre
Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) is working closely with government and the NHS nationally in offering assistance to community organisations and local partnerships to make what contributions they can to the current situation. This includes the following online resources:

Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action
While AVA wont be able to do face to face meetings or drop-in surgeries over the next few months, their Development Officers are still working and offering the same range of services. You can contact your Development Officer by phone, email or even skype, FaceTime or Zoom. AVA’s office will be manned at the usual hours on 03718 110008 or email enquiries@avashire.org.uk. AVA have also signposted to various sites and resources including SCVO, Social Enterprise Scotland, ACAS, School for Social Entrepreneurs, NCVO and FindBusinessSupport.
Aberdeenshire Employment Support Team
The Employment Support Team have suspended their job clubs and face to face services until further notice. Key workers are still available to offer 1 to 1 support via phone, email or skype. Please get in touch through their page or by emailing. The team will arrange for a key worker to get in touch for you.
Aberdeenshire Alcohol & Drugs Partnership
Aberdeenshire ADP’s recovery cafes and community groups/activities are suspended for the time being. ADP are developing alternative opportunities for peer connections and support via telephone and online. If you would like to become part of a phone and virtual peer recovery community network or if you would like to volunteer to contact and support folk, please email Susan Weetman at centralabdn.forum@hotmail.com and read this post.
Scottish Rural Action
Scottish Rural Action have added a new page to their website that will collate sources of information and advice in one place. This can be found at the top of their home page. Their website will be updated regularly as new information, advice and sources of funding are published.

Scottish Rural Action is compiling examples of how different communities are dealing with the challenges presented by Covid-19. If you would like to share examples of what your community is doing, please send information or direct links to information on your website. You can send these by email to SRA on info@sra.scot.

Invest Aberdeen
Invest Aberdeen have uploaded a great informational page for what we currently know for businesses at this difficult time. A snapshot of details of Government and other Agency support, business rate flexibility, insurance, funding and specific relaxations for pubs and restaurants. You’ll appreciate that things are changing fast and we don’t know all of the answers yet but we’ll do our best to keep you informed.
Funding
Please find information on sources of funding below.
Aberdeenshire Council – Community Resilience Fund
Aberdeenshire Council has opened up its Community Resilience Fund for applications. Please go to https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/communities-and-events/funding/community-resilience-covid-19/ for more information on how your community/voluntary group can apply for a £2000 grant to help support your efforts to alleviate the effects of Covid-19.
Helping Communities Affected by COVID-19
Scottish Government funding will be made available to councils, charities, businesses and community groups. It is designed to be flexible, cutting down on red tape to enable them to respond swiftly and according to local need for people impacted economically or through reduced contact with society, including anyone struggling to access food. Further information here.
SSEN Funding for Community Councils
SSEN has established this fund to support communities in our power distribution network area to improve local resilience. This funding comes from a proportion of the performance reward we receive from the regulator Ofgem. SSEN recognises the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the communities we support and has allocated the 2020 round of the fund specifically for projects which support the community response to Coronavirus. Community councils in the SSEN north of Scotland distribution area can apply for a grant of £3,000. Find out more at https://www.ssen.co.uk/rcf/
The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF)
The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) is now open for applications and we are urging all community groups eligible to apply as soon as possible. The primary intention of the fund is to help third sector organisations to stabilise and manage cash flows over this difficult period.

To be eligible, interested organisations must be:

  • a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation based in Scotland and/or primarily delivering services/activities in Scottish communities;
  • already delivering those products or services prior to March 2020;
  • and needing funding to stabilise cashflows directly as a result of the impact of COVID-19, as opposed to pre-existing financial difficulties

SCVO have launched a Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub which you can access here. A Supporting Communities Fund and the Wellbeing Fund will open for application very soon, and we will circulate information about those as soon as we can.

Find Business Support – click here
We know that businesses in rural Scotland will already be feeling the impact of Covid-19. The first tranche of business grants have now opened for application, and a series of sector specific support, such as seafood industry support, is starting to be announced.

The new Find Business Support website is updated regularly with links to business advice and grant and loan application information, and it is well worth reading if your business is affected.

Advice
New advice is being published regularly to help everyone ranging from benefits advice, scam awareness, helping stay connected and more.
Universal Credit – Claiming Benefits Advice
This page provides information about coronavirus and claiming benefits. It will continue to be updated. Please check the page regularly for updates on the arrangements the Department for Work and Pensions is making to support those who are affected by coronavirus.
Money Saving Expert – Financial and Travel Advice
Worried about COVID 19 (coronavirus) finance & travel issues? Money Saving Expert has published two guides focused on financial help & rights and travel rights. You can access the financial guide here and the travel guide here.
Scottish Enterprise – Advice for Businesses
Scottish Enterprise have opened a helpline for businesses concerned about Coronavirus on 0300 303 0660 (Mon-Fri, 8:30 to 17:30). They have also pulled information together for businesses on their Find Business Support website available here.
Asthma UK – Advice for those with asthma
When people with asthma get respiratory infections, it can set off their asthma symptoms. To reduce your risk of asthma symptoms, the best action you can take is to follow these simple asthma management steps.

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