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Coronavirus update from Somerset County Council – 22/05

Postedon 27th May, 2020 in News

All our help and information for 22/05/2020 is now available in a single place on the SCC website https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-latest-advice/

This page is refreshed through the day so please check in regularly to keep across developments and news.

Top stories today:

Schools and early years providers work to extend provision

Schools and early years providers across Somerset are working hard on preparations to extend provision to more children after half term.

Having worked closely with education leaders on how to sensibly and safely bring about the Government’s proposals, Somerset County Council accepts that from 1 June not all schools and early years will be able to offer full time provision to the year groups specified.*

Schools in Somerset have been providing education for children of key workers and vulnerable children throughout the current crisis and it’s expected that most will be able to extend this to some degree after half term.

Schools and early years providers are working within difficulties posed by their circumstances and layouts and the guidance they must follow around pupil numbers, safe working transport arrangements, staffing levels and the continuing need to prioritise provision for vulnerable children and children of key workers.

The Council appreciates they will need to be flexible, with split weeks, staggered starts and other special arrangements needed to make things work. It is hugely grateful to Headteachers and early years providers not only for the immense amount of preparation work they have undertaken since the Government’s announcement, but also for the tireless work they have undertaken throughout this crisis.

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Good neighbours still needed as shielding continues until June

Somerset’s caring communities are urged to keep up the good work and ‘be good neighbours’ for residents continuing to shield as some coronavirus restrictions start to ease. People who are shielding, because of their age or an underlying health condition, have received further Government advice they need to continue to stay at home and avoid all non-essential face-to-face contact until at least 30 June as they are the most vulnerable to coronavirus.

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Schools get free emergency PPE kits

Free personal protective equipment (PPE) emergency packs will be supplied to schools in Somerset thanks to the County Council. Careful planning and sourcing have made sure that the Council has enough stocks of PPE to provide schools that are opening classes to year groups with enough equipment for the rest of the summer term – and possibly beyond.

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Somerset Coronavirus Appeal funds 140 groups across the county

The Somerset Coronavirus Appeal has grown to over £660,000 in the two months since its launch on Thursday 19 March. £330,000 of grants have now been awarded to almost 140 groups across the county, including foodbanks and food delivery schemes, support services for older people and those with disabilities, and virtual counselling, with more funding going out every week.

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Recycling centres – remaining sites reopen from Tuesday

Ten sites will be open this Bank Holiday Monday, 9am-6pm: All except Castle Cary, Cheddar, Crewkerne, Dulverton, Minehead and Somerton which remain closed.

The remaining five sites currently still closed in response to coronavirus – Cheddar, Crewkerne, Castle Cary, Minehead and Somerton – will reopen from Tuesday, 26 May initially operating temporary hours. Visits should still only be made if it’s really necessary, and people should expect significant queues as the number of unloading bays has been halved to allow social distancing. From Tuesday, waste oil (cooking or engine oil in disposable containers, max 5-litres) and metal will now be accepted. Other restrictions remain in place, including the ‘odd or even number plate’ access system. For more detail, including the temporary timetable for all recycling sites visit

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Coronavirus Community Support Fund

£150 million is to be unlocked from dormant bank and building society accounts to help charities, social enterprises and vulnerable individuals during the coronavirus outbreak. The funding will be used to support urgent work to tackle youth unemployment, expand access to emergency loans for civil society organisations and help improve the availability of fair, affordable credit to people in vulnerable circumstances.

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Reminder of the rules

As we enter the Bank Holiday weekend, we’re urging people to remember the social distancing guidelines and be respectful of local communities if travelling for their daily exercise. We will also be standing up a limited number of parking enforcement officers in some busy areas to encourage people to park responsibly. Here’s a reminder of what people can and cannot do following the easing of England’s lockdown rules: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do