05/10/2020 Latest news and advice for residents on COVID-19 and more from Wiltshire Council (see more)


Over 14 million people have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app since it went live last week.

The app is used alongside traditional contact tracing, to notify you if you’ve come into contact with someone who later tests positive for coronavirus.

It helps the NHS understand where and how quickly the virus is spreading, so it can respond quickly and effectively. The app helps the NHS track the virus, not you individually.

It uses your smartphone’s existing “Exposure Logging” feature to work out if you have spent time near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

You can download it via the App Store (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1520427663) or Google Play. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uk.nhs.covid19.production)
Watch video on how the process works (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fp0kHcr_Pi4&feature=youtu.be)
Financial assistance for people who have to self-isolate

We all have to work together and follow the guidance as we look to keep COVID-19 under control in Wiltshire.

We know that when people are told to self-isolate this can increase financial pressures at an already difficult time.

If you are required to self-isolate, a £500 payment is available if you are working and on a low income or will lose money because you cannot work from home.

To receive this payment, you must:
* have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace after Monday, 28 September 2020 and have a unique Test and Trace number provided by the NHS
* be employed or self-employed
* have lost income by being unable to work from home while self-isolating

And be receiving at least one of the following benefits:
* Universal Credit
* Pension Credit
* Housing Benefit
* Income Support
* income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
* income-based Employment Support Allowance
* Working Tax Credit

The council is in the process of developing a system to allow you to claim for this payment as quickly and easily as possible.

The system will be live soon and we will update you when it is.

People who are eligible for this payment will be able to make a backdated claim to 28 September 2020.

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

From 1 October, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has changed and employers now need to fund 20% of furloughed employees’ usual wages for the hours they do not work, as well as continuing to pay their National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions.

This means the government will only pay 60% of wages, up to a cap of £1,875, for the hours the employee is on furlough.

This scheme comes to an end on 31 October 2020.
To find out more (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme)

Are you eligible for a free flu vaccination?

A record 30 million people are being offered the flu vaccination this year. It’s more important than ever for eligible people to get their vaccination, to help protect the nation from the double threat of flu and COVID-19 this winter.

If you’re in an eligible group please make sure you get vaccinated. You can ask your pharmacist or GP to find out if you are eligible.
More information on this (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/)

Wiltshire marks Black History Month with its first partnership conference

We’ve joined forces with Wiltshire Police to mark this year’s Black History Month with a free online conference open to employees and the public.

The event is being organised by the staff networks of both organisations; the Wiltshire Ethnic Police Association and our BME (Black & Minority Ethnic) staff network and is co-sponsored by Wiltshire Police and Hydrock Consultants Ltd.

It takes place on Tuesday 20 October from 2pm to 5pm and will feature talks from leading author Cherron Inko-Tariah MBE, Rob Neil OBE, Head of Embedding Culture Change at the Department for Education and Organisational Psychologist John Amaechi OBE, the first British basketball player to have a career in the US National Basketball Association.

You will be able to learn about the history of multiculturalism in the UK, the contributions of black Britons, and how to create a more inclusive work culture and society for everyone.
Sign up for the conference (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/wiltshire-marks-black-history-month-2020-tickets-120372305807)

Have you considered fostering as a career?

Wiltshire residents thinking of what next for future job opportunities are being asked to consider choosing foster care as their next career move.

This time of year can be the time for change as older children fly the nest and go off to college or new jobs. For younger families a child going to school can mean a significant change.

We’re encouraging those of you who are thinking about a new direction to make the move to fostering.
Full details on this (https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news-next-move–fostering)


Stopping smoking is one of the best things you’ll ever do for your health.

When you stop, you give your lungs the chance to repair and you’ll be able to breathe easier. There are lots of other benefits too – and they start almost immediately.

It’s never too late to quit, so join in this Stoptober. Let’s do this!
Quit smoking now (https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/)

Green Homes Grant now available

Homeowners, including landlords, can now apply for a voucher worth up to £5,000 to hire tradespeople to install heat saving measures such as insulation in their homes, helping them save money and the planet.

Low income households can get 100% of the costs of work covered up to £10,000.

The Green Homes Grant scheme is available until the end of March 2021.
Find out more about the scheme (https://greenhomesgrant.campaign.gov.uk/?utm_campaign=green_homes_grant_2020&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=gcslocal&utm_content=hmgsouthwest-300920)