We’re working hard to continue delivering services throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and to support our residents – and in particular those who most need our help.
On our website you will find information about where to find support as well as details of any changes we’ve had to make to services.
You can also keep in touch with us online, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Town Centre Re-Openings
Non-essential businesses across the country have been re-opening this week (see Thatcham businesses above) and we’ve been supporting our local town centres to do so safely with poster printing, additional signage and one-on-one support through our Economic Development Team.
Our businesses are part of what makes our district so special and we have been so impressed with how resilient and adaptable they have been through this difficult time.
We’ve had some great feedback from about how the re-opening and we know that anyone who visits our town centres in the next few weeks will be met with a warm welcome from local businesses.
Our Leader, Lynne Doherty, paid a visit to Newbury Town Centre on the first day of re-opening to ensure that our plans were working well and we’ll continue to offer assistance to those businesses due to open in early July.
Hungerford welcomed people back to their town centre in traditional style with an announcement from their Town Crier. Watch this celebratory video courtesy of Penny Post .
See more information on town centre’s reopening.
New Covid-19 testing facility at Newbury Showground
Testing at the drive-through coronavirus testing facility at Newbury Showground started on Sunday 14 June. The site sits alongside the existing network of testing sites being set up around the UK as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing.
To increase testing for everyone with symptoms across the country, the Government has more than doubled the capacity of the NHS/PHE laboratory network, set up 64 regional test centres and 116 mobile testing units, and introduced home testing kits.
Anyone testing positive for the virus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.
Anyone experiencing a new, continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss of or change in their normal sense of smell or taste, should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
Lynne Doherty, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said: “We are delighted that West Berkshire has a Covid-19 Regional Testing Site at Newbury Showground, which is a good location in regards to road access and size.
“The site is already operational and the opportunity to have this drive through testing site means residents who need testing do not need to travel as far as Oxford but can access something locally. The opportunity to have a permanent testing site, as well as mobile testing sites, in West Berkshire is a reassurance to help increase testing for all across the district.
“I would encourage all residents to continue to protect each other and our wider community by following the national guidelines and to use the test centres if you have symptoms.”
Our Bot needs a name
Since April, you may have noticed we’ve had a ‘newbie’ working alongside our Customer Service team.
An Advice Bot was put to work to help answer questions and signpost customers on our website to the latest information they need relating specifically to Covid-19.
The Advice Bot has quickly become another way to get in touch with us and has been contacted over 14,000 times in the first 69 days that it’s been up and running generating over 61,000 button clicks! We now need your help to give it a name. We’ve got a shortlist of three names and want you to vote for your favourite to make the final choice.
Find out more here or go direct to our survey.The closing date is 27 June.
Weekly update from Leader and Chief Executive
During the Covid-19 pandemic Council Leader Lynne Doherty and Chief Executive Nick Carter have been writing a blog about the Council’s response to it.
In this week’s edition, Nick and Lynne discuss being ‘Open for Business’ which is one of six priorities in our Council Strategy. This week it feels particularly apt as we see our town centres open for business again after being shut for some time.
You can read this week’s blog, and previous posts, here.
Be Covid-19 Scam Aware
Citizens Advice West Berkshire (CAWB) and the Public Protection Partnership, Trading Standards Service (PPP) are working together during Scams Awareness Fortnight (15 – 28 June) to warn residents to be on their guard against scams during the coronavirus lockdown. They are on hand to help people spot a scam and to give advice on how to report it.
New Citizens Advice research finds that more than four in ten people (42%) in the South East of England have been the target of a scam since lockdown came into effect across the country. Almost seven out of ten people (69%) are worried someone they know will fall foul of a con. And an overwhelming majority (91%) of people reported they felt wary of coronavirus scams.
To help stop more people being fleeced by these types of scams, Citizens Advice West Berkshire and Trading Standards Public Protection Partnership are sharing the following tips on how to spot them.
If you’re worried you, or someone you know, could be getting scammed, report the scam to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 who will give you advice on what to do next and contact Trading Standards or Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Read more about Covid-19 Scams here.
Kids ‘keep dancing’ to help NHS
A group of twelve key worker children who attend Speenhamland School in Newbury, heard about somebody who was raising money for charity by dancing for three hours.
This inspired them to create our own challenge to help raise money for the NHS because, “The NHS has helped us through this hard time and now it is our turn to help them.”
They’ll be spending an entire school day on Wednesday 24th June completing their very own danceathon, dancing from 8:30am until 3:30pm.
You can support their fundraising here.