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.
Changes to national guidance
The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.
The government has published staying safe outside your home for guidance on what the new rules will mean.
The key advice is:
- Stay at home as much as you can
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2m where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
- Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
For more information on the Government advice and how to stay alert, read more here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Put your questions to our Leader – Facebook Live on Sat 16 May at 11:00am
Join us on Saturday at 11:00am where you can ask our Leader, Cllr Lynne Doherty, questions regarding our response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The online chat will be streamed live on our Facebook Page and Lynne will be providing information and answer questions on areas such as the new Community Support Hub which supports vulnerable residents, changes to Council services and what our residents and businesses can do to help.
Don’t worry if you can’t take part as you can email questions in advance and then watch the ‘live’ later on our Facebook page.
Recycling centres have reopened
The sites at Newtown Road and Padworth opened their doors at 9:00am on Thursday 14 May and it was great that residents adhered to the new booking system, listened to site staff instructions on using the site safely, and maintained social distancing measures the Council has introduced.
The experience of visiting our HWRCs will temporarily be different and you should only visit the recycling centres if waste cannot be safely stored at home.
Our advice is:
- Booking is compulsory and can be done online here: https://citizen.westberks.gov.uk/clickandtip.
- Check online to see if all waste materials can still be taken to the site.
- Check the site layout when loading waste into your car. Use these site maps to help you when packing your vehicle: https://info.westberks.gov.uk/recyclingcentres.
- Check travel times and any restrictions in place. Please arrive at your allocated time that you have booked online and not any earlier. There may be delays accessing the site and possibly queues of waiting vehicles. Please bear with us as we work safely on the site to limit contact between people.
- Please note that all access into the Padworth Recycling Centre should be from the A4 so that bookings and permits can be checked on arrival. Those travelling from Burghfield & Mortimer should follow the diversion signs through Aldermaston to reach Padworth Lane at the A4.
- Ensure you have your permit, or ID and proof of West Berkshire address with you.
- Bring a copy of your booking confirmation with you – either a print out or on your phone.
- Only bring what you can physically carry as we are operating a one person per car restriction – our staff cannot help with your waste when you are unloading your vehicle. Under exceptional circumstances only, and at the sole discretion of site staff, two people may be allowed to leave the vehicle to dispose of the waste e.g. if they are removing a heavy or bulky waste item.
- Follow the instructions that site staff will give you and also be polite to members of staff.
- Observe the social distancing measures in place by keeping at least 2 metres apart at all times when visiting the recycling centres.
- Follow Public Health England guidance – residents who are vulnerable, or who are showing symptoms which may indicate Coronavirus, should not visit household recycling centres.
There are still plenty of appointments available over the coming weeks and bookings are compulsory in order to use the recycling centres.
Book you appointment here: https://citizen.westberks.gov.uk/clickandtip.
New discretionary business grants
We are among the top 25 percent nationally for the distribution of Covid-19 business grants to businesses, according to government figures, published by the Department for Business, Energy, Innovation and Skills. We are continuing to pay grants and as of today have paid £23.3m of grants to over 1,800 businesses across the district.
We are urging those businesses who are eligible for the funding but who have not yet returned their grant claim form to do so as soon as possible. Once these forms are received, funding should then be paid within three working days of receipt.
Additionally, we have good news that further funding will be allocated to support businesses struggling with the impact of Covid-19, which was announced on 2 May. This additional funding, which is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs, will be awarded at the discretion of local authorities based on local need following the receipt of further central government guidance.
Further information on business grants can be found on our Coronavirus dedicated business section of our website.
Snelsmore Common and Greenham Common car parks open again
Following changes to national guidance this week, on Wednesday (13 May) we worked in partnership with the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) to reopen the public car parks at Snelsmore and Greenham Common.
The following key safety advice will still apply:
- Keep at least two meters from anyone you meet
- Only meet ONE person from outside household (maintain social distancing)
- Drive to open spaced irrespective of distance (but not to second homes)
- Avoid public transport where possible
- Walking and cycling where possible to reduce car use
Mental Health Awareness Week
This year’s mental health awareness week (18-24 May) is focussing on the theme of kindness. Kindness was chosen as the theme this year as kindness is prevailing in these uncertain and challenging times. It is proven that being kind to others is good for our own mental health as well as the well-being of others.
Throughout West Berkshire we have seen so many examples of kindness especially in the past 2 months, such as local catering companies cooking meals for the soup kitchen, our many volunteers giving up their time to help others, residents planning Easter Bear hunts, many cardboard pieces of artwork ‘joining together’ and lots more.
We would love you to share with us any stories, poems, pictures of kindness you can think of. Please email us your stories via: PR@westberks.gov.uk or tag us on social media using the hashtag #WBcommunitylove.
Let’s be kind to ourselves and others this #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek #KindnessMatters
The Community Support Hub is continuing to support local residents who have no one else to turn to for help during the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s also supporting the local community groups working across the district.
We have set up a Community Support Hub Facebook page for volunteers across West Berkshire, whether they are part of an established community group or just helping neighbours, family or friends during this difficult time. Please like and follow the Facebook page to receive regular updates.