Councillor Update

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covid-19 image

Among the items in this edition are supplied by Councillor Paul Collins

Volunteer Opportunities
Just a reminder for our volunteer groups that the Greater Manchester State of the VCSE Sector Evaluation 2020 survey closes on 11/10/2020. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win either £1,000 or £200 for their group. To access the survey, or to find out more information click this link: https://salford.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/state-of-the-sector-2020
We are also encouraging our local volunteer groups to register on a new online portal, managed by Wigan Borough Community Partnership. Where community groups can register volunteering opportunities, they have for residents to view. It is easy to complete and will help raise the profile of the respective group and more importantly will let visitors to easily identify where help is needed.  You can register your group of look for opportunities by following this link https://www.wbcommunitypartnership.org/register-for-volunteer-opportunities/

Entering a Shielded/Vulnerable Persons Home
I have had several enquiries about when it is appropriate to enter a vulnerable persons home so I have been in contact with Wigans director of public health, Professor Kate Adern and Portfolio holder Cllr Keith Cunliffe and asked for clarification. There is currently no change to the existing national guidance for people entering homes of shielded or vulnerable adults and it is better to limit any face to face contact to that which is absolutely essential for the provision of health, care and humanitarian services.  Similar is the case for workers, which will include volunteers.  The advice can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19 Links can also be found on the Covid 19 webpage on the council website here: https://www.wigan.gov.uk/Resident/Crime-Emergencies/Coronavirus/index.aspx

Changes to bus services in Wigan district (Tfgm)
In line with protocols agreed with GMCA’s Transport Levy Scrutiny Panel, TfGM who are responsible for public transport across Greater Manchester are advising each district of recommendations for service changes in advance of implementation.

Recommendations as follows: 

  • Service 126 — Leigh – Astley – Boothstown – Trafford Centre: Additional early morning journeys on Mondays to Fridays;
  • Service 132 — Wigan – Hindley – Atherton – Tyldesley – Boothstown -Trafford Centre: Additional early morning journeys on Mondays to Fridays;
  • Service 576 — Wigan – Horwich – Bolton: Route revised and service renumbered to 575;
  • Service 607 — Ashton Heath – Ashton-in-Makerfield – Bryn – Wigan Service revised to operate as a local Ashton town service only;
  • Service 694 — Leigh – Astley – New Hall Farm – Tyldesley – Shakerley Service revised to run between Leigh and Tyldesley only;
  • Service 715 — Bolton – Westhoughton – (Wigan): Evening and Sunday journeys revised to run only between Bolton and Westhoughton.
  • Service 113 — Wigan – Standish – Eccleston – Leyland – Preston: Route revised in Wigan;
  • Service 584 — Leigh – Crankwood: Monday to Friday first round trip withdrawn;
  • Service 682 — Leigh – Atherton – Hag Fold: Service extended from Hag Fold to Atherton, Shakerley and Tyldesley;
  • Service 683 — Leigh – Atherton – Tyldesley – Shakerley: Service withdraw and replace by an extension to service 682.

Support Available for Tenants with Eviction Concerns
Press Release
Tenants who are worried about the impending end to the eviction ban are being encouraged to get in touch with Wigan Council for essential support and advice. A ban on the eviction of tenants nationwide was put in place when the country went into lockdown in March. This ban was due to end on August 23 but has now been extended until September 20. Concerned private renters are being encouraged to get in touch at the earliest opportunity so it does not become crisis management. A recent survey by homelessness charity Shelter suggested that more than 170,000 private tenants have been threatened with eviction by their landlord or letting agent, and 230,000 in England have fallen into arrears since the pandemic started. Under current government instructions courts can restart considering claims made by landlords from September 20 and evictions can potentially resume so the council wants to signpost residents to support.

Wigan Council can offer residents general advice about evictions and harassment, speak to landlords to try resolve issues amicably and look at housing options for anyone who has been illegally evicted. Councillor Terry Halliwell, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for housing and welfare, said: “The economic impact of this pandemic will be felt for a long time to come with many left furloughed, having hours reduced or even losing their jobs so no one should feel isolated or scared to reach out for help while facing financial pressures. “We have made significant investments in our housing services and built strong working relationships with providers and our partners to deliver a cohesive approach so services can work together to better understand people’s circumstances and their needs. “I urge anyone who feels they are at risk of being evicted or are struggling to pay their rent to come to talk to us. Our expert officers are on hand to offer the advice and support to anyone in need – please don’t wait.” Housing teams are also keen to hear from any landlords struggling with the eviction ban that also might have queries about new procedures put in place earlier this year. Wigan Council hopes to limit court hearings and evictions as much as possible, so teams are keen to open dialogue with all sides before last-resort measures are pursued. However, if eviction proceedings cannot be avoided then landlords will need to provide the courts with additional information about the effect Covid-19 has had on their tenants. Private tenants and landlords faced with housing difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic can find out more information here: https://www.wigan.gov.uk/Resident/Housing/Private-Housing/Coronavirus-contact-private-housing.aspx