Your Local Councillor Update

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Borough Life out now

The summer edition of Borough Life will be distributed to all households from today until 17th July. This edition celebrates and recognises the tremendous efforts the borough has gone to during Covid-19 – we hope you enjoy reading it. While waiting for your copy to be delivered you can read it online here 

A paper copy of the Covid-19 impact survey is also included in this edition

People can post the survey back to us or can now call our dedicated survey helpline on 01942 827789 which will be open weekdays from 8am – 6pm until Friday 24th July if they would prefer to speak to someone

New Domestic Abuse Helpline

A dedicated helpline has been set up for anyone at risk of or suffering domestic abuse. People worried about a family member or friend can also report their concerns.

There’s more information in our press release here

Weekly Covid-19 Tracker

We have been monitoring the impact of Covid-19 locally and each week will be publishing a Covid-19 surveillance tracker so you can clearly see how the borough is doing in comparison to the region and the nation. You can view it on our website here

In the borough, new Covid-19 cases continue to reduce weekly and our rates are now at the lowest since mid-March.

In the last week our new infection rate stood at 3.4 per 100,000 population. This is much lower than the regional average of 10.2 and the national average of 6.9.

Safe Streets (Cycling & Walking)

Residents are being asked to submit ideas for improved cycling and walking facilities across the borough to encourage safe travel in line with social distancing.

We have published an interactive map online, where residents can leave comments and suggestions by clicking on their desired part of the borough. The work supports the Safe Streets Save Lives Campaign, which has allocated £5m from the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Challenge Fund to help local authorities across the region implement measures to give pedestrians and cyclists more space when travelling.

Some changes were implemented in early June, including temporarily extending pedestrian zone times in Wigan and Leigh town centres, introducing 20mph speed limits on some town centre roads and extending the operating times of bus lanes.

Four new zebra crossings will also be installed in areas across the borough to help pedestrians navigate the roads, especially children and families walking to and from school.

We encourage members to ensure residents in their areas submit their ideas here

Further Easing of Restrictions

Libraries and playgrounds:

We’re currently working on plans to safely reopen our libraries, community centres and playgrounds, but in the meantime a list of what facilities are open will be published online so that residents can check before they make plans.

Driving tests:

Will restart in England on Wednesday 22nd July with new social distancing and safety precautions in place.

These will only be for people who had their driving test cancelled because of coronavirus to begin with.

There is a full list of helpful FAQs which explain what people now can and can’t do on the government website here

Haigh Play Area to Reopen

The Children’s Woodland Adventure Play Park will re-open on Wednesday (8th July).

To keep everyone as safe as possible, several safe operating procedures will be in place.

This news will be shared the Haigh’s Facebook page here

Business Grants

There is still money left in the pot to support the borough’s businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 71 per cent of the small business grant scheme has now been allocated along with 50 per cent of the discretionary business grant.

We are committed to supporting businesses financially and want to ensure they have access to necessary funds as soon as possible. Please encourage local businesses in your communities to contact us as a matter of priority.

We do not know how long this money will be available to us. Where we hold details, we will contact businesses directly, but we do not want anybody to miss out.

Please speak with the businesses in your wards to ensure they are aware of this opportunity. For more information, please contact [email protected]

£30,000 Fund for Creative Industries

Freelance artists and creative professionals in the borough can apply for a new funding pot which opens today.

We’ve launched the Freelance Creative Practitioner Covid-19 Fund to help anyone working freelance in the arts and culture sector, as we know the impact the pandemic has had on this industry.

Grants are between £500 and £1,500 and applications will close on Friday 31st July.

There’s more information here

Regular Retesting for Care Home Staff and Residents

The Department of Health and Social Care have announced that care home staff and residents in care homes for over 65s and those with dementia will receive regular coronavirus tests from this week as part of a new social care testing strategy.

Staff will be tested weekly, while residents will receive a test every 28 days to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in social care.

This is in addition to intensive testing in any care home facing an outbreak, or at increased risk of an outbreak.

The new testing strategy comes following the latest advice from SAGE and new evidence from the Vivaldi 1 study indicating a higher prevalence in care homes, and therefore a case for frequent testing in care homes and their staff.

Wigan Athletic

Following a statement from the EFL this week, we’ve backed a local bid for Wigan Warriors to buy Wigan Athletic.

I have also written to the EFL confirming our desire to find a positive way forward and offering to work with them on this.

Our business team have a package of support available for any resident who has lost employment over the last few months, and this will be made available to the 75 employees who have sadly been made redundant.

Read our statement and letter here