South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse district councils are reassuring residents and businesses that help is available, should they need it during the latest national lockdown.
Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Monday 4 January, England has now entered a new national lockdown, meaning that people should stay at home and many businesses have to close until at least mid-February.
Over the last ten months our communities have come together to support each other during the course of the pandemic. The new lockdown will place extra pressure on many residents and businesses, but the councils are here for anybody who urgently needs their help and are urging people to get in touch, and to apply for financial support, where available.
Support for vulnerable residents
The South and Vale Community Hub continues to be available to help people to access support and essentials during the lockdown if they have nobody else to turn to.
The Community Hub can put people in touch with community groups and volunteers that can provide support in their neighbourhoods with help getting essentials such as food or prescriptions. The councils also have some practical support available for eligible people facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
Individuals who need support can fill in an online form at:
Or they can email email@example.com or call 01235 422600.
The Community Hub team is currently available from:
It sometimes takes a day or two for support to reach people, so anybody who thinks they’ll be in need should not wait until they’ve run out of supplies before getting in touch.
The councils’ Housing Needs team are available to help people who are at risk of being made homeless or who are sleeping rough – for more details visit southoxon.gov.uk/housing / whitehorsedc.gov.uk/housing.
Support is also available to those experiencing financial difficulties – to find out more please visit southoxon.gov.uk/benefits / whitehorsedc.gov.uk/benefits to check whether you are eligible to apply for benefits.
If you are having difficulty paying your council tax please visit southoxon.gov.uk/counciltax / whitehorsedc.gov.uk/counciltax or call 0345 302 2313 (South Oxfordshire) / 0345 302 2315 (Vale of White Horse).
To help stop the spread of the virus, the councils continue to support Oxfordshire’s local contact tracing team to get in touch with those who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 but have not been reached by the national NHS test and trace system. Those contacted can receive advice, on how to self-isolate and how to access local financial or social support.
Support for Businesses
The councils provide a local support service for businesses that are worried about the impact the lockdown will have on their operations, providing helpful guidance and pointing them in the direction of the support that is available.
Financial support for business affected by the restrictions continues to become available from the government and is administered locally by the district councils.
To find out more about the various support and grants available, and to sign up to receive notifications about new grant funding, businesses should visit svbs.co.uk
The councils Covid Compliance Marshals will also continue to be on duty in our town centres and busy areas to engage, explain and encourage businesses and members of the public to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines to help keep everyone safe.
Cllr Emily Smith, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council said “We know that during the colder months this lockdown period will be particularly tough for many people. If you are a resident who needs help, but you don’t have support near-by, I urge you to get in contact with our Community Hub as soon as possible so we can put you in touch with people in your community who can help you.”
“I also urge all our residents to continue to support each other as they have been doing so brilliantly over the last year, and to please stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”
Cllr Sue Cooper, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “If you run a business that’s been affected by restrictions our Business Support team are there to support you and provide advice about grant funding as and when it comes available locally. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to visit svbs.co.uk and sign up to their mailing list.”
“Each time the government announces a new grant it can take some time for them to provide us with the specific details we need before we can open the scheme for applications. We are doing our best to open the applications as quickly as possible and appreciate people’s patience while we wait for this information to reach us.”
“We know that this is a particularly hard time for many businesses. Please be assured that we are there for you and will continue to provide what support we can over the coming months. I also urge people to continue to support local traders and help to ensure that all our businesses can survive this period and then begin to thrive again once the restrictions have been lifted.”
Almost all council services are currently still running, however there may be some disruption due to home working and social distancing requirements. Please check southoxon.gov.uk or whitehorsedc.gov.uk for the latest information.
For details on the new national restrictions which are now in place please visit the government’s website.