Community News

Community testing centres to open to anyone without COVID symptoms

Solihull MBC have advised that the following  press release was released, regarding the expansion of Solihull Council’s community testing programme from Monday 8 March 2021.

  https://www.solihull.gov.uk/news/community-testing-centres-open-anyone-without-covid-symptoms

The booking page has also been updated to include further information including FAQs: https://www.solihull.gov.uk/COVID-19/covidtesting

Useful advice if you are thinking of changing your ISP in 2021 & Mobile operators agree deal to improve UK’s rural coverage

Please see below information provided by CSW Broadband

Useful advice if you are thinking of changing your ISP in 2021

Consumers in the UK face a confusing choice of different broadband providers and networks, which is getting worse as a growing number of new entrants enter the market. In fact, trying to find a new ISP can sometimes feel like walking through a minefield.

If you are looking for a new ISP but find the myriad of options available to you a little bit confusing, the ISP Review’s new ‘UK Best Broadband ISPs for Homes – 2021’ guide may be able to help by offering a simplified overview of the top options.

The guide puts together the editor’s pick of top ISP options in terms of quality and affordability. The ISPs featured in the guide are picked based on a mixture of criteria, including reader feedback, Ofcom quality / complaint scores, third party awards and reviews from multiple sites, to name but a few.

As well as categorising ISPs by price and quality, a third category – Commendations – also highlights alternative network ISPs that also deserve praise – based on the above criteria.

Consumer champions Which? have also recently published their ‘Best and worst broadband providers 2021’ report.

They note that while the best broadband companies offer a great service at a great price, provide a fast connection that you can rely on, and are on hand to help in the rare instance that something goes wrong, many broadband providers still don’t deliver on those fronts.

While you have to pay to download the whole report, it is worth noting that this survey is based on the real-life experiences of thousands of customers across the UK and may prove to be money well spent if you are thinking of changing broadband provider and would like further information on choosing your next ISP.

Mobile operators agree deal to improve UK’s rural coverage

A number of publications, including Computer Weekly have recently reported that three of the UK’s leading mobile operators have agreed a deal to build and share infrastructure to boost 4G coverage and improve mobile connectivity in hard-to-reach places.

 

In the first stage of the UK government’s Shared Rural Network (SRN) programme, which aims to support the deployment of 5G and extend 4G mobile coverage to hitherto badly served rural areas, O2, Three and Vodafone are joining forces to build and share 222 new mobile masts to boost rural coverage across the country.

The £1.3bn SRN programme was first proposed in October 2019 and has been made possible through a partnership of the UK’s four major telecoms operators – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone who will work to close almost all partial “not spots” – areas where there is only coverage from at least one but not all operators.

Their initial investment of £532m will then be supplemented by more than £500m of government funding to eliminate total not spots – hard to reach areas where there is currently no coverage from any operator.

The exact location of the masts – most of which will be built in rural areas – are not being disclosed until planning permission has been approved. Construction will start this year and is set to be completed by 2024 in line with the agreement reached with the Government and Ofcom.

The three mobile operators will now engage with local stakeholders and other key parties to ensure what the UK government calls a “timely and efficient” roll-out that delivers 4G connectivity in rural communities, offering customers in very remote areas increased choice and fuller value from their contracts where they live, work or travel.

New Fuel Voucher and Support Scheme

Attached and below is information about the fuel voucher and support scheme launched in Solihull to help vulnerable families and households who are struggling to pay their fuel bills due to loss of income or increased fuel use.

Solihull Council have provided funding in recognition of the additional burden the COVID-19 outbreak is having on vulnerable families and households who are struggling to pay their fuel bills due to loss of income or increased fuel use. The scheme supports people in the following ways:

  • Debt write off (up to £250) to those who are unable to pay their fuel bill and have been in debt with their energy supplier for the last six months and are unable to set up a debt payment plan with their supplier.
  • Energy Bill Support. Provision of funds to help with payment of energy bills of £49 for households, maximum of 3 applications. Further details can be found on the attached flyer.
  • Additional support in the form of energy advice such as tariff advice, Priority Service Registration with Western Power, accessing Warm Homes Discount, if applicable and onward referrals e.g. income maximisation, access to other funding for energy efficiency measures e.g. heating and/or insulation. 
  • Boiler servicing and chimney sweeping to ensure householders have a safe and warm home.
  • Boiler repairs to ensure no family is left in a no heat situation.
  • Boiler replacement if repairs cannot be undertaken and no other source of funding is available.

More Details can be found in the 2 documents below

Solihull Warner Winter Flyer

Warmer Winter Fuel Vouchers

Guidance for Halloween –

Please find below guidance, which has been provided by Solihull MBC, on how to have a safe Halloween this year for cascading through your networks.

Enjoy Halloween safely this year

Halloween is a time when people often gather together and this poses a risk for COVID-19 transmission.  

The current lockdown restrictions in Solihull prevent gatherings of more than 6 taking place in private gardens outside, with no one is permitted to come inside your home unless they have a valid exemption.

Below are ideas and guidance to help you plan a safe Halloween this year:   

Make sure you help to reduce the spread of the virus by avoiding:

Knocking on doors – this increases transmission potential and would expose our many as residents who are vulnerable and should be protected, as well as those who are isolating.

Traditional trick or treating – where treats are handed to children who go door to door or children take sweets from a shared bucket.

 

Organising or attending crowded costume parties held indoors, outdoors or at your own home.

Instead of the traditional door to door trick or treating where the virus can be spread by touch, why not try:

·         Carve or decorate pumpkins and display in your household

·         Organise a Halloween treasure hunt at home

·         Host a virtual party with themed games and music

·         Watch a scary movie with the familyincluding spooky treats

·         Have a virtual Halloween costume contest

By following this guidance you can enjoy a safe and fun Halloween, whilst also protecting your neighbours, friends and family!

Great British September Clean September 11th – 27th

As many of you are aware the Great British Spring Clean (GBSC) was one of the many events across the country which had to be postponed due to the coronavirus.

Well now Solihull MBC have advised that, it’s back, and the Love Solihull team are encouraging residents to grab their litter pickers and give the borough a Great British September Clean. 

They have kindley provided the information below:-

The GBSC is a fantastic incentive to get people talking about the importance of keeping our communities clean, green and safe by taking action to dispose of litter in the right way.

Litter picking has an immediately positive impact on our neighbourhoods and means we can continue to take pride in our neighbourhoods. However, in these very different times, we must remember to put safety first and follow the guidance around social distancing so that we don’t jeopardise our health and that of those around us.

As the Love Solihull teams first priority is to make sure everyone stays safe and well, we have attached our Community Litter Picking Guidelines, Community Litter Picking Risk Assessment and Covid-19 Guidance.

It is also important to remember that large group clean-ups aren’t possible at the moment, but we can offer support to individuals signed up to the Love Solihull Community Litter Picking Initiative who may go out in groups of up to 6 people.

If you haven’t already got your own equipment but would like to take part in the Great British September Clean either as an individual or as a small group, just sign up to the Love Solihull Community Litter Picking Initiative by completing and returning the attached Community Litter Picking Registration Form to lovesolihull@solihull.gov.uk we can then arrange delivery of your litter picking equipment.

When planning your GBSP remember:-

Small groups are key

So while we cannot support large community clean-ups at this time a litter-pick can be just as effective alone or in pairs. For those taking part in groups, this should involve a maximum of six people if from different households. Please do make yourselves familiar with our Covid-19 Guidance.

Make space – stay at least a metre away from people not in your household

Please do not promote the time and place you intend to undertake any activities to avoid the risk of large social gatherings. Also, if you’re litter picking in a public place like a park or a playground, think about when it’s likely to be quieter, and plan your clean-up for then.

Collaborate with Love Solihull 

Leave your full Love Solihull litter bags next to SMBC litter bins (maximum 2 bags). If you need to arrange a special collection where you either have bags that you have not been able to leave next to a litter bin or where you have more than 2 bags that need collecting from one location please contact lovesolihull@solihull.gov.uk

We want to hear from you

We really want to keep a running total of all the bags collected during GBSC 2020, so please do get in touch at lovesolihull@solihull.gov.uk and let us know how your litter pick went and we will share your story. If you take any photos don’t forget to tag in @lovesolihull on Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #LoveSolihull #GreatBritishSeptemberClean

You can also show your support for the GBSC by pledging your time here:- https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/get-involved/support-our-campaigns/great-british-spring-clean

Before we go, this year’s GBSC initiative comes at a time when caring for the environment and living more sustainably has never been more important. Right now, a lot of things are uncertain, but our passion for tackling litter and our love for the environment remains unchanged.

Thank you to all the volunteers who selflessly dedicate their own time to help clean up our streets and parks therefore protecting the beautiful environment we share. 

Information provided by

Community Engagement Officers

Public Realm Team | Environmental Services | Managed Growth & Communities Directorate | Solihull MBC

0121 704 6243

www.solihull.gov.uk

Arden Tree Scheme – August 2020 – Free Trees Available

Solihull residents and local groups are invited to apply for free trees as part of a scheme to promote the planting of traditional native trees in the borough.

The Arden Free Tree scheme is run by Solihull Council in partnership with Birmingham Airport and is open to individuals or groups who would like to create hedgerows or small woodlands on their own land within Solihull.

The deadline for applications is the end of August and successful applicants will receive their free trees in time for the planting season (December – February).

The Attached Arden Free Tree Scheme Leaflet, provides further details about the scheme, including details about how you can apply for trees.

Campaign Against Cut to Opening Hours at Dickens Heath Library –

Dickens Heath Parish Council have shared the information below. Please support them in fighting against these cuts.

Big Hours Cut Proposed at Dickens Heath Library

Solihull Council have proposed the cutting of Dickens Heath Library opening hours by 26%, to just 14 hours per week, from 1st April 2020, bringing back the September 2019 plans that the Parish Council successfully opposed and were deferred at that time. The Parish Council was especially disappointed as only last April their Offices were sold, the mortgage paid off, and they co-located into the 1st Floor of the Library as a cost saving partnership for us both. This move had been long in arranging and was aimed at safeguarding the Community Library with the Parish Council now paying 45% of the building’s expensive running costs. The proposal to then reduce Library opening hours came as a huge disappointment and strong representations were made, supported by Cllr. Ken Hawkins, leading to the plans in the Library Review being further deferred by Cllr. Rolf, on 27th January, until June for further local consultation.

We now need Community Action to support our Dickens Heath Library Campaign – here’s how:

  • At the next Parish Council Meeting there are two Senior Solihull Council Officers – Kate Bunting (Libraries) and Alyson McGrory (Asst. Director) – attending to explain the proposals and hear the Parish Council/Community Views.  To “REVERSE THE PROPOSED CUT IN OPENING HOURS” – Public attendance at 7.15pm on Tuesday 11th February at the Library would greatly help. 
  • To Sign the Petition to support the Parish Council at our stand at the Food & Craft Market at the Village Hall 10.00am to 12.00noon on Saturday 8th February (note this is a new time for the Craft & Food Market this month only). A copy of the petition to Solihull Council available on Dickens Heath Parish Council’s webs (Click Here), in case any concerned residents would like to collect signatures from family or friends etc. and return to Dickens Heath Parish Council c/o Dickens Heath Library by 22nd February.

 

  • Ken Hawkins has also now set up an online petition against the proposed cuts which can be completed on line and is available by clicking HERE

 

  • Email personal representations direct to Cllr Alison Rolf, the Cabinet Post Holder, at Solihull Council at alison.rolf@solihull.gov.uk

The Proposed New Opening Hours are – Monday 2.00pm to 5.00pm (cut 1 hour) Tuesdays Closed (cut 3 hours) Wednesdays Closed (as now) Thursdays 10.00am to 1.00pm & 2.00pm to 6.00pm (1 hour increase) Saturday 10.00am to 2.00pm (cut 2 hours)

We say it makes little sense to have a costly Library building as a public asset open for just 14 hours a week, particularly given that the Parish Council is now sharing the use and costs.

Address: Dickens Heath Library, Old Dickens Heath Rd, Dickens Heath, B90 1SD

Tel:          07772 469271

Email:      dickensheathpc@hotmail.com

Website:  www.dickensheathpc.org.uk

Your Solihull Winter 2019 – Magazine for Residents

Your Solihull Winter 2019 – Magazine for Residents, which is produced by Soluhull MBC can be found by clicking HERE.

The magazine contains lots of useful information includinging:-

  • Recycling and rubbish – Christmas collection arrangements.
  • Darker Nights / Lock up & Lights On – Police advice.
  • Details of events taking place in Solihull.