Town and Parish Council update – Thursday 19 November – Vale of White Horse

Businesses can now apply for lockdown support grants

If you’re aware of any local businesses that have been severely financially affected by the latest national lockdown, including those that have been temporarily forced to close, please signpost them to the latest financial support available.  There’s new support grant funding worth up to £3,000 a month per business.  Those needing help can apply for one of two grants available.

Local Restrictions Support Grant (for businesses required to close)   

This scheme is for businesses which pay rates and have been forced to close due to the national lockdown. This grant is also available to businesses that have closed their main operations, but who are currently offering take-away or click and collect services. A maximum of £3,000 is available depending upon the individual business’s rateable value.

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Additional Restrictions Grant 

This scheme is for business that aren’t eligible for the Local Restrictions Support Grant, including those that haven’t been temporarily forced to close, but have been severely impacted by the current restrictions, and those that do not pay any business rates. This is a discretionary fund  with £2,000 available to support individual businesses. Deadline for applications is 4 December.

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New Covid compliance marshals to help support communities

We’ve appointed two Covid Compliance Marshals who will very soon be out and about in South and Vale to help keep communities safe during the current lockdown and beyond.

These two new marshals will be out in the districts once they’ve had training. They will:

  • encourage and support businesses to trade as safely as possible
  • liaise with business owners, members of the public and others to answer enquiries, provide or signpost to further advice
  • support the council’s contact tracing responsibilities

The posts are fully funded by a government grant to support compliance with the current measures in place to control the spread of COVID-19 across individuals, businesses and in the community.

Local Businesses invited to register their details in the Faringdon Welcome Pack

We understand that small businesses are at risk during this pandemic, so we would like to promote your businesses to more residents in town.

We will be distributing welcome packs to new residents and we would like to know if you wish to register your business as part of the town pack.

All local businesses are welcome to register.

Please fill the form below if you are interested

Safe shopping advice for Oxfordshire bargain hunters… Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Shoppers in Oxfordshire are being encouraged to be scam-aware and avoid their anticipated Black Friday and Cyber Monday online bargains becoming expensive rip-offs.

Safe shopping advice is from Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team.

The two US-inspired bargain bonanza days have become popular with retailers in recent years, with consumers looking to pick up items, particularly online, in the run up to Christmas. This year Black Friday is 27 November and Cyber Monday is 30 November 2020. Many retailers are already promoting savings and likely to extend the sales period.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “There will be plenty of genuine bargains this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I’m sure, but scams and rip-offs too. In these difficult times, I don’t want any Oxfordshire resident to be conned out of their hard-earned money. My advice is when shopping online, take time to do your research before checking out your online basket. Use the tips suggested by our trading standards team.

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Live Chat Improves Access To Support For Victims of Crime

Victims First which supports victims of crime and abuse across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, has launched a Live Chat service to improve access to support for victims.

The Live Chat service which is now live on Victim First’s website www.victims-first.org.uk, offers a new way to access support, enabling victims to talk online with a Victims First Officer, safely and in confidence.

Live Chat enhances the existing Victims First service, providing an additional and valuable route to support. It offers a discreet way for victims to access support, which is especially important for victims of domestic abuse who may be living with their abuser, and will be of particular benefit to people who prefer using online channels to reach out for help.

Anyone needing support can get in touch via the Live Chat button on the Victims First website www.victims-first.org.uk or by calling Victims First on 0300 1234 148 to speak to a trained Victims First Officer who will be able to provide free confidential emotional and practical support

Live Chat will be staffed by trained Victims First Officers during Victims First opening hours

Victims First is managed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.  It offers free support to any victim or witness of crime in the Thames Valley regardless of the crime, when it took place or whether or not the crime has been reported to the police.

Oxfordshire residents warned against coronavirus scams

Residents have been warned to be on their guard against criminals and scammers exploiting the pandemic. 

Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team has received numerous reports of scams targeting people by email, text messages, and on the doorstep.

There are many genuine community efforts to help residents; to provide good quality advice and support. But unfortunately, not everyone is trustworthy, and some people will take advantage of this unprecedented situation.

Councillor Judith Heathcoat, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “It is hard to believe that some people will look to take advantage of the situation our country is facing, but unfortunately this is a reality.

“Where possible, trading standards will pursue and tackle these despicable individuals, but preventing people becoming victims in the first place is key.

“Be a good friend; help protect your family, friends and neighbours from scams.”

Jody Kerman, Head of Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards, said: “Scams come in many different guises so, before taking any action or agreeing to an offer: Stop, ‘take five’, and discuss with a trusted friend or family member.”

Here are some of the scams trading standards is aware of…

Remember, criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:

  • Be aware of people offering miracle cures or vaccines for coronavirus – there is currently no specific treatment for COVID-19.
  • People impersonating healthcare workers, claiming to be offering ‘home-testing’ for coronavirus – this is a scam and these kits are not currently available to buy.
  • Emails offering a refund on council tax, utility bills, or similar are usually bogus and they are just after personal and bank details.
  • There are lots of fake products available to buy online that say they can protect against or cure coronavirus. These will not help and are designed to take your money.
  • There are new mobile phone applications that claim to give updates on the virus, but instead they lock your phone and demand a ransom.
  • People offering to do shopping or collect medication, asking for money upfront and then disappearing.
  • People offering home cleaning services.
  • Remember: Banks or the police will never ask for account details over the phone.
  • Claiming to be collecting money for charities.
  •  

Tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Be cautious and listen to your instincts. Do not be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it, or shut the door.
  • Take your time; do not be rushed into making a decision that you will probably regret.
  • If someone claims to represent a charity, ask them for ID. Be suspicious of requests for money up front. If someone is trying to tempt you into accepting a service, they are unlikely to be genuine.
  • Check with family and friends before accepting offers of help if unsure.
  • If online, be aware of fake news and use trusted sources such as .gov.uk or NHS.uk websites. Type-out email addresses. Don’t click on links in emails.
  • Only purchase goods from legitimate retailers and take a moment to think before parting with money or personal information.
  • Protect your financial information, especially from people you do not know. Never give your bank card or PIN to a stranger.
  • Know who you are dealing with. If you need help, talk to someone you know or use contact numbers provided below (scroll down).
  •  

Charity collectors…

How to check if they are genuine:

  • Check the charity’s name and registration number at gov.uk/checkcharity. Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered.
  • Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information – it’s ok to decide not to give on the spot. Be wary of unsolicited emails from charities you have never heard of and be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them.
  • Exercise the same caution as with any other internet transaction, for example, to donate online. Visit the charity’s own website and always type the website address into the browser yourself.
  • Contact or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with, to find out more about their spending. Ask a trusted friend, neighbour or relative if you are unable to research this or need a second opinion.

Ignore requests to donate through a money transfer company

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FOOD BANK

Faringdon Town Council offices and Information Centre are closed due to Government restrictions, but the Food Bank is still operating.

To help stopping the spread we kindly ask people to adhere to few rules :

Please sanitise your hands, ring bell and wait away from the door.

Please wear a mask and be mindful of social distancing

If you are donating a food parcel ,please leave any donations on steps and ring the bell

Call 07548 535855 if you wish to speak to a member of staff regarding the food bank –this number is only accessed during operating hours

Temporary FCB timetable

From the 9th of November FCB will operate a two day a week service on Tuesday and Friday.

As the schools are still open FCB will start the service from 8.23 and finish at 11.15 with a service that will take passengers home from the Market Place.

This reduced service will run until the 2nd December depending on the Government’s advice