Council offers big thank you to Oxfordshire residents as recycling sites reopen

At the end of the first day of reopening, Oxfordshire County Council Cabinet Member Cllr Yvonne Constance wanted to thank all those who visited for playing their part.

The sites at Alkerton, Ardley, Dix Pit, Drayton, Oakley Wood, Redbridge and Stanford in the Vale have been extremely busy since they opened at 8.00am this morning but Cllr Constance said it was encouraging that residents had understood the importance of the social distancing measures the Council had introduced.

“We were committed to get these seven sites open and we knew today would be very busy with people bringing in their essential waste. As expected, traffic queues have built up but our residents have played their part by being considerate and adhering to the revised site layouts.

“We know things at the recycling sites will be busy for the foreseeable future, so I hope people will continue to be patient. My main plea to residents is to consider whether they can wait a few days or longer before visiting their nearest site. The more we can stagger waste coming in, the less traffic will queue and the easier it will be for everyone.”

The council asks residents to remember:

• You should only visit the site if you cannot safely store your waste at home.
• Revised opening hours: All sites will open at 8am and close at 4pm to allow them to be cleaned for the following day. Please do not arrive before 8am.
• For an initial period, no hire vans or trailers will be permitted onto sites.
• Vehicle numbers and parking bays are reduced on site, and once the maximum is reached the site will operate on a one-out one-in basis. PLEASE NOTE the potential for long delays and queues.
• Please follow any instructions given by traffic marshals to ensure queues are managed safely
• We will continue to charge for non-household waste brought to sites and this will be by contactless card payment only. If you are unable to pay by contactless means you will not be able to deposit non household waste at the site.
• Residents must self-police and abide by social distancing of two metres from site teams and other residents at all times.
• Site teams will be there for guidance only and will not be able to assist residents in unloading their waste.
• Only one resident is permitted out of the vehicle, unless it is to remove a heavy load which would otherwise be unsafe to remove. Visits are best made by just one person per vehicle.
• In line with Public Health England guidance, residents who are vulnerable, or who are showing symptoms which may indicate coronavirus, should not visit household recycling centres.
Specific rules and restrictions will vary by site. Please refer to the county council website before leaving home to familiarise yourself with these and to avoid frustration and delay:

www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/wastereopenquestions

Citizens Advice needs Volunteer Advisers

We can all face problems that are too stressful or complicated to sort out alone.

Last year, our 150 volunteers advised over 11,000 people. We helped three quarters resolve their debt, benefits, employment and housing problems.

We now need more advisers to help us during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

Normally, our main offices are in Abingdon, Didcot, Henley and Thame. Ninety volunteers and staff are now advising the public from home on our AdviceLine service.

What will you get out of it?  You will join a friendly team, meet new people, develop your skills and make a real difference to people’s lives.

You’ll need to have good listening and interpersonal skills, a willingness to learn and be confident with computers. Full training will be provided.

If you have 8 hours a week to spare for the next 2 years or more and are looking for a satisfying and stimulating volunteer role in your local community, please contact us at:

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/oxfordshire-south-vale/volunteer/  or email us at recruitment@osavcab.org.uk

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time and one in four people will experience some form of mental distress during their lifetime. This can include depression, anxiety, panic disorders and eating disorders, as well as conditions such as bipolar and schizophrenia.

So, for one week each May, an awareness campaign takes place to look at different themes that will encourage us to talk about mental health.

The theme for this Mental Health Awareness Week is kindness and the ways we can #Shareyourkindness for friends, family, work colleagues and our community.

Opportunities to be kind are all around us – and the smallest acts of kindness are often what make the biggest difference. Here are some examples of acts of kindness.

At Oxfordshire County Council we witness many acts of kindness from our staff, volunteers and partnership organisations, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. So, here are some examples of why #kindnessmatters for Mental Health Awareness Week and we encourage you to share examples too. 

Baby joy!

In this heart-warming story, staff in our Family Time Supervised Contact Team helped a father with a learning disability to physically meet his new born baby for the first time. Although it was outside of their usual remit, when the team found out that Dad had only been able to see his baby virtually due to social distancing restrictions, they stepped forward and coordinated a safe meeting, bringing much joy to everyone.

So much more than a day centre

In our ‘caring in a crisis’ series of news features we have been telling the stories of our adult social care teams, including Redlands Banbury Community Support Services who launched a new YouTube channel so day centre guests can enjoy singing, get involved with quizzes and receive companionship.

Craft packs bring joy

A member of staff, who had to self-isolate is missing one-to-one time with children, so she has created 100 craft packs to bring some joy to children. Each pack has a personalised set of instructions to ensure the child and their carer can make the item to encourage creativity.

 #Clapforcarers

We are supporting our local health care colleagues such as Oxford University Hospitals and Oxford Health to #clapforNHS and for carers every Thursday at 8pm. The gifts of gratitude and kindness cards are creatively colourful: see here.

Carer ID gives confidence

Are you trying to do a kind deed to obtain medication or groceries for a loved one? A Carer ID is available for paid and independent Carers who are providing care and support to young people and adults. It is a simple letter of authority which can be presented whilst out and about, should the Carer be challenged in places such as supermarkets.

Contact us at: CarerID@oxfordshire.gov.uk for further information.

#ThankATeacher Day

To coincide with national #ThankATeacher Day on Wednesday 20 May, we’ve been inviting people to share messages of appreciation for teaching and support staff across the county. We want to pay tribute to those who are working tirelessly to provide lessons and resources remotely, while continuing to run classrooms for pupils of key workers. 

Sweet treats

At the start of the lockdown, carers came to county hall reception pick up PPE so they can support residents. Jennifer is a Team Leader from our Social and Community Services team and she created gift bags of sweets as a thoughtful surprise and act of kindness for our team of carers.

Staying connected with music

As we adapt to new and different ways to support people to stay connected while isolating, virtual tours of museums or gardens has been created as a resource. Kerrie Anne from our Oxford Community services voluntarily organises music workshops via Facebook live which are widely enjoyed by all who participate. 

Helping vulnerable and concerned residents

Our colleague from the customer service team called a shielded resident who was identified as needing support. The family had four young children, were short of supplies, were very stressed and struggling to cope. We asked how they were coping and what they needed. Within 24 hours the resident called us back to say they had received a parcel with food, sanitary items and everything else they needed and more because they were extremely grateful for this act of kindness.

Transport help

Our fleet service is continuing to transport special needs students from home to school, clients to residential care homes as well as operating the Oxfordshire Comet minibus service, which takes residents for essential shopping trips or to GP appointments. This act of kindness makes a difference to know that transport is available for people, when they really need it.

For help and information 

STORY TWO: Mental Health Awareness: Be kind to yourself and to others

Online version

Looking after our mental health has never been more important than right now, so if you are struggling reach out. Help is a call away.

Coronavirus has transformed the way we live and work and the crucial social interactions and routines that keep everyone – from children to older people – mentally resilient have been displaced by ‘lockdown’ and social distancing.

The pandemic is affecting mental health in general – causing disruption, uncertainty and anxiety and creating rising levels anxiety, worry and stress.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 (May 18-24) gets under way today with this year’s theme being about kindness and looking out for each other.

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust– the NHS organisation that provides community and in-patient mental health care for all age groups in Oxfordshire – is urging people to reach out and get help.

The Trust has launched a 24/7 mental health helpline to provide people with mental health advice during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • The number for adults is 01865 904997
  • For children and young people, the number is 01865 904998

The helpline makes it quicker and easier for people of all ages in Oxfordshire to get the right advice they need for their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Our trained mental health advisers will tell you where to tell you where to get the right help for you for a range of conditions and symptoms including anxiety, low mood, stress, worry, difficulty with relationships, crying often, feeling helpless, confusion, hallucinations or hearing voices.

Rob Bale, clinical director for mental health in Oxfordshire, said: “One in four people experience some form of mental health problem in the UK every year. It is completely normal to feel sad, angry or worried from time to time. But when those feelings won’t go away and they start to really affect day-to-day life, that is when there can be a problem.

“We ignore the emotional messages that tell us something is wrong. We tell ourselves it’s ‘just the way I am’. Or we bottle things up, hoping those around us won’t notice or kid ourselves that things will magically get better.

“If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out and make that call to us. Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme is kindness. So be kind to yourself and to others. Share our helpline numbers with friends, family and neighbours. Helping others is good for our own mental health and wellbeing.”

Oxford Health has created a range of support for people during this difficult time

Leaflets cover: Worry and uncertainty; Recovering from trauma; bereavement; depression; obsessional problems and OCD. Find them here.

Children and young people: New self-help resources for parents, carers and young people and consist of an explanatory video, accompanying worksheets and an information booklet that can be downloaded. They will help you understand some of the common mental health problems young people experience and what you can do to help. Find them here

For parents: Helping my child is a section on Oxford Health’s child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) pages that offers practical tips suggested by parents and carers. Read them here

Support available in Oxfordshire

The Mental Health Helplines (adults 01865 904997, children 01865 904998) adds to the range of local mental health services people can access directly.

When someone is seriously ill or injured, or in an acute confused state, call 999.

For other mental health support people can contact:

  • Oxfordshire Mind Information Line – 01865 247788 open 9.30am to 4.30pm Mon – Friday
  • NHS 111 – dial 111 – open 24 hours
  • Samaritans – Freephone 116 123 – open 24 hours
  • The Oxfordshire Mind Guide

Return of Form 9s to confirm a burial- Update

As you may know, the Oxfordshire Registration Service, in common with all local registration services in England and Wales are registering only deaths currently, and most of this work is being carried out by registrars working at home.

Register offices across the county are currently closed to the public, but there is a small staff presence in the Oxford Register Office for the purposes of issuing death certificates and processing post. Form 9s (Green Forms) are being issued electronically to funeral directors.

If you receive a Form 9 for a burial which has taken place within your parish boundaries, we would be grateful if you would complete the Part C and either scan it to the email address below, or return it by post if it is safe to do so, to the Oxford Register Office:

Registration.hub@oxfordshire.gov.uk

Thank you for your help with this. If you have any queries, please contact us on 01865 816492 or 01865 916248.

Online Pop up Business School- 15th June

PopUp Business School is a FREE traveling business school that runs intensive courses helping you to get going. Our courses are run in seminar style with cohorts of anywhere between 30 people and 300.

You will receive 1-2-1 support on how to be resilient and sustain your business during uncertain times, how to make sales, learn about e-commerce strategies and how to move your business online.

You will receive 1-2-1 support on your idea, inspiration, motivation and the business skills to move forward.

If you want to take control of your life, in a full-time (but unsatisfying) job, if you’re unemployed and looking for the right path, been working on your own business for years or are already established and want to find out how to become adaptable, PopUp’s alternative method will help you to take action and make it happen.

To know more and register click here

Faringdon Virtual Open Gardens 2020

Spread the joy of gardening, send in photos of your garden so we can compile them to make a virtual tour of Faringdon’s gardens.

Small or large garden, a single bloom, window box or allotment we would love to see what you are growing! Get the whole family involved, it would be great to see photos from Faringdon’s Junior Gardeners, it could be cress grown in a tub, a growing sunflower, a picture made from flowers and leaves or even a mud pie!

Send your photos to adele@faringdontowncouncil.gov.uk by the 1st of June 2020

*by submitting your photos you are giving Faringdon Town Council permission to display them on our website and social media channels.

Your Oxfordshire

Recycling centres reopening, celebrating carers, bluebell woodlands and community support

May 2020

We’re celebrating the care sector and key workers!

Thank you to all those in the care sector and to everyone who goes above and beyond the call of duty to deliver essential and flexible services. From the emergency services and armed services to delivery drivers, shop workers, teachers, waste collectors, manufacturers, postal workers, cleaners, vets, engineers and all those who are out there making an unbelievable difference to our lives in these challenging times – we are grateful for all that you do!

Help us celebrate and thank our local inspirational teams by tagging us in on your photos and videos on Facebook (@OxfordshireCountyCouncil) and Twitter (@OxfordshireCC) using #ThankyouOxon.

Support for residents

Our support for residents pages have lots of information to help you during this challenging time, from help and support for people who don’t have a support network to advice for parents, from schools places and early years providers to home schooling.

Coronavirus Carer ID scheme

A Carer ID scheme is available for paid and independent Carers who are providing care and support to youngsters and adults known to our Social Care team. The Carer ID is a simple letter of authority which can be presented whilst out and about, should the Carer be challenged.

Help your local community

It’s during tough times that communities can really pull together to support each other. So, whether you are able to help shop for essentials or put the bins out for a neighbour, or even have a phone call with someone who wouldn’t get a chance to speak to anyone for weeks, there are plenty of ways for you to get involved.

We’re opening our Household Waste and Recycling Centres

On Monday 18 May we’re opening our Household Waste and Recycling Centres for essential visits, from 8am to 4pm. They’ll be open seven days a week as long as they are not overwhelmed and can operate safely.

To keep everyone safe and allow for social distancing we’ve reduced the number of vehicles allowed on site at any one time, so queues are very likely, especially at peak times like weekends. You may find local traffic restrictions around each site in order to prevent queues blocking the network, so we recommend that you check the latest information online before each visit.

There will be restrictions at the recycling centres including the size of vehicles coming in, and social distancing, and unfortunately our staff won’t be able to help with the lifting of bags.

Please only visit the site if you can’t safely store your waste at home. And to make sure you can visit safely, we’ve made changes to our site rules.

Get your waste to the right place

The Waste Wizard online tool is here to provide a magical solution to help you in your quest to solve the riddle of household waste and defeat General Waste. Type in your postcode and the name of any item to find out whether it can be reused, repaired, donated, recycled, if it needs to go into a specific bin or can be disposed of at a Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Bringing nature to you

The countryside has sprung to life over the last few weeks and we have been staying at home to help save lives and protect the NHS. So for those of you not able to get out to the bluebell woodlands at the moment, we’ve brought them to you.

Could you change a child’s life?

There is no such thing as a typical foster carer, they come from all walks of life. Like the children they look after, carers come from a variety of different backgrounds, cultures and religions. It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, single, a couple, have children or don’t, you could still foster and help change children’s lives.
We need a diverse range of people with different skills and qualities to come forward to ensure that our children remain in Oxfordshire close to their families, friends, schools and the things that will be important to them.

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OPA Play & Activity Days 2020 – Postponed

Dear Playday Partners

Following much deliberation and based on the most recent advice from the Government we have taken the very difficult decision to Postpone our Play and Activity days for 2020.

This is not the decision we wanted to make as these events will be needed more than ever this year to help Communities recover from the lockdown and to help rebuild the Physical and Mental Wellbeing of Children, Young People and their Families.

However Safety, and the Wellbeing of ALL our service users is our first concern.

Our decision making process has taken into account the following factors; 

  • Planning – At present there is NO guarantee that large Social gatherings will be permitted this year and each Playday event takes several months to plan around booking activities, facilities management etc 
  • Social Distancing – Although we will be able to place the activities apart by at least 2 metres we cannot control large groups of ‘guests’ in an open public space
  • Hygiene – Many of the activities will require ‘cleaning’ after each individual use which for some will be a lengthy and difficult process
  • Funding – Many of the usual funding streams we use for Playday are either currently suspended or being redirected to Covid-19 purposes only
  • We hope to still be in a position to promote the Playday 2020 message of Playday at home – Everyday Freedoms – Everyday Adventures. http://www.playday.org.uk/

It is our intention that the 14 Events we had planned for this year will be re-arranged for the same venues, on a similar date in 2021

Stay Safe, Stay Strong, Keep Playing