City briefings

Please be aware when reading previous briefings that advice can and will change over time. If in any doubt as to whether content or advice is still relevant, please check before sharing.

These briefings are to keep you updated on the evolving situation around coronavirus (COVID-19) and the actions being taken in the city. This information can be shared widely.

Who do they affect?

  • Residents and visitors to the city
  • Brighton & Hove City Council staff including school staff
  • Childcare and education providers in the city

Visit our newsroom, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Return to the main coronavirus information web pages.

 

Number 73 - Friday 11 September

5.40pm - Friday 11 September

Update on Covid-19 testing in the region

We’ve moved swiftly to make sure testing facilities for residents of Brighton & Hove stayed available when the regional testing centre at the Amex Stadium closed. 

The Amex site was always expected to shut when the football season began. The first match at the stadium was arranged before the start of the season, earlier than originally expected. 

Our first action was to arrange for a temporary mobile testing unit, based at Brighton Racecourse, to stay in place while we found other sites for testing facilities in the city. 

A suitable site at Withdean Sports Complex was quickly found. The council has successfully arranged for a mobile testing unit to be based at Withdean until the end of September.

The council’s Public Health team is working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to arrange for more testing facilities to be based in the city. 

Sites around the city are currently being looked at by the DHSC. The aim is for up to three local testing sites covering east, west and central Brighton & Hove to soon be operational.

Read more in our newsroom.

Return of staffed opening times in community libraries

We’ll be reintroducing staffed services in most of the city’s community libraries over the next few weeks.

Portslade, Saltdean, Whitehawk and Woodingdean libraries will return to staff opening on some days in the week beginning 14 September, with Coldean, Hangleton, Moulsecoomb, Rottingdean and Westdene following in the week of 28 September.

‘Libraries Extra’ services in the libraries returned at the end of August. 

The exceptions are the libraries in Mile Oak and Hollingbury Old Boat Corner where libraries are in shared buildings, and Patcham Library, which remains closed while we carry out refurbishment work.

Jubilee Library and Hove Library opened with reduced services in early August.

Read more in our newsroom.

Royal Pavilion & Museums awarded vital £235,000 lifeline

The Royal Pavilion has received a welcome boost through a National Lottery Heritage Emergency Fund grant of £235,000.   

Like many cultural institutions, the financial repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic affected Royal Pavilion & Museums and the wider culture sector in Brighton & Hove with closure of venues through the Summer, cutting off income from visitors.  

Between April and June, Royal Pavilion & Museums lost £1.3m through closure – a heavy blow as nearly 70% of the running costs are covered by earned income from ticket sales, retail, programmes, and events.  

The money will be used to make the necessary changes and adjustments to cope with Covid-19, such as implementing new safety measures and expanding the digital and online experience for visitors and marketing to attract more UK visitors. 

Read more in our newsroom.

Changing how we travel around our city

With schools in Brighton & Hove reopening, the council is working to support the safe return of children to the classroom.

Over the last few months, with Covid-19 affecting all of our lives, the council has made changes to our transport network and public spaces to support travel measures. 

Ensuring safer movement is one of the key ways we can support the economic recovery of the city out of lockdown.

Doing nothing wasn’t an option – and we know we now need to look at changing the way we travel, so that everyone can take the journeys they need to.

Read more in our newsroom.

Number 72 - Friday 28 August

4:30pm - Friday 28 August

Covid-19 testing in the city

As the football season kicks off, the regional Sussex Covid-19 testing centre based at the AMEX Stadium has closed its doors.

There are still plenty of options for Brighton & Hove residents who need to book a test. 

Alistair Hill, Director of Public Health, said: “The best action anyone can take to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is to follow the physical distancing and good hygiene guidelines.

"If you have symptoms or have been advised to get tested, for example by the NHS or Public Health England, then you can request a test.” 

Read more in our newsroom.

Young adults urged to continue to help prevent the spread of Covid-19

The city's Director of Public Health, Alistair Hill, speaks about how we can continue to take action to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as weekly cases nationally rise. Brighton & Hove has seen a small rise, although still below the national average for the rate of transmission. 

“I am asking everyone to continue to take simple actions to help keep those who are more at risk from Covid-19 as safe as possible. We know that the elderly are more likely to experience Covid-19 in a severe and potentially life threatening way. 

“In contrast, we know young adults are much more likely to experience mild symptoms of Covid-19 or show no symptoms at all while positive with the virus. 

“After months of lockdown it is understandable that young adults are keen to go out and about while the guidelines are relaxed.

“While young adults are taking part active roles in our community, such as working, volunteering and socialising, they are much more likely to be carrying the virus without realising it.” 

Read more in our newsroom

It’s nearly time to go back to school!

After such a long time away from school, it’s really important for children to get back into the classroom. The government has said children and young people in all year groups should return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term.

School or early years settings will have been in contact with parents and carers before the start of term to explain the new arrangements that they have put in place. If anyone has any specific concerns about their children, they should contact their school or early years setting directly.

From the start of term on Thursday 3 September schools will have staff available for you to speak to.

Read more in our newsroom.

New rules on private tenancy evictions 

As the restrictions on private tenancy evictions near an end, we’ve written to the city’s landlords to offer advice about the new rules coming in and ask for their continuing help to tackle homelessness in the city.

While the ban on possession action on private tenancies has been extended until 20 September, we are keen to work with landlords and tenants facing difficulties now to avoid homelessness increasing in Brighton & Hove. 

At the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, we had many positive responses from landlords to a request asking for their support to help the city’s private tenants through the pandemic. 

When the restrictions are lifted, the eviction process will be different, with the new guidance focussing on avoiding evictions and preventing largescale homelessness. We’re urging landlords and tenants to work with the council to help resolve any tenancy problems.

We’re also keen for landlords to work with us to provide homes for local families in need of housing. We offer two free services to rent property through us. We can manage the properties and offer a guaranteed income 12 months a year.

Read more in our newsroom.

Section of A259 cycle lane to be removed

Work began on Wednesday 26 August to remove a 600 metre section of the temporary cycle lane on the A259 between the Aquarium roundabout and West Street.

The decision follows discussions with Brighton & Hove Buses about bus journey times and congestion on this part of the westbound carriageway.

The nature of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) process gives us the opportunity to engage and respond to concerns while the temporary scheme is in place.

The rest of the temporary cycle lane will remain in place as agreed by councillors at the Environment, Transport & Sustainability committee in June.

Read more in our newsroom.

Changes to planning permissions due to Covid-19

Due to the effects of the global Coronavirus pandemic, planning law has been temporarily changed. 

Existing planning permissions (including outline permission) and listed building consents that had a time limit for implementation between 23 March 2020 and 31 December 2020 have now been automatically extended until 1 May 2021. 

However, if your planning permission or outline planning permission expired between 23 March 2020 and 18 August 2020, you will first need to apply for an Additional Environmental Approval. 

National guidance can be found on GOV.UK 

Once the required information is received, we have 28 days to make our decision, unless you agree a longer period. 

You can find out more about the temporary changes on the planning section of our website.

number 71 - Friday 14 August

5pm - Friday 14 August

Covid emergency accommodation to continue beyond September

Emergency housing put in place to help keep homeless people in the city safe through the Covid-19 pandemic will be available at least until the end of December.

A special meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee today agreed to extend the provision of self-contained accommodation to avoid the need for anyone to sleep rough when current arrangements end in September.

Read more in our newsroom.

The impact of easing of lockdown restrictions on indoor venues

Yesterday the government announced that theatres, indoor venues and beauty salons, as well as soft play areas, bowling alleys and casinos can start to reopen from Saturday 15 August.

While these guidelines are good news for some, many of our smaller venues will struggle to manage with physical distancing restriction in place and reduced numbers.

Any venues that are struggling to apply for the Culture Recovery Fund: grants programme for cultural organisations facing financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19.

While the easing of these restrictions is an indication that we are all playing our part, it’s vital that we do not get complacent and that safety remains our top priority.

Please continue to wash your hands regularly, keep your distance from those outside your household, and for everyone who is able to, to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces.

Read more in the newsroom.

More leisure centres to re-open

Residents will soon be able to visit more leisure centres in Brighton & Hove, starting with the King Alfred, which opens its doors tomorrow (15 August).

Councillors agreed to a phased re-opening of facilities at a Special Policy & Resources Committee today.

The proposal is to open Portslade Sports Centre and Stanley Deason Leisure Centre from 1 September, with Moulsecoomb Community Leisure Centre and St Luke’s Swimming Pool to follow on 1 October.

Withdean Sports Complex re-opened on 27 July. Most of the King Alfred Leisure facilities will be available from 15 August, with the swimming pool opening on 17 August.

Read more in our newsroom.

A-levels – celebrating success in the face of adversity

Provisional results across Brighton & Hove show good A-level performance city-wide, maintaining year on year improvements.

The overall results remain positive, with a pass rate for grades A*-E up slightly from 98.5% to 98.6%, while at AS-Level the pass rate for is up from 78.6% to 87.3%.

However, all centres have expressed concern about the national moderation process, and that the teacher / centre assessed grades have dropped by one or more grade.

Read more in our newsroom.

A new opportunity for Black and minority ethnic people in city democracy

A new opportunity to bring the perspectives of Black and minority ethnic people to the centre of local democracy has been created by Brighton & Hove City Council, as part of a pledge to become an anti-racist city. 

The council is looking for someone who is from any ethnic minority group(s) to join as a standing invitee, with full speaking rights, on the council’s key decision-making committee.

The successful candidate must live or work in Brighton & Hove and not be actively involved in party-politics.

They will be expected to attend meetings of the Policy & Resources Committee where they will have full speaking rights on the most important issues of council strategy, finance, economic growth and regeneration among other key areas. 

Read more in our newsroom.

Invitations go out for climate assembly

Over the next two weeks a randomly chosen selection of 10,600 residents in Brighton & Hove will receive an invitation to take part in the city's first ever climate assembly.

From those that accept, the sample will be broken down to ensure the final number of around 50 represent the diversity of the city and are from across the geographical area. 

If you get one of these, please respond for your unique chance to help shape the actions needed to tackle the climate crisis. 

Due to safety precautions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the assembly sessions will be held online over five sessions from September to November. 

Read more in our newsroom.

Anger at £11m government funding snub for businesses

Brighton & Hove City Council has expressed anger and frustration at the government’s refusal to adapt its funding rules and allow local businesses to benefit from around £11m of desperately needed financial support.

The £11m is money the council has already been given by the government to allocate to local businesses.

Back in April the government gave the council £83m to distribute to local businesses. They then asked us to distribute £73m of it in small business grants based on a strict funding formula.

Due to business closures and other factors around eligibility the council was only able to allocate around £68m. The council has also given out around £3.7m in discretionary grants to more than 300 local small businesses. 

However, inflexible government rules are now stopping the council from allocating the remaining £11m through more discretionary grants.

Read more in our newsroom.

Fast-track pavement licenses to support food and drink businesses

Changes to planning and licensing laws should help the city’s hospitality industry recover from the Covid-19 lockdown. The government’s business and planning bill will make it easier for premises serving food and drink, such as bars, restaurants and pubs, to seat and serve customers outdoors.

And with Brighton & Hove offering one of the highest numbers of food and drink premises outside London, this could be hugely beneficial for dozens of local businesses.

Read more in our newsroom.

School Streets project will begin at 14 city schools in September

From September, 14 schools will be taking part in the city’s School Streets project, which aims to help get children safely back to school by making extra physical distancing space at the school gate.

The scheme is based on successful work of schools in London and aims to encourage more to choose to walk or cycle to school. It’s also in line with the government’s support for increasing active travel, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The project will see temporary timed closures of roads close to schools’ entrances during drop-off and pick-up times, during term time.

Read more in our newsroom.

Creatives come together to take the city forward

Cultural workers from across the city are coming together to support the recovery of the sector and its immediate supply chain. They are being invited to take part in a short-term project to re-imagine the art and culture of the city post-lockdown and collaborate on an action plan. Brighton & Hove’s live events and linked services account for 40% of its economy. They had to shut down completely in March when lockdown started and many freelancers lost all of their work overnight. 

Since then many of them have met virtually to collaborate with and support each other, using Brighton & Hove’s world-famous creative vibe to find other ways to keep the city engaged, entertained and provide work for people in the industry.

Read more in our newsroom.

Advice to not use inflatables in the sea

We’re urging residents and visitors to keep themselves safe if they go in the sea and not use inflatables.

Brighton & Hove’s coastline can be extremely dangerous, with winds coming in from multiple directions causing dangerous wave conditions on the shoreline.

Sadly, there have been two fatal incidents in the area in past couple of weeks involving people using inflatables in the sea.

The RNLI guidance is that inflatables, blow-up toys and airbeds are designed for pools, and shouldn't be used in the sea, as they can easily be swept out.

number 70 - Friday 7 August

4pm - Friday 7 August 2020

Staying safe on the seafront this weekend

As we look forward to another hot and sunny weekend, our seafront officers are appealing to residents and visitors to stay safe on the seafront.

The warning comes after recent sunny weekends have attracted thousands of people to Brighton & Hove, keen to enjoy everything the city has to offer, and particularly the seafront and beach. Read more on our newsroom

Protect yourself and others in the heat

While many people enjoy being outside in the warmer dry weather, for some of the most vulnerable it can be more dangerous. 

Even relatively moderate temperatures (of 25ºC+) can cause mild to severe health impacts, especially when temperatures remain high for prolonged periods.  Read more on our newsroom.

Thanks to council staff

As more council services begin to reopen, council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty has taken the opportunity to thank council staff for their hard work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Mac Cafferty said: “Council staff don’t always get the credit they deserve in this, but they have been at the forefront of the city’s response.

From distributing protective equipment, securing accommodation for homeless people, paying out business grants, helping distribute food and emergency supplies, supporting some of our city’s most vulnerable people, and redesigning the city’s open spaces so people can move around safely. The list goes on.”

Read more on our newsroom.

Almost 400 fines for environment crimes in the last 3 months

Our enforcement officers have issued almost 400 fines for a range of environmental offences including littering and fly-tipping in the last three months.

Despite lockdown and Covid-19, our officers have been clamping down as much as possible on a range of environmental crimes to ensure we have a cleaner and tidier city.

We’ve issued 191 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) at £150 each for littering, including on the beach and seafront, and 84 for fly-tipping at £400. Read more in our newsroom.

King Alfred Leisure Centre due to re-open

Freedom Leisure has announced that King Alfred Leisure Centre, operated in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council, will reopen its doors on Saturday 15 August.

All facilities will be open, apart from the swimming pool which will open on Monday 17 August.

Sessions for the pool and swimming, as well as group exercise classes, will need to be pre-booked. Booking will be available for members five days in advance and one day in advance for non-members.

Customers will be updated on the programmes, booking process and its availability early next week. Read more on our newsroom.

Work begins on temporary seafront cycle lane

 

Work has begun to install a temporary cycle lane on the A259 between the Palace Pier and Fourth Avenue, Hove.

 

 

The cycle lane will be used by cyclists travelling westbound and will eventually extend to the western boundary of the city when the second phase of work is completed later in the year.

 

 

Eastbound cyclists will continue to use the existing footway cycle facility and lines and signage will be altered accordingly.

 

 

Work is expected to take around two weeks to complete.  Read more on our newsroom.

number 69 - Friday 31 July 2020

4:20 - Friday 31 July 2020

Digital Pride 2020 and a busy weekend

We’ve had reports of high numbers of people arriving in the city today, ahead of a busy weekend expected.

Sussex Resilience Planning partners met today to finalise preparations for the weekend. All local partners are working together to implement prearranged multi-agency plans designed to respond to crowds and keep people safe.

There are no official Pride events taking place in Brighton & Hove this weekend and we’re discouraging people from visiting the city. We will be monitoring the seafront and parks for illegal gatherings and encampments. Any dangerous or antisocial behaviour should be reported to the police.

Large, unplanned and unauthorised gatherings are banned during the pandemic. To prevent the spread of the virus, people are being urged to avoid mingling in groups from many different households. 

Transport services to and from the city are limited, with trains running only a quarter of their usual services due to the impact of Covid-19.

This year’s ‘stay at home’ Pride is very different from the usual event and aims to keep the spirit of Pride thriving while keeping everyone safe inside. 

Instead of gathering in the city, Pride followers are being called to join in the celebrations at home by tuning into online events broadcast from a purpose-built studio in the heart of Brighton & Hove.

Read more about celebrating Pride online in our newsroom.

Jubilee and Hove libraries reopening with reduced services

Our two central libraries will be reopening in early August.

Jubilee Library will open from Monday 10 August, with Hove Library following on Wednesday 12 August. Both will be offering reduced services with changed opening hours to make sure we can comply with physical distancing and keep people safe.

We’ll be reopening ‘Libraries Extra’ services in Coldean, Hangleton, Moulsecoomb, Portslade, Rottingdean, Saltdean, Westdene, Whitehawk and Woodingdean from Monday 24 August. Unfortunately, we’re not yet able to reopen the other community libraries or staffed services – this is being kept under review.

As part of the reopening plans, we’re introducing a new Order & Collect’ service. This allows members to order books from a selection online which can then be collected from Jubilee and Hove libraries within the following two weeks.

Read more in our newsroom.

Last chance to apply for a small business grant

Small business grants of £10,000 and £25,000 are still available. If small businesses think they may be eligible for one of these grants, they should contact the council before 28 August. 

There are two types of grant still available to apply for:

number 68 - Friday 24 July

4.30pm Friday 24 July 

Wearing face coverings to support a Covid-secure city

New government rules on wearing face coverings in shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres and transport hubs such as train stations, bus terminals and airports, have come into effect today. Anyone failing to comply could be fined up to £100 by the police.

There is already a requirement to wear a face covering on public transport and in NHS settings.

Bus and train operators can refuse service or ask someone to wear a face covering. Shops and supermarkets will be expected to encourage customers to comply with the law and can refuse entry.

It will also be compulsory to wear a face covering in banks, building societies and post offices and when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops,

Wearing a face covering is not mandatory in other venues with measures in place to protect staff and the public from Covid-19, including restaurants, pubs and hairdressers.

Alistair Hill, Brighton & Hove’s Director of Public Health, explains that while face masks don’t prevent Covid-19, they are an important tool in reducing the spread of the disease while allowing us to go about our daily lives more safely. 

Read more in our newsroom.

Green administration for Brighton & Hove City Council

The Green Group has taken over administration of the council. Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty is the new leader of the council.

The decision was made at a Full Council meeting on Thursday 23 July. 

Read more in our newsroom.

Digital Pride 2020

As we welcome people back to the city in a safe way, we’re celebrating this summer’s Pride differently and virtually. 

There are no official Pride events taking place in Brighton & Hove this year. Instead Pride is going online to celebrate with #WeAreFABULOSO, a virtual event that will include digital celebrations and highlights from previous Pride years. 

The online event takes place from Friday 31 July to Sunday 2 August and can be subscribed to at https://youtube.com/PrideTVNetwork. You can find out more on the Pride website

Residents and visitors are being asked to support the online Pride and not to gather in large numbers at unofficial Pride events. Large gatherings are not allowed at this time due to the coronavirus restrictions. 

The pandemic has also had an impact on the city’s transport services and people are advised to bear this in mind when considering travelling to the city in the summer months, including over the digital Pride weekend. 

Buses and trains are running a reduced service and have much less capacity to transport passengers in and out of the city. 

People are advised of the need to plan journeys before travelling, wear a face covering (if you are not exempt) and to be prepared to queue. 

Enjoy Pride at home with your bubbles this year and look out for the plans for 2021.

Royal Pavilion, Volks Railway and leisure centres reopening

A number of the city’s top attractions are reopening with Covid-19 restrictions in place. Volks Railway is opening on Saturday, and the Royal Pavilion and the Withdean Sport Complex will follow on Monday. Other leisure centres in the city will reopen on a phased basis.

Advice for residents at risk of being caught in debt

We’re advising residents suffering financial difficulties due to Covid-19 to seek help sooner rather than later. The earlier residents ask for help, the more likely it is that plans can be put in place to help sort out any debt issues.

Our council tax and housing teams have already seen a rise in the number of people falling into arrears, and we’re in touch with these residents to offer support and ensure they’re claiming the benefits they’re due.

However, many more residents could be facing other financial debts, but are too worried to seek help. There are a number of organisations who can give advice and support and help find a way forward.

Read more in our newsroom.

number 64 - Wednesday 1 July

5pm Wednesday 1 July

Local Outbreak Plan published today

Councillor Clare Moonan, Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board at Brighton & Hove City Council says the city is well prepared to deal with a second wave or outbreak of Covid-19, but calls on everyone to take all necessary precautions.

Thank you to everyone who has played their part in helping to keep the numbers of cases of Covid-19 relatively low in the city. Sadly the risk of further outbreaks is still incredibly real, as we’re currently seeing in other places in the UK and in other countries.

Our Local Outbreak Plan sets out how - by working together with everyone in the city, our colleagues in other local authorities, in the health service and with central government - we will prevent and contain the transmission spread of Covid-19 in the event of an outbreak in Brighton & Hove. 

A member-led Local Outbreak Engagement Board will provide senior level political oversight, and given the rapidly changing situation the Local Outbreak Plan will be a live document. There will be a formal review every three months, as well as frequent revisions as new guidance and resources are issued, and in response to changing national and local circumstances.

Find out more and read our Local Outbreak Plan.

 

Your part in supporting a healthier, stronger, safer city 

We can all help control the virus by following a few simple guidelines:

Keep your distance from people outside of your household

The risk of infection increases the closer you are to anyone with the virus, and the more time you spend in close contact with them. Keep two metres away from people outside of your household where you can, and always keep at least one metre away.

Be mindful of people with mobility issues, learning disabilities or visual or hearing impairments. Some people will find it harder to manage physical distancing and many disabilities are hidden.

Keep your hands and face as clean as possible

Wash your hands often using soap and water and dry them thoroughly. Avoid touching your face.
Use hand sanitiser when outside your home especially when you enter a building and after you’ve touched any surfaces.

Take sanitiser out with you, so you have it readily to hand.

Avoid crowded spaces

You can lower the risks of transmission by reducing the number of people you come into close contact with. Small groups in smaller spaces are a risk, as well as larger close crowds.

Wear face masks or face coverings

Everyone who can should wear a face covering on public transport, at hospital and in enclosed public spaces where physical distancing isn’t possible. Some bus passengers are exempt, including children under 11, people with disabilities or breathing difficulties, and anyone travelling with someone who relies on lip reading.

Do not leave home if you or someone you live with has any of the following:
•    a high temperature
•    a new, continuous cough
•    a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

If you have symptoms, go to the NHS's coronavirus and Covid-19 web pages

Go to our Covid-19 advice and guidance for advice on protecting yourself and others, advice for business and help for vulnerable people.

number 63 - Friday 26 June

5.15pm Friday 26 June

Supporting a healthier, stronger, safer city

Council leader Nancy Platts has been writing about how what we are doing to support a healthier, stronger and safer city following the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Councillor Platts speaks about how we’re helping local businesses to reopen safely, our visitor economy, our beaches, the responsibility to safety that we all share and how we can do all this in a sustainable way.

Read more on our newsroom.

Beach Litter

We’ve had a huge response to our social media posts highlighting the amount of litter left on our beaches during this week’s sunny weather and influx of visitors to the city.

We have erected large signs across the beach warning people who drop litter that they face a £150 fine if they’re caught.

Read more on our newsroom.

A message for young people in the city

Councillor Kate Knight, Deputy Chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Children, Young People & Skills Committee has today asked young people to look out for themselves, each other and everyone around them amid local concern about escalating anti-social behaviour on Hove Lawns.

Read more on our newsroom.

Have your say on our temporary changes to transport and public spaces

Residents are being given the chance to have their say on a number of changes to the city’s public spaces and transport network, introduced to support the city’s recovery from Covid-19.

We have worked quickly to reallocate road space and bring in measures to help with safer movement around the city and support the reopening of retail on 15 June.

Read more on our newsroom.
 

number 62 - Friday 19 June

5.45pm Friday 19 June

Residents asked to be wary of unsolicited mail on Covid-19

We’re asking residents to rely on official sources of information following distribution of a publication containing misleading stories harmful to our communities.

Councillor Carmen Appich, chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee, said: “I am dismayed that this publication is being circulated in the city.

“Despite appearing professionally produced, it’s full of distortions and messaging that is frankly racist. It’s clear the organisation behind it is not to be trusted.

“We do not tolerate any form of hate in this city. Publications like this are not welcome here and will be referred to the police.

“We’ve made a commitment to amplify our actions on an anti-racism to make sure everyone can live a full life free from discrimination and harm.

“We stand together with all of our communities, and we are here to support anyone who has been harmed by receiving this publication or by any hate incident.”

Find out more in our newsroom.

Wearing face coverings on public transport

In line with guidance from the government, if you can you must now wear a face covering when travelling on public transport in England. This will help protect against transmission when physical distancing is not possible. 

But remember, not everyone can wear a face covering. Some people don’t have to wear a face covering for health, age or equality reasons. It is not always obvious why people can’t or don’t wear one so please be understanding and support your fellow passengers by wearing a face covering if you can.

People using buses in Brighton & Hove may choose to carry or show a Helping Hand card but this is not a requirement. A downloadable Helping Hand card is also available to print or save to your phone to show to the driver. Read more about wearing face coverings when travelling on Brighton & Hove Buses

Councillors to consider transport changes to aid Covid-19 recovery and support active travel

Plans for a range of measures to support Brighton & Hove’s continued recovery from Covid-19 and encourage active travel across the city will be considered by the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on Tuesday 23 June.

Read more on our newsroom

Tackling racism and bias in schools

Councillors in Brighton & Hove have agreed to do more to help schools address racism and bias in the educational curriculum.

All training offered by the council to schools, teachers and trainee teachers will now include building understanding of the impact on pupils and staff of bias, discrimination, white privilege and institutional racism.

Find out more on our newsroom.

Council commits over £120,000 to emergency food network

We’ve committed £124,500 of funding to the emergency food network in the city, covering expenses for supporting vulnerable residents for the next three months.

Since mid-March, the council has been leading the city’s response to Covid-19 along with our partners Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. We’ve been supporting food hubs to provide food parcels and hot meals to those in need.

This new funding commitment of £124,500 will be split between food banks already in existence pre-Covid19, newly set up food hubs, funding for community meals, same day emergency food parcels and funding for the children’s centre food bank. You can read the full story online on our newsroom.

Brighton & Hove Food Partnership have also posted a recent blog about the city's Covid-19 food response.

Infographic showing key actions in the city during Covid-19

Our communications team has worked with our Covid-19 response cells to highlight key actions taken in the city in response to the pandemic.

A larger version of this image for sharing forwards is attached to today’s briefing.

Learning Disability Week: 15-21 June 2020

An estimated 5,861 adults live with a learning difficulty, disability or Autism in Brighton & Hove. 

Many already experience higher levels of loneliness and social isolation and this will have only been made worse by the Covid-19 lockdown. Physical distancing can also be difficult and those who are in isolation with little or no support will need help to understand guidelines to keep themselves and others safe, as well as to access the vital support or supplies they need.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic the organisations and teams who work with people with learning disabilities and/or autism have been finding new ways to provide information and activities, support service-users to manage their anxieties, changes in routines and challenges, and help them keep in touch with their families and friends.

Have a look at some examples of what local services have been doing in response to the ever-changing challenges that the coronavirus has presented

Brighton & Hove Libraries awarded Library of Sanctuary status

Brighton & Hove libraries have become only the second library service in the country to be awarded ‘Library of Sanctuary’ status.

The announcement coincides with this year’s Refugee Week

Read the full story on our newsroom.

number 61 - Friday 12 June

5:50pm - Friday 12 June

Our pledge to be an anti-racist council

Today we made a commitment to becoming an anti-racist council.

The council’s lead councillor for equalities, Councillor Carmen Appich, has set out a clear set of actions as a starting point and asks for peaceful and safe protests in Brighton & Hove this weekend.

Councillor Appich said: “This is about recognising who does and doesn’t have privilege and how those with privilege can use their power and influence to enable silenced or ignored voices to be heard, remove barriers, and ensure opportunities are open to all, so that everyone gets to live a full life free from discrimination and harm.

“This council must amplify its actions and commit itself to action for the long-term.”

The commitment given today covers ten initial key actions, including:

  • Reaching out to and working with BME communities to create and deliver an anti-racism strategy
  • Ensuring a BME representative sits on the council’s main decision-making committee (Policy & Resources)
  • Work with BME communities and groups to agree our approach to different statues, plaques and street names; removing some, retaining some and erecting educational information boards and/or walks

Read more on the council newsroom

Reopening a stronger, safer city

Council leader Nancy Platts has today talked about the huge impact coronavirus has had in Brighton & Hove and the actions now being taken support the city to safely reopen.

From Monday more businesses will reopen, and more pupils will start to return to schools.

Read more about the actions on our the council newsroom

See also, more information about help for our residents and visitors to move safely around the city and while encouraging physical distancing

number 60 - Wednesday 10 June

4:45pm - Wednesday 10 June

Update about schools and early years

This briefing provides an update on the council’s position on opening schools and early years settings to more children and young people.

Latest news

The council has today advised that Brighton & Hove schools and council nurseries should start opening more widely from Monday 15 June.

The full statement is available on the council newsroom

Overview

The priority now is for a phased return for the years previously identified by the government. Infant and primary schools are asked to take in nursery years, reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils. Secondary schools are asked to provide face to face support for young people in Year 10 and 12 during this summer term.

Our previous position that reopening to more pupils should not take place was based on advice from the council’s Public Health team that there was not reasonable assurance that all the government’s five tests were met locally, in particular around the Test and Trace programme.

In a meeting this morning, councillors and senior education officers heard the latest updates from the council’s Public Health team.

Over the last ten days, the council’s Public Health team has been closely monitoring the progress of the Test and Trace programme and how this is working in Brighton & Hove. Our Public Health colleagues now have sufficient reassurance that this service is in place to test anyone with symptoms of the coronavirus and trace their close contacts.

This situation is continuing to develop and is under constant review.

Pupils in the priority age groups are expected to return in a gradual way, with numbers being different from school to school. Individual school risk assessments will inform how best to manage this. Control measures are also in place in case of outbreaks, which will be managed working with the Public Health England Health Protection team for Sussex and Surrey. 

Parents and carers can decide whether to send their children back in. While we would like to see as many pupils as possible back in schools, individual family choices will be respected and no fines will be issued for non-attendance this term.

We recognise that schools and early years settings have been open throughout the pandemic, including the school holidays. Childcare has been provided for children of keyworkers and for vulnerable children, including SEND pupils, since schools closed to most pupils at the end of March. The system in place to support this small number of children attending school is well established and will continue.

We encourage schools and council run nurseries to follow our latest advice. We would like to be clear that the final decision on whether to open an individual school lies with the head teacher, in consultation with their governing board.

Non-council early years settings can make their own decisions based on their risk assessments. Some early years settings have already opened to more children.

Sharing the news

Headteachers were updated on the latest position by Deb Austin, Interim Executive Director of Families, Children and Learning.

A letter has also been sent out through schools to all parents and carers.

Background

Back in March government restrictions which came into force which saw schools and early years providers close for almost all children.

The council has been working closely with headteachers and early years providers across the city during the current pandemic.

Last month the government asked schools and early years providers to prepare to open to more children at the start of June.

number 59 - Friday 5 June

4:30 - Friday 5 June

Advice for retail businesses

As more shops open from Monday 15 June, we're working on plans to keep people safe and able to maintain physical distancing.

We’re introducing a range of measures to support city businesses to reopen safely, including widening pavements, closing roads and installing signage.

Businesses also have a duty to take measures to protect staff and public safety, and manage physical distancing.

We’ve produced some guidance for retail business around what they need to consider, including a number of downloadable posters.

The guidance and posters can be found at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/covid-19-advice-for-retailers.

On-the-spot fines restart as city tackles litter louts

We’ve restarted fining people for littering, with enforcement officers patrolling the beaches and seafront. As more people get out and about, there is an increasing amount of litter and debris being left on the beaches and seafront by those unwilling to find a bin, or take their waste home if bins are full. Our enforcement officers will hand out on-the-spot fines (or Fixed Penalty Notices) of £150 to anyone caught dropping litter or not clearing it up or disposing of it properly.

Read more in our newsroom.

Applications welcome for small business discretionary grants

More than 80 small businesses have applied for a discretionary grant since applications opened on Wednesday evening.

There is still time to apply for a grant as applications are open until Friday 12 June.

The fund is available to small businesses in the city affected by the Covid-19 pandemic who have not been able to access other support. The grants do not have to be paid back and a range of small businesses in the city can apply.

Read more in our newsroom.

Call for government support to end the need for rough sleeping

Council leader Nancy Platts and leader of the opposition Phélim Mac Cafferty have written to the government’s homelessness czar Dame Louise Casey calling for support from the Rough Sleeping Taskforce to end homelessness.

The letter sets out the council’s support for the work of the taskforce and the ambition to ensure that all rough sleepers accommodated across the country during the Covid-19 crisis are successfully supported into sustainable long-term accommodation.

The government’s proactive approach to helping the council move people into safe accommodation during the public health crisis is also welcomed in the letter. 

The response outlines some of the local challenges, opportunities and solutions that could be applied nationwide to ensure homelessness is ended for good in the UK.

The immediate challenge is to keep homeless people safe, support them into sustainable accommodation and a secure life, and ensure rough sleepers do not return to the streets after lockdown. The immediate concern is what happens to the homeless people being accommodating when the public health crisis is over. 

This number continues to grow and now stands at around 400 people. The people supported include those who might otherwise be in hostels with shared facilities, those who might need to resort to sleeping rough and homeless people continuing to arrive in the city.

Read more in our newsroom.

number 58 - Thursday 4 June

3:20pm - Thursday 4 June

Additional briefing to update about schools and early years

This briefing provides an update on the council’s position on opening schools and early years settings to more children and young people.

Latest news

Today the council advice to Brighton & Hove schools and council nurseries remains that they should not open more widely for pupils next week.

Overview

Back in March government restrictions which came into force which saw schools and early years providers close for almost all children.

The council has been working closely with headteachers and early years providers across the city during the current pandemic.

Last month the government asked schools and early years providers to prepare to open to more children at the start of June.

While education is hugely important for our children, the council’s position has always been that the safety and welfare of our children, school staff and wider community has to be our paramount consideration.

Here are our responses to the government’s announcement:

Information about schools

Government guidance asks infant and primary schools to take in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils. Secondary schools are asked to provide face to face support for young people in Year 10 and 12 during this summer term.

During the pandemic, schools have remained open to provide childcare for children of keyworkers and vulnerable children, including during school holidays. The numbers of those eligible for a place who are attending school have doubled since the restrictions came in and this is welcomed. Measures are in place to manage this as the number of pupils involved remains a tiny fraction of the whole school population.

The council position against wider opening is based on considered advice from our public health colleagues. We are advised there is not sufficient reassurance that the Government’s 5 key tests have all been met locally.

The government’s five tests:

number 57 - Wednesday 3 June

6pm Wednesday 3 June

Facts about Covid19 data for the city – setting the record straight

Alistair Hill, Director of Public Health for Brighton & Hove City Council explains the very serious concerns about the deckzero.com website's information about the R number. And how the alleged statistics they are using are misleading and potentially dangerous in terms of giving either false reassurance or creating unnecessary concerns.

Calculating the R rate is very complex. It involves data from lots of different sources. The calculations include information relating to such things as confirmed cases, hospital admissions, deaths, patient surveys and testing. When these are all put together and interpreted by experts they give regional and national R numbers.

It is not possible to calculate meaningful R values at a very local level, such as one specific for Brighton & Hove. This is because some of the data involves such low figures that even a small change in them can, in statistical terms, make a disproportionately big relative difference.

Read more on the council newsroom

Thanks to food hub volunteers

As this week is Volunteers Week, Councillor Anne Pissaridou, the lead member for food, wanted to go down to the Food Distribution Hub at Hove Park School to thank volunteers personally for the work they have been doing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Pissaridou was shown around by Vic Borrill - the Director of Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, who are leading on the city’s efforts with the council to provide the food support needed by vulnerable people in the city in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The current pandemic has led to a step change in the scale, coordination and the efforts of the volunteers themselves resulting in an overwhelming response from the city to the crisis, with many people giving up their time to put others first.

To give an indication of the efforts, in the week commencing 18 May neighbourhood food hubs provided food parcels for 4613 people in 2112 households across the city, including 1387 children.

This mammoth effort was the result of 548 volunteers giving up 3270 hours of time to help their fellow residents.

Read more about the work of food hub volunteers across Brighton & Hove on our newsroom

Quit for COVID – there’s never been a more important time to quit

People who smoke may be more likely to suffer from a serious respiratory infection if they get COVID-19.

As well as reducing the risks from COVID-19, quitting smoking quickly improves your circulation and breathing, and reduces the risks of other health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. There are financial benefits too.

Many smokers try several times before they succeed, but getting the right support and using stop smoking aids gives you a much better chance of success.

Find out more, including quotes from professionals and people who have used the Brighton & Hove Healthy Lifestyles team’s service.

Update: Brighton & Hove Register Office

The government has announced that birth registrations as well as notices of marriage and civil partnership can be resumed. We will re-open the register office as soon is practical and a date will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Measures will be put in place so that registrations take place safely and fairly.

The service currently has a backlog of more 650 babies born since pandemic restrictions were imposed. All of these babies need to be registered. When services start again births will be registered in order, meaning those who have waited longest to register their baby will be given priority in booking appointments.  

When booking resumes, our first appointments will be available for babies born up to and including 30 April. For those babies born from 1 May, parents will be able to revisit our website in July to make an appointment to register.

If a baby was born on 1 May or later but there is a critical reason why a registration must take priority over those who have been waiting longer, requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Preparations are also being made to offer notice of marriage and civil partnership appointments, which need to take place in advance of marriage and civil partnership ceremonies. These will also be offered on a priority basis.   

All services are offered by appointment only.

Find out more about registration services

number 56 - Monday 1 June

Volunteers’ Week

This year’s Volunteers Week (1-7 June) comes at a time where the power of volunteering is clearer than ever.

Huge numbers of people have been volunteering to support the city’s response to Covid-19 over the past few months. 

People across the city have been growing, cooking and delivering food to the city’s most vulnerable people. More than 700 volunteers delivered 155,000 community newsletters with vital information on accessing support. Read more about the work volunteers are doing in the city on our newsroom.

Beach dog walking by-laws are back

By-laws restricting dog walking on some of Brighton & Hove’s beaches are now back in place.

The by-laws, which close stretches of the beach to dog walkers during the summer season, were relaxed throughout May help residents exercise their dogs safely while complying with social distancing guidelines.

Find out more on our newsroom.

Test now to beat HIV

The COVID-19 lockdown has given us a unique opportunity to reduce, and potentially stop, the onward transmission of HIV. Physical distancing means that fewer people are having sex with people from outside their household and so fewer people are acquiring HIV.

It can take 4 to 8 weeks for HIV to show up in tests, so testing while we are in lockdown will pick up almost everyone who has the virus. If those who test positive start treatment straight away it can’t be passed on to anyone else. 

Anyone who thinks they are at risk of HIV, or another STI, can order a free self-testing kit online from our Brighton & Hove Sexual Health & Contraception Service (the kits also test for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Syphilis). You'll receive a discreet pack in the post containing everything you need to test for the most prevalent STIs, including prepaid return packaging.

Read more about HIV in Brighton & Hove, how to get an at home test and find out about other sexual health services that are currently available.

number 55 - Friday 29 May

5:50pm - Friday 29 May

Statement on reopening schools

The chair of the children, young people and skills committee, Councillor John Allcock, has given an update regarding the reopening of schools in Brighton & Hove.

Acting on advice from our public health colleagues and concerns around safety, our current advice to schools and council nurseries is that they should not open more widely for pupils on 1 June.

The advice will be kept under constant review by the council as we are keen for schools to reopen to more children - but only when it is safe to do so.

Read the full statement in our newsroom.

Stewarding and seafront safety this weekend

We’re again asking people to limit travel to the city and the seafront this weekend to protect public safety.

While restrictions are starting to be eased, the need for physical distancing has not changed. 

Stewards will be in place between 11am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday to monitor the central beach area from East Street to West Street. The stewards will be monitoring access to the beach and will put in restrictions if the area becomes too busy. 

The usual lifeguard service is not operating at the moment. We’re urging anyone going into the sea to take extreme care, and not to take unnecessary risks that could put extra strain on emergency services.

Read more in the newsroom.

Discretionary fund for small businesses

The criteria and application process for the discretionary grants fund for small businesses was agreed by the Policy & Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee today.

Brighton & Hove’s fund, anticipated to be around £3.7 million, will provide small grants for some of our independent businesses who have not been eligible for the government’s small business grants.

The criteria will be designed so that it captures small businesses who make a significant contribution to the city’s economy, including the visitor economy, retail, events, creative and digital, as well as charities and not-for-profit organisations. These reflect the core sectors identified in the Economic Strategy and our Corporate Plan priorities.

Further details about guidance and how to apply will be published next week.

Read more in the newsroom.

number 54 - Wednesday 27 May

5:30pm Wednesday 27 May

In this briefing: Information about support for businesses in the city

Don’t miss out on financial support for your business

The council is working hard to make sure businesses in Brighton & Hove get vital financial support they are entitled to help them stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the government announced its grants scheme for small businesses, the council has paid out £63 million to more than 4,600 businesses in the city, and we’re still working through applications as they are received.

These grants don’t have to be paid back, but we estimate there are still up to 800 businesses that might be eligible and have yet to apply.

Council leader, Councillor Nancy Platts, said ensuring small businesses get the support they need is an absolute priority.

“We urgently need businesses to claim so that we can ask government whether we can use any remaining money for businesses that have so far fallen between the cracks of the various government schemes,” Councillor Platts said. More information can be found on our newsroom.

Discretionary fund for small businesses

We are developing a local discretionary grant scheme for the city’s small businesses.

Brighton & Hove’s fund, anticipated to be around £3.6 million, will provide small grants for some of our independent businesses who have not been eligible for the government’s small business grants.

The proposed criteria and application process will be discussed at the first meeting of the Policy & Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee on Friday, 29 May.

View the Covid-19: Support for Businesses report (agenda item number 5). The committee will be webcast.

We will design the criteria so that it captures small businesses who make a significant contribution to the city’s economy, including the visitor economy, retail, events, creative and digital, as well as charities and not-for-profit organisations. These reflect the core sectors identified in the Economic Strategy and our Corporate Plan priorities.

Once agreed, guidance about who can apply and an application process will be posted on this page where we will also provide regular updates on how to apply and when it will be open for applications.

Scam emails

We are aware of scam emails asking businesses for information relating to small business grants. Please do not reply to scam emails.

More information for businesses can be found on our website.

Brighton & Hove Buses

From Monday 1 June, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company will be increasing its number of services as more people return to work. 

They are continuing to accept Older Person’s and Disabled Person’s concessionary passes 24 hours a day and they continue to ask that you pay using contactless payment methods or have exact change.

There is important information about travelling and physical distancing measures on their website.

number 53 - Friday 22 May

4:45pm - Friday 22 May

Restricting access to the beach

Cllr Appich, Chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee, has called for people to avoid crowding our public spaces and to maintain physical distancing.

From today, the central beach area from East Street to West Street will be monitored to restrict the number of people accessing the area if necessary.

This measure is about public safety. There will be stewards stationed at entry and exit points from 12 noon to 9pm each day up to and including bank holiday Monday to encourage physical distancing and direct people to less busy parts of the seafront if the area becomes too busy.

Read more on our newsroom

No lifeguards on duty

The seasonal lifeguard service for Brighton & Hove will start a little later this year and there will be no provision in place for the upcoming May Bank Holiday weekend.

Lifeguards normally patrol the city’s beaches from the end of May until the end of the school holidays in September. The Covid-19 pandemic and social-distancing restrictions interrupted our usual recruitment drive for lifeguards.

Find out more

Eid Mubarak

Councillor Nancy Platts wishes Eid Mubarak to everyone celebrating in very different circumstances this year. Eid al-Fitr falls at the end of this week and marks the end of the month of Ramadan. 

Councillor Platts acknowledges that it’s been a very difficult time for our Muslim community, who have been unable to get together with family, friends and community to celebrate Ramadan as they usually would. She also thanks the city’s Muslim community for their part in supporting the residents of Brighton & Hove throughout the Covid-19 crisis

For Eid, it’s important to retain physical distancing to continue to protect lives. As places of worship remain closed, the Muslim Council of Britain has produced some guidance on Celebrating Eid Al-Fitr during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Read more in our newsroom.

Thank you to our school, nursery and early years staff

Schools and early years providers will continue to be open for children of keyworkers and vulnerable children during another Bank Holiday and half term week.

Councillor John Allcock, Chair of the Children, Young People and Skills committee, has written in praise and thanks of all working in schools or early years settings.

Read more on our newsroom

Household waste recycling sites

We have reopened our Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRS) in Brighton & Hove.

There are two recycling sites - also called tips - one in Hove, off Old Shoreham Road and one in Brighton, off Wilson Road. They take household waste or recycling, electrical items, garden waste and some DIY waste.

Strict traffic measures are in force with people driving to the sites only being allowed to queue on the smaller access roads leading to the tips, and not the major approach roads. Find more information on the reopening of our Waste and recycling sites.

Only cars will be allowed on site, with no trailers, vans or camper vans being given access. Pedestrians - those on foot and not in a car - will not be allowed to enter the site.

At busy times, we will close the queues an hour before the site closing times to manage physical distancing.

Find out more

Where to go for healthcare

It is important not to ignore health concerns. Healthcare is still available for those who need it, so please use it. Find out about the NHS services available in Sussex this bank holiday weekend

number 52 - Wednesday 20 May

4:30pm - Wednesday 20 May

Special Policy & Resources Committee meeting

Next Thursday 27 May, a Special Policy & Resources Committee meeting will take place via Skype to consider a number of key reports. This briefing will outline some of those reports and provide links for further reading.

Covid-19 – Financial Position Statement

Members of the Policy & Resources committee will be asked to note a report updating the council’s financial position as it relates to the Covid-19 pandemic. Included in the report is information about:

  • Costs and losses to the council in response to the pandemic
  • Business rates information
  • The processing of grants to businesses in the city
  • Other Covid-19 government support.

You can find the report being presented to committee on the council’s website.

Personal Protective Equipment expenditure

Councillors will be asked to consider a report into Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) expenditure during the Covid-19 pandemic and into the future.

The report gives details on the current services requiring PPE through the council as well as the number of items of PPE being distributed in April and May of this year. It also states that the need for PPE is likely to become ‘business as usual’ for the next 12-18 months.

More information on this report can be found on the council website.

Remote council meetings and use of Urgency Powers

In March, the Policy & Resources Committee agreed arrangements for democratic decision making during the Covid-19 pandemic. In April, new regulations were made to allow the council to hold virtual meetings. 

Councillors will next week be asked to consider proposals which include:

  • Allowing the resumption of a number of council working groups remotely
  • Allow all Committee and Sub-Committee meetings to take place with remote attendance by members, the public and press.

You can find more information on the council’s website.

More information

More information about next week’s Special Policy and Resources Committee meeting can be found on the council’s website.

Read our news story about embracing digital democracy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Council meetings are webcast live and recorded to watch at a later date. Details of which can be found on the website.

You can also access the full calendar of council meetings.

number 51 - Monday 18 May

6:45pm Monday 18 May

Mental health awareness week - why kindness matters

Councillor Clare Moonan, the chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board, talks about Mental Health Awareness week and how this year’s theme of ‘kindness’ is so important at a time like this.

Find out more in our newsroom.

Share your own acts of kindness on social media

During Mental Health Awareness Week you can share any acts of kindness that you have given or received using the hashtags #kindnessmattersbrightonhove and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

 

Coronavirus and your mental health

Each week Mind in Brighton & Hove share weekly wellbeing tips that include local and national initiatives, activities and simple ideas to maintain and improve your wellbeing during this challenging time.

The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is working hard to help and support those in our community who may be struggling. They have also shared some top tips and useful resources to help you look after your health and wellbeing.

Book deliveries from Brighton & Hove libraries

Do you enjoy reading, but you have read everything you have at home? Would you love to be able to get your hands on a new supply of books, but you don't have Internet access and can't use e-books?

Brighton & Hove City Libraries is offering a free book delivery service to help raise spirits and improve well-being, during Covid 19. We can deliver standard print, large print or audio-books. If you are interested in having books delivered to your door, please call 01237 290800, and after the voicemail message, press 1 to leave your name and phone number - don't forget to say that you are interested in the Home Delivery Service. A member of staff will ring you back in the next 48 hours to discuss how we can best help you. You can also email libraries@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Our library service also offer free ebooks, ecomics, emagazines and audiobooks for you to download.

Mental health support

If you or other household members feel low, anxious or stressed, there’s information that can help on the NHS Every Mind Matters website. This also includes specific advice on the impact of coronavirus.

While it's normal to feel afraid and lonely at a time like this, worsening mental health could indicate the need for outside help.

  • Sussex Mental Healthline– freephone 0300 5000 101 – provides 24/7 support from registered clinicians. As well as crisis support it provides psychological support to anyone with general concerns about their mental health, and if needed they can refer you for local assessment and treatment.
  • Community Roots– online or freephone 0808 196 1768 – a network of local services committed to supporting good mental health and wellbeing in Brighton & Hove.
  • Samaritans– call 116 123 – 24hrs a day, 365 days a year.

Support for children and young people

If your child is of school age and you have any concerns about their emotional or mental wellbeing, you’re invited to talk to a Primary Mental Health Worker from the Schools Wellbeing Service.

Telephone consultations are available while schools are closed. Please email SWSConsultationLine@brighton-hove.gov.uk or call 01273 293 481.

You might also find the following helpful for supporting your children: 

Get support for yourself or others in Brighton & Hove

If you, or someone you know, is finding things tough right now, whether it's food, money, wellbeing or loneliness, you can search for support for all ages on the Covid Brighton & Hove help directory.

Vulnerable people who have no-one to help them at the moment can also request additional COVID-19 related support, including emergency food bank referrals, shopping and medicine collection by contacting the council’s community advice and support hub.

Food hubs across the city are helping those that can’t access food

Volunteers have sprung into action all over the city to meet the demand from vulnerable residents that need access to food.

Within days, the emergency food network that exists across the city started to organise an extensive approach to supporting vulnerable people in the city that needed access to food.

This network of community projects - including the 21 food banks already in operation supporting vulnerable people and the 21 new food projects that have joined this effort due to the Covid-19 pandemic - exists so that no-one in Brighton & Hove will go hungry.

Organised and run almost solely by volunteers, these projects have being supplying food parcels and hot meals to vulnerable residents that aren’t able to access food themselves

Read the latest update and watch our short film featuring the food hub at Hove Park School in our newsroom.

Household waste recycling centres and bulky waste service reopen

Our two household waste recycling centres reopened today. There are strict traffic regulations in place, and long delays could occur.

Cars are not allowed to park or queue on Old Shoreham Road or Wilson Avenue, with people driving to the site only being allowed to queue on the smaller access roads leading to the tips, and not the major approach roads.

The temporary opening hours are:

  • Hove: Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm; Saturday 8.30am - 1.30pm; Sunday 10.30am - 1.30 pm. The site is closed on Bank Holidays.
  • Brighton: Monday - Sunday and Bank Holidays 10am - 4pm.

At busy times, we will close the queues an hour before the site closing times to manage physical distancing, so please get there early.

If the tip roads are full, drivers will be asked to move and told to return when the queues are shorter.

Only cars will be allowed on site, with no trailers or vans being given access.

There are also a number of other restrictions in place to make sure we can maintain physical distancing and protect staff and everyone using the site.

We are appealing to people to only visit the sites if waste cannot be stored at home without it causing a risk of injury, health or harm to the household members. 

Read more details on the household waste recycling centres re-opening in our newsroom.

Bulky waste

Our Bulky Waste service has also restarted today to help people wanting to get rid of large items like mattresses, tables, chairs, fridges and other white goods. 

The Bulky Waste service is operated by contactor KSD Environmental Services already taking bookings. The company can be contacted on 01273 608 142 from 8am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Read more details of the bulky waste service in our newsroom.

Help to get the information out to the city

We are sharing these graphics highlighting support available in the city. Please share on your social media platforms to help the information reach residents.

Suggested text: Councillor Clare Moonan, the chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board, talks about Mental Health Awareness week and how this year’s theme of ‘kindness’ is so important at a time like this.

Read more: https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news/2020/kindness-matters

 #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek #kindnessmattersbrightonhove #wearebrightonandhove

Suggested text: Taking care of your mental health is more important than ever. Support and information is available to help but it can sometimes feel overwhelming to understand what is useful.

Have a look at some top tips and useful resources to help you look after yourself from the local NHS: https://www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-and-your-mental-health.

 

number 50 - Friday 15 May

6:15pm Friday 15 May

A localised approach to a phased recovery

Councillor Nancy Platts outlines the priority is to make sure we do our best to restart lives and the local economy safely.

We want to be able to properly protect our residents and the people who work in Brighton & Hove from a further outbreak of Covid-19, and we want to help ensure that when shops and business in the city reopen, they stay open and flourish

Through the newly formed Policy & Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee, councillors and council officers will develop the Recovery Programme which will seek to build a solid foundation for the city, so that Brighton & Hove has the best opportunity to emerge as a safer and healthier city.

This is an unprecedented challenge for our businesses and communities, and we will work with partners in the city and across the region to consider the longer-term implications and provide a recovery programme.

Our preparations for recovery will enable the council, its residents and businesses to be in the best possible position to minimise losses and make best use of opportunities that emerge. This will require a co-ordinated programme over the next 18 months.

Read more in our newsroom

A fair and sustainable recovery

Councillor Anne Pissaridou talks about how the Covid-19 crisis has laid bare the fragility of life. It has also exposed and exacerbated the inequalities that exist in our society and brought to the fore the sanctity of the freedom we often take for granted. Every one of us has been affected in one way or another by the pandemic.

Unfortunately, some of us have been affected more than others. Those who have lost loved ones, those whose livelihoods have been jeopardised or; and the many who have struggled to keep their head above water as their incomes dwindle but their requirement to put food on the table for children at home has increased.

In our city, there has been a dramatic increase in people using food services. In one week alone in April, 40 local projects gave out food parcels to 3,001 households, supporting over 4,831 people, including at least 996 children.

While there is no underestimating the tragedy of what is happening, or the scale of the challenge ahead as we feel the long-lasting effects on our economy and our way of life, there is cause for optimism.

We have been given a once in a generation opportunity to renew, rebuild and reshape our society for the better and in a way that leaves nobody in our city behind.

Read more details of the plains in our newsroom.

A ‘safety first’ approach to re-opening our schools

The government has asked schools to prepare to begin to open for more children from 1 June. The council is working very closely with our schools and their staff teams, trade unions and governors to ensure that this wider reopening of schools happens safely.

Councillor Allcock reassure residents that the most important factor for us is the safety and well-being of our children, teaching and support staff, and the wider community including parents, grandparents and carers.

We have strongly advised our schools that they should only reopen to more children when their risk assessments indicate it is safe to do so.

Read more in our newsroom.

Wish you were here – but not just yet

Councillor Carmen Appich outlines that while we miss our visitors, it’s still in everyone’s best interest for visitors stay away for the time being. Protect our city; protect the people who live here and who make it such a special place to visit. 

During this quieter time we’re focusing our efforts on preparing the city for when we can safely open up and we will introduce bold measures to ensure visiting Brighton & Hove is safe for everyone to enjoy, just as soon as that’s possible.

Read more in our newsroom.

Exercising and public spaces

We’ve published an update on the latest guidance regarding exercise and going out.

  • spend more time outdoors – for example sitting in parks and open spaces and enjoying the fresh air
  • exercise as often as we wish - following physical distancing guidelines
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors - following physical distancing guidelines
  • use outdoor sports facilities such as a tennis court or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart. Team sports are not permitted.

Despite the changes, it’s crucial we keep two metres apart from anyone that we do not live with. We are encouraging and reminding people about the need for physical distancing through signage and pavement stencilling across the city.

Read more in our newsroom.

Help to get the information out to the city

The council has produced these graphics highlighting support available in the city. Please share on your social media platforms to help the information reach residents.

Suggested text: Councillor Nancy Platts talks about how we will develop a recovery programme to build a solid foundation for the city, so that Brighton & Hove has the best opportunity to emerge as a safer and healthier city.

Read more:

#WeareBrightonandHove

Suggested text: Councillor Anne Pissaridou outlines how we can turn the challenge of COVID-19 as an opportunity to renew, rebuild and reshape our society for the better and in a way that leaves nobody in our city behind.

Read more: https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news/2020/fair-and-sustainable-recovery

#WeareBrightonandHove

 

Suggested text: Councillor John Allcock explains our approach to re-opening schools. We're strongly advising our schools that they should only reopen to more children when their risk assessments indicate it is safe to do so.  

Read more: https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news/2020/safety-first-approach-re-opening-our-schools

#WeareBrightonandHove

Suggested text: Councillor Carmen Appich outlines why it's in everyone’s best interest for people not to visit Brighton & Hove yet.

Read more: https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news/2020/wish-you-were-here-not-just-yet

#WeareBrightonandHove

 

Suggested text:

You can now:

  • spend more time outdoors
  • exercise as often as you wish
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors
  • use some outdoor sports facilities

But please keep 2m apart from those not in your household

More info: https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news/2020/exercising-and-public-spaces

number 49 - Thursday 14 May

4pm Thursday 14 May

Full council meeting virtually

The council will be meeting at 4:30 this afternoon via Skype.

The meeting is available to view via the council’s website where you can also find the meeting’s agenda.

During the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Brighton & Hove City Council has been holding meetings virtually in order to continue with day-to-day business while continuing to be held accountable to residents.

You can read more about how the council is embracing ‘digital democracy’ in our newsroom.

Mayor Making 2020

Cllr Alan Robins will become the Mayor of Brighton & Hove when he is elected by fellow councillors at the Annual Council Meeting later today.

Cllr Robins remains in the role for this and the next mayoral year (until May 2022) due the current impact of coronavirus on mayoral duties.

The new mayor will be supported during his mayoral years by his partner Val Cawley, who takes the role of Mayoral Consort.

Online engagements

Cllr Alan Robins said: “My aim is to do my upmost to support the recovery of our city. I imagine that this will be a step by step process likely to take some time. I am therefore grateful that it is proposed that my term as Mayor of Brighton & Hove, and indeed Portslade, will extend to 2021/2022

“This is going to be very different from other mayoral years as we are in the middle of a pandemic, battling the Covid-19 crisis. 

“My first engagement on 17 May is an Iftar meal to end the daily Ramadan fast, with the Dialogue Society via Zoom.

“The virus is a challenge to everyone and I am touched by the way communities are working together in creative ways to keep everyone’s spirits up.”

Cllr Robins has chosen five mayoral charities: The Sussex Heart Charity, Brighton Fringe, Leo House at Home, Together Co and Off the Fence.

Deputy mayor

Councillor Mary Mears will be elected to the post of Deputy Mayor at today’s meeting and will serve in this role until the next Annual Council Meeting in May 2021.

Thank you to departing mayor

Cllr Alexandra Phillips stands down today after her year in office as mayor. During her mayoral year, more than 350 engagements took place (the general election in 2019 and the Covid-19 virus impacted on the overall number of engagements). Details of Cllr Phillips activities and charities are in the annual Mayoral Report which will be presented to council later today.

Congratulating Cllr Phillips on her year as Mayor, fellow Green councillor Sue Shanks said: “Alex’s year as Mayor has been a whirlwind. I know she has really enjoyed meeting all the residents groups, and attending a large number of events as do all mayors. We have benefitted in the chamber from a fresh approach including poetry in the chamber. Alex has demonstrated a very disciplined approach to chairing council whether from the Town Hall mayoral chair or her front room.”

More information:

The mayor is the first citizen of Brighton & Hove and undertakes an important ceremonial role in and outside the city. However, this role is different from some mayors and lord mayors such as the elected Mayor of London. The mayor of Brighton & Hove is not directly elected by the people and therefore hold no direct power.

The mayor is politically neutral when carrying out all the mayoral duties.

Read outgoing mayor, Cllr Alexandra Phillips mayoral report

Details for today’s Annual Council Meeting are on our website

More information about the Mayor of Brighton & Hove is available on our website. The Mayoral details for the year ahead will be updated tomorrow once the councillors have been officially confirmed in post this evening.

Help to get the information out to the city

The council has produced these graphics highlighting support available in the city. Please share on your social media platforms to help the information reach residents.

(Social media text for awareness: Councillor Alan Robins has become the Mayor of Brighton & Hove after being elected by fellow councillors at the Annual Council Meeting on Thursday.)

Please do not share until after Full Council and the Mayor has been formally elected

 

 

 

Website: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news

number 48 - Wednesday 13 May

5pm Wednesday 13 May

This briefing’s theme is transport in the city

Councillors to consider transport action plan tomorrow

Councillors will tomorrow, Thursday 14 May, be asked to approve a transport action plan designed to support the city in its short, medium and long term recovery from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Read more on our newsroom

Temporary cycle lane for Old Shoreham Road

Work has taken place to create a new temporary cycle lane on the A270 Old Shoreham Road, freeing up space for cyclists in response to government guidance on physical distancing and changes to how people are currently travelling around the city.

The cycle lane has been painted in both directions from its junction with Hangleton Road in west Hove, to The Drive, where it meets with the existing cycle lane network. The new cycle lane will be approximately 1.7 miles in length, 3.4 miles in total. 

The council has already closed Madeira Drive to motor vehicles as part of this reallocating of road space.

Read more about the temporary Old Shoreham Road cycle lane on our website

Valley Gardens and Shelter Hall work continues

During the pandemic, work has continued on some major projects in the city.

Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee Anne Pissaridou said: “Work has progressed on a number of projects, including Valley Gardens and Shelter Hall, with physical distancing measures in place and regular risk assessments carried out to protect our workforce. 

“At Valley Gardens, reduced traffic has meant teams have been able to continue with road and footway resurfacing, tree planting and landscaping. The last of the new streetlights have been installed and most of the signal junctions have been completed. 

“At Shelter Hall, work is continuing on the building itself while reduced traffic has meant good progress is being made on the A259/West Street junction, with support from the Churchill Square Shopping Centre.” 

“I’m pleased we have been able to continue with these vital projects at such a challenging time for our workforce.”

Read councillor Anne Pissaridou’s open letter on A Positive Future for Valley Gardens.

Respecting those helping to keep our city moving

While many of us are getting used to working from home, the council still needs to have staff working in our communities to ensure we are kept safe and that roads and highways are accessible for those people and services who need them most.

Street lighting teams have been repairing broken or damaged street lights, work has been continuing to keep roads safe and clear and local bus companies have been adjusting timetables so that essential workers can still make key journeys.

Please respect those who are working to keep our city moving.

Help to get the information out to the city

The council has produced these graphics highlighting support available in the city. Please share on your social media platforms to help the information reach residents.

(Social media text for awareness about transport action plan)

Councillors will tomorrow, Thursday 14 May, be asked to approve a transport action plan designed to support the city in its short, medium and long term recovery from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Read more: https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news/2020/council-consider-transport-action-plan

(Social media text for awareness about Old Shoreham Road cycle lane)

A new temporary cycle lane has been created on the A270 Old Shoreham Road, freeing up space for cyclists in response to government guidance on physical distancing and changes to how people are currently travelling around the city.  https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news/2020/new-temporary-cycle-lane-a270-old-shoreham-road

 

number 47 - Tuesday 12 May

5:15pm Tuesday 12 May

This briefing’s theme is support for vulnerable residents

Help for those experiencing domestic abuse

Councillor Clare Moonan, chair of health and wellbeing board, talks about support available for people in need and those at risk of abuse.

Read the full statement on our council newsroom

At home shouldn’t mean at risk

This is a worrying time for us all, but particularly for adults and children living with domestic violence, or who have experienced stalking or sexual abuse. Risks will be heightened and you may be feeling that you are trapped or that your mental health is suffering as a result of isolation.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, isolation rules do not apply. Police response and support services remain available to help and advise you.

If you have been affected by domestic or sexual abuse and violence you can talk to someone and get support from:

  • The Portal freephone 0300 323 9985
  • National Domestic Violence 24hr helpline 0808 2000 247
  • In an emergency call 999

If it is not safe for you to speak to the police you can use the Silent Solution system - call 999, and if you don’t speak you will be diverted to an automated system. You can then press 55 to be transferred to the local police.

If you think you are experiencing any type of abuse, it is important to remember that it is not your fault and that there is support available. Speaking to someone about what you are going through can help you to feel less alone and can support you in understanding your options. You can speak to a colleague, your GP, a teacher, or any other trusted professional.

Exploitation must be reported to the police

People can be tricked into situations where they are bought, sold, abused, and exploited in many different ways including: sexual exploitation, forced labour, street crime or domestic servitude.

The COVID-19 pandemic is heightening the risks for those that are being exploited.

If this is happening to you, or you know it is happening to someone else, contact Sussex Police online or by calling 101. Please call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.

Protecting vulnerable adults and children

Safeguarding means protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect. This can happen in different ways, and can be perpetrated by anyone. This might be physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. Abuse is always wrong.

If you see something, are told something, or something doesn't feel right - you need to report it.

You can report your concerns to adult social care services, through Access Point: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/adult-social-care 01273 295555 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4.30pm)

If you are worried about a child, contact the Front Door for Families: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/front-door-families 01273 290400 (Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm, and Friday until 4.30pm)

What is financial abuse?

Financial abuse can take a lot of different forms, for instance someone who:

  • Makes you hand over control of your accounts
  • Asks for money to buy shopping or pay bills and doesn’t do it
  • Takes out credit cards or loans in your name.

It can come from a partner, or from other relationships, such as family members, friends and carers and can take away confidence and leave you feeling isolated.

You can find more information about financial abuse and where to go for support on the Money Advice Service website.

Organisations that exist to also provide advice and support on financial abuse include the Brighton & Hove Safeguarding Adults Board.

Spotting scams

During the coronavirus pandemic there has been a rise in scams seeking to exploit people’s anxiety and uncertainty over COVID-19.

These include:

  • Telephone ‘cold calls’ claiming to be arranging distribution of face masks and hand sanitiser to the ‘over 50s’ and then asking for payment
  • Doorstep selling of ‘anti-virus kits’
  • Email scams that trick people into opening malicious attachments or hand over their bank details

We have put together useful advice from our trading standards team detailing the types of scams currently out there and what to do if you are contacted.

There is also advice for vulnerable people on our ‘how to stay safe at home’ web page which includes how to protect yourself from fraud and keep your money safe.

We are alerting families to a free school meals email scam and businesses to potential scams when they are applying for small business grants or rate relief.

Help to get the information out to the city

The council has produced these graphics highlighting support available in the city. Please share on your social media platforms to help the information reach residents.

(Social media text for stay at home shouldn’t mean at risk)

At home shouldn’t mean at risk. If you or someone you know is suffering from #DomesticAbuse isolation rules do not apply. Police response and support services remain available.

Find local support at @SussexPortal

Or call 999 if you are in immediate danger

#YouAreNotAlone

(Social media text for Cllr Moonan’s statement about support for vulnerable people)

Councillor Clare Moonan, chair of health and wellbeing board, talks about support available for people in need and those at risk of abuse.

Find out more: http://ow.ly/gLIp50zE6zs

 

Website: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news

number 46 - Monday 11 May

6:10pm Monday 11 May

This briefing’s theme is a response to the changes in coronavirus restrictions

Concerns about an influx of visitors

Cllr Nancy Platts, leader of the council, gave an immediate response to the Prime Minister’s announcements yesterday calling on visitors to stay away from the city to give space for residents to maintain physical distancing.

Read the statement in our newsroom

Today this message has been repeated and expanded on

Cllr Nancy Platts said: “We’ll be following developments closely this week on the steps laid out by the government around easing some of the Covid-19 restrictions.

“There are ambiguities in the messages so far and we’re seeking clarification on how best to manage the new guidance.

“Our priority, as always, is to keep people who live in the city safe.

“We do have concerns around the impact on residents being able to maintain physical distancing if we have an influx of visitors.

“Many people living in Brighton & Hove don’t have regular access to open spaces. Most of the shops and attractions remain closed.

“As we’re able to go out more in household groups to play sport or visit a park together, it is vital to keep following the physical distancing guidance.

“We need to make sure residents can continue to use all the city’s open spaces safely, and we are still asking people who don’t live here not to travel to Brighton & Hove. We know our seafront is appealing but it is not big enough to provide space for an influx of visitors. To avoid the dangers of overcrowding we are also continuing to ask residents to stay away from the seafront unless it is their nearest outdoor space.

“We will be asking for the government’s support in this.

“While the restrictions are easing, the starting point for fines for lockdown offences in England is rising to £100 from Wednesday. There have more than 9,000 of these fines issued across the country so far.

“We have re-opened a number of public toilets in the city today ready for residents who will be likely to venture out more often.

“We will be looking at whether we can open some more facilities in our parks. We will only do this where we can be sure of maintaining physical distancing to keep residents and our staff safe. We are also looking into what sports facilities we can re-open in line with the new guidelines while meeting physical distancing requirements.

“We will also be working closely with families, education leaders and unions to look at plans for reopening schools and do what’s right for our city.

“In the short-term, schools, early years, sixth form, special schools and further education providers are still only open for the children of critical key workers and vulnerable children

Children should continue to stay at home from school where possible.

“We are not out of the woods yet and continue to support all efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“We know restrictions will need to stay in place for a long time to come.

“We need a steady and safe progression towards lifting the restrictions.

“The best way to ensure that can happen and protect lives is to maintain physical distancing.”

This statement is also available online

Government advice on the changes starting on Wednesday

The government website has been updated with questions and answers about what people will be allowed to do and what is still prohibited from Wednesday.

Help to get the information out to the city

The council has produced these graphics highlighting support available in the city. Please share on your social media platforms to help the information reach residents.

We’ve created an animated gif to remind people about physical distancing

(Social media text for physical distancing)

The advice remains to stay at home as much as possible and follow the guidance on what is an essential trip out.

When you do go out: keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart

#stayhomesavelives

(Social media text for the leader’s initial statement)

Cllr Nancy Platts, leader of the council, has shared her response to the latest government announcements about Covid-19 restrictions.

More information.

 

number 45 - Thursday 7 May

4.55pm Thursday 7 May

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

This briefing’s theme is health

Looking after your health

Alistair Hill, Brighton & Hove City Council’s director of public health, explains about the importance of seeking medical help if you need it. Alistair also talks about how we will need to take measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus for some time to come. 

Read Alistair’s update in our newsroom

GP appointments

Doctors surgeries are taking appointments. Many are doing initial consultations by video call. Ongoing treatments are in most cases continuing, with the decisions being made on a case by case basis and in the patients’ best interests.

If you have any medical issues, you should seek help. 

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 should not go into a medical practice or hospital unless told to do so, instead check online for information or call for advice in the first instance.

Medical practitioners and hospitals are taking careful measures to prevent infection.

The NHS advice is:

  • If you need medical help from your GP practice, contact them either online, by an app or by phone to be assessed
  • If you need urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service
  • If you cannot get help online, call 111
  • If it’s a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999
  • If you are told to go to hospital it is important that you go to hospital
  • You should continue to attend your appointments, unless you have been told not to attend 

Medicine collection or delivery

If you need help to collect a prescription support is available:

  • If you can get out and about, pharmacies are still open but with physical distancing measures in place. Many pharmacies also offer other services for minor health concerns. Do not go to a pharmacy if you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough). Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
  • If you cannot leave your house you should, in the first instance, ask friends, relatives or neighbours to collect medicines for you. If you are isolating, ask them to drop it off outside your door so that you can avoid close face-to-face contact.
  • If you cannot leave your house and you have no one who can help you at the moment, you should contact the community advice and support hub to ask for a community volunteer to go to pharmacy to collect your medicines, or to arrange for a medicine delivery from a community pharmacy.

You can also call your GP for advice.

Repeat prescriptions should be available as usual, but please only request your medicines when they are running low, ordering more than you need at the moment can lead to shortages for others. Please order online if you can to keep the phone lines free for those that need them.

GP surgeries and pharmacies over the bank holiday

GP practices will be open tomorrow on the Bank Holiday (Friday 8 May). Opening times may be different to usual hours, so please check with your GP.

Community pharmacies will be open between 2pm and 5pm on Friday (with many open for longer). Check your local community pharmacy opening hours.

Dental treatment

The NHS is continuing to provide urgent and emergency dental care, but all routine NHS and private dentistry has stopped.

Face to face dental appointments have mostly stopped, but dental practices are offering telephone consultations, and can still prescribe medications such as pain relief and antibiotics for a suspected infection.

If a dentist thinks you need to be seen for urgent treatment, they will make a referral to one of the new Urgent Dental Care Hubs. You can still be referred to a hub for urgent dental treatment if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are vulnerable or shielding.

If you have a dental emergency please call your dental practice during their normal opening hours for further advice. If you do not have a regular dentist, you can search for a local dentist at www.nhs.uk and call them.

Or contact the emergency dental service on 0300 123 1663 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday) or call NHS 111 outside normal these hours.

Find out more about urgent dental care

Routine vaccinations are continuing

The NHS is urging parents to bring children forward for their routine vaccinations against diseases like whooping cough, tetanus, meningitis and  the highly contagious and very harmful measles.

The NHS is also encouraging people with long term health conditions and those over 65 to have a PPV vaccination which protects against 23 different types of pneumonia.

These vaccinations are available through your GP surgery. As long as those attending appointments, including parents of babies or children, do not have Covid-19 symptoms or are not self-isolating because someone in the household is displaying symptoms, all scheduled vaccinations are going ahead as normal. These vaccinations protect your child from serious illness for life.

Where to find mental health support

If you or other household members feel low, anxious or stressed, there’s information that can help on the NHS Every Mind Matters website. This also includes specific advice on the impact of coronavirus.

While it's normal to feel afraid and lonely at a time like this, worsening mental health could indicate the need for outside help.

  • Samaritans – call 116 123 – 24hrs a day, 365 days a year.
  • Community Roots – online or freephone 0808 196 1768 – a network of local services committed to supporting good mental health and wellbeing in Brighton & Hove
  • Sussex Mental Healthline – freephone 0300 5000 101 – provides 24/7 support from registered clinicians. As well as crisis support it provides psychological support to anyone with general concerns about their mental health, and if needed they can refer you for local assessment and treatment.

Hot weather and sun safety outdoors

The weather has been good during lockdown and is set for some sunshine during the weekend. The NHS has advice on how to stay safe in the sun. For those who are going out for exercise, work or dog walking, people sitting in their gardens, on balconies and by sunny windows please remember to protect your skin with suncream (SPF 30+), a hat, sunglasses and light clothing and avoid the hottest part of the day. Also drink plenty of water.

Stay cool inside

During the coronavirus restrictions vulnerable people are staying at home. Even at relatively moderate temperatures (210C), 1 in 5 homes are likely to overheat.

Anyone with heart, respiratory and serious health problems is more at risk. The heat can make these conditions worse. Many prescription medicines can reduce tolerance of heat but it’s important to keep taking the medicines and take extra care to keep cool.

Babies and those over 75 are also at increased risk from the negative effects of becoming too hot such as heat exhaustion, especially if saying at home physically distancing.  

If your home gets hot, try to keep it well ventilated, draw curtains over very sunny windows, eat cold foods and take a cool shower. Also try to keep in contact with vulnerable or older relatives and neighbours who are staying at home, while following physical distancing guidelines.   

More information about staying safe in hot weather

Quit smoking

Quit for COVID - there has never been a more important time for local smokers to quit.

People who smoke may be at increased risk of severe disease if they get COVID-19. Smoking tobacco damages the lungs, weakens the immune system and causes a range of severe respiratory problems.

There has never been a more important time to quit smoking than right now.

In fact, evidence tells us that smokers who get COVID-19 are 14 times more likely to suffer from a serious respiratory infection than non-smokers.

It is never too late to see health benefits of quitting smoking and you're never too old to quit. If you smoke at home because of the lockdown, quitting will protect your family from the proven risks of harm that passive smoking causes.

Get support to quit smoking: The council’s Health Trainers are continuing to offer behavioral support to smokers (including pregnant smokers) through telephone sessions and medication to help you quit will continue to be available. To make a referral for yourself or someone else, please complete our online referral form

For more information you can contact our Healthy Lifestyles Team on 01273 294589. You can also follow the team on Facebook and Twitter

Get further inspiration and resources to help you quit smoking from Today is the Day

More info: https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news/2020/quit-covid

Ageing Well service

The Aging Well website is sharing information on how to get through this difficult time. Their support directory for people aged 50+ is updated every few days and has a list of local and national services to help maintain physical and mental health. It includes services that can help you with:

  • befriending
  • entertainment
  • exercise
  • food
  • shopping
  • financial help
  • digital support and health information 

You can also call 07770 061072 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm to chat to someone about the support available.

Help to get the information out to the city

The council has produced these graphics highlighting support available in the city. Please share on your social media platforms to help the information reach residents.

We’ve created an animated gif to remind people about physical distancing the gif is attached to this email.

(Social media text for physical distancing)

Please continue to stay at home and only leave the house to:

  • shop for basic necessities
  • exercise once a day
  • attend to a medical need
  • travel to work if you can't work from home

And when you do go out:
keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart

#stayhomesavelives

(Or you can share our posts containing the gif)

Twitter

Facebook

(Social media text for the comment from our Director of Public Health)

Our Director of Public Health, Alistair Hill offers advice on seeking medical help when you need it - and a reminder of why it's still important to follow physical distancing guidance.

Read more.

(Social media text for quit smoking info)

Smokers who get COVID-19 are 14 times more likely to suffer from a serious respiratory infection than non-smokers.

It is never too late to quit.

You can get free support to quit smoking from @bhhealthylife

Find out more or get support:.

(Social media text for sharing the daily briefing)

Keep up to date with service changes, support, council information and how we’re working with partner organisations.

Today's briefing offers advice on seeking medical help when you need it - and a reminder of why it's still important to follow physical distancing guidance.

https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/city-briefing

 

number 44 - Wednesday 6 May

4.30pm Wednesday 6 May

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

This briefing’s theme is businesses

Supporting small businesses

Introduction by lead councillor

Councillor Platts outlines how we are distributing the small business grants, the importance of discretionary funding and setting a course for recovery.

https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news/2020/supporting-small-businesses

Background

The government has set out a package of financial support for businesses, including small business grants which are administered by the council.

To date we have paid more than £47 million to over 3,200 small businesses.

In addition, every small business in the city eligible for retail relief as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak has had their business rates cancelled for the next 12 months.

This amounts to £68 million of rates that local businesses will not have to pay and is a significant contribution from the council in providing support for businesses.

Council-administered small business grants

There are two small business grants available:

  • A grant of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • A grant of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £50,999

The grant is paid to the person who was responsible for paying business rates for the property on 11 March.

We’ve been working hard to reach out to eligible businesses to arrange payment of small business grants and have taken on 23 extra staff.

For applications that we are currently handling, some are taking longer to process because they are not straightforward, for example where there are discrepancies in the records we hold and the information provided. We are contacting these businesses to ask for additional information so we can take their claims forward.

We also estimate there are around 1,000 eligible businesses who have yet to get in touch. We are proactively making contact again, but if you know of a business that might qualify, please ask them to send us their details through our secure portal at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/covid-business-support

Businesses currently not eligible for small business grants

More than 5,000 businesses are eligible for the business grants but during our conversations with small businesses in the city we have become aware that there are a number who are not eligible and who are in desperate need of funds.

The reasons why a small business may not qualify for the grant include:

  • The rateable value of their property is £51,000 or over
  • Being in a shared premise where individual units do not have an assigned rateable value and rates are paid to a landlord
  • They took over the business after 11 March 2020

Businesses unable to access wider financial support

Brighton & Hove has more than 13,000 small and medium-sized businesses and there are a significant number in crisis and facing possible closure who have not been able to access much-needed funds in order to survive the lockdown.

Reasons why a small business may not be able to access support include:

  • Sole traders who pay themselves through dividends
  • Businesses established for less than 12 months

There is also an understandable reticence amongst sole traders, micro businesses and those without tangible assets to take on loans during this period of economic uncertainty.

We are signposting businesses to the range of government support available, including the ‘bounce back’ loan scheme which opened for applications on 4 May.

This scheme is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses access loans from £2,000 to £50,000. Apply here on the gov.uk website.

This week HMRC has begun contacting people who may be eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. Find out more about this scheme on the gov.uk website.

Why can’t the council do more?

We must work within the parameters set down for payment of small business grants and have been lobbying the government for an extension for the small business grants scheme so we can have some flexibility to target funds where they are most needed.

On 2 May the government announced that a discretionary top up fund will be available for councils to administer locally.

We are waiting for full guidance on this new scheme before we can comment on the eligibility of individual cases but we hope these changes will enable us to support many more businesses. 

Once we have the guidance we will design an application process and set out the qualifying criteria on our website at www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/covid-business-support

More information about the government announcement at gov.uk

We do not have the funds to set up a discretionary scheme ourselves due to the council’s own loss of income and rising costs as a result of the pandemic.

Where to go for support and information

Information for local businesses can be found on our businesses and employers web page. There are also FAQs about the small business grants and retail relief.

More support and advice from local organisations are listed on our self-employed and freelancers web page, from the Federation of Small Businesses to Wired Sussex.

Information and resources for the city’s culture and tourism sector can be found on our culture, events, leisure and tourism web page

See the range of government financial support on the gov.uk website

Businesses can also check what financial support they are entitled to using the government’s financial support checker.

Additional government resources include helplines and webinars on a range of topics to help all types of businesses understand the support available.

Help to get the information out to the city

The council has produced these graphics highlighting support available in the city. Please share on your social media platforms to help the information reach residents.

(Twitter text for making sure you get the support you need)

Making sure our small businesses get the support they need is an absolute priority.

There are a range of schemes available.

Find more information.

We want to help you!

(Twitter text for supporting small businesses is ourpriority)

Making sure our small businesses get the support they need is an absolute priority.

There are a range of government backed schemes available.

Find more information.

We want to help you!

 

(Twitter text for supporting SMEs is our priority)

Use the business support finder to see what is available for you and your business.

You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants.

Find more information.

We want to help you!

(Twitter text for are you eligible for a business grant)

The government’s small business grants do not have to be repaid. They are to keep businesses afloat through the Covid crisis.

You have nothing to lose!

Check your eligibility.

Get in touch.

Find more information.

(Twitter text for are you eligible for a business grant)

There are over 1,000 more businesses eligible for a grant that have not applied.

If you think you’re eligible, please contact us.

Find more information

We want to help you!

 

number 43 - Tuesday 5 May

5.30pm Tuesday 5 May

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

This briefing’s theme is wellbeing

Looking after your wellbeing from home

Councillor Clare Moonan, the chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board, talks about some of the help available for your physical and mental wellbeing through the COVID-19 pandemic, and where you can go to find the right support for you.

Find out more in our newsroom

Stay active and well from home

The council’s Healthy Lifestyles team is continuing to offer support to people to stop smoking, drink less, eat better, get active and manage your wellbeing.

The team are still providing one-to-one support through specialised phone or video chat sessions with the Health Trainers. Face-to-face activities and community-based groups are currently suspended.

The team has also put together useful exercises, tools, tips and challenges to help people of all ages to keep moving while at home.

Further information and advice on keeping healthy and well at home is available on through the Brighton & Hove Healthy Lifestyles Facebook page.

For further information, support or to make a referral, visit our support to improve your health web pages or phone 01273 294589 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Mental health support

If you or other household members feel low, anxious or stressed, there’s information that can help on the NHS Every Mind Matters website. This also includes specific advice on the impact of coronavirus.

While it's normal to feel afraid and lonely at a time like this, worsening mental health could indicate the need for outside help.

  • Samaritans – call 116 123 – 24hrs a day, 365 days a year.
  • Community Rootsonline or freephone 0808 196 1768 – a network of local services committed to supporting good mental health and wellbeing in Brighton & Hove
  • Sussex Mental Healthline – freephone 0300 5000 101 – provides 24/7 support from registered clinicians. As well as crisis support it provides psychological support to anyone with general concerns about their mental health, and if needed they can refer you for local assessment and treatment.

Get support in Brighton & Hove

If you, or someone you know, is finding things tough right now, whether it's food, money, wellbeing or loneliness, you can search for support for all ages on the Covid Brighton & Hove help directory.

Vulnerable people who have no-one to help them at the moment can also request additional COVID-19 related support, including emergency food bank referrals, shopping and medicine collection by contacting the council’s community advice and support hub.

Using library resources online

Our libraries may be closed but there are some great online services available to everyone who lives, works or studies in the city. 

Free eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines and eComics are available for all library members. You can view what's available on the library website.

Anyone who lives, works or studies in Brighton & Hove is entitled to join. If you’re not already a member you can register for a library card online.

Our libraries team is also offering regular online story time sessions for families on their Facebook page.

VE Day 75th anniversary

The May Bank Holiday, which normally takes place on the first Monday of May, has been moved to Friday 8 May to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe.

Commemorative plans in the city have had to change but there are still lots of ways for you to mark the day to pay tribute and remembrance. Many people will be commemorating the occasion from home. There are a number of special broadcasts on TV and online activities to get involved in as well.

Help to get the information out to the city

The council has produced these graphics highlighting support available in the city. Please share on your social media platforms to help the information reach residents.

(Text for look after your wellbeing while you’re at home)

Find information and advice around physical and mental wellbeing, money, relationships, bereavement and more.

(Text for stay active from home)

Our @bhhealthlife team has put together useful exercises, tools, tips and challenges to help people of all ages to keep moving while at home.

(Text for free ebooks)

Our libraries have free eBooks, audiobooks, eMagazines and eComics available for anyone who lives, works or studies in Brighton & Hove.

(Text for free VE Day)

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Government has announced revised plans to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8 May. In Brighton & Hove too, plans to commemorate the day have also changed. Find out how you can commemorate the day.

number 42 - Monday 5 May

5.30pm Monday 4 May

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

This briefing’s theme is physical distancing and the key support available in the city

Council Leader Nancy Platts on why it’s good to talk

Councillor Nancy Platts explains why she prefers to talk about physical distancing as opposed to social distancing. She also talks about the importance of social contact for good mental health.

Find out more on our website.

Helping people to get help

There are plenty of people who are finding this time particularly hard, especially people who live alone and those who don’t have access to Wi-Fi or a computer. There is support available and it’s important that everyone knows how to access it.

From today an information postcard from the council is going through the letterboxes of all households in the city and is also going to be available at key distribution points across the city. It lists lots of support available.

 

If you don’t have anyone close by to help, the council’s Community Advice and Support Hub can support you. If you can’t get online to www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus-help, call 01273 293 117 between 10am – 4.30pm Monday through to Friday and you’ll be able to talk with someone who can help you.

What is physical distancing and do we still need to do it?

Physical distancing means staying 2 metres (6 feet) away at all times from people you don’t currently live with. It’s more commonly called socially distancing.

Is physical distancing necessary?

Yes. Physical distancing is still incredibly important because coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs small droplets - packed with the virus - into the air.

The virus can be breathed in or you can catch it if you touch a surface with the germs on and then touch your face with unwashed hands.

We still need to prevent further spread of Covid-19 because we still don’t know enough about immunity to it. People are at risk if they contract the virus.

What is a 'reasonable excuse' to go out?

The measures say people should go out as little as possible and only leave home if they have a "reasonable excuse".

This includes:

  • Exercise - alone, or with members of your household
  • Shopping for basic necessities
  • Any medical need, or providing care for a vulnerable person
  • Travel to or from work, but only when you cannot work from home

What are the rules on exercise?

If you have to go outside, stay more than 2m (6ft) apart from anyone other than members of your household.

Government guidance urges people to "stay local" and use open spaces near home.

People should only exercise once a day.

The UK government hasn't set formal time limits for exercise.

You are allowed to stop for a break, but short periods of exercise followed by long periods of inactivity are not permitted (so sunbathing is not allowed).

Dogs can be walked as part of a person's daily exercise.

Financial wellbeing

The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live. While the primary concern is health, our financial wellbeing is also important. Many are worrying about paying their mortgage, rent and other bills. This guide runs through what help's available for financial products and other bills.

Getting food

We are working with organisations across the city to ensure that everyone who needs support for food gets it.

We understand that some of the needs are complex so we are working with our partners to find the best route for accessing help.

We have set up a single point of access that people can use to request help for themselves or others. This can be accessed through the relevant online forms on the Coronavirus pages our website.

We have been working with the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership to set up food sorting and distribution hubs throughout the city. Through this network there has already been over 3000 deliveries of food parcels across the city.

The Food Partnership has also produced a recipe book for those with limited access to kitchen appliances. The meals can be prepared with just a kettle, microwave and toaster. The recipes can be found on their website.

Local charities across the city have been adapting their services to be able to continue supporting people during the pandemic. To see how they are doing it, please read our story on this in our newsroom.

Support for children and young people

Children thrive when they are safe and protected, when family and community connections are stable and nurturing, and when their basic needs are met.

The coronavirus pandemic and the unprecedented measures to contain its spread are disrupting nearly every aspect of children’s lives: their health, development, learning, behaviour, their families’ economic security and their protection from violence and abuse.

And their mental health. If your child is still going to school and you have any concerns about their emotional or mental wellbeing, you’re invited to talk to a Primary Mental Health Worker from the Schools Wellbeing Service.

Telephone consultations are available while schools are closed. Please email SWSConsultationLine@brighton-hove.gov.uk or call 01273 293 481.

You might also find the following helpful for supporting your children: 

The council’s Healthy Lifestyles team have started work on '5 days to wellbeing', offering messages and activities each day. Check the Brighton & Hove Healthy Lifestyles Facebook page for updates on activities.

Help to get the information to the city

The council has produced three graphics highlighting support available in the city. Please share them on your social media platforms to help share the information.

Text for money tweet:

The coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live. While the primary concern is health, our financial wellbeing is also important. 

Get financial advise here.

 

Text for distancing tweet:

Physical distancing is still incredibly important because Covid-19 spreads when an infected person coughs small droplets - packed with the virus - into the air.

Guidelines on how to stay safe

 

Text for social contact tweet

Social distancing implies a sense of disconnection from loved ones. It’s important we distance ourselves physically but we remember and act on how important it is for us to stay socially connected. #It’s good to talk

 

 

Website: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrightonHoveCC

Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/BrightonandHoveCityCouncil/

number 41 - Friday 1 May

4:30 Friday 1 May

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Keep your distance, protect the NHS, save lives

As the lockdown continues Alistair Hill, Brighton & Hove's director of public health, describes how important it is that everyone keeps to the restrictions to protect key workers and vulnerable people.

The latest figures suggest that more people have been going out to open spaces like parks and the seafront, and to shops. In some cases, people are not keeping at least two metres apart, increasing the spread of Covid-19 which is highly infectious. 

On behalf of all health and care staff, please play your part in the fight to save lives.

Read the full story in our newsroom.

Covid-19 City Recovery Programme

Yesterday’s Policy & Resources Committee agreed to establish the Covid-19 City Recovery Programme to help prepare and steer the council and the city through the recovery phase of the pandemic.

The Recovery Programme will aim to build a solid foundation for the city, so that Brighton & Hove has the best opportunity to emerge as a healthier and more sustainable city, through a three-staged programme.

We’ll also be setting up a five-member Policy & Resources (Recovery) Sub-Committee, chaired by the council leader, to focus on the programme and make decisions quickly.

We’ll be working with businesses and communities across the city, including Sussex Police, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, the universities and the NHS.

You can read the full story in our newsroom.

Join in with our meerkat hunt

Children (and parents!) across Brighton & Hove are being given the chance to add a little more fun and adventure to their daily exercise outing.
 
The council is looking for nursery and school children across the city to take part in a new meerkat trail and scavenger hunt while out walking, scooting or cycling as part of their once-a-day exercise routine.

More details about how to take part and a link for printing off your meerkat can be found in our newsroom.

Small business grants

We’ve been working hard to reach out to eligible businesses to arrange payment of small business grants. As a result, we’ve already paid more than £42 million to nearly 3,000 small businesses.

We estimate there are around 1,000 eligible businesses who have yet to get in touch. We are proactively making contact with businesses, but if you run a small business or know of a business that might qualify, please ask them to contact us by sending their details through our secure online Covid business support portal.  

While applications where we need to double-check records are taking longer to process, we are treating the payment of these grants as a priority to ensure small businesses benefit as soon as possible.

Businesses can also check what financial support they are entitled to using the government’s online financial support checker.

Protect our street cleaning team – dispose of PPE at home

We’re sending out a reminder about the need to dispose of used gloves, masks, other PPE and tissues double-bagged in your waste at home.

To protect our street cleaning team and everyone else from infection, please do not dispose of any of these items in the city’s litter bins.

We are still seeing these being put into litter bins - please be mindful of our staff working hard to keep the city tidy. We’d like to thank our street cleaning team for the excellent job they’re doing helping to keep residents safe from infection.

Please follow government advice on safe disposal:

  • Personal waste, such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths, can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
  • These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste.
  • This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.

Read the latest Covid-19 waste and recycling service updates.

Helping people get support in the city

If you know someone is finding things tough right now, whether it's food, money, wellbeing or loneliness, they can search for support on the Covid Brighton & Hove help directory.

Vulnerable people who have no-one who can help them at the moment can also request additional Covid-19 related support, including emergency food bank referrals, shopping and medicine collection by contacting the council’s community advice and support hub.

Celebrating Nature2020 at home!

The Living Coast team have been really boosted to hear how residents in the Round Hill area of Brighton got creative so they were still able to celebrate Nature2020 despite the current lockdown.

Nature2020 was planned to be a year-long programme of events marking the UN Decade of Biodiversity. Unfortunately, with the exception of the City Nature Challenge, all events scheduled in the spring and early summer have been cancelled or postponed.

The Round Hill residents haven't let the lockdown stop them from celebrating biodiversity in the Biosphere and on our doorsteps. 

You can see more details and photos on the Living Coast website.

Take part in Covid-19 research

University College London is running a study into the psychological and social effects of Covid-19 in the UK.

The results are being used to understand the effects of the virus and social distancing measures on mental health and loneliness in the UK and to inform government advice and decisions.

We’re looking for adults in UK who are happy to take part and spread the word about the study. Participation involves answering a 10-minute online survey now and then answering a shorter follow-up survey once a week whilst social isolation measures are in place.

To take part, visit the Covid-19 Social Study UK website.

number 40 - Thursday 30 April

4:30pm Thursday 30 April

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Sussex mental health helpline

People across Sussex struggling with their mental health are being offered additional telephone and crisis support from registered clinicians to help them cope.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has expanded the Sussex Mental Healthline – freephone 0300 5000 101 – to provide a 24/7 service to people needing urgent help with their mental health.

As well as crisis support it will provide psychological support to people who have general concerns about their mental health. If needed they can refer callers to one of five newly created urgent help hubs for assessment and treatment.

Food delivery for vulnerable people

We know that access to food is a problem for vulnerable people. We’re asking that if you can physically go to the shops, please avoid taking online delivery slots and leave them for people that need them most.

For more information access to food deliveries please visit our page on this in the Covid-19 section of our website.

Corporate Equality Delivery Group meeting tomorrow

Tomorrow, Friday 1 May, the council’s Corporate Equality Delivery Group (CEDG) will be meeting for the first time since movement restrictions were put in place.  The purpose of the CEDG is to promote and drive a culture of excellent equality and inclusion practice across the council. 

The impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) has highlighted just how important fair and inclusive practice is at a time of national crisis.  The council continues to work closely with our diverse communities in response to the pandemic and to support those who are impacted disproportionately.   The group will look to agree a number of priorities for the coming months in work committed to our Fair & Inclusive Action Plan and Corporate Plan.

number 39 - Wednesday 29 April

4:30 Wednesday 29 April

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Changes to historic act will support Brunswick residents

Councillors are being asked to make changes to an historic Act of Parliament, to support residents and business owners in Brunswick Square and Terrace during the current Covid-19 crisis.

The Hove Borough Act 1976 requires property owners to repaint their buildings every five years. The painting is due to take place this year, before the deadline of December 31.

However, councillors on the tourism, equalities communities and culture committee, are considering deferring the deadline for a year to take the pressure off residents and business owners. They will also decide whether to re-align the five years re-painting schedule to reflect the new deadline.

The proposal will be discussed at a meeting on May 7. 

Environmental enforcement

From today, Wednesday 29 April, the Environmental Enforcement team will resume work, with particular attention on reported fly-tips and commercial waste offences.

  • Environmental Enforcement Officers (EEOs) will not approach residential or commercial properties and will not have face to face interactions with them.
  • EEOs will gather evidence from reported fly tips and commercial waste offences using the correct PPE and will build their cases back in an office environment.
  • EEOs will also only issue Fixed Penalty Notices via post and not in person to reduce social interactions.
  • If anyone receives a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) and is currently struggling financially, our team is there to help and can be contacted on EnvironmentalEnforcement@brighton-hove.gov.uk to find a suitable alternative payment option.

Policy and Resources Committee to meet online

Tomorrow, Thursday 30 April, the Policy and Resources Committee will meet online to discuss and debate a number of key issues in Brighton & Hove.

This will be the first time this committee has met using Skype and can be viewed online by members of the public.  You can read more about how the council is embracing digital democracy on our newsroom.

Among the items on the agenda are:

  • Moulsecoomb Neighbourhood Hub and Housing Schemes
  • Adult and Community Learning
  • 2020/2021 Local Transport Plan Capital Programme.

Brighton & Hove STI Testing Week

Monday 27 April – Sunday 3 May is Brighton & Hove STI Testing Week. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust, and supported by Brighton & Hove Sexual Health & Contraception Service and the council’s Public Health team, the annual week aims to encourage local residents to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  

Anyone who is sexually active can get a sexually transmitted infection and should test regularly.

Sex and intimate contact are also risks for COVID-19 transmission. At this time, people should be sexual distancing – that means only having sex with people in your household who have not been exposed to COVID-19 and who are not in a high risk group. For more information, have a look at the British Association for Sexual Health & HIV guidance on sex, social distancing and COVID-19

Mayor to honour city Covid-19 Community Champions - Closing date this Friday 1 May

The Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Alexandra Phillips, is calling on residents in the city to nominate people in their community who have gone above and beyond to help others during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Phillips says:

"It's been wonderful to see such incredible community spirit these last few weeks, with people rallying together to help each other during this crisis and making sure everyone in our city is cared for.  I've been particularly amazed and humbled by the speed at which Mutual Aid groups have multiplied and become more and more focussed, so that individual streets now have their own WhatsApp groups to ensure everyone on their street is looked after.  

"I would like to thank everyone for their efforts during this difficult time; those in the NHS putting their lives at risk to look after us all; council staff and those of other agencies keeping essential services running; shopkeepers and those in small businesses and third sector organisations supporting their local communities; and all those residents and volunteers working in their neighbourhoods to support those who need help in their community at this difficult time. You are all heroes.  

"Although impossible to honour everyone, I am calling on residents to nominate those people in their community who have gone above and beyond in the service of their community.  They can be absolutely anyone, but I'm especially interested in those people who may not otherwise be recognised and appreciated for what they are doing."

Nominations are being sought for anyone living or working in Brighton and Hove who has shown outstanding community spirit and dedication in the face of the Coronavirus crisis, and gone above and beyond to help their community with practical action which has made a direct and significant positive impact on the lives of others.

To nominate, please send a letter or email of no more than 250 words (no attachments) including the name of the person, contact details and what it is that the person is doing to merit the nomination. Self-nominations will not be accepted.

Nominations to be sent to mayorsoffice@brighton-hove.gov.uk or to the Civic Office, Brighton Town Hall, Bartholomew Square, Brighton BN1 1JA by the 1 May.

A panel of community leaders chaired by the Mayor will select the winners, whose names will be announced at Full Council on the 14 May (in whichever format the Council meeting takes place). A Community Champion certificate will be sent to the nominee. At a later date, a celebration will be held in the Mayor’s Parlour to thank the Champions for the contribution they have made to their community.

number 38 - Tuesday 28 April

4:30 Tuesday 28 April

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Stay at home and enjoy the city online

Cllr Alan Robins has shared ways to enjoy local arts and culture from your own home.

From virtual events to digital reading material, the city's cultural sector is offering a range of activities to entertain and inspire people to be creative in their own homes as the lockdown continues.

Find out more

Woodvale cemetery grounds to reopen

Following updated government guidance, the cemetery grounds at Woodvale will reopen from tomorrow, Wednesday 29 April.  

In an address to residents, lead councillor for life events services, Daniel Yates, says he's pleased that the grounds will be reopened, but has again urged people to treat the grounds with the respect.  

The message follows concerns that before the grounds were closed, staff witnessed people using the grounds for activities such as skateboarding and picnics. Children were also seen climbing on headstones.

Testing for frontline key workers

Testing for Covid-19 is being expanded to all frontline key workers with coronavirus-like symptoms. This is to ensure that self-isolating key workers can go back to work if they’re well enough.

The test allows key workers to find out whether they or members of their household currently have coronavirus. It is not an antibody test to identify if someone has had or is immune to the virus.

Frontline key workers can access testing either by attending one of several drive-through testing sites across Sussex or by requesting a home testing kit.

Find out more

New Bounce Back Loans scheme for small businesses announced

The government has announced a new Bounce Back Loans scheme that will be made available to small businesses from Monday 4 May. These loans will be 100% government-backed.

Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months. Businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan.

More information about support for businesses and employers

Bereavement support services

We understand that many people will be experiencing loss during this difficult time.  

Brighton & Hove City Council has updated its information on local bereavement services.  The bereavement service team can also offer advice on burials, cremations and memorials.

Public toilets

A reminder that we have closed most of the public toilets in the city following the continued government requirement for social distancing and asking people to stay at home. In line with this, it is expected that people minimise the time spent outside and use local open spaces near to their home when exercising.

We have kept a number of public toilets open to serve essential users who don’t have access to any other toilet facilities. These are:

  • King Alfred (including RADAR accessible toilets) – open from 8am to 8pm
  • Park Road, Rottingdean – open from 8am to 4pm 
  • Royal Pavilion Gardens – open from 8am to 8pm
  • Stanmer Village – open from 8am to 8pm 
  • The Level (including RADAR accessible toilets and Changing Places facilities) – open from 8am to 8pm

The decision to close most of the toilets followed increasing difficulties to maintain them in a safe manner. This included increased anti-social behaviour, vandalism and theft, in addition to issues managing overcrowding.

We are keeping this under review and will reopen toilets as soon as we can do so safely.

number 37 - Monday 27 April

4:30pm Monday 27 April

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Supporting our city’s businesses

So far, we have paid out more than £32.1m to around 2,000 businesses in Brighton & Hove with another 2,000 on track to be completed by the end of this week.

We have also trained an additional 23 staff to join our business rates team who have been working 7-days-a-week to process these applications.

You can read more on this in council leader Nancy Platt’s address, including more information about the support available to local businesses. 

Second round of Covid-19 grants for community groups

Another 17 community and voluntary organisations have been awarded grants from the council’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency fund.

Grants awarded from the fund now total more than £100,000.

Projects benefitting this round include groups providing emergency food and community meals, support for older isolated people and help for victims of domestic abuse. These include:

•    The Bevy – to cover costs of providing community meals
•    Brighton Women’s Centre – to cover costs of additional demand and phones for victims
•    Time to Talk Befriending - to cover additional support for isolated older people 
•    RISE - for home working equipment to continue help and support for victims of domestic abuse
•    Fareshare – to cover management of extra volunteers recruited to cover crisis
•    St Richards Church & Community Centre – to support the emergency food hub and cover lost income from the partial closure of the centre

Read more on our newsroom.

Support for travellers and van dwellers in the city

We have been working closely with people living in vans to make sure they have the support they need to keep themselves safe during the crisis.

The chair of the council’s housing committee, Councillor Gill Williams, said: “We have visited all the city’s van dwellers and offered them alternative accommodation.

“This would provide people with the facilities they need over the time of the pandemic, and enable them to self-isolate if that is required. 

“However, we cannot force them to accept this offer.  

“Our traveller support team has carried out welfare checks and given advice in line with government guidance. 

“The team will continue to be in regular contact with people in lived-in vehicles at all the locations we are aware of. 

“We have also given information to people in lived in vehicles about available toilets, water supplies and refuse points across the city.” 

Most of the public toilets have been closed in the city following the continued government requirement for people to stay at home. We’ve had increasing difficulties operating and maintaining them safely, including a rise in anti-social behaviour and vandalism.  

We have kept a number of toilets open for people who do not have access to any other toilet facilities. This includes people living in vans.

Food update

Albion in the community has started delivering food to vulnerable families and fans with help from Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, the Ivy in the Lanes in Ship Street and Bill's restaurant and bar in North Road. 

So far, more than a thousand meals have been delivered in Brighton & Hove, Lancing, Adur and Worthing.  To find out more you can read more from Albion in the community here.

‘Fake’ council posters

We are aware that a number of fly-posters have been put up in the city with various lines about staying at home and including the council logo.

While we support any messages which encourage people to stay at home, we can confirm that these posters are fake and have nothing to do with the council.

number 36 - Friday 24 April

Friday 24 April

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Stay home and save lives

With another warm and sunny weekend being forecast for Brighton & Hove this weekend, council leader Nancy Platts is reiterating her call for us all to stay home and save lives.

While the majority of people are following movement restrictions, we are continuing to see photos and read accounts of gatherings in our parks and along the seafront.

Councillor Platts has added her name to an open letter from Sussex Resilience Forum for people to protect our health service and do all we can to slow the spread of coronavirus by staying at home.

Protecting people who were sleeping rough

An innovative process is making sure former rough sleepers in Brighton & Hove are accommodated as safely as possible through the Covid-19 pandemic.

We’ve worked with health and voluntary sector partners to set up a ‘Care & Protect’ model which, after assessing a person’s medical and support needs, directs the accommodation and support package provided.

It means we can provide care and separate accommodation for anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, while protecting those who are vulnerable to Covid-19 by accommodating them elsewhere.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve secured a number of buildings in the city to provide safe, self-contained accommodation.

We’ve helped around 190 people who had been sleeping rough off the streets. We’ve also provided rooms for new homeless cases and people in shared accommodation.

Public Health England has identified rough sleepers as a particularly vulnerable group and the support follows their guidance on best practice to protect them from Covid-19. 

Read more on our newsroom

City Plan Part 2 – Making a place to call home

At its first virtual meeting yesterday, full council agreed City Plan Part 2, which will guide new development in Brighton & Hove up to 2030.

The cornerstone of which will be new homes that are genuinely affordable, sustainable, accessible and of a decent standard.

Communities will have another chance to comment on its policies when City Plan Part 2 goes out to public consultation. The council will consider the best time to put this out after the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

More than 50 councillors and council officers attended the meeting via Skype. 

You can read more about what was agreed on our newsroom.

Thank you messages for Cityclean

Children throughout the city are leaving lovely messages for our Cityclean staff, thanking them for the hard work their doing during the lockdown.

See the pictures and read more of this heartwarming story.

Businesses adapt to Covid-19

Working with The Argus, an article has been published today highlighting some of the good work being done by businesses in Brighton & Hove to adapt to the needs of residents and support key workers across the city.

The article also looks at how people in the city are managing to keep each other fed, entertained and connected.

Chair of the tourism, equalities, communities and culture committee, Alan Robins, said: “We are so lucky to have such a vast range of restaurants, bars, shops and attractions in Brighton and Hove, they are the absolute lifeblood of the city and what makes us such a special place. 

Business grants scheme

Since the government announced its business grants scheme, we have paid out £28.4m of the allocated funding.

Getting the money out as quickly as possible is an absolute priority and we have trained 23 additional staff to join our business rates team so we can operate seven days a week to clear the applications. Our current projection is that we will clear all the requests received to date, by the end of next week (Friday1 May).

We are concerned that although we have now contacted every business that we believe is eligible for a grant, there are still more than 1,000 businesses who are yet to apply.  

We urge anyone who fits the government’s criteria, to please get in touch via our dedicated business grants portal.

Coronavirus help directory

Community Works have now launched Covid Brighton & Hove, a coronavirus help directory. It details the support available for residents in the city with everything from food and shopping, to money advice and loneliness. It lists helpful links and phone numbers for all residents, and connects those who are most in need to our community advice and support hub. To view the directory, go to: www.covidbrightonhove.org.uk

number 35 - Thursday 23 April

4:30pm Thursday 23 April

Service changesInformation on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Please stay home and save lives

In the council leader’s most recent address, Councillor Nancy Platts is thanking those who have helped protect the NHS and save lives by social distancing but says it’s vital we don’t let our guard down now.

Councillor Platts has repeated the message that the seafront should only be used for essential exercise by those living nearby and not for sunbathing, meeting with friends or swimming in the sea.

We are also putting two metre stencil markings in parks to highlight the need for social distancing, the same as those already used on the seafront.

It is also important that all shops ensure staff and customers maintain social distancing, for everyone’s safety, to reduce the risk of infection 

Food update

Community gardens in the city are growing more food than ever to support the needs of Brighton & Hove residents. 

A number of community run projects are increasing the amount of food they’re growing and donating it to local initiatives supporting residents classed as extremely vulnerable and have registered a need for food support.

The food is then either being used in food parcels or to create hot meals.  For more information on this story please visit our newsroom page.

Cancellation of exams and assessments

The government has cancelled all school and college exams and assessments this year. This is because of the national Coronavirus restrictions.

It applies to all age groups – from pre-school all the way up to A-levels.

The government’s Office for Qualifications (Ofqual) has sent a very clear and detailed message to students explaining how this affects GCSE and A-level students and what will now happen instead.

More information, including local support on offer for students can be found on our newsroom page.

Greater Brighton pledge on Covid-19 economic recovery plan

Greater Brighton leaders have agreed to work together on a Covid-19 economic recovery plan for the city.

The board, which is made up of local authorities, education providers, business partnerships and other bodies, has acknowledged the need to outline ways in which it can support the thousands of businesses and residents affected by coronavirus (Covid-19).

At a meeting this week, the board agreed to pool public and private sector expertise to work up proposals which could support sectors adversely affected by COVID-19, such as hospitality and tourism.  Read more.

A259/West Street junction works

As part the redevelopment of Shelter Hall, work will begin next week to make the A259 Kings Road/West Street junction safer for cyclists and pedestrians and improve traffic flow for motorists.

The junction, which is usually used by 36,000 vehicles, 30,000 pedestrians and 2,500 cyclists every day, is a key link between Brighton railway station and the seafront.

While the number of vehicles on our roads has significantly reduced due to coronavirus (Covid-19) movement restrictions, doing the work now will minimise disruption to motorists and local businesses.

New homes and offices approved at virtual planning meeting

Councillors have backed proposals to build new homes and offices in Brighton & Hove as part of the development of our city, beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, during the historic first in a series of virtual meetings.

An application to build 148 homes plus more than 950 square metres of office floor space in Newtown Road, Hove, was approved by the city’s Planning Committee yesterday – the first council committee to meet virtually, using video-conferencing technology, to ensure that vital infrastructure decisions continue to be taken during the Covid-19 outbreak.  Read more.

number 34 - Wednesday 22 April

5:45 Wednesday 22 April

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Update on Ireland Lodge care home

Ireland Lodge is a Brighton-based care home for people with dementia. It is run by the council and currently has 20 residents.

Staff at the home recently raised serious concerns in a letter written to management. Staff also requested no new residents to be admitted to the home.

Cllr Clare Moonan, chair of health and wellbeing board said: “We are grateful to staff for sharing their concerns with us. We’re taking the matter very seriously.

“Since we received the letter on Friday (17 April), we’ve been working with staff and unions to urgently address the concerns raised, improve staff wellbeing and reassure families of residents about the professional level of care being provided to their loved ones.

“Constructive conversations with staff and unions are ongoing to make sure all the issues raised are looked into.

“This highlights what an important role all those working in the wider care sector hold at these challenging times. Carers, families and volunteers across the city are providing vital support, both physically and emotionally.” 

It has been agreed that no new residents will be admitted at this time to Ireland Lodge. Residents at the home are currently showing no symptoms of Covid-19 and there have been no new admissions to the home since 8 April 2020.

Read more.

Key worker testing

Testing for Covid-19 is being expanded to all frontline key workers at Brighton & Hove City Council with coronavirus-like symptoms. This is to ensure that key workers who are self-isolating can go back to work if they’re well enough.

The test allows key workers to find out whether they or members of their household currently have coronavirus. It is not an antibody test to identify if someone has had or is immune to the virus.

Frontline key workers can access testing at several drive-through testing sites across Sussex.  More information can be found on the website.

Embracing ‘digital democracy’

Brighton & Hove saw ‘digital democracy’ in action from today as councillors met for the first in a series of virtual meetings to ensure the efficient running of the city throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Planning Committee was the first council committee to meet virtually, using video-conferencing technology – which will also allow members of the public to make representations where necessary. The first virtual meeting of the full council is scheduled for tomorrow.

All virtual meetings will be held using Skype. Options for members of the public to speak on a specific matter on the agenda, such as a planning matter, include dialling in using a pre-designated link. Interested parties could also have questions/deputations presented on their behalf by a council officer if unable to join a telephone conference themselves.

Meanwhile, the public can continue to follow all committee meetings as usual by watching webcasts of individual meetings.

Council leader Nancy Platts praised the hard work of the council’s officers and staff in making the virtual meetings possible.

“Embracing digital technology will help us ensure the day-to-day business of the council is conducted as efficiently and effectively as possible while social distancing restrictions remain in place,” Councillor Platts said.

“It’s equally important that the council continues to be accountable to our residents and businesses at this time and temporary measures, such as virtual meetings with which the public can be involved, will help us achieve that.”

Letting of council housing and housing association properties

Due to the current Covid-19 restrictions and government advice around moving home, we are temporarily stopping the letting of council homes to new tenants on our housing register. Many of our housing association partners are also pausing new lets.

This is starting from Wednesday 22 April following the completion of the latest bidding cycle on our choice based letting system, Homemove.

We’ve continued to run the service but arranging moves, ensuring access to amenities and bringing the property up to a lettable standard are becoming an increasing problem.

The process has also become very stressful for tenants and prospective tenants, many of whom are high risk in terms of Covid-19 and are self-isolating or shielding.

We will be contacting everyone who’s been matched to a property in previous bidding cycle or signed a tenancy agreement for a new property and are unable to move. All offers and agreements will remain in place.

Our Homemove team are still processing all new applications to the joint housing register and responding to enquires.

As soon as the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and we are able to return to lettings, our focus will be on making sure all empty properties are let as quickly as possible.

We will be continuing lettings of temporary accommodation for people who need to move in an emergency.

Protecting local shops and parades

Special policies to protect shopping parades, pubs and independent retailers will support local businesses and encourage community wealth-building in different areas of the city.

The policies are included in the second part of the City Plan, which will be discussed at the first ‘virtual’ council meeting this Thursday, 23 April. The Plan will be used to guide development for the next 10 years.

If agreed there will be a further opportunity to comment on the Plan. The council will consider the best time to carry out public consultation after the coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions are lifted.

number 33 - Tuesday 21 April

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Council urges self-employed and SMEs to seek support

With more than 29,000 self-employed people in Brighton & Hove, the council is urging those whose livelihoods have been affected by coronavirus to seek support.

We have created a dedicated page for the self-employed and freelancers to find the most appropriate support available to them.

The government has devised a number of measures to help self-employed and freelance workers who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19), for example, the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) allows self-employed people to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for three months.

Council leader Nancy Platts said: “Brighton & Hove has a high proportion of self-employed and freelance workers including many who work from home. These people play a vital role in supporting our local economy and are the lifeblood of the city’s varied and vibrant start-up and small business community.

“The government’s packages of support will be a vital lifeline for many at this difficult time. We value all our independent businesses, freelancers and self-employed workers and we want to ensure they know about everything they’re entitled to so that they have the best chance of survival now and into the future.

“Our staff are working hard to provide additional help where at all possible and we urge anyone who is struggling to navigate the various schemes to check out our business support page and FAQs which have been designed to help them find what’s right for them”.

A safe and happy Ramadan

Ramadan this year runs from Thursday 23 April. It is the holiest month of the year for Muslims when the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed. 

During Ramadan, Muslims around the world fast during daylight hours and increase spiritual devotional acts, such as prayer and giving to charity.

With Covid-19 restrictions in place in many countries around the world, Ramadan will likely be a different experience for Muslims celebrating this year. 

Many will not be able to travel, be with family or attend Mosque to pray as they usually would. 

Due to the restrictions on people attending Mosque, calls to prayer are being extended on Friday and may be audible outside some

Mosques in the city.

It is vital for everyone to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. 

The Muslim Council of Britain’s website has guidance on celebrating Ramadan at home, including tips for staying connected online, planning food and shopping, and studying at working at home during Ramadan. 

Councillor Amanda Grimshaw wishes the city’s Muslim communities a safe and happy Ramadan and thanks them for their work supporting isolated people during the Covid-19 crisis.

If you see something - say something! Help protect our city’s children

The Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership (BHSCP) is calling on all the city’s residents to help protect vulnerable children and their families through these difficult times.

If you see or hear something that worries you and think a child may be at risk or in need of support, please:

The chair of the council’s children, young people and skills committee, Councillor John Allcock, said: “In these difficult times it’s even more important that as a city we work together to ensure that children are safe.

“Families are under extra pressure at the moment because of Coronavirus and the restrictions that have been imposed.

“Many children and young people are feeling isolated, worried and vulnerable.

“Keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility. On behalf of the city’s Safeguarding Children Partnership I’m asking all our residents to keep their eyes and ears open and look out for children who may need help.

“If in doubt, please make that call to us - and help us to help children who may be in need of safeguarding and support." 

The Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership brings together the council, Sussex Police and NHS professionals to help keep children in the city safe.

City Plan Part Two

Reducing waste and re-using materials, improved management of green open spaces and attractive environments for walking and cycling will reduce carbon emissions in future development and increase the biodiversity of the city’s plants and wildlife.

Policies in the City Plan Part 2 support the city’s aim to become carbon neutral by 2030. The plan will be discussed at city’s first ‘virtual’ council meeting this Thursday (23 April). Read more in our newsroom.

Healthy meals

Our partners, The Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, have created a booklet of healthy meal recipes for those with limited kitchen equipment.

The recipe booklet has options for people that only have access to a kettle, microwave or toaster and can be found on The Brighton & Hove Food Partnership website.

Withdean recycling

Due to the 'Hot Hub' testing site being set up at the sports complex, the recycling point at the Withdean Stadium has been moved to the east end/overflow car park. 

You can find a list of all recycling points in the city on our website

Website: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrightonHoveCC 
Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/BrightonandHoveCityCouncil/ 

number 32 - Monday 20 April

5.15pm Monday 20 April 2020

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Message from council leader Nancy Platts

Council leader Nancy Platts is again calling on people to respect important social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. It comes after concerns were raised about gatherings around the city at the weekend.

Councillor Platts said: “I want to reiterate the importance of social distancing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. We have reports of increased numbers of people out and about in groups over the weekend. The risk of spreading COVID-19 is still high, and the virus spreads between people when they gather. 

“Everyone needs to follow the government guidelines of staying at home and only going out for exercise and shopping for essentials, once a day.

“If you are out for exercise or shopping, please maintain at least 2 metres (about 6 feet) of distance from others, including if you’re queueing outside shops. 

“Social distancing is vital. We’ve had lots of concerned residents getting in touch about people having BBQs and picnics on the outskirts of the city. I know the weather is improving and people want to make the most of it, but those having these social gatherings are putting themselves and others at risk. This is about saving lives.

“We all need to look out for each other and ensure we’re following the guidelines and maintaining social distance.

“Thank you to everyone who is staying at home, protecting the NHS and helping to save lives.”

CCG update about ‘hot site’ at Withdean

Any patient with Covid-19 symptoms will be given an appointment at a so called ‘hot site’ rather than their own GP practice. Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group has shared more information about the service available at Withdean and how people can access appointments. 

This is not a drop-in service, it is by GP referral only.  Patients will be directed to the Withdean site from General Practice or NHS111 and will also be triaged by GPs on the site. 

The site will deliver a service to people across Brighton and Hove who have Covid-19 symptoms or are isolated at home with household members with Covid-19 symptoms.  

Patients can only access the service by car, not by foot, part of strict infection control measures to ensure the safety of staff, residents and those being tested.

Support for self-employed and freelance workers

A new webpage has gone live today, with information to support the self-employed and freelance workers.

It includes information for licensed businesses such as taxi and private hire companies, those working in the cultural sector and advice for food and drink businesses.

It also contains links to the government’s income self-employment income support scheme.

City Plan part two

A blueprint that will guide new development in the city to 2030 to provide more genuinely affordable homes for local people, reduce carbon emissions and support economic recovery will be discussed at the city’s first ‘virtual’ council meeting on Thursday (23 April).

Councillors will vote on whether to move forward with the latest version of the City Plan Part 2 and open it up for a final round of public consultation before it is submitted to the government for an independent examination.

You can read more on our newsroom which includes some of the included policies.

Housing repairs helpdesk

The repairs helpdesk is now working remotely and dealing with emergency repairs only. A service voicemail has been introduced - when tenants call they’ll be asked to leave a message and their name, contact number and address, and we will call them back as soon as possible.

The voicemail is being monitored 8am to 5pm from Monday to Friday, with the usual emergency out-of-hours service operating outside of these hours.

The repairs service currently only carrying out emergency repairs and health and safety maintenance checks. An emergency repair would involve:

  • serious leak or flooding
  • loss of power or other service
  • dangerous window
  • insecure front entrance door
  • annual gas servicing
  • anything else which represents an immediate health or security risk

When attending an emergency repair, we will ask tenants questions around whether they are unwell, self-isolating or social distancing. If they are unwell or self-isolating and the repair is essential, our staff will talk to them about how they will carry out the repair and will use additional safety equipment.

If the repair is not an emergency, tenants are asked to use our online repairs reporting form where they can.

Website: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrightonHoveCC 
Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/BrightonandHoveCityCouncil/

number 31 - Friday 17 April

6:15pm Friday 17 April

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, Alok Sharma MP, business secretary, announced that the government has set up a vaccine task force to find a coronavirus cure.

The taskforce will be led by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance and Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Jonathan van Tam.

Right now the message as we head into another weekend is that everyone needs to stay at home and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. These actions slow the opportunities for the virus to be passed from person to person and this saves lives.

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Council leader says thank you for fantastic community response

Cllr Platts said: “It’s been another challenging week for everyone and I want to say a huge thank you to all in our community who have been working so hard and helping in so many different ways.

“I have been overwhelmed – although not surprised – by the generosity and kindness of people across the city.”

Read more on our website newsroom

Madeira Drive first road to be allocated for walkers and cyclists

Brighton & Hove is joining other world cities and reallocating road space for local people to get their daily exercise.

From Monday 20 April, Madeira Drive will be temporarily closed to traffic and open to residents in the area to walk and cycle.

The move comes as cities respond to a decrease in traffic numbers as a result of the coronavirus restrictions and look at opportunities to temporarily open up more space on roads for their residents to keep healthy during lockdown.

More information on our newsroom

Parking concessions for carers and volunteers

Updated letters are now available for carers, support workers and volunteers as proof of their key worker status for any activities they need to carry out such as shopping or picking up equipment for others. It also now gives them the same concessions as NHS and key workers with parking, details of which can be found on our website.

The advice for anyone that thinks they need one is:

  • If you are volunteering – contact the organisation you volunteer through for a copy of the letter
  • If you are looking after someone (unpaid) – contact the Carers Hub (so they can check for any other needs the carer may have, not just a copy of the letter)
  • If you are a paid care or support worker – contact the organisation you work for

Homelessness update

We continue to work with people who are homeless to make sure they can be safe during the pandemic.

We recently updated on how more than 170 people have been accommodated with meals provided throughout the day.  Donations of food, toiletries and electronic devised have been received from across the city to support those in need.

Sadly there have been allegations that a few people who have been given support have sold items on.

Commenting on the situation Councillor Gill Williams, the council’s chair of housing, said: “We are working with our partners and a team of fantastic volunteers to make sure no-one who had been sleeping rough in the city goes hungry.

“The vast majority of that work has been to supply food directly, but some of our partners have issued supermarket vouchers to people able to shop for themselves. We’re aware of reports of a few vouchers being misused and this, of course, is completely unacceptable. We are working to make sure we can supply food to everyone and stop the use of vouchers.

“We cannot confirm the rumours of donated electronic goods being sold. If people do see any goods being offered, please report it to the police.

“We will not replace any items we believe may have been traded. The donations are important to help people needing to remain in their rooms for long periods and it would be a shame if donations stopped due to the actions of a few.

“Our street outreach service St Mungo’s have by far the most extensive knowledge in this area and are working closely with all those in need.

“A small number of reported problems should not distract from what has been an incredible, caring and compassionate response from many organisations and volunteers working together to support people through this crisis.”

If you see anyone you think might be sleeping rough or begging, please let our street outreach service know by emailing BrightonSOS@mungos.org and we’ll help get them the support they need.

Public Inquiry postponed 

The Planning Inspectorate Inquiry for the Sackville Trading Estate and Hove Goods Yard, Sackville Road, Hove, planning application has been postponed. It was scheduled for next Tuesday 21 April at Brighton Town Hall.

The Inquiry will either take place as a virtual public meeting (the Planning Inspectorate does not currently have agreement to undertake inquiries using video technology) or in public when the current restrictions have been relaxed.

When we have a new date for the inquiry, we will contact all interested parties with additional information about how to take part (if it is held using video technology). If you have any enquiries, please email planning.applications@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

Keep your distance – 2m stencils on the seafront and in parks

Stencils showing what 2m (6ft) looks like are being used across the seafront and in the city’s parks to make sure people keep their distance from others.

The stencils are being used to complement the 50+ banners that went up at the start of April along the seafront, reminding people of the importance of social distancing and staying two metres apart.

number 30 - Thursday 16 April

6:10pm Thursday 16 April

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab MP said that there are indications that social distancing measures have been successful, but this is a mixed and inconsistent picture.  He went on to say that the infection rate is not down as far as we need. He said that any change to social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in infections and undo the progress that we’ve made.

Mr Raab also said that any early relaxation would do more damage to public health and economy in the long term.

Current measures to remain in place for at least another three weeks.

Mr Raab outlined five specific things need to be satisfied of before the government would consider relaxing the current restrictions and the evidence needs to show the following:

  1. That the NHS can continue to cope
  2. There needs to be a sustained fall in death rates
  3. There is reliable data that the rate of infection is decreasing
  4. Operational measures around things like PPE are in place
  5. We must be confident that adjustment to social distancing would not result in a second peak.

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Public toilets

Following the continued restrictions on movement, we’ll be closing the majority of public toilets in the city from tomorrow, Friday 17 April.

We have kept many toilets open as they are a vital facility for many vulnerable people in the city.

With fewer people now around and increasing difficulties in maintaining the safe use of many of the facilities for residents and the staff who look after them, most public toilets will now close. 

We will reopen them as soon as is appropriate. 

Holiday lets must stay shut

Despite the current Coronavirus lockdown, Trading Standards has reported that some people are ignoring government guidelines against non-essential travel and coming to Brighton & Hove to stay in pre-booked holiday accommodation.

Emergency legislation now in place states that accommodation providers must remain closed to guests until further notice. Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, even for isolation purposes and holiday property owners must not allow guests to stay.

If guests who have previously booked accommodation turn up, they should be sent home. They are not permitted, by law, to stay. Accommodation providers who flout the law are liable for prosecution and face unlimited fines. Read more on our website.

Coronavirus emergency grants for community groups

Grants totalling more than £33,000 are being made to ten local community groups from the council’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency fund.

The fund was set up to help community and voluntary organisations in Brighton & Hove who are supporting the city’s most vulnerable residents.

A variety of projects will benefit, ranging from a group providing vital support to autistic adults, to volunteers delivering craft packs to help with schooling at home.

The grants are part of the first round of funding – further applications are being considered and more grants will be made later this month.

Mayor to honour city Covid-19 Community Champions

The Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Alexandra Phillips, is calling on residents in the city to nominate people in their community who have gone above and beyond to help others during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Councillor Phillips says:

"It's been wonderful to see such incredible community spirit these last few weeks, with people rallying together to help each other during this crisis and making sure everyone in our city is cared for.  I've been particularly amazed and humbled by the speed at which Mutual Aid groups have multiplied and become more and more focussed, so that individual streets now have their own WhatsApp groups to ensure everyone on their street is looked after.  

"I would like to thank everyone for their efforts during this difficult time; those in the NHS putting their lives at risk to look after us all; council staff and those of other agencies keeping essential services running; shopkeepers and those in small businesses and third sector organisations supporting their local communities; and all those residents and volunteers working in their neighbourhoods to support those who need help in their community at this difficult time. You are all heroes.  

"Although impossible to honour everyone, I am calling on residents to nominate those people in their community who have gone above and beyond in the service of their community.  They can be absolutely anyone, but I'm especially interested in those people who may not otherwise be recognised and appreciated for what they are doing."

Nominations are being sought for anyone living or working in Brighton and Hove who has shown outstanding community spirit and dedication in the face of the Coronavirus crisis, and gone above and beyond to help their community with practical action which has made a direct and significant positive impact on the lives of others.

To nominate, please send a letter or email of no more than 250 words (no attachments) including the name of the person, contact details and what it is that the person is doing to merit the nomination. Self-nominations will not be accepted.

Nominations to be sent to mayorsoffice@brighton-hove.gov.uk or to the Civic Office, Brighton Town Hall, Bartholomew Square, Brighton BN1 1JA by the 1 May.

A panel of community leaders chaired by the Mayor will select the winners, whose names will be announced at Full Council on the 14 May (in whichever format the Council meeting takes place). A Community Champion certificate will be sent to the nominee. At a later date, a celebration will be held in the Mayor’s Parlour to thank the Champions for the contribution they have made to their community.

Primary school places

Nearly 88% of Brighton & Hove parents who applied for primary school places for this September have been offered their preferred school.

The council has been advised that the Government is proposing to make some changes to the school appeals process during this period of Coronavirus restrictions. 
 
If passed by Parliament, the new regulations will relax some of the current requirements regarding the holding of school admission appeals and will enable councils to proceed with their appeals. Further guidance is expected from the government shortly.

number 29 - Wednesday 15 April

7:40pm Wednesday 15 April

Latest news

At this evening’s Downing Street address, Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP began by thanking Captain Tom Moore for raising more than £7 million for NHS charities.

Mr Hancock said that, so far, everyone who has contracted coronavirus has had access to the best NHS care.  However, he said that we cannot let up of our efforts and that the shared sacrifice is starting to work.

His also announced next steps for adult social care to protect residents and staff:

  • All care home residents discharged from hospitals will be tested before going back to their care homes and that symptomatic residents will all be tested.
  • An increase in PPE being made available to staff
  • Introduction of a single ‘brand’ for adult social care to allow staff to identify themselves and to wear as a “badge of honour”.
  • Recruiting more people into adult social care
  • Introducing new procedures to give people the chance to say goodbye to dying loved ones.

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Three temporary mortuary sites announced today for Sussex

Three temporary mortuaries are to be installed in Sussex in the coming days to ensure those who die in the Covid-19 pandemic are treated with dignity and respect.

Supplied by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, four temporary units providing 300 spaces will be arriving tomorrow on the grounds of the University of Sussex in Falmer. 

This is in addition to storage facilities currently on site which are managed by Brighton & Sussex Medical School meaning capacity will increase to 430.

More units procured by the Sussex Resilience Forum (SRF) will arrive at Falmer next week to be used if needed.

The units will be discreetly situated in a space on the grounds and will be shielded from public sight as much as possible to ensure privacy and reduce distress.

The SRF has been coordinating the death management plans working with skilled and experienced coroners, mortuary teams, police, NHS partners, funeral directors and council staff across East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove.  

Councillor Daniel Yates, lead councillor for life events services at Brighton & Hove City Council said: “This is an incredibly difficult time for us all and I know staff across the county are making every effort to ensure temporary mortuaries will be installed with the greatest of care as part of the pan-Sussex response to Covid-19.

“We have a vital role in ensuring the public is kept safe and that the loss of loved ones is treated with the upmost respect.

“We are living in unprecedented times and my sincere hope is that there is no need to use this facility, but we need to plan ahead for the harsh realities we may face.

“I would also like to thank the University of Sussex for supporting us at this difficult time.”

Staff Covid-19 testing

A drive-through testing facility for Covid-19 has been set up at Gatwick Airport and slots have been allocated for Brighton & Hove City Council this week.

Testing is voluntary and is able to identity whether someone currently has Covid-19. If the test result is negative the person may be able to return to work earlier.

It is not an antibody test to identify if they have had or are immune to the virus.

Tests will be offered to:

  • staff who are currently absent with mild Covid-19 symptoms who work in nursing homes, care homes and in-home care
  • other essential staff who are self-isolating due to a member of their household having Covid-19 symptoms. The household member will be offered this test rather than staff member.

Staff must be able to drive or be driven by a household member to the testing facility and have developed symptoms within the past three to five days of testing.

We are contacting eligible staff this week and priority for testing will be given to services experiencing severe staff shortages.

The council is currently working with key partners on local testing for more staff. We will provide further information as this develops.

Support for homeless and people sleeping rough

Chair of the council’s housing committee, councillor Gill Williams has been writing about the support being offered to the homeless and people sleeping round in the city.

This includes how more than 170 people who had been sleeping rough have been moved into safe accommodation and how volunteers and partners delivered 600 meals a day over the East weekend.

Public dumping of PPE

We’ve had several reports and images shared with us about personal protective equipment being dumped on the streets of Brighton & Hove.

The council has been sharing images and social media messages, urging people to follow guidelines on the disposal of PPE.

For everyone's health and safety, and to help protect our staff, please dispose of gloves and masks at home.  They should be double bagged then kept for 72 hours before placing them in a rubbish bin.

Dropping PPE on the street is a littering offence and subject to a fine.

Wellbeing check-ins following hospital discharge

Practical and wellbeing support is being offered to all adults in the immediate days following discharge from BSUH hospitals who live in Brighton & Hove. Healthwatch Brighton & Hove volunteers will individually contact any adults or a family member/carer over the phone within 24 hours of leaving hospital.

They will explore if there is anything outstanding linked to the hospital discharge that needs to be followed up. If required, they can also connect residents to community, voluntary and private sector services that might benefit their wellbeing.

Community advice and support hub – now available in BSL

Vulnerable people can get additional COVID-19 related support including emergency food bank referrals, shopping and medicine collection from the community advice and support hub.

Information is now also available in British Sign Language, through SignLive to ensure Deaf/deaf community members know what support is available.

If you, or someone you know needs support to get essential supplies like food or medication and you don't have family, friends or a support/care worker to help you, go to: new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus-help

If you have no way of getting online and no one to help you, call 01273 293117, and press option 2

If you need information about changes to existing council services because of the COVID-19 situation, search for the relevant service on the council website, or visit: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus

number 28 - Tuesday 14 April

5:45pm Tuesday 14 April

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, Chancellor Rishi Sunak spoke about “tough times” for the UK economy and that the UK’s strategy is not about choosing “wealth over health”.

He also said the measures the government has put in place is aiming to mitigate the economic impact of the virus and talked about “bouncing back” and recovering quickly and strongly.

The advice for the public around social distancing remains unchanged.

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Celebrating the lives of loved ones

Daniel Yates, lead councillor for life events services, has spoken about how many of us are unable to spend time with loved ones who are ill and dying and some of the harsh realities of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Councillor Yates has also offered hope, suggesting some alternative ways in which we can mourn and remember those who have died.

Business grants

We are distributing government funded, small business grants. Payments have now been made to over 1,300 local businesses. 

We are asking eligible businesses, whose bank account details we don’t already hold, to contact us through a secure portal on our website so that we can make payments to them as soon as possible. 

More information on support for small businesses

Council pledges £30,000 for food appeal

A community appeal to raise money to provide food for vulnerable and isolated people in Brighton & Hove during the Coronavirus crisis topped £30,000 in just 21 days. 

The council is matching the sum and contributing an additional £30,000 to the appeal.

We are working with the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership to support more than 50 local community volunteer groups across the city providing food parcels and meals to residents struggling to get food.

You can read more on our website.

Scam warning

The council has seen several reports of residents receiving phishing emails over the last few days asking for personal information, including bank account numbers and details.

We do not send e-mails asking for bank details or offering to pay credits to accounts that we don’t already hold the details of. 

For information about council tax reductions, visit our website.

Brighton & Hove Buses accepting exact cash fares only

Brighton & Hove Buses are introducing new measures to reduce contact with drivers and the spread of coronavirus.

From tomorrow Wednesday 15 April, they will only be accepting exact fares from passengers paying with cash.  Drivers will not be able to provide change at this time.

Passengers are being encouraged to pay with contactless, mobile app, key cards and scratch cards where possible.

Please only travel if absolutely necessary and you do not have symptoms of coronavirus.

BTN BikeShare cleaning

The cleaning of BTN BikeShare bikes in Brighton & Hove is being significantly increased to help minimise any possible spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Following advice from the city’s public health team and having been trialled over the Easter weekend, a team will be working on the scheme’s five busiest days of the week to support the regular cleaning, disinfecting, tidying and lubricating of the scheme’s 600 bikes at all 69 hubs in the city.  This is in addition to the existing cleaning and maintenance.

The team is made up of cycle trainers and staff from NSL.

Priority will be given to the busiest hubs and at least three temporary hubs set up to support NHS workers using BTN BikeShare during the pandemic.  Teams will pay particular attention to the bikes’ contact points, including the handlebars and grips, saddle, keypad and u-bar lock.

Customers are also being encouraged to wear appropriate gloves if they wish to, avoid touching their faces or eyes while riding, and to wash their hands thoroughly before and after use.  Riders should practice social distancing from pedestrians and others on shared routes and cycle lanes.

Signs in parks and along the seafront

Signs have been painted at various locations along the seafront and in our parks to encourage residents to follow guidelines on social distancing.

The stencils show the two metre gap people should adhere to when passing each other during their daily exercise.

 

NSL supporting hot meal delivery

Brighton & Hove City Council’s parking enforcement contractor, NSL, is working to support vulnerable residents during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

From today (Tuesday 14 April), the company is providing four vehicles with drivers to deliver hot meals and meal boxes from the Holland Road Baptist Church to people in emergency housing across the city.

The move is a further demonstration of partners working together to support our community.

Community advice and support hub

Vulnerable people can get additional COVID-19 related support for emergency food bank referrals, shopping and medicine collection from the community advice and support hub.

  • If you, or someone you know needs support to get essential supplies and you don't have family, friends or a care worker to help you, go to: new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus-help
  • If you have no way of getting online and no one to help you, call 01273 293117, and press option 2
  • If you need information about changes to existing council services because of the COVID-19 situation, search for the relevant service on the council website, or visit: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus

number 27 - Thursday 9 April

6.20pm Thursday 9 April

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab thanked everyone who has been working so hard in this challenging time.  He also thanked those members of the public who have been following the social distancing guidelines and restrictions.

Mr Raab said that while everyone has made sacrifices, it’s too early to lift any of the restrictions and a further update on this will be given at the end of next week.

Everyone should:

Stay at home

Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)

Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people

Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Please stay away from Brighton & Hove this Easter

Council leader Nancy Platts has again urged people to stay away from Brighton & Hove this Easter weekend.

In order to protect our NHS and those working so hard on our behalf. councillor Platts says people should not be making the trip to the coast, meeting up with friends, sunbathing, taking a dip in the sea or having picnics in local parks.

You can read the council leader’s full address on our webpage.

Food

The Brighton & Hove Food Partnership have now reached their crowdfunding target of £30,000.

We would like to thank everyone that has donated to the campaign to support food banks in the city, your donations make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people in the city.

Please visit Brighton & Hove Food Partnership's website for more ways you can get involved.

Even though the partnership has reached the target they set, donations are still needed to continue to support those in need.

Support for the homeless

We’ve secured two more hotels to provide safe accommodation for people sleeping rough, and will start moving people in straightaway.

We’ve helped around 140 people move off the streets into safe accommodation and are providing food and support to them all.

With new cases, we still anticipate there are around 50 more people in need of somewhere safe to stay in the city.

Our outreach service St Mungo’s will continue work over the weekend to help everyone sleeping rough move into the safe accommodation we have available.

St Mungo’s are working with Arch Healthcare to make sure everyone is checked for symptoms before allocating them an appropriate place to stay.

Volunteers co-ordinated by the council with support from St Mungo’s, The Passage and Galvanise are continuing to give out food and water to anyone still on the streets.

If you see anyone rough sleeping, please contact our street outreach service by emailing BrightonSOS@mungos.org.

We are also working closely with people living in vans in the city to make sure they have the support they need to keep themselves safe. We are regular communication with the groups we know to checked their support needs and are monitoring all new groups coming in to the city. 

Safeguarding children

In these unusual times it’s even more important that as a city we work together to ensure that children are safe. If you see or hear something that worries you – please say something!

Please call the council’s Front Door for Families on 01273 290400 if you are worried that a child may be at risk or in need of support. In an emergency call 999.

Read more from councillor John Allcock about the pressure families are under at this difficult time and how safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.

Helpline for worried parents

Do you have a child or young person who was at school in Brighton & Hove before the schools were shut down?

If you have any concerns about their emotional mental health and wellbeing, you are invited to talk to a primary mental health worker from our schools wellbeing service.

Telephone consultations are available while schools are closed. Please:

email SWSConsultationLine@brighton-hove.gov.uk or

phone 01273 293 481.

You will need to send / leave us your name and phone number, and a mental health worker will call you back.

While we aim to call back within two days, please be aware we may have a high demand.  So, your patience is appreciated.

This is not a crisis service. If you require immediate support you need to contact your GP, call CAMHS duty care on 03003 040 061 or go direct to A&E.

You can also visit findgetgive.com for more information about mental health and wellbeing, as well as advice and services for young people and parents / carers.

Support for small businesses

We are currently working to support small businesses eligible for grants and retail relief.   This includes cancelling the direct debits and contacting those businesses to ensure they don’t pay business rates for the next 12 months.

This amounts to £68 million of rates that local businesses will not have to pay and is a significant contribution from the council in providing direct support for businesses.

You can read more information on our webpage.

We are also keeping in close contact with the Brilliant Brighton Business Improvement District (BID)

The BID is funded by local businesses and plays an important role in the city centre. We are working with them to help resolve some of the economic pressures that they are facing because of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Bonfires

We are again asking residents not to light bonfires and wood burning stoves.

With the recent improvement to the weather and residents following guidance on staying at home, there may be a temptation for people to burn garden waste.

Please don’t.

Many people are concerned that extra smoke generated by wood burners, log fires and bonfires may be making things worse for people who already have health problems.

Respect the roads

Brighton & Hove City Council is asking motorists making essential journeys to respect the roads and drive responsibly this Easter Weekend.

While there are fewer vehicles on the roads at the moment, some local authorities have reported a rise in speeding or other antisocial driving.  We want to remind motorists that Brighton & Hove does have citywide 20mph speed restrictions and that Sussex Police carry out enforcement where necessary.

With more people choosing to cycle, jog or take short walks with their families as part of their daily exercise routine, speeding increases the risks of a collision.

Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee Anne Pissaridou said: “I am asking all motorists who have to go out and make essential journeys to please drive responsibly.”

“At such an important time, we need to protect our NHS and that means doing all we can to reduce the chances of collisions that would put extra strain on our emergency services.

“I’m pleased that most people are listening to the instruction to stay at home, but for those that have to travel I would ask they respect the roads and each other.”

Request help for the most vulnerable people

Vulnerable people can continue to get additional COVID-19 related support emergency food bank referrals, shopping and medicine collection from the community advice and support hub online.

If you, or someone you know needs support to get essential supplies like food or medication and you don't have family, friends or a support/care worker to help you, go to: new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus-help

City Briefing: Easter weekend

There will be no City Briefing sent out on Good Friday through to Easter Monday. After tomorrow’s briefing, the next issue will be produced on Tuesday 14 April. Council teams will continue working over the weekend and updates will be shared after the bank holidays. If there is an emergency situation then a briefing will be sent out in response.

number 26 - Wednesday 8 April

6:45pm Wednesday 8 April

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor, announced £750m of funding for frontline charities.

Angela McLean, chief scientific adviser at the Ministry of Defence, said new UK cases of the virus are "not accelerating out of control".

The emphasis continues to be on the need to stay at home and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. These actions slow the opportunities for the virus to be passed from person to person and this saves lives.

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Look after your wellbeing

Cllr Clare Moonan, Chair of Health and Wellbeing Board, has today talked about the importance of looking after mental and physical health during this difficult time.

Find out more in our newsroom

Working hard to keep the city clean

Cllr Anne Pissaridou, Chair of Environment, Transport & Sustainability, has thanked Cityclean staff for the job they're doing keeping collections going in very difficult circumstances.

Find out more in our newsroom

Youth services in the city

More than 30 youth groups and organisations across Brighton & Hove are continuing to offer services to support young people through the Coronavirus crisis.

More information on our website

Appeal for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donations

We continue to ask for PPE donations. Thank you for the contributions received already.

While we are doing everything we can to source additional supplies on top of the stock being provided nationally, we’re calling for help from local businesses such as tattoo parlours, health and beauty salons, construction, schools and colleges.

We’re looking for fluid replant masks, protective eye goggles, disposable latex gloves, and plastic aprons.

Donations can be taken direct to Hove Town Hall where our PPE distribution team will see that it gets to front-line staff. Please drop off donations between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday.

Thank you in advance for any suitable equipment you can give and please remember to maintain the 2 metre social distancing guidelines.  We will not be able to accept any homemade equipment.

Here is more information about what we’re looking for (this information is also available on our website):

 

Type of PPE

Description

Examination Gloves

  • Nitrile
  • Latex
  • Vinyl
  • Specialist Gloves

Surgical Face Masks

(Type IIR)

  • Surgical Type IIR face mask with loops/ties, no visor, no anti-fog strip
  • Surgical Type IIR face mask with loops/ties with no visor and anti-fogging strip
  • Surgical Type IIR face mask with loops/ties, with visor, with anti-fogging strip

Respirator Masks

  • FFP2 unvalved
  • FFP2 valved
  • FFP3 unvalved
  • FFP3 valved

Eye Protection

  • Visors
  • Eye Shields
  • Safety glasses

Gowns

  • Sterile gowns.
  • Non-sterile gowns – sometimes referred to as Isolation gowns.
  • Thumb-looped aprons.

Protective Coveralls

  • Coveralls
  • Protective Suits

Hand Sanitiser/Gel

  • Alcohol must be the active ingredient in all hand disinfectants, with an alcohol concentration of 70%

 

Planning Service update

Updated information about how we’re running our Planning Service during the COVID-19 pandemic has been posted on our website. This includes details about pre-application advice, Planning Performance Agreements and new applications.

We are also proposing to postpone the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) on planning permissions granted on and from 1 June to 5 October 2020. A final decision on the postponement, which has been recommended by planning officers, is anticipated to be taken at a meeting of the council in May. 

However, for now, the Planning Service is continuing with preparations to implement CIL. Reports are scheduled for committee during late April and May. Full council will then have to approve the adoption of the charging schedule and changes to the council’s constitution.

Details are on the CIL section of our website.

How are people are receiving coronavirus information?

Residents are being asked to share their experiences of how they receive and use information about public health and NHS services.

People are being encouraged to fill in a short online survey which is being promoted by Brighton & Hove CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group). The survey closes this Sunday, 12 April.

The aim is to find out where people are getting information from and whether people are

linked in to community support.  

Request help for the most vulnerable people

Vulnerable people across the city are being supported with emergency food bank referrals, shopping and medicine collection, as well as wellbeing and loneliness support.

You can get additional COVID-19 related support from the community advice and support hub.

  • If you, or someone you know needs support to get essential supplies like food or medication and you don't have family, friends or a support/care worker to help you, go to: new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus-help
  • If you have no way of getting online and no one to help you, you can call 01273 293117, and press option 2
  • If you need information about changes to existing council services because of the COVID-19 situation, please search for the relevant service on the council website, or visit: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus

City Briefing: Easter weekend

There will be no City Briefing sent out on Good Friday through to Easter Monday. After tomorrow’s briefing, the next issue will be produced on Tuesday 14 April. Council teams will continue working over the weekend and updates will be shared after the bank holidays. If there is an emergency situation then a briefing will be sent out in response.

number 25 - Tuesday 7 April

6:35pm Tuesday 7 April

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, Dominic Raab MP, Foreign Secretary, gave a brief update on the health of the Prime Minister, who is said to be in “good spirits” and receiving “excellent care”.

The Chief Scientific Officer Sir Patrick Vallance said that it’s “possible we are beginning to see the flattening of the curve” but that we won’t be able to tell for sure for at least another week.

The emphasis continues to be on the need to stay at home and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. These actions slow the opportunities for the virus to be passed from person to person and this saves lives.

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Woodvale Cemetery closure

The difficult decision has been taken to close the cemetery grounds at Woodvale Crematorium from tomorrow (Wednesday 8 April) in line with new government guidance for managing crematoria.

The guidance states crematoria must close to the public, except for funerals. This requirement also includes a cemetery if the crematorium is situated in the cemetery, which is the case at Woodvale.

We understand that this will be upsetting to those who wish to visit the graves of family and friends; but it’s important that we follow regulations on health protection at this difficult time.  Read more from councillor Daniel Yates.

Supporting the most vulnerable people

Council leader Nancy Platts has written about what is being done to support the most vulnerable people in our community with emergency food bank referrals, shopping and medicine collection, as well as wellbeing and loneliness support.

Get additional COVID-19 related support from the community advice and support hub

If you, or someone you know needs support to get essential supplies like food or medication and you don't have family, friends or a support/care worker to help you, go to: new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus-help and fill in the form with details of the help you need.

If you have no way of getting online and no one to help you, you can call 01273 293117, and press option 2 (please only call if you have no other option, leaving the phone lines free for those who really need it).

If you need information about changes to existing council services because of the COVID-19 situation, such as Parking, Bus Passes, Council Tax payments, or Business Rates, please search for the relevant service on the council website, or visit: www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus (please use the online forms to contact the service wherever you can as phone lines will be busy).  

Ongoing support for rough sleepers

We’re working with our outreach service, St Mungo’s, to provide toiletries and essentials for homeless people who are staying in hotel rooms during the pandemic. We are also making sure those who have not yet agreed to come inside have access to basic supplies while we’re working to bring them off the streets.

Essentials such as shampoo, soap bars and deodorant have been particularly appreciated. At present, items have been given out on a needs basis. The team is now working on preparing packages which will be distributed to 200 people each week. The weekly supplies include shampoo, deodorant, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste. Women’s packs also include sanitary products.

We’re working on expanding the offer in the weeks ahead to include hair conditioner, make-up, after shave and moisturiser. Donations are welcome. Items need to be new, unopened and within their use by date.

Contributions can be left at St Patrick’s Church side entrance, 1 Cambridge Road, Hove, between 3pm and 4pm, Monday to Friday. Please be careful to observe social distancing while dropping off items and aim to do so when on a planned essential trip out. If this is not practical for you or you would like to make a large donation please email the Commissioning.Team@brighton-hove.gov.uk with more information and to discuss options.

Cllr Gillian Williams, chair of housing committee, said: “There has been a hugely generous response from individuals, businesses and organisations across the city. We’d like to say a heartfelt thank you for all the donations which have been very much appreciated. This makes such a big difference to people with so little of their own and can help restore feelings of dignity and self-worth. Thank you to everyone for reaching out and showing such kindness.”

We’re also looking at making people’s stay as comfortable as possible while they follow the government’s stay at home guidelines. We’ve been working with organisations across the city to seek donations of devices such as internet enabled tablets, televisions, games consoles and radios. If you can donate an item, please email hello@galvanisebh.org and a collection will be arranged from you to the St Mungo's team.

All those in need are also being provided with meals through the day.

The accommodation and support is being provided for people who are local to Brighton & Hove. We are managing the numbers involved and working closely with partners to meet people’s individual needs. It is possible that the number of people facing hardship and homelessness could rise during the weeks and months ahead, we are looking at how best to manage any rise in local demand.

The government has stated that only essential trips should be made at this time. People should not be coming to Brighton & Hove to seek accommodation. We will have to reconnect people to their local services if they are not from Brighton & Hove.

Returning rehabilitation equipment

People in Brighton & Hove who are no longer using six key items of specialist rehabilitation equipment are being asked to return them as soon as possible to help the NHS during the Coronavirus crisis.

  • The six items are:
  • Specialist hospital-style beds
  • Mattresses
  • Hoists
  • Electric reclining chairs
  • Perching stools
  • Commodes.

To arrange a collection please phone NRS Healthcare on 01273 894350 or email enquiries@brightonandhove.nrs.uk.net 

NRS Healthcare runs the city’s specialist rehab equipment service on behalf of the council and the local NHS. 

Councillor Clare Moonan, chair of the city’s health and wellbeing board, said: “We need the public to support us by returning these vital pieces of equipment if they are no longer using them. 

“We desperately need these items for people coming out of hospital.”

All collection drivers will be using appropriate personal protective equipment and will follow strict social distancing measures.

For example, some items can be left outside your front door on the day of collection.

Spare freezer space

Together with our partners, the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, we are working with 60 local community groups across the city to providing food support to those that need it most.

As part of this effort, our partner organisations are asking for more freezer space to store food for individuals in need, as well as food banks.Both chest and industrial freezers are needed by organisations, with a preference for those being contributed by the catering trade.

If you can help with this request, please get in contact with East Brighton Food Coop by emailing janet@eastbrightonfoodcoop.uk or calling 07866027719.

New parking permits

Residents in Brighton & Hove wishing to apply for new parking permits are now able to do so online.

In order to follow guidance on social distancing, we’ve removed the requirement for residents to come to Hove Town Hall for new permit applications.  The online process for renewing a permit remains unchanged.

More information on resident parking permits can be found on our website.

Highway maintenance

During this period, we have continued to maintain the city’s highway network as usual, ensuring all necessary inspections are taking place and repairs completed in a timely way.

We are working with utility companies and developers to carry out essential works on the network, prioritising safety defects and preparing sites for a programme of resurfacing works. Although the winter season has now ended, we are still delivering our winter service over the coming weeks to ensure further cold spells are covered and roads remain safe to use.

To ensure the safety of staff and the public we are adhering to government advice and have adjusted our working practices accordingly; all staff are following social distancing guidelines and we have introduced new processes to limit the amount of contact staff have with one another.

How to request help online if you need it

Any vulnerable residents with no other support can tell us directly if they need help during the coronavirus pandemic by filling in an easy to use form for themselves, or on behalf of someone else.

The form asks for details of residents who do not have support in place from family, friends or carers and need additional help with shopping, collecting medicines, emergency foodbank referrals or support to maintain their wellbeing. The information is treated in strictest confidence and used to help people as quickly as possible.

Our telephone switchboard is running on a reduced service and we ask people not to call the usual number. We encourage everyone who can use the online form if you can, so we can keep phone lines free for those with no alternative.

number 24 - Monday 6 April

7:25pm Monday 6 April

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, Dominic Raab MP, Foreign Secretary, spoke about the government’s efforts to bring people back to the UK from around the world.

He also said that the Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in hospital.

Professor Angela McLean, chief scientific adviser for the Ministry of Defence, explained efforts to stay at home are making a difference and should be continued.

The emphasis continues to be on the need to stay at home and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. These actions slow the opportunities for the virus to be passed from person to person and this saves lives.

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Appeal for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donations

Cllr Clare Moonan, chair of Health and Wellbeing board, today repeated calls for donations of unused PPE to help support our care workers and other frontline staff.

While we are doing everything we can to source additional supplies on top of the stock being provided nationally, we’re calling for help from local businesses such as tattoo parlours, health and beauty salons, construction, schools and colleges.

We’re looking for fluid replant masks, protective eye goggles, disposable latex gloves, and plastic aprons.

Donations can be taken direct to Hove Town Hall where our PPE distribution team will see that it gets to front-line staff. Please drop off donations between 7am and 7pm Monday to Friday.

Thank you in advance for any suitable equipment you can give and please remember to maintain the 2 metre social distancing guidelines. We will not be able to accept any homemade equipment.

Read more on our council newsroom.

Homeless accommodation update

Following the securing of more accommodation to provide people sleeping rough with a safe place to stay, our outreach service St Mungo’s has been out in the city contacting people to help them move off the streets.

St Mungo’s are working with Arch Healthcare to make sure everyone being accommodated is checked for symptoms before allocating them an appropriate place to stay.

Volunteers co-ordinated by the council with support from St Mungo’s, The Passage and Galvanise are also going out delivering more than 200 parcels of sandwiches and water every day for anyone still on the streets.

As of this morning, we’ve helped around 90 people move off the streets and anticipate there are currently around 50 more in need of accommodation. Food and support is being provided for everyone accommodated.

We’re now prioritising efforts on getting all those people into safe accommodation. We are doing all we can to encourage people to take up this offer, but we cannot make anyone stay in a hotel.

The Streetlink service is currently very busy, so please contact St Mungo’s directly this week if you see anyone sleeping rough – email BrightonSOS@mungos.org.

We’re still working on providing more accommodation available to increase and improve the support on offer. We hope to secure these extra rooms in the next few days.

This information is also available online in a comment by Cllr Gillian Williams, Chair of Housing committee.

Food update

Brighton & Hove Food Partnership has now achieved 90% of their crowdfunding target of £30,000 to raise money to bulk buy food and other essential items for food banks in the city.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the campaign so far. The money raised is making a real difference to people's lives in the city. To donate to this campaign and help them reach their goal, please visit their crowdfunding campaign website.

In a separate initiative, Brighton & Hove NHS Foodbank is raising money to support NHS workers in the city. The money raised will go towards food deliveries for NHS workers in the city. For more information on this crowdfunding effort by the local community group, visit their crowdfunding page.

We have a new section within our Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pages on the council website, informing residents about our food distribution efforts in the city. This page will be updated with any new information so please promote the link to people who need it.

Youth activities during the pandemic

If you’re a young person or know a young person seeking to break the boredom, connect with other teens or discuss more serious issues with someone, have a look at the support available while staying well and safe at home.

There are many services, clubs and activities for young people aged 11 years and older running in the city which have been adapted to meet the current restrictions to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. Check out the new directory which shows what’s available.

Across the city, the service offer for young people has been adapted in light of the social distancing guidance which is designed to slow the spread of the virus and keep everyone of all ages as safe as possible.

The new directory has been brought together by Brighton & Hove City Council, local charities, community groups and businesses.

Message from Brighton & Hove Buses

We’ve been contacted by Brighton & Hove Buses with a message for residents about bus services:

At Brighton & Hove Buses we are working hard alongside the council to maintain a comprehensive bus service network for those who heavily rely on buses to travel around the city.

In a recent announcement, £167m of funding for the nation’s bus industry was made available to help keep core service levels going for as long as possible and will ensure no bus has more than 50% of the maximum number of passengers allowed on board.

We are responding with extra buses (and/or extra journeys being added to the timetables) where needed. Concessionary passes for older people and disabled people can be used at any time.

Information displayed on buses and audio announcements encourage passengers to sit well apart and stand back from the driver to help maintain social distancing.

Driver’s cabs are being given added protection to complement their PPE. There’s also a big push to discourage cash transactions. Passengers are being asked to pay by contactless or mobile phone rather than cash, if possible, to reduce contact. If you can only pay by cash, please make sure you have the right change and put your money in the clear plastic bag the driver will offer to avoid direct contact. If you have any alternative to cash payment, please use it for the safety of all.

Cleaning of buses has been stepped up (in addition to the current standard of cleaning) with increased wipe downs of all surfaces and the introduction of cleaning products used in hospitals. Today sees this improved further with cleaning during the day in the city centre, while still observing strict social distancing rules.

The crisis has had an impact on the number of staff able to work right now. A number of people have been furloughed to protect jobs. We’re doing all we can to keep core service operating and will continue to do so.

To find information on journey times please click on this link for bus information.

The council is playing a big part in maintaining the security of the city’s public transport through the crisis underlining the spirit of collaboration needed to meet the unprecedented scale of the challenges to buses and other services.

Brighton & Hove buses main website.

Cleaning of communal areas in council properties

Communal areas in council blocks are being cleaned regularly to protect tenants from the spread of Covid-19. A revised cleaning schedule has been put in place with a focus on “touch points” such as lift buttons, door handles and handrails.

Staff are being sent out teams of two to meet social distancing guidelines while carrying out the cleaning. Advice has been provided to staff on how to protect themselves and others. For example, avoiding cross contamination from one block to the next by discarding gloves after finishing a building and using a new pair when entering a new block.

This service will be kept under constant review.

How to request help online if you need it

Any vulnerable residents with no other support can tell us directly if they need help during the coronavirus pandemic by filling in an easy to use form for themselves, or on behalf of someone else.

The form asks for details of residents who do not have support in place from family, friends or carers and need additional help with shopping, collecting medicines, emergency foodbank referrals or support to maintain their wellbeing. The information is treated in strictest confidence and used to help people as quickly as possible.

Our telephone switchboard is running on a reduced service and we ask people not to call the usual number. We encourage everyone who can use the online form if you can, so we can keep phone lines free for those with no alternative.

number 23 - Friday 3 April

8pm Friday 3 April

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP said it is vitally important to follow government advice to prevent the spread of the virus, stating these are not requests but instructions.

He said: “The only way to protect yourselves and others now is to stay at home… We’re set for a warm weekend in some parts of the country, but the disease is still spreading. And we absolutely cannot afford to relax the social distancing measures that we have in place, we cannot relax our discipline now. If we do, people will die”.

The Health secretary also announced that the capacity in the NHS is being expanded. He said people also need to stay at home to give the time needed to build more capacity in the NHS.

The emphasis continues to be on the need to stay at home and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. These actions slow the opportunities for the virus to be passed from person to person and this saves lives.

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Do not visit Brighton & Hove

Today Cllr Nancy Platts, leader of the council, repeated the call for visitors to stay away from the city during the pandemic.

Open spaces remain open for residents to use on their daily exercise. It is essential to follow social distancing guidance to reduce the spread of the virus.

There are also ways to enjoy the city from a distance as a virtual visitor. We can all do this to celebrate Brighton & Hove will staying safe at home whenever possible.

Read more on our website.

Homeless accommodation update

All rough sleepers who need a place to stay safe from coronavirus now have somewhere to go. Today a second hotel has been arranged providing a further 51 separate rooms with en suite facilities.

Together with the spaces already arranged at the YHA, this now provides enough places for all in need. We are making sure appropriate provision is made for anyone who has symptoms to be able to self isolate. The accommodation available also means those without symptoms have somewhere where they can follow the stay at home and social distancing guidelines to keep them as safe as possible away from the virus. Everyone in the accommodation is being given food and support at this time. Again, food and support will be provided.

Our outreach service, St Mungo’s and Arch Healthcare are working together to make sure everyone being given a room is checked for symptoms before accommodation is allocated.

Outreach workers are out now letting people know the rooms are available and food will be provided. We are doing all we can to encourage people to take up this offer, but we cannot make anyone stay in a hotel.

Cllr Gill Williams, chair of housing committee, said: “I’m very grateful to everyone who has worked tirelessly to help make this accommodation available to protect some of our most vulnerable residents. We now can make sure everyone in need can be inside this weekend. We will also be offering ongoing support over the weeks and months ahead.”

If you are concerned about someone who is rough sleeping, contact Streetlink with the details and the information will be passed on to an outreach worker who will make sure the person concerned knows there is somewhere safe to stay. You can contact StreetLink online at www.streetlink.org.uk or by calling 03005 000 914. If you think the person needs urgent medical care or they're under 18 years of age, you should call 999.

Almost all the rooms being made available have televisions and we’re looking at making sure everyone has access to a television or device that can show broadcast programmes as soon as possible. Local campaign group Galvanise continues to collect donations of kindles, hand held game console or similar to help ease the extreme isolation faced by anyone who is being asked to make this move. Our outreach service, St Mungo’s, will distribute the electronics to people in need over the weeks and months ahead. If you can donate an item, please email hello@galvanisebh.org and a collection will be arranged from you to the St Mungo's team.

We will continue to work with partners to provide suitable accommodation for all those who are rough sleeping in the city and those who are in shared accommodation who need separate space to stay safe during the pandemic. Additional spaces are being looked into

in case more people are in need or we have to change plans at a later point in the pandemic.

This information is also on our newsroom.

Housing benefit

As part of its response to COVID-19, the government announced they're making welfare benefits changes to support economically vulnerable people and households in the local area.

We've updated our Housing Benefits webpages with information on the changes and the financial support for private tenants.

Food update

Today we have created a new page for residents who need support and advice about food, this includes information on how to ask for help.

The new page is a one stop shop for all relevant information and will make it easier to find support or innovative ways to shop and eat.

We also have a call to volunteer, donate surplus food supplies or contribute to the crowdfunding campaign to raise money to support local food banks for our partners at Brighton & Hove Food Partnership.

Councillor Anne Pissaridou has today praised the community, partner organisations and everyone in the council involved with supporting those in need of food during these uncertain times. Read more here.

Councillor Pissaridou explains about the emergency food distribution system that has been set up with the help from our partners at Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. This is reliant on both volunteers and donations to run smoothly. It is a testament to the generosity of the city.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is vital in the council’s response against COVID-19 as well as continuing to provide other crucial services.

We know there’s widespread concern about whether there is enough PPE for all workers who need it according to the revised PPE guidance from Public Health England which were published Thursday 2 April.

The council is actively working to ensure that our staff who need PPE are properly protected and continue to have access to supplies. The safety and protection of our staff, many who are working with our most vulnerable residents, is our number one priority.

A new national scheme by private sector company Clipper will be distributing national PPE stock to Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered care providers; places like residential care homes. We’re told that deliveries will begin from Tuesday 7 April and care providers have been asked to register via email.

We’re also procuring additional PPE stock and have established a new PPE distribution team by deploying staff from elsewhere in the council. They’re based in Hove Town Hall and a new triaging team is also now being put in place to handle requests for stock.

Please donate your PPE and help support our frontline staff

Alongside orders being made through the national supply chain, we are now also contacting bodies and organisations across the city who might be able to donate their no longer needed and unused PPE.

We have contacted all schools asking for donations of masks, goggles, gloves and aprons and we’ll also be contacting the construction industry to ask for their help.

Businesses like hairdressers and tattooists may also be able to help us. Anyone or any business in the city with PPE, such as fluid resistant masks, latex gloves, protective eye wear, and disposable plastic aprons, can bring their donations to Hove Town Hall from 9am Monday 6 April. Please leave you donations in the lobby area as the main reception is closed. There will be sign indicating where donations can be left.

Thank you in advance for any suitable equipment you can give and please remember to maintain the 2 metre social distancing guidelines. We will not be able to accept any homemade equipment.

A new section on PPE has been developed on our website to provide information and advice to council staff and stakeholders. This is now being reviewed and updated in line with the changed national guidance, and from next week will feature an FAQ.

Organisations who are concerned about the supply of PPE can contact a national helpline:

The National Supply Disruption line

Telephone: 0800 915 9964

Email: supplydisruptionservice@nhsbsa.nhs.uk

Childcare provision during the Easter Holidays

Today is the last day of a most unusual school term. Since Monday 23 March, nurseries, childminders and schools have been providing childcare for children of critical key workers and vulnerable children (such as those with a social worker and children with Education Health and Care Plans).

Most children have not been attending their usual school or childcare for almost two weeks.

In accordance with government guidance, the majority children are being kept at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Childcare will continue for eligible children who need it during the Easter holidays, which run from Monday 6 April until Friday 17 April.

The council’s Family, Children and Learning team has been co-ordinating with providers across the city. All providers have been flexible and done everything possible to care for children who still need to go to schools, nurseries or childminders. The professional and dedicated way in which monumental change has been implemented is widely acknowledged.

About 530 children are currently attending schools. This is 1.7 per cent of the usual school population. Almost all schools have managed to stay open despite pressures on staffing. Where it hasn’t been possible to stay open, local schools have co-operated together to make sure pupils have a place nearby.

There are also 40 early years providers offering care to eligible children and this is about a third of the usual number. All council run nurseries are open and this will continue during the Easter holidays, including one that is usually term time only.

We have researched the level of interest in childcare over the Bank Holiday Easter weekend. Take up of this offer is low but we are ready to respond if anyone eligible for care needs support.

Schools, nurseries and childminders have been contacting families directly about the arrangements available.

Families with queries about their childcare options over the Easter break should speak to their own school, nursery or childminder in the first instance.

Eligible families can contact the Family Information Service if they need help to find childcare for a child of any age over the Easter holidays.

Families can contact FIS by email: familyinfo@brighton-hove.gov.uk or phone 01273 293 545 and leave a message.

GCSE, AS and A-Level awarding Summer 2020

The Department for Education has today released information for schools, students and parents on how qualifications will be graded and awarded in summer 2020.

Results days are expected to be earlier than the original August dates, although details have not been confirmed.

Our Education and Skills team will be looking at this new guidance and working with schools and colleges over the coming days to understand the implications. More information to follow as soon as it is available.

BTN BikeShare free for NHS workers

BTN BikeShare is being made available for free to NHS staff working in Brighton & Hove during the coronavirus pandemic.

Annual memberships, which include 30 minutes of free travel and no unlock fees, are also being offered to care contractor staff working for Brighton & Hove City Council. These key workers offer support and care to some of the vulnerable people living in the city.

Eligible NHS workers should contact their site travel coordinator for information on how to take up this offer. Care contractor staff working for Brighton & Hove City Council should contact their company travel coordinator.

Chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, Anne Pissaridou said: “I’m pleased we’ve been able to put this offer together for NHS workers during this crucial period.”

“We are living in unprecedented times and it’s vital we support our NHS staff however we can. This offer will allow them free access to BTN BikeShare at a time when their role has never been so important.

“Being able to extend this offer to home care staff working for the council will also support those helping to care for some of our most vulnerable residents at this difficult time.”

Extra hygiene measures are also being introduced to BTN BikeShare with extra cleaning of bikes and new signage to remind users to wipe down bikes before and after use.

More information about BTN BikeShare can be found on their website.

This update is also available on our newsroom.

Surge capacity and field hospitals

NHS England and military planners at regional level are currently scoping the requirement for additional hospital capacity, over and above that already secured. Currently, no decision has been made on any potential sites in Sussex, but the assessment teams continue to review their best options to meet the expected demand over the coming weeks.

How to request help online if you need it

This is a reminder that extremely vulnerable residents with no other support can now tell us directly if they need help during the coronavirus pandemic by filling in an easy to use form on our website. People can also fill in the form for someone they know who is in this situation and can’t get online themselves.

The form asks for details of who needs help and what support is required. The information is treated in strictest confidence and used to help people as quickly as possible.

The telephone switchboard is running on a reduced service and we ask people not to call the usual number. We encourage everyone who can use the online forms to do so to keep the lines free for those who have no alternative.

Government advice leaflet

The Cabinet Office has today shared a copy of the government advice leaflet being sent in paper form to all UK residents. We’re told it should begin landing on doorsteps from today.

number 22 - Thursday 2 April

6.45pm Thursday 2 April

Latest update

Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP spoke at this evening’s Downing Street address.

He committed to an increase in the number of people who will be tested and set a goal of 100,000 tests per day by the end of April.

The emphasis continues to be on the need to stay at home and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. These actions slow the opportunities for the virus to be passed from person to person and this saves lives.

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Praise for local shops and businesses

Councillor Nancy Platts, leader of the council, has praised local shops and businesses as they rise to the challenge of safely serving Brighton & Hove through the pandemic.

Read more on our website

Thank you to our city’s community, voluntary and faith groups

Cllr Amanda Grimshaw, lead councillor for equalities, has thanked community, voluntary and faith groups for their work around the city.

Read the full letter on our website

How to request help online if you need it

From today extremely vulnerable residents with no other support can tell us directly if they need help during the coronavirus pandemic by filling in an easy to use form on our website. People can also fill in the form for someone they know who is in this situation and can’t get online themselves.

The form asks for details of who needs help and what support is required. The information is treated in strictest confidence and used to help people as quickly as possible.

The telephone switchboard is running on a reduced service and we ask people not to call the usual number. We encourage everyone who can use the online forms to do so to keep the lines free for those who have no alternative.

Council tax reduction scheme

More information is now available about council tax reductions available in Brighton & Hove.

Every working age household who receives a Council Tax Reduction in 2020/21 will receive an additional reduction to their council tax bill. This means they will either:

  • have nothing to pay
  • reduces their bill by a further £150

Any money left over will go to boost the discretionary funds that are being used to help households in hardship because of COVID-19.

More information is on our website

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

Ongoing tree works

You may see these signs on display near where our arboriculture team is out managing safety related tree works in parks.

The team is also lining up some Elm disease control felling. This is to protect our city’s historic National Elm Collection before Elm disease season starts in May.

We hope the signs will help explain to residents why the work is continuing.

Visiting cemeteries

We’re asking for people to only go to the city cemeteries to attend a funeral or visit a grave.

Since the government restrictions on movement were introduced, there has been a rise in the number of people using the cemetery grounds for outings, exercise and dog walking.

We’re asking people to please use other areas for these activities. The cemeteries are places for mourning and remembrance. People coming to mourn need to be able to do so in peace.

More information is on our website.

Staying safe while working at home

We now have a large number of staff working from home. People are carrying out their roles remotely in ways that are very different from the office-based environment.

A range of support for council staff has been added to council website, including a new section today about staying safe when working from home.

Craven Vale – support for staff

Following a trade union statement issued last night, we’ve been looking into the concerns raised by staff at Craven Vale with their union reps.

Craven Vale is a residential care home for older people in Brighton & Hove, providing community short term services and respite care.

Reassurance and advice was given right away in a statement from Cllr Clare Moonan, Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board.

In her statement last night Cllr Moonan said: “Our thanks go out to every member of staff working to protect all our residents. Our staff are hugely valued and are working incredibly hard in unprecedented conditions. We understand why they are very worried and concerned.

“We always want staff to raise any concerns with their managers so that where necessary immediate action can be taken. Throughout this crisis, advice and information has consistently been provided to all staff about best working practices and managers have communicated at length with their staff to reinforce that all concerns should be raised and discussed openly

“Staff at Craven Vale have access to all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) according to NHS guidance.  We are working through the Sussex Resilience Forum and NHS to source ongoing supplies.  If anyone has concerns, they should approach their manager as soon as possible.

“Social distancing measures are being implemented across all care homes and we are following national guidance on infection control.

“No issues have been raised with managers at Craven Vale but we will listen to any concerns raised by staff or the union representation carefully. We have no information at present about a second or third case of Covid-19 at Craven Vale.  There is only one confirmed case we are aware of and that person is being isolated within the centre.  It’s quite possible there may be other clients who may have some symptoms but nothing is confirmed at present. 

“Briefing meetings with staff are taking place today (Thursday) and the management team welcome staff raising issues with us. 

“We have offered a specific meeting with GMB and UNISON on the situation at Craven Vale and are flexible in making sure these meetings can take place at a time convenient with everyone.”

“However, we feel the level of testing available to the care home and home care settings is too low and we call on the government to address this immediately.

“Levels of PPE across the care setting should be increased to protect all residents and staff throughout the pandemic but we are concerned that there aren’t the suppliers to do this.

“We need to be able to support our care homes and home care services, who are supporting the most vulnerable in our community, failure to do this will only lead to increased admission to hospital.”

number 21 - Wednesday 1 April

6:15pm Wednesday 1 April

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, Business Secretary Alok Sharma MP spoke about the money which has been given to local authorities to go to local businesses and that some businesses have already started to receive grants.  He also provided more information about increases in testing.

Professor Yvonne Doyle also said that there had been a rise in motor vehicle traffic that was ‘concerning’ and again urged people to stay at home.

The emphasis continues to be on the need to stay at home and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. These actions slow the opportunities for the virus to be passed from person to person and this saves lives.

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

DoNotVisitBrighton

Councillor Alan Robins, chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee has spoken about the need for visitors to stay away from Brighton & Hove, but also highlighting the opportunities to be a ‘virtual visitor’ to the city.

Coast to Capital small business grants

Coast to Capital has set up a Backing Business Grants Fund of £2 million to help small businesses and social enterprises in the region. If you have a business in the city with a workforce of between five and 50 and have been trading for more than two years with a turnover of under £10 million you may be eligible for a grant of between £5,000 to £25,000. More information on how to apply.

Accommodation, food and support for rough sleepers

Councillor Gill Williams, chair of Housing, has written about what we’re currently doing to support rough sleepers and the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes securing 106 units for people who are sleeping rough with an aim of securing 219 more in the coming days.

Wood burning and bonfires

We are asking residents to think twice before using wood burning stoves and open fires, and to not start bonfires during the coronavirus crisis.

The chair of the council's Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee, Councillor Anne Pissaridou, said: “At a time when millions of people are being forced to stay at home, more people than ever are using their gardens for fresh air and exercise.

“And with the weather starting to improve people with and without gardens are opening their windows to get some welcome fresh air into their homes.

“I just think that most of our residents would rather not have a bonfire going on near to them in the current situation, and would rather not have to breathe in unnecessary smoke if they don't have to.

“We also need to be mindful that Coronavirus is a respiratory disease. A lot of people have concerns that the extra smoke generated by wood burners, log fires and bonfires may be making things worse for people who already have health problems.

“So during this time of national crisis we're just saying please think of others and try to avoid making things worse for them.”

Cityclean

The government has published advice on waste disposal for people with possible or confirmed coronavirus.

Personal waste, such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths, can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.  These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste.

This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.  Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

Read more about waste and recycling service changes.

New drug & alcohol support service

From 1 April 2020, drug and alcohol support services are being provided by The Brighton and Hove Recovery Service. They offer advice and support to adults, their families and carers of those struggling with alcohol or drug misuse. Provision was previously provided by Pavilions Drug & Alcohol Service.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions face-to-face sessions are not available but appointments and support will be provided on the phone or by their online team.

Find out more or access the service at:

Free School Meals

The government has introduced a national voucher scheme for free school meals. It applies for pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals.

Schools can order vouchers worth £15 per pupil per week from Edenred – the company running the scheme for the government. Schools then pass the vouchers on to eligible parents, who can redeem them in a number of supermarket chains.

We have written to all schools to let them know what they need to do.

We want as many local people as possible to benefit from this scheme. Parents who have not already applied for free school meals or who are not sure whether they qualify should visit the council’s school meals webpage or email freeschoolmeals@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

More information about the scheme is on the government website

Council Tax help  

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

number 20 - Tuesday 31 March

6:30pm Tuesday 31 March 

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, The Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove MP spoke about the measures being put in place to increase testing, raise numbers of staff on the frontline and provide more resources, such as oxygen and ventilators.

The emphasis continues to be on the need to stay at home and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. These actions slow the opportunities for the virus to be passed from person to person and this saves lives.

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Keeping the city moving within the restrictions
Councillor Anne Pissaridou, chair of Environment, Transport & Sustainability committee, has spoken about the importance of respecting those who are keeping our city moving.

Free School Meals update

The government has introduced a national voucher scheme for free school meals. It applies for pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals.

Starting today, schools can order vouchers worth £15 per pupil per week from Edenred – the company running the scheme for the government. Schools then pass the vouchers on to eligible parents, who can redeem them in a number of supermarket chains.

We have written to all schools today to let them know what they need to do.

We want as many local people as possible to benefit from this scheme. Parents who have not already applied for free school meals or who are not sure whether they qualify should visit the council’s school meals webpage or email freeschoolmeals@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

More information about the scheme is on the government website

School places September 2020: Infant, primary and junior

National Offer Day for reception and junior age school places starting in September 2020 will take place on Thursday 16 April as planned.

Families who have applied online will receive an email confirming their school place on that day. Families who sent in a paper form will either receive a letter in the post or, where we have an email address, an electronic version of the letter by email.

All parental enquiries will need to be directed to our school admissions team’s email address: schooladmissions@brighton-hove.gov.uk. The team is now having to work from home and cannot be contacted by phone.

We are waiting for further guidance from the government about how the appeals process will be conducted, and will advise families when more is known. In the meantime parents should complete the forms as detailed in their offer letter.

Homelessness update

We are continuing work with our street outreach service and community partners to provide accommodation for every rough sleeper in the city as a matter of urgency.

We have now secured the YHA property in the Old Steine and staff have been working to get the building ready. This provides 51 units of accommodation and will be used specifically for anyone who has been rough sleeping and has COVID-19 symptoms.

We are in advanced negotiation on a number of other properties as a matter of utmost priority. We hope to have these confirmed in the coming days.

Including the YHA, we’re aiming to secure a total of 219 units on top of the 106 previously acquired. Of those 106, we have housed 69 people who were sleeping rough, with the others occupied by homeless people who we needed to move on from shared emergency accommodation

We have about 60 outstanding referrals from people who are sleeping rough.

However, this number is likely to change following new presentations.

We have an assessment process set up ready for when the accommodation is secured. This is to make sure everyone is housed in the most appropriate accommodation with the correct support in place.

We are jointly working with NHS and public health as well as our other partners who provide support. This includes food and other basic provisions for those homeless who need to self-isolate where required, to ensure we have a comprehensive support system in place for the rough sleepers and for the providers of accommodation.

We are also working closely with agencies in the city to set up a city-wide food distribution service for vulnerable people. This is being led by the city’s Food Partnership, which has been doing fantastic work in this area for many years.

We welcome support, please contact the Food Partnership to be part of this citywide response.  Details are on the B&H Food Partnership website.

If you are rough sleeping or you see someone rough sleeping, please contact Streetlink. St Mungo’s Street Outreach Service can then get in touch with them to support their access into accommodation.

If anyone is at risk of homelessness, please contact our housing early intervention team.

If you think the person needs urgent medical care or they're under 18 years of age, you should call 999.

Policy & Resources urgency sub-committee

This morning a Policy & Resources Urgency Sub-Committee was held by virtual meeting. The committee was webcast and can be watched again.

In her opening remarks, Cllr Nancy Platts, leader of the council, spoke about the rapid changes put in place to keep council services running during the period of disruption caused by the coronavirus.

The members present at today’s committee were Cllr Nancy Platts (Labour), Cllr David Gibson (Green) and Cllr Joe Miller (Conservative).

Reports presented for debate:

Royal Pavilion and Museums – Extending the Transition Period into Trust

Councillors agreed to extend the transition period for the Royal Pavilion & Museums' move to a stand-alone Trust from 1st April to 1st October 2020 with the option of a further extension to 1st April 2021 if necessary. Read the background to this story.

Covid-19: Designation of Officers for enforcement purposes

Councillors agreed that the following officers can be designated for the purpose of enforcing the new coronavirus regulations 2020:

  • Regulatory services managers
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Senior Licensing Officer
  • Technical Officers in Environmental Health and Licensing Team 
  • Trading Standards officers
  • Fair Trading Officers 
  • Highways Enforcement Officers
  • Field Officers 
  • Seafront Team 

This work could include enforcing closure of businesses that have been instructed to cease trading as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. More information about closing businesses and venues.

(We’re also supporting the many hospitality businesses which are changing and adapting to offer delivery services, within the government restrictions, to provide food and goods across the city. More information to follow soon).

COVID-19: Financial Implications and Support to Business and Individuals

A range of measures to enable urgent spending decisions to be taken to keep people safe, protect businesses and support people in hardship were agreed.

These include:

  • The application of Business Rate reliefs and distribution of government Business Rate grants
  • Developing a process for identifying and supporting commercial tenants in council-owned properties in financial difficulty
  • Working with the city's arts and events sector to understand the risks, issues and potential support.

The full report pack and decisions are on the council website.

Sussex Local Resilience Forum

The Sussex Local Resilience Forum (SRF) represents all local public and emergency services, including local authorities. The forum also links with partners such as the Highways agency and public utilities.

This multi-agency group works together to plan, prepare, respond and recover from major incidents and catastrophic emergencies with the aim of protecting local communities across Sussex.

The SRF is co-ordinating the county’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response, resilience and recovery plans for Sussex. The SRF has declared the coronavirus outbreak a major incident.

The SRF is planning for the reasonable worst-case scenario as that is the right thing to ensure NHS capacity. As long as everyone follows the rules of self-isolation, it is not anticipated the worst case being realised in Sussex.

The SRF’s multi-agency executive group, known as the Strategic Co-coordinating Group (SCG), is meeting daily, by teleconference, to co-ordinate services and ensure liaison with Government.

The SCG directs a multi-agency Tactical Co-coordinating Group (TCG) which meets twice weekly and is responsible for the co-ordination of services and plans on the ground. These are well established multi-agency plans and structures which are tested on a regular basis to ensure all services work together, in the most effective way, to protect and support local communities and speed up recovery.

The Government has sent military planners and logistic specialists to LRFs across the UK to form part of the response to the pandemic and this includes Sussex.

Local co-ordination of services is required by law under the Civil Contingencies Act and every jurisdiction in the UK has a Local Resilience Forum for this purpose. They are geographically based upon policing boundaries. The forums work closely with Government through the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government and the Cabinet Office to respond to national emergencies.

Public message from local health services and councils

Health and care services across the county are working together to make sure we're as well prepared as we can be for a possible increase in infections. All partners across the system are working together as one to ensure our populations get the care they need and our staff can continue to work in the safest possible way.

Read the letter on our website

Council Tax help 

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

number 19 - Monday 30 March

6pm Monday 30 March

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address Dominic Raab MP, Foreign Secretary, again emphasised the need to stay at home and continue social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. These actions slow the opportunities for the virus to be passed from person to person and this saves lives.

The UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, explained the measures being taken are reducing the number of contacts people are having. Over the next few weeks, this is expected be reflected in the numbers of people testing positive with coronavirus and should help relieve pressure on the NHS. 

Everyone should:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Today’s announcements from Downing Street also covered new plans to help hundreds of thousands of people who are currently abroad to come home to the UK.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Support for small businesses

Cllr Nancy Platts, leader of the council, has today given an update about support for small businesses.

We're working hard to ensure small businesses benefit as soon as possible from a package of measures announced by the government to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the period of disruption caused by coronavirus COVID-19.

Cllr Platts today explained how the council is setting up a secure system to gather information from eligible businesses. We are hoping to get the first payments out to qualifying businesses at the end of this week.

For those eligible businesses that we do not hold bank details for we are preparing a new secure portal on our website. We will need to make checks as part of the process to ensure all eligible businesses receive payment so please bear with us while we set up the system.

As soon it is ready to use, we will announce details of the portal on our COVID-19 help for businesses and employers web page. You will also find details there about accessing payments and entitlement to payments.

We are writing to as many businesses as we can, but if you have an immediate enquiry, please contact us using the business rates form.

Support for the cultural sector

Arts Council England is providing an emergency fund of £160 million to support individual artists, freelancers and cultural organisations.

Detailed guidance and timetables on how to apply is expected to be published on Tuesday 31 March. Potential applicants will need to register on Arts Council England’s application portal Grantium in early April.

More information is on our COVID-19 culture, events, leisure and tourism page.

Food update

We are working tirelessly to support those in need during this unprecedented time.

With help from our partners, a food distribution network has been set up for those that have been identified as the most vulnerable in the city.

We have already started remotely contacting those who have been identified by central government as extremely vulnerable to find out:

  • what needs they have
  • how urgent this is
  • how best to support each individual

Deliveries of essential food parcels to individuals that have been identified as extremely vulnerable and with no support network will be starting today, organised through Central Government. 

We will continue to receive updated lists and will be maintaining contact with residents, as well as using the information we already hold in the council to ensure vulnerable people have the support they need. 

On a local level, bulk deliveries of food have been sent to Portslade Town Hall and are being sorted into individual food parcels ready to be delivered today and throughout the week.

The Food Partnership, in partnership with the council, is setting up local community food hubs across the city that can sort food into individual food parcels, that will then be delivered to the doorstep of those in need with the help of trusted neighbourhood groups.

A community hub advice line is being set up so that residents can contact us via phone and online including a food help line, this is currently planned to go live this week and we will share the details when it is set up.

Another way we are helping those in need is by supporting the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership's campaign to ensure that no one in poverty is #HungryAtHome.

As part of this campaign the local non-profit organisation are asking for people to get involved and volunteer their time to help pack, distribute or deliver food. 

To find out more about the opportunities to volunteer or to keep up to date with what they are doing please visit the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership website.

The Brighton & Hove Food Partnership are also raising money to support those in poverty by bulk buying essential items for food banks, please raise awareness of this campaign if you can. As of 2pm on Monday 30 March, the campaign has raised £20,087 of the £30,000 target.

Emergency fund for community groups

An emergency fund of £150,000 is being made available by the council to support organisations facing unexpected costs as a direct result of the impact of COVID-19, either on the organisation or on the residents they support. 

Grants of up to £5,000 can be applied for if an organisation is among those supporting our most vulnerable residents.

The funding will be released in three phases, with £50,000 available immediately. The remaining funding will become available as the changing needs from the emergency unfold.

More information and details of how to apply are on our website

Cityclean

We started carrying out some kerbside recycling collections today. Due to staffing levels fluctuating from day to day, and almost half of Cityclean staff self-isolating or working from home, we currently can’t provide a full service. We are doing the best we can.

Residents should leave out kerbside recycling when it’s their day and we’ll try to collect it. If we don’t or can’t, the recycling should be taken back inside until their next collection day. Alternatively residents can take it to one of our recycling points if this can be done during time outside for the essential reasons as defined by the government.

We’ve opened up our online reporting forms again. This means we’re encouraging people to email and use our online forms to report a missed bin or box collection or report a problem and request a clean-up as these will be staffed and prioritised.

The latest Cityclean information can be found here.

Bonfires, wood burners and air quality

At the moment, while we’re staying at home more than usual, concerns have been raised about the health impacts of smoke from wood-burners and from bonfires. We’re asking people to please consider the health of local residents with respiratory problems and not light fires if this can be at all avoided.

On a better note, we’re aware that the government’s restrictions on going out are being credited for better air quality in some areas of the city that are usually affected by high volumes of traffic on the roads. While this is great news, it is too early for monitoring to confirm the impact in scientific terms. This will need to be looked at again when we can compare quarterly results at some point in the future after the pressures on service from the pandemic are no longer an issue.

Mental health and wellbeing

We have set up a section on our website with a range of information about supporting personal wellbeing. The section covers looking after mental health, financial wellbeing, staying active, eating well and much more. The advice was put together for council staff but will be helpful to a wider audience and can be shared.

Protecting NHS staff

For the next two weeks we will be displaying digital adverts on our bus stops with the message: Stay home, protect the NHS – save lives. The message is designed to reach people as they make limited journeys around the city. The free digital advertising space has been provided by Clear Channel which has the contract for bus stop advertising with the council.

Safeguarding – protecting the vulnerable

Teams across the council are working together to make sure vulnerable adults and children are protected during the pandemic. It is understood that the stay at home advice could have a negative impact on some vulnerable residents. 

Keeping people safe is a priority. Staff and resources have been allocated to this vital work. All children open to social work have been RAG rated (confirmed as a red, amber or green priority) depending on their needs. The children then have a COVID-19 plan according to their risk rating. Home visits are taking place when there is considered an urgent or high risk need to maintain contact and a phone or video call is not a good enough substitute.

As well as ongoing social work and support, a major data matching is being undertaken to try to make sure no one slips through any gaps. This involves reviewing information held by the council to look at how needs help and where they are in the city.

Council Tax help 

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

number 18 - Friday 27 March

6pm Friday 27 March

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, Michael Gove MP confirmed that the rate of infection is now doubling every three to four days. Earlier today it was announced that the Prime Minister has tested positive for COVID-19.

Michael Gove MP also spoke about an increase of testing, especially for front line staff.

The message from Downing Street continued to emphasise the importance of people changing their behaviour to follow guidance that’s designed to prevent the spread of the virus.

Social distancing remains a key action because this slows the opportunities for COVID-19 to be passed from person to person.

The advice is to:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Do not travel to Brighton & Hove

We’ve continued to put out calls asking visitors not to travel to the city this weekend to try to reduce the numbers of people mingling when out and about.

Cllr Platts, leader of the council, shared the request in an interview this morning on BBC Radio Sussex.

The issue has received a range of media coverage.

We have also contacted the London Mayor's Office, GWR and Transport for London asking them to share our messages asking visitors not to come to the city this weekend.

The short video made yesterday of council leader Nancy Platts asking people not to visit the city, has been shared widely on social media, including by Brighton & Hove Albion who retweeted it to their 277,000 followers. The video has been watched on our social media channels more than 8,000 times since it was posted yesterday.

VisitBrighton continues to push the message for people to stay away from Brighton & Hove, while also promoting the city’s attractions and businesses. The team are encouraging people to become a virtual visitor. They have also uploaded Cllr Platt’s video to their COVID-19 information page

Have a look at their campaign renaming VisitBrighton; DoNotVisitBrighton, which has been promoted to local and national media and shared on social media.

Banners for seafront

More than 50 banners reminding people to follow social distancing rules are being printed. The banners will to go up along the seafront, from the marina to Hove Lagoon, and will be in place early next week.

Please share the banner image to remind people of the importance of staying 2 metres apart.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Open letter: Call for landlords to work positively with tenants

Councillor Gill Williams, chair of Housing committee, today shared an open letter to the city’s landlords.

Councillor Williams has urged all landlords in the city to work positively with their tenants affected by the impact of COVID-19.

The council's early intervention team are available to support landlords and private sector tenants resolve problems.

 

Volunteers who signed up to help with food preparation, organisation and delivery have now been given letters identifying them as essential volunteers.

The letters will be accepted as proof of key worker status for any activities they are carrying out on behalf of the council's response to Covid-19.

The process for food distribution has now been organised.

Food and other essential items will be delivered to FareShare, which is the UK's largest charity fighting hunger and food waste.

FareShare will use their usual networks and new suppliers to deliver the food and essential items to a range of sites including:

•              production kitchens which are making meals to be distributed, either hot, chilled or frozen

•              current food banks choosing to remain open

•              a new layer of emergency food distribution centres that can sort food into individual food parcels

The food production kitchens and current food banks will ensure that a person in need gets food to their door or make sure it can be picked up.

The new layer of emergency food distribution centres including a mix of current food banks and new, with work led by the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. These will deliver food to Community Hubs with the help of Zedify.

The Community Hubs, responsible for the 'last kilometre' of food and essential item delivery, have yet to be finalised.

People who need support will be able to get in contact by either phone or through an online form, which is planned to be in place from early next week.

We are working with Brighton & Hove Food Partnership to bulk buy food and essential items to increase supplies at food banks and hubs.

The Food Partnership is currently fundraising to make this happen. An amazing £17,865 of the current £30,000 target had been raised aat the time of sending this briefing.

If you can, please raise awareness of this crowdfunding effort.

Cityclean

We've updated information on our Waste and Recycling Services webpage. This makes the situation with kerbside recycling clearer. The page also suggests what residents can do with their recycling until this service resumes.

We've also updated our web page about Recycling Points. It now shows which sites have both recycling and the extra waste bins we put out this week, and which sites have recycling bins only. This should make it easier for residents to locate their nearest recycling point where they can discard of rubbish and recycling, or just recycling.

Childcare and education in the city

Today is the end of a week like never seen before by those who are involved with childcare and education.

Last Thursday, the government announced that almost all children should stay at home to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and that education would no longer run as usual from Monday 23 March. For most children and young people, their place of learning is now closed.

At the same time, childminders, nurseries, schools and colleges were suddenly asked to turn into vital providers of childcare for children of critical key workers and also vulnerable children (such as those with a social worker and those with an Education Health and Care Plan).

This doesn’t mean that education stopped for all pupils at home. Schools and colleges are providing excellent learning and resources that children are able to use at home.

To give an idea of the scale of the change involved, we have more than 30,000 pupils registered at schools across the city. At present, about 500 pupils are attending school under the new restrictions. Also, there are usually 4,000 children aged between two and four years old who to go the city’s nurseries and childminders each week. The number has dropped to about 250 children attending nurseries and registered childminders this week.

Much consideration has also been given to providing free school meals to all who are eligible and children are receiving the food they need. We are ready to respond to new government guidance due to be introduced next week on this issue.

These dramatic changes were put in place within hours. We are very grateful to all involved for the flexible and innovative way this has been achieved through so much hard work by so many.

The council’s Families, Children and Learning team has been working closely with providers across the city. We will continue to provide support as we work together to address the challenges of extending the hours of childcare on offer each day and how to cover the Easter holidays.

Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust update

The Royal Pavilion & Museums trustees and council officers have been jointly working on a plan to extend the transition period for the Trust in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are proposing to move the transfer date from 1 April to 1 October, provided the conditions are right.

Councillors will have to agree the proposal at a special meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee which is provisionally scheduled to meet next Tuesday, 31 March to consider urgent council business.

Communications have gone out to staff working in the Royal Pavilion & Museums service, and it has been confirmed that if this extension is agreed, they will continue to be employed by the council until the new transfer date.

Both the council and the Trust have been in regular discussions with staff affected by the transfer and trade union colleagues leading up to this point. This will continue in order to enable staff and trade unions to continue contributing to planning for the longer transition period that is now needed.

More information is on our newsroom

Support for the self-employed

The government’s Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of business partnerships) who have lost income due COVID-19.

This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.

Claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

Guidance for care homes

The council's health and adult social care team is to streamline the number of messages being sent out to the service providers we work with. The aim is to avoid swamping people with too much information.

Service providers will now receive a daily email in the late afternoon, normally between 4.30pm and 5pm. This will bring together the latest guidance, advice, and information from the government, public health and the NHS.

In addition, our commissioners will lead on a weekly update containing local information, practical advice and an update on what the council is doing to support providers.

Council Tax help 

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

number 17 - Thursday 26 March

6.20pm Thursday 26 March

Latest update

At this evening’s Downing Street address, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new self employed income support scheme, worth up to £2,500 per month. He said the scheme offers the same amount of support for self employed people as employed people.

The Chancellor said the last ten days have “shaken the country and the economy as never before”.

He also spoke again about the vital importance of social distancing. The aim is to prevent the rapid spread of the virus by slowing the opportunities for it to be passed from person to person.

The advice is to:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Council leader message: Do not travel to the city this weekend

Council Leader Nancy Platts has recorded a message that was sent to national broadcasters asking people not to travel into Brighton & Hove this weekend. You can view the short message on our YouTube channel.

Key messages: 

  • We are a city that is used to being open and welcoming to all and visitors are part of what makes the city the popular, vibrant place it is; but this is not the time to travel to Brighton & Hove. 
  • We need you to stay at home. Our parks and shops are closed.  
  • Social distancing is imperative and we all need to play our part in supporting our NHS workers battle this virus. 
  • Please don't travel to Brighton & Hove this weekend or anytime until we know it's safe for you to do so. 
  • We can't wait to be able to welcome everyone back but now is not the time.

Cllr Platts is also sharing these messages in interviews with BBC TV South East, Meridian TV, BBC Radio Sussex, the Daily Express and The Argus.

Visit Brighton have added messaging to their website urging people not to visit the city this weekend

City parks

The council has sent out social media messaging today reminding people that our skate parks are closed. The strongly worded posts reminded people that removing signage is putting lives at risk. Please help share this vital advice.

This is one of the posts on Facebook

Public toilets

We are putting up signs on the city’s public toilets informing people that toilets remain open but asking that people they use them one at a time and continue to practice social distancing.

Public toilets remain open, however people should try to use them one at a time and ensure they practice social distancing.

Deployment of council staff

We have a developed a new deployment procedure for Brighton & Hove City Council staff.  This will help us use staff and resources effectively in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re asking for staff who want to and are able to, to work flexibly, to volunteer to be deployed to a different service, and join the response. This does not include those staff who have already been identified as a “key worker”.

Supporting homeless people

As part of our work to combat COVID-19, we’re urgently finding accommodation for all street homeless and homeless adults currently in dormitory style accommodation in the city to make sure anyone who needs it will have somewhere safe to stay.

In the past week, we’ve secured 105 extra units of accommodation for people sleeping rough. All this accommodation is now full. We are working to secure more in the coming days.

These temporary measures are safer than being on the streets and make it easier for vulnerable people to access the support services they need to break the cycle of homelessness. This is about health and wellbeing as well as shelter.

We have also been working with our partners to identify accommodation for any homeless people who needs to self-isolate. 

We are working across a number of areas to create further capacity and help move people through and keep the emergency facilities as clear as we can.

This includes:

  • re-purposing accommodation for people who need to self-isolate
  • sourcing additional spot-purchase accommodation
  • increasing focus on moving people on from current long-term accommodation and supported accommodation
  • exploring where we can bring forward new temporary accommodation schemes in development

We are jointly working with NHS and public health as well as our other partners who provide support. This includes food and other basic provisions for those homeless who need to self-isolate where required, to ensure we have a comprehensive support system in place for the rough sleepers and for the providers of accommodation.

While this is a response to a health crisis, there are some positive outcomes. We have achieved all this in a short space of time. We are also confident we will shortly have enough accommodation and support for all rough sleepers in the city.

This provides an opportunity of working closely with people in need to move them to more settled accommodation in the future.

If you are concerned about someone who is rough sleeping, contact Streetlink with the details and the information will be passed on to an outreach worker. You can contact StreetLink online at www.streetlink.org.uk or by calling 03005 000 914

If you think the person needs urgent medical care or they're under 18 years of age, you should call 999.

Customer services

Staff are working hard to improve the customer service options available both online and through the council switchboard.

Teams are currently dealing with high call volumes and all efforts are being made to keep the switchboard (01273 290000) running.

Where possible, please point people to the council website (www.brighton-hove.gov.uk) for information. This will keep essential lines free for those with an urgent need or those without access to the internet.

Construction Projects

The current Government advice is that construction sites can stay working if measures are taken to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

These measures include:

  • enabling non-site staff to work from home wherever possible
  • ensuring sites are clean and hygienic
  • making sure all workers follow Public Health England guidance on social distancing

Many developments in the city are continuing at the moment to reduce delays and economic impact.

Construction companies and site managers in the city are making decisions on whether to keep projects running on a daily basis.

We also have projects continuing on site and this is being kept under daily review.

Contractors on these sites are undertaking daily risk assessments and talking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. All are following guidance on social distancing and hygiene. Non-site staff are working from home.

This is a rapidly developing situation so preparations to close down sites safely and securely are also in hand on all our construction sites.

The latest on what’s happening on council and our partners’ sites:

  • Circus Street: Main works have stopped - public realm works are continuing for now
  • New Homes for Neighbourhoods – Buckley Close and Selsfield Drive: Our contractor Morgan Sindall has closed its local office, but is continuing with both projects on site using small teams
  • Preston Barracks: Work is continuing with reduced capacity
  • Royal Pavilion Estate – Corn Exchange works: Westridge is continuing on site
  • Schools projects – Hill Park and Downs View: Morgan Sindall is working with small teams on both sites
  • Shelter Hall: Edburton is continuing on site at the moment but this is under review
  • Stanmer Park Restoration Project: Buxtons are continuing on site and all non-site staff are working from home
  • Valley Gardens: Works are continuing on sited

As mentioned, this will be kept under constant review and in accordance with all guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Parking

Following yesterday’s government announcement and guidance from the British Parking Association, we will be providing free parking for NHS staff and social care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will enable NHS staff and social care workers to park in on street parking bays and council-owned car parks without having to worry about cost or time restrictions.

Eligible workers need to display a copy of their work identification (with any sensitive information removed) in their windscreen or, when parking in barrier car parks, buzz the intercom and show their pass. 

Parking enforcement continues to employ a ‘soft touch’ approach and bailiff action has been temporarily suspended.

All blue badges and concessionary bus passes are being renewed automatically rather than asking customers to re-apply.

Translated COVID-19 information

Links to up to date translated information and advice, as well as easy read information, are now available on our webpages: https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/public-health-advice

Translations – Sussex Interpreting Services are keeping updated links to the latest guidance and information on coronavirus and social distancing.

Easy read – Mencap has created an easy read guide to coronavirus to help explain what the virus is, the symptoms, what to do if you think you have it and how to stop the virus spreading.

Oaklands care home

We are committed to supporting all the city’s care homes and nursing homes in any way we can during this very difficult period.

We are offering support for residents in the homes we run and also extending support to privately owned ventures, such as Oaklands.

Helping homes source enough food is a key priority. We are working with all homes who have said they require support with this.

We are inviting staff whose duties are currently non-essential to volunteer for roles supporting care and nursing homes.

We are also working with other local agencies to set up a city-wide food distribution scheme for vulnerable people and care homes.

This is being led by the city’s Food Partnership, which has been doing fantastic work in this area for many years.

Operational issues relating to nursing homes are first and foremost a matter for the NHS and the Care Quality Commission, not the council.

Notifications and actions relating to COVID-19 are a matter between the nursing home, Public Health England and the local NHS.

We are aware Oaklands Care Home has been featured in recent media coverage. We have provided information on the support we are offering and referred media to the relevant lead organisations for further comment.

Council Tax help 

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

number 16 - Wednesday 25 March

7.15pm Wednesday 25 March 

Latest update

The advice for the public remains unchanged today from that given in the Prime Minister’s address on Monday evening.

In the briefing from Downing Street this evening, the Prime Minister spoke again about the importance of staying at home whenever possible and, if you need to go outside, keeping at least 2 metres (6ft) apart from other people who are not from your own household.

The aim is to prevent the rapid spread of the virus by slowing the opportunities for it to be passed from person to person.

The advice is to:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Cllr Anne Pissaridou, Chair of Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee, wrote today about the importance of social distancing and the actions being taken to keep environmental services running at this challenging time.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Cityclean

Recruitment

We are in the process of recruiting more drivers and operatives with the aim of getting the service as back to normal as possible. The job ad has been posted and can be shared.

So far, we have recruited an additional 6 Agency Drivers who have started this week and we have recruited and inducting the following:

  • 4 Operatives were trained today to start tomorrow
  • 6 Operatives are being trained tomorrow to start work on Friday
  • 5 Operatives are being trained on Friday to start work on Monday
  • 5 Operatives are being trained on Monday to start work on Tuesday
  • 5 Operatives are being trained on Tuesday to start work on Wednesday

In summary, we have 25 Operatives who have been recruited and are being inducted during the rest of this week and next week. We need to stagger recruitment due to the need to train staff and allocate with current crews so that we have staff who are familiar with rounds working with new agency staff who will learn the round. 

We will keep under review as we also have some staff returning from self-isolation, annual leave and sickness (not COVID-19 related) and we will continue to recruit as necessary.

Extra large bins 

122 extra large bins are being placed at 44 recycling points around the city. These are for household waste and shouldn’t be used for recycling, garden waste or to dispose of any building materials. The location of these bins can be found on the website

Service updates are on the website.

Cityparks

Playgrounds and skateparks

Following Government direction on social distancing all play and sport facilities in parks have been closed to the public.

  • Preston and Patcham - all sites locked and signed
  • North - all sites locked and signed
  • East - all sites locked and signed 
  • Queens Park - all sites locked and signed 
  • Central - all sites locked and signed
  • West - all sites locked and signed (except two bowling greens where more signage is needed)

Unfortunately, we have experienced a chain stealing, wire cutting, cable tie breaking and sign removal, which has hindered operations.

Tree works

The service is only dealing with emergencies in the first instance and the arboriculture@brighton-hove.gov.uk inbox remains the primary point of contact to be used for any emergencies. Other requests will be carried out on a priority basis.

Tree inspections on Highways trees across the city continue with lone working tree inspectors. Identification of hazardous trees next to roads, footpaths and properties remains a priority service until further notice.

Planned tree planting is continuing until further notice but street tree pruning has ceased as it is not considered a priority.  This also applies to planning requests.

Some street tree removal may be necessary in the coming weeks to remove potential breeding trees for Elm Disease beetles before the beginning of the disease season. Failure to do this could have a severe impact on elm tree loss to Elm Disease across Brighton & Hove.

Request for help for the homeless

Do you have an old or spare kindle, hand held game console, or similar? There is a desperate need for these kinds of devices to help ease the extreme isolation faced by many people who are self-isolating in emergency and temporary accommodation. Our outreach service, St Mungo’s, will distribute the electronics to people in need over the weeks and months ahead.

If you can donate an item, please email hello@galvanisebh.org and a collection will be arranged from you to the St Mungo's team. 

Customer services

We are working to provide a consistent customer service for queries relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is to ensure that residents can be directed to the correct service at a time when they may have many questions and concerns.

Updates will appear on the website, social media and be shared in this briefing.

Signage

350 signs (sized A1 to A3) have been sent to printers ready to be attached to railings and fences with cable ties at playgrounds, skate parks, multi-use games areas and outdoor gyms as soon as they are ready. 

They signs read: 

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
This facility is now closed until further notice due to the Coronavirus.
The decision follows the Government announcement on social distancing.
Thank you for your co-operation during these difficult times.

Work is also taking place to produce seafront signs with messages around social distancing and other NHS advice.

Food

A working group has been established, that is already responding to the immediate needs in the city in relation to food. 

Another focus of this group is a bigger piece of work to set up a long-term approach that must be sustainable in order to properly address the ongoing support needed by multiple groups of residents. 

Once these ongoing needs are established, we can introduce sustainable solutions that will best serve these needs, including vulnerable residents with complex circumstances. 

Connections have already been made and there are ongoing discussions with representatives of different groups to ensure that there is a continued joined up approached with multiple perspectives from across the city. 

We are supporting Brighton & Hove Food Partnership in their work supporting the community, including their crowdfunding efforts and their call for help to people in the city.

We would also like to remind people that the government is asking all people who are extremely vulnerable to register online, so that the government can best determine what support is required and how to provide it.

Changes to funeral arrangements

Although very difficult for everyone, the numbers of people attending funerals needs to be kept to a minimum and should only include immediate family.

A limit of 12 mourners has been put in place at the Woodvale chapels. This is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by making sure the government’s social distancing measures can be met.

Anyone over the age of 70 and/ or anyone with an under underlying health condition is strongly discouraged from attending. While we realise this may be very upsetting, the advice is given to try to keep people well and follows UK Government guidance.

Please do not visit Woodvale, if you (or anyone in your household) is showing any symptoms including a fever and/or a continuous cough.

Birth and death registrations

In line with General Register Office guidance, all registration and re-registration of births is now suspended.

The registration service has taken action to maintain services and prioritise key areas during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Details of the registration services currently available are on the council website.

Volunteering

Volunteers in good health are being recruited by the Government to help the NHS and support vulnerable people. We understand the volunteers will cover non-clinical task both in the NHS and the such as patient transport, delivering prescriptions and keeping in contact with people isolating at home. 

At his 5pm briefing today (Wednesday 25 March) the Prime Minster said 405,000 people had so far signed up to volunteer.  Members of the public can sign up quickly and easily at goodsamapp.org/NHS to become NHS Volunteer Responders.

Council Tax help

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

number 15 - Tuesday 24 March

 6.30pm Tuesday 24 March

Latest update

Yesterday evening’s announcement by the Prime Minister saw a major change in the action required to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Now almost all the country is being told to stay at home. Effectively everyone is in self isolation for the next three weeks at least.

Today, Matt Hancock MP Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, gave the evening briefing and said the Prime Minister had given rules that must be followed.

The aim is to prevent the rapid spread of the virus by slowing the opportunities for it to be passed from person to person.

The advice is to:

  • Stay at home
  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home

Full guidance on staying at home and away from others

Anyone can spread the virus.

Stay home and save lives.

Cllr Nancy Platts, leader of the council, has spoken today about the importance of staying at home and social distancing to protect the vulnerable to save lives.

Outdoor spaces

Playgrounds, skateparks, tennis courts and other outside sports facilities where people gather together have been closed from today in the city.

Following government advice that for many people it is fine to go out once a day for exercise and mental well-being, open spaces and access to the beach have not been restricted.

In open parks and the beach, there will soon be signs to help people to keep their distance from each other.

It is vital everyone follows the restrictions laid down by government. When anyone goes outside, they must follow social distancing rules and keep at least 2 metres from anyone else not from their immediate household. 

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Schools in the city

Schools and nurseries in the city have been praised for the vital role staff are playing in preventing the spread of the virus. 

The government has closed schools to all pupils except the children of key workers (such as NHS staff) and also vulnerable children (such as those with a social worker and children with Education Health Care Plans).

For keyworkers, this applies when all parents are key workers. In a two parent family, if one adult is not a key worker then they must care for the child(ren) while the other parent works.

Children should stay home from school if at all possible.

This requirement will also apply to early years, sixth, special schools and further education provision.

Help needed from councillors to reduce scam and fraudulent activity

We’ve received reports of unscrupulous traders and scammers who are using the pandemic situation to their own ends.

We’d like to ask councillors to share any intelligence about such abhorrent behaviour that you hear about in your wards so we can try to prevent further incidents.

The information we need is:

  • the nature of the incident
  • name of the business or individual causing the incident
  • details of any vehicles associated with the business or individual responsible for the incident
  • any telephone numbers associated with the business or individual responsible for the incident
  • when and where it happened
  • contact name and details for the person who was affected (if they give your permission to share this)

Please email as much information as you have available to: trading.standards@brighton-hove.gov.uk

We are aware of the following taking place around the country and some incidents in the city:

  • Offers to help with shopping but then taking money and never returning
  • Spray cleaning driveways to clear bacteria
  • Posing as door to door testers
  • Sale of facemasks and or hand sanitisers
  • HMRC tax refund fraud
  • Overpricing  

Some issues to look out for

  • With many more people confined to their homes, the telesales fraudsters and doorstep criminals have an increased target base
  • An increase of doorstep crime targeting the elderly and vulnerable is particularly dangerous. The risk is of someone spreading the virus while they are committing a crime
  • Sale of home-made hand sanitisers which are either not safe or effective
  • Overpricing of sought after goods and aggressive sales

The council’s Trading Standards team is doing all possible, despite the impact on services of COVID-19. We have: 

  • Implemented changes to protocol so we can respond more promptly to requests for support from residents if a trader is still on site or may return to the property
  • Alerted and liaised with the Neighbourhood Watch Association
  • Produced new letters to deal with the issues
  • Given advice to 450 residents identified as potential repeat victims, providing them with a direct contact for the team
  • Liaised with East Sussex and West Sussex partners to agree a collaborative approach

We hope councillors can help us with this important work.

Care homes and reporting cases of COVID-19

All care homes, NHS organisations, schools and housing providers are required by law to notify Public Health England regarding suspected cases of infectious disease. We are currently supporting standard operating procedures in place for reporting any infectious disease cases.

Care homes and/or the NHS provider providing care to a patient will notify Public Health England who provides advice and guidance around infection, prevention and control.

Public Health England, Brighton & Hove City Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group are working together to make sure the right processes are in place to prevent further spread of infection and appropriate care is being provided.

Ensuring patient confidentiality is maintained is essential at all times and any agreed public health action that takes place is aimed at preventing further spread of infection.  The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and proportionate public health actions are being taken to reduce further spread of disease.

Care homes and food supply

We are acutely aware of the difficulties care homes are facing in adjusting to the new government guidelines on COVID-19.

We know that sourcing food is a major issue for care homes, and we are making sure they have enough food.

We have set up a city-wide group with other key agencies led by the city’s Food Partnership to help care homes and others get the food they need.

This will start to make a real difference in a matter of days. More information will follow soon.

Cityclean

We realise we’re behind with waste and recycling collections, but we are doing all we can with a very limited number of staff.

We are prioritising rubbish collections over recycling as there is a more urgent need to collect this type of waste.

We are putting extra bins out throughout the city for residents to use and people can also leave recycling at more than 50 of our ‘bring sites’ (recycling points). More details of where the extra bins will be placed will follow tomorrow.

People can help by keeping hold of their recycling until we are on top of collections.

We are also in the process of recruiting more drivers and operatives with the aim of getting the service back to as normal as possible.

Service updates are on the website.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the bulky waste collections service has been suspended from this evening.

Support for business

Financial support for Brighton & Hove's SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) has been announced by government.

package of measures to support businesses includes:

Businesses do not need to apply. Our business rates team is working through the government guidance and will be contacting eligible businesses as soon as possible.

Further updates will be published on our webpage for businesses as soon as possible. 

Council Tax help

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

number 14 - Monday 23 March

6.35pm Monday 23 March

Latest update

This evening’s briefing from Downing Street was delayed from the usual daily 5pm broadcast time. A statement from the Prime Minister is now not expected until at least 8.30pm.

We are sending this briefing now so you have an update of some of today’s actions.

We’re aware the Prime Minister’s statement could lead to more substantial action being required and we will be ready to provide information about the local impact after details have been shared by the government.

Service changes

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Social distancing

People across the city are being urged to stop mingling closely in public spaces. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we must change our behaviour if we do need to go out.

The key message is, wherever possible, stay home to save lives.

We’re aware this advice could change rapidly, possibly even this evening, and stricter measures may come in.

Schools in the city

Schools, nurseries and colleges in the city closed on Friday and are no longer open for business as usual.

From today, the role of education providers is now to provide childcare for children of key workers (such as NHS staff) and vulnerable children (such as those with a social worker and children with Education Health Care Plans).

The government has advised children should be kept at home if at all possible. Where families with key workers have two adults in the household and one can care for children at home, then that is the best option to take.

We are grateful to all schools, early years providers and colleges across the city for the monumental efforts undertaken to respond at rapid speed.

The wellbeing of staff is a priority. Anyone falling into the categories listed on the council website should not be going in to work, this includes the city’s teachers and all teaching staff.

There is no doubt this crisis has put staff into frontline roles that could not have been anticipated just a short time ago. These efforts must be recognised and appreciated as essential action helping to prevent the spread of the virus.

Schools, nurseries and colleges are making arrangements based on the individual circumstances involved to best respond to the changing situation and meet local needs.

We will be providing support throughout the weeks and months ahead.

Cityclean and city parks

A briefing was sent to councillors and MPs on Friday explaining the changes to the City Environment services at this time. The details of Friday’s update were added to the website. Another update is due following more changes today, a briefing will be sent later.

City Environment covers a wide range of services including city parks, Cityclean household rubbish and recycling, customer contact centre, public toilets and street cleaning.

Many staff are self-isolating while others have been advised to work from home. The priority is balancing the protection of staff and vulnerable people while also continuing to deliver critical services.

This means we’re deploying staff (both office-based and operational) in the best possible areas to ensure City Environment continues to provide as normal a service as possible that delivers the maximum benefit for our residents and customers.

New for today Monday 23 March: We are temporarily closing our two Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRS) in Brighton & Hove due to COVID-19.

We have taken this decision to ensure the safety of the public and also our staff, while also following government guidelines on social distancing.

With a very high number of people using the sites in recent days, the risk of the virus spreading had increased.

It is hoped the sites will be temporarily closed and that they can be redesigned to ensure demand is managed and social distancing is supported.

In the meantime, we are placing more large refuse containers at sites across the city for residents to use and are prioritising all refuse collections, including flats. 

We're also in the process of recruiting more drivers and operatives with the aim of getting waste and recycling services back to as normal as possible.

The situation surrounding Covid-19 is changing daily, but we are doing our very best to collect your waste and recycling, and ask for your patience and understanding during this time.

Please check our website and our Twitter and Facebook pages for further updates and information.

Cells (working groups

A series of 12 working groups (known as “cells” in the resilience planning) have been established. These cells link council and key stakeholders to co-ordinate the city response and organise contingency planning.

We are working round the clock to put in place necessary measures to look after residents and keep services running. This is a fast-paced situation yet also an ongoing one, which means this needs to be treated as the new normal for at least several months ahead.

The cells are as follows.

Vulnerable people

Responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring health and wellbeing of vulnerable people
  • Co-ordination of essential support arrangements
  • Produce and co-ordinate clear messages, including to councillors, on the work of the cell   
  • Working with partner agencies to ensure no one is missed out           

Food

Responsibilities include:

  • To provide an all age and citywide response to issues relating to food during the COVID-19 crisis
  • Supporting residents who are self-isolating to buy food that can be delivered to their doorstep
  • Supporting low income families

Children & Young People

Responsibilities include:

  • Support schools, nurseries and colleges to provide childcare for critical workers’ children and vulnerable children
  • Keeping SEND children safe by meeting their individual needs
  • Supporting the provision of free school meals
  • Meeting the safeguarding needs of vulnerable children

Vulnerable Housing

Responsibilities include:

  • Accommodation for people who are rough sleeping
  • Manage demand for accommodation
  • Work with partner organisations and providers

Events & Economy

Responsibilities include:

  • To understand the impact of COVID-19 on the city’s events and economy
  • To minimise the impact, where possible and in accordance with public health guidance

The other cells, where the roles are clearer from the name of the group, are IT&D; workforce guidance; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); communications; hardship fund; business rates relief and support for businesses; and bereavement.

Update on council staffing

Most staff are now working from home. All staff must follow the relevant advice if they fall into any of the categories listed on the website for people who should staying at home. 

A wide range of information and guides has been shared with council staff about working from home and maintaining business continuity in these challenging times.

A separate section of the website has been created with details and advice. This is to support staff working externally.

Volunteering

Community Works, the local voluntary sector lead organisation, has put together top tips about how to set up a community support group during the pandemic.

This information is supported and endorsed by the council’s Communities, Equalities and Third Sector team.

Related advice about how to prevent fraud and scams is on the council’s how to help page.

Council Tax help

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

number 13 - Friday 20 March

5.45pm Friday 20 March

Latest update

This evening’s briefing from Downing Street saw another major announcement when it was announced that leisure centres, cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars will now be closed. Takeaways will remain open.

A range of support for businesses and a job retention scheme was also announced.

The country has been advised to “stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives”.

This will change but protect our city. The closure is expected to be in place for the foreseeable future.

More information to follow when details have been shared by the government.

Earlier today, Cllr Clare Moonan, Chair of Health and Wellbeing Board, called for people to follow the guidance on social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable in our communities.

Information on council service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

Schools in the city

Our Families, Children and Learning team and the city’s schools have been working tirelessly since the major government announcement on Wednesday about schools closing from today.

From Monday, arrangements are now in place for schools to open to provide childcare for the children of key workers (such as NHS staff) and vulnerable children (such as those with a social worker and children with Education Health Care Plans).

The list of keyworkers was announced this morning. While this was being waited for, the schools’ team and headteachers worked together to ask families for information about their needs to find out if they would fall into the likely keyworker categories.

We are incredibly grateful to headteachers and school staff across the city for their impressive response to the huge changes being asked of their teams. We will be providing support throughout the weeks and months ahead.

If you have an opportunity to share the praise for what has been achieved in a matter of hours, please do so.

Cityclean and city parks

A briefing has been sent to councillors and MPs this evening explaining the changes to Cityclean and city parks services at this time.

More details will be shared after the weekend.

Update on council staffing

A wide range of information and guides has been shared with council staff about working from home and maintaining business continuity in these challenging times.

A separate section of the website has been created with details and advice. This is to support staff working externally.

People who are homeless, risk homelessness or rough sleeping

Details today have been announced about:

Volunteering

The Trust for Developing Communities and Community Works are working over the weekend on a new easy to use portal on their website. This resource will provide the information neighbourhood groups need to work safely to support residents.

This is expected to go live by mid to late next week.

Support for businesses

More information for businesses has been added to the website today, this covers information about business rate discounts.

Council Tax help

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

number 12 - Thursday 19 March

6pm Thursday 19 March

Latest update

This evening’s briefing from Downing Street was an update on the current situation and there were no new announcements.

Information on service changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19) are on our website.

The leader of the council, Cllr Nancy Platts, has issued two statements yesterday and today:

Schools in the city

Major changes were announced yesterday to come into effect for schools from the end of the school day tomorrow, Friday 20 March, and for the foreseeable future.

The government said that schools will close to all pupils except the children of key workers (such as NHS staff) and also vulnerable children (such as those with a social worker and children with Education Health Care Plans).

Since this announcement was made, the council’s Families, Children and Learning (FCL) has been working intensively with schools across the city to make the necessary arrangements. This will be easier when the government issues their definition of key workers (which has not been received at the time of writing this section, 5pm).

This requirement will also apply to early years, sixth form, special schools and further education provision.

More information will be provided tomorrow.

Community & voluntary sector

There are many different groups bringing together community activity and providing lots of potential volunteers willing to support their local community in responding to COVID-19.

In the coming days, the council, together with the Volunteer Centre at Community Works will be prioritising the following:

  • Supporting people looking to volunteer by linking them with opportunities, providing specific guidance on volunteering in the current environment and gathering intelligence on emerging needs in the community
  • Supporting the development of safe and effective grassroots mutual aid and social action groups by providing regularly updated good practice guidance, sharing best practice and any innovative solutions and systems they develop, and communicating any changes in demand or supply of volunteers across the city.
  • Supporting established organisations to recruit volunteers, by registering their opportunities on the Volunteer Plus platform and by providing advice and guidance on developing new roles and adapting existing ones.

Community Works and the Trust for Developing Communities are working with the council to bring together a co-ordinated offer to ensure communities are supported, including producing a ‘top tips’ for setting up volunteer groups aiming to ensure groups are operating with clarity and safety in mind.

The Trust for Developing Communities is in the process of reshaping current work carried out in communities across the city to meet the emerging need. The Trust for Developing Communities is shaping the offer to respond to need as identified by communities and linking with existing community assets. The Trust for Developing Communities will provide clarity on how communities can access support as soon as their re-shaping process is complete and will be putting details of local groups on their website www.trustdevcom.org.uk from next week.

Food and food banks

We understand most food banks in the city are planning to stay open.

As at 18 March, three of the 17 food banks in the city were closing. Two of those are in voluntary sector organisations that work regularly with clients and will be sign-posting to other foodbanks and places for support. The third is a neighbourhood-based foodbank, where there is an alternative in the area for people to be redirected to.

In addition, following overall concerns about increased need to access food due to panic buying, the emergency food network is looking to establish one new city-based food bank. This would mostly likely be part of the new model being rapidly developed.

A new more sustainable model is being developed that will ensure safety of volunteers and clients as well help manage the flow of food to residents on a large scale and will require good volunteer management. The new model will provide options for both food parcels delivered to doors and meal provision and if supported by the School Meals Service would be suitable for a response for families eligible for free school meals, for current food bank or shared meal users and for people who become household food insecure as a result of COVID-19 crisis. 

The Food Partnership is leading the new model and adaption with support from the many other organisations in the emergency food network and the council. A food cell (working group) specifically for food has been established with dedicated co-ordination staff.

Fareshare are continuing to deliver to any project that want their food.

Vic Borril from the Food Partnership is working on the government funding announced yesterday for energy food work and co-ordinating with the emergency food network.

Volunteering

All volunteer enquiries should be directed to the Volunteer Centre at Community Works which has the infrastructure, safeguarding and expertise to match the skills of volunteers to the most effective volunteer originations.

Support, guidance and advice for residents wanting to help locally in the city is being developed again at pace and a further update will be available early next week.

There is information have published a page on ‘how to help those at risk- in the Covid-19 section of the council website which will be kept up-to-date volunteering and community matters.

Also, please send any community feedback/intelligence to the council’s communities team communitiesteam@brighton-hove.gov.uk to help inform our support to resident action.

How residents can help

Information about how to help during the current pandemic has been published on our website, this includes advice about how to prevent scams.

This page has been updated today and more details will be added as plans continue to evolve.

Council Tax help

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

Council committees

The city, as with the rest of the country, faces serious and acute challenge with the projected spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the areas of concern is the risk posed by large gatherings where people may spend time in close proximity for an extended period.

Meetings of full council and committees need to be considered to ensure that they are necessary and proportionate and that all steps are taken to minimise risk.

Between now and the end of July, the council has 29 council and committee meetings and 6 Housing Area Panel meetings. In addition, we have 33 non COVID-19 Working Groups that meet at various times. It was agreed today:

  • all Working Groups and Housing Area Panel meetings be suspended except those needed for exceptional reasons as agreed by Group Leaders;
  • Full Council will go ahead on 2 April with only Local Plan Part II, Transport for the South East, and the annual Statement of Pay Policy as the items for the agenda;
  • that annual Council takes place on 14 May together with approval of Community Infrastructure Levy. The ceremonial part of Mayor Making will take place in September. Where full Council meetings are called, Members are expected to use best endeavours to limit the number to meet the requirement for a quorum (14) or such higher number as may be agreed by the Groups.
  • If decisions need to be taken but cannot be delayed, Officers will consider using Officer urgency powers having consulted the relevant Chair and Opposition spokespersons. In exercising officer urgency powers, Officers will endeavour to reflect the wishes of the majority. All decisions taken using officer urgency powers will be published on the council’s website.
  • Where it is considered that the use of Officer urgency powers is not appropriate or the Chair of the Committee requires it, an urgency subcommittee will be called with the attendance of 3 members, one each from the 3 political groups, as per current arrangements;
  • if, in the opinion of the relevant Chair, following consideration of advice from the Chief Executive or Monitoring Officer, none of the above are reasonably practicable, then a “virtual meeting” may take place between the chair and opposition spokespersons or, other members of the committee as suggested by the groups. The relevant Director for the subject matter will have delegated power to implement the recommendation of the meeting. This is without prejudice to existing delegated powers under the scheme of delegations to officers. Virtual meetings may take place by Skype, tele conference or any other means that the Chair considers most appropriate. This will be reviewed depending on any legislation that may be introduced by the government.
  • Attendance by the public will be restricted to the numbers that can be accommodated safely taking the advice from Public Health England. The public will be encouraged to watch proceedings via webcast and those wanting to ask questions, present petitions or deputations will be advised the need to minimise attendance in person and offered the option of questions, petitions, deputations being taken as read, receiving written responses.

The full minutes will be published on the council website soon.

Health advice

At present the government advice has not changed since Monday 16 March. The latest information is on the government website and this link can shared with anyone asking for more information.

number 11 - Wednesday 18 March

6.40pm Wednesday 18 March

Latest update

Today the government announced all schools in England will close on Friday afternoon until further notice.  

We have also updated our website with information on service changes due to coronavirus.

Schools in the city

Major changes have been announced for schools from the end of the school day on Friday 20 March and for the foreseeable future.

The government has confirmed that schools will close to all pupils except the children of key workers (such as NHS staff) and also vulnerable children (such as those with a social worker and children with Education Health Care Plans).

Staff from the council’s Families, Children and Learning (FCL) team will now prioritise how to support schools to make these government decisions happen on time.

This requirement will also apply to early years, sixth and further education provision.

The Director of Families, Children and Learning is contacting all headteachers this evening and will be following up tomorrow.

This is a critical point in the coronavirus situation and we are ready to respond.

This information is also online

Food poverty

Our vulnerable people cell (working group) is linking together partners including the Food Partnership and the Volunteer Centre to look at how to tackle food poverty (not being able to afford food) and food insecurity (lack of access to food). The aim is to mobilise as soon as possible.

Our Families, Children and Learning cell is working on how to provide families who receive free school meals or are entering food poverty with the food they need in the weeks and months ahead. 

More information to follow soon.

Services for homeless people and people who are rough sleeping

We’re aware that rough sleepers and single homeless are a vulnerable group who might be particularly affected by Covid 19 and have moved quickly to put emergency support services in place. We will be keeping the position under review and will be redirecting resources as required. We’re keen to avoid panic or community tensions arising.

We’ve identified a number of self-contained units in the city that can be used for homeless people needing to self-isolate. We currently have 10 units ready and are keeping all suitable properties that become available clear for this client group. We are working through a triaged referral route for rough sleepers who need to self-isolate so services aren’t overwhelmed. Currently, we’ve had no-one referred who has needed to self-isolate.

This means placing everyone else into spot purchase or shared facility accommodation.

We are working across a number of areas to create further capacity and facilitate moving people through to keep the emergency facilities as clear as we can. This is includes re-purposing accommodation for people who need to self-isolate, sourcing additional spot-purchase accommodation, increasing focus on moving people on from current long term accommodation and supported accommodation and exploring where we can bring forward new temporary accommodation schemes in development.

We are also working across the council to identify gaps in provision and having discussions with community and voluntary groups who would best placed to meet those gaps, such as delivery of food and other essentials.

We’re refocusing our Housing Options Service, including our Welfare Officers, to reduce face-to-face contact with clients. Where possible, we will contact people by phone and email to avoid people having to come into the Customer Service Centre and reduce the chances of spreading infection.

We have no plans to close any of the various emergency rough sleeping accommodation services in the city, although we are looking at how we can move on people from those projects as quickly as possible.

Some of this involves re-connection for people do not have a local connection to the city where they are not at risk if re-connected. There is a high flow of people coming to the city to replace anyone re-connected, and so Housing, St Mungo’s and Adult Social Care commissioning, in conjunction with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, are working together to prioritise engaging re-connecting people as quickly as possible.

How residents can help

Information about how to help during the current pandemic has been published on our website, this includes advice about how to prevent scams.

More details will be added as plans evolve.

Council Tax help

If anyone is concerned about being able to pay council tax bills due to the impact of the coronavirus, please let us know as soon as possible. The best way is to contact us via the web site which has an online form or by phone on 01273 291 291. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using the online form.

Support for business

We have written to businesses across the city identified by our finance team as potentially eligible for retail rate relief with more information about how to contact us if they need to.

The government has also published support for businesses, including details of a Business Support Helpline for free advice

Advice for council staff

Yesterday morning we immediately outlined that anyone over the age of 70, or is pregnant, or who has underlying health condition, should work from home.

Today extra guidance was sent out to all staff saying we are now also advising that anyone:

  • who lives with someone over 70, or is pregnant, or has an underlying health condition
  • is a carer for someone over 70 or who has an underlying health condition

should also now work from home.

Also, if staff are not able to do their job from home and meet the following criteria:

  • Are in self-isolation due to having Covid-19 symptoms, but feel well enough to work, or live with someone who is in self-isolation due to symptoms.
  • Are a vulnerable member of staff because either you, or someone you live with or care for is over 70, pregnant, or has an underlying health condition

then they will not be expected to work and this will be considered special leave.

We’ve also issued new Covid-19 guidance and information to staff on first aid, working remotely, building safety, training, and an FAQ.

As a council, we provide essential public services to residents, some of whom are vulnerable, and local businesses many of whom will be feeling economically fragile. We will need to find practical and organised ways of sustaining these services over the months ahead and the role of council staff is central to solving these challenges.

Unions will be briefed on a regular basis by the chief executive.

Cityclean

Our priority is to collect your rubbish and recycling. If we can't collect your bin or box, we will collect it on the next scheduled day. 

Environment contact centre

  • The environment contact centre number 01273 292929 will be closed from Monday 23 March
  • We will be encouraging people to email and use online forms, and these will be staffed and prioritised
  • We will be communicating this information on the website and through media and social media

Refuse and recycling

  • We will be unable to catch up on missed work
  • If a collection is missed, residents’ next collection will take place on their next scheduled collection day if possible.
  • Residents can take any type of waste to the two Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRS). This can include taking friends and neighbours waste if they can’t get there by car etc.

Street cleansing

  • The emptying of all litter bins in the city centre, east and west (including dog poo bins) will be prioritised

Garden waste

  • Collections are being suspended from today. This will be for two weeks initially while we try to source agency drivers and operatives on short term contracts.
  • This decision will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, and you will be updated then.
  • People can take their garden waste to our Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRS)
  • Customers will have their contract extended where appropriate to cover collections that are missed  
  • We will not be introducing a third garden waste round on 1 April, as was planned.
  • All customers can still renew their subscription or sign up if invited to do so, time will be added to these subscriptions also to make up for lost time.

Environmental Enforcement Service

  • This service is being suspended to ensure we reduce social interactions
  • By doing this we can make the most efficient use of staff resources in other areas of Cityclean

Bin and box collections

  • This is continuing for now but will be suspended once staff resources make delivery unmanageable

Commercial/trade

  • If depleted resources mean we cannot collect commercial waste then we may ask Commercial/trade customers in communal bin areas to place their waste in communal bins

Graffiti and jet washing

  • Only offensive graffiti and human waste will be removed

Public toilets

  • At present we are keeping our toilets open. However, as the contract is run by Healthmatic, this will be kept under review, but may mean reducing opening hours or sites that are open.

Community clean ups

  • Beach cleans, Tidy Up Teams etc are being suspended

This information will be updated on our website

Events and venues

Government guidance advises people to avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars and clubs.

Venues and events across the city have responded by postponing or cancelling activities in response to the government announcement.

The Brighton Royal Pavilion and Museums are closed. Work continues on the move to the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust which is due to come into effect on 1 April.  

We will update online as more information is available.

Council committees

The coronavirus has impacted on council business and we are currently reviewing what meetings can take place and how.

A number of committees that were due to go ahead this week and next have been postponed or cancelled.

  • Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee due on 17 March – postponed (new date to be confirmed)
  • Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee due on 18 March – cancelled
  • Licensing Panel due on 23 March – postponed (new date to be confirmed)
  • Health & Wellbeing Board due on 24 March – postponed (new date to be confirmed)
  • The Policy & Resources Committee is still planned to go ahead on Thursday 19 March

The decisions for each committee were made following the latest government advice around social distancing safety and based on whether the content of the committees included decisions that couldn’t be delayed.

Health advice

At present the government advice has not changed since Monday 16 March. The latest information is on the government website and this link can shared with anyone asking for more information.

number 10 - Tuesday 17 March

6.30pm Tuesday 17 March

Latest update

New guidance was issued yesterday from government and an update about economic measures announced this evening.

The country is effectively on voluntary lockdown.

From this point, when council meetings are referred to, this does not necessarily mean face-to-face and can include virtual meetings.

Advice for council staff

A corporate broadcast email was sent to all council staff this morning from the executive leadership team and the political leadership of the council about the initial response. This briefing has been forwarded to all Brighton & Hove City Council councillors.

In summary, the advice said:

We will be in touch with further advice later today about who should work from home and how but anyone:

  • those who are pregnant

should now work from home until further notice.

Further guidance will soon be issued to all staff and this too will be forwarded to our councillors.

As a council, we provide essential public services to residents, some of whom are vulnerable, and local businesses many of whom will be feeling economically fragile. We will need to find practical and organised ways of sustaining these services over the months ahead and the role of council staff is central to solving these challenges.

Unions have been involved in discussion today will be briefed on a regular basis by the chief executive. An hour meeting will be scheduled once a week.

Council public buildings and venues

From tomorrow the following will close:

Information is still pending about:

  • Freedom Leisure sport centres
  • Royal Pavilion and Museums

Support for vulnerable people

One of the council cells (working groups) is focused on supporting vulnerable people.

A key piece of work is identifying who are vulnerable people in this unique situation and awareness of how this could change over time. Other issues that are being addressed include food poverty, social isolation, financial poverty, ways to prevent fraud against the vulnerable and mental health.

More information will follow on this in the coming days.

Council committees

Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee was postponed today.

Future council committee meetings are being considered now and we will share the plans as soon as possible.

Schools in the city

At the time of sending, the government is still advising schools stay open.

The council’s Executive Director Families, Children & Learning has today contacted headteachers saying that, for now, where they can safely keep a school open, we ask that the government advice is followed and to carry on.

The Executive Director Families, Children & Learning also advised headteachers that if there is a situation where staffing levels mean it is unsafe to continue to operate then we will support schools who have to close. Headteachers have been asked to talk the situation through with the council’s schools’ team before taking action. It is understood that a decision to close a school is never lightly undertaken.

City briefings

This is a fast-moving situation and we will do all we can to keep you informed. Yesterday’s 4.45pm Briefing 8 mainly aimed to update on the council response and actions. It also included a summary of the situation, which while correct at the time of sending, was within the hour out of date following the latest announcements from Downing Street. We will from now on add a time of issue to the top of these documents so you will be aware if the information has been superseded by further announcements.

How residents can help

We live in a generous compassionate city and people are keen to offer support in any way they can. We have seen a rise of groups on social media and in the community looking for ways to help.

Advice:

  • Panic buying is unhelpful, please encourage people to buy only what they need.
  • Please do not stockpile items such as toilet roll, this prevents everyone being able to maintain basic hygiene.
  • The food banks are running low of supplies, if anyone has items to share please contact your local foodbank to find out what they need now.
  • Check in on elderly and vulnerable neighbours, many may not have access to the internet for latest updates.
  • If you are unwell, follow Public Health England advice to stay at home to avoid spreading germs.
  • We are looking at how best to co-ordinate volunteering across the city to effectively use the resources available and reach all in need. This will take time to organise on a citywide basis. 
  • Localised community efforts are appreciated, please encourage groups to look at the advice from Public Health England about staying at home (self-isolation) when offering support.
  • If any vulnerable residents are concerned about people knocking on their doors, please remind them they do not have to open the door to anyone if they don’t want to.  

Health advice

At present the government advice has not changed since Monday 16 March. The latest information is on the government website and this link can shared with anyone asking for more information.

number 9 - Monday 16 March

6:30pm Monday 16 March

Update

(Please refer to Briefing 8, sent at 4.45pm today, for detailed information on the latest actions from the council and general summary of the situation)

The government this afternoon has announced another change in approach during the “delay” phase.

In another example that this a fast-changing situation, a briefing from Downing Street this evening gave the following headline advice (details below as reported by the BBC, pending government website updates):

  • Anyone who lives with someone who has a cough or a temperature should stay at home for 14 days
  • People should start working from home where they possibly can
  • Avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues
  • Only use the NHS when we really need to
  • From tomorrow government will no longer be "supporting" mass gatherings using emergency workers

Implications for Brighton & Hove

We are looking into the implications of the new government advice for responding to Covid-19, including the impact around home working. We will be updating staff with the council's position as quickly as possible, and provide the latest information and guidance from Public Health England when published. 

Please refer to the government website for more details as they are published.

Please use this information to inform your residents about what has happened and refer them to the council’s digital and social media channels and other trusted sources of information as highlighted in this briefing.

number 8 - Monday 16 March

4:45pm Monday 16 March 

Latest update

We are now in the “delay” phase, as announced by the government last week.

The latest information is on the government website and is as follows:

What to do if you have symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital with mild symptoms.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

The NHS will not be testing those self-isolating with mild symptoms.

The government continues to advise schools should remain open.

The government has not yet introduced “social distancing” because preventing general interaction could have a negative impact, especially on elderly people.

What the council has been doing

The executive leadership team, working with the director of public health, has established a series of working groups, known as “cells” in the resilience planning. The City Management Board has also been convened and links in key stakeholders.

Council teams are working round the clock to put in place necessary measures to look after residents and keep services running. This is a fast-paced situation yet also an ongoing one, which means this needs to be treated as the new normal for at least several months ahead.

Some of the core council cells set up to co-ordinate the city response and organise contingency planning include:

  • Vulnerable people

    • Supporting adult social care to maintain the safety of our most vulnerable adults
    • Linking with health and housing to ensure co-ordinated response
    • Looking at how we work with the voluntary sector
  • Vulnerable housing

    • Covering emergency accommodation, temporary accommodation, seniors housing and council tenants
    • Working with adult social care on supported accommodation
  • Children and young people       

    • Support for schools, including special schools, nurseries and post-16 provision
    • Food poverty, how to help families reliant on school meals
    • Social care readiness for children at risk
  • Events and economic impact

    • Supporting tourism and leisure partners
    • Preparing for any announcement around mass gatherings and large movements of people 
  • Waste

    • Disposal of clinical waste (government guidance has changed repeatedly and the need for this cell is under review)
    • Maintaining domestic waste and recycling collections is dealt with by the service’s business continuity plan
  • Communications

    • Producing coronavirus website section
    • Supporting all services on messaging
    • Providing city briefings when new information emerges
  • Council workforce and IT&D

    • Supporting staff
    • Health and safety at work (including working from home)
    • Providing IT&D resources for home working if needed
  • Business rates relief and support for businesses

    • Looking at what can be provided to help businesses 

Today the council’s leadership network met, with the most senior 100 managers coming together at Hove Town Hall to look at how we are responding across all services and consider scenario planning.

The meeting was also attended by Cllr Allcock and Cllr Moonan.

The leadership network is now not expected to reconvene for the foreseeable future. We will be looking at linking up virtually until the situation resolves.  

Events in the city

At present government advice has not banned large gatherings in the city. However, some events are choosing to postpone or cancel due to the uncertainty of the current situation.

We will share more information on this issue when updated national guidance is received. 

Council committees

We are looking at ways to ensure democracy can continue if we have to close council buildings.

The chair of HOSC (health overview and scrutiny committee) recently decided to cancel the next meeting. The business was not time critical.

Advice is to follow to committee chairs on how business can be conducted and critical decisions made as the situation evolves.  

Urgent update meetings for lead councillors are being arranged, some of these will include cross party representation.

How residents can help

We live in a generous compassionate city and people are keen to offer support in any way they can. We have seen a rise of groups on social media and in the community looking for ways to help.

Advice:

  • Panic buying is unhelpful, please encourage people to buy only what they need.
  • Please do not stockpile items such as toilet roll, this prevents everyone being able to maintain basic hygiene.
  • The food banks are running low of supplies, if anyone has items to share please contact your local foodbank to find out what they need now.
  • Check in on elderly and vulnerable neighbours, many may not have access to the internet for latest updates.
  • If you are unwell, follow Public Health England advice to stay at home to avoid spreading germs.
  • We are looking at how best to co-ordinate volunteering across the city to effectively use the resources available and reach all in need. This will take time to organise on a citywide basis. 
  • Localised community efforts are appreciated, please encourage groups to look at the advice from Public Health England about staying at home (self-isolation) when offering support.
  • If any vulnerable residents are concerned about people knocking on their doors, please remind them they do not have to open the door to anyone if they don’t want to.  

Situation in Brighton & Hove

We will be looking at the implications of the new national announcements and updating local information as soon we have more information to share.

When more cases are confirmed in the UK, numbers are announced by the Chief Medical Officer.

The location of cases is announced on the government website and this will be the first source of information about the ongoing situation.  

Encouraging everyone to maintain basic hygiene continues to be the best way to prevent spread of the virus. Advice from PHE on handwashing is below.

Background

Coronavirus (Covid-19) has been spreading in China since it was first reported in December 2019 and has subsequently affected other countries. Symptoms include fever cough and difficulty breathing.

Covid-19 can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Standard advice to prevent the spread of infection is recommended, including maintaining good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene.

Where can I get more accurate information from?

Please also be aware that media speculation is rife about Coronavirus and not everything you read in the newspapers and online is accurate.

The release of trusted and accurate information will always be released initially by the Chief Medical Officer. Further guidance will then be issued by Public Health England, the Department for Health and Social Care or the NHS. The council will also support those messages.

You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

The council has a series of webpages for residents, businesses, visitors to the city and frontline workers. Information is regularly updated, please get in touch if you think any key information is missing.

The key role of councillors

Councillors and MPs have been sharing information in the community about the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This has helped raise awareness and is making a positive difference to the situation. 

The hygiene advice from Public Health England is below. Please also consider if you need to self-isolate following the latest advice from government about preventing the spread of the virus 

If any councillors need questions answered after talking in the community or having information to share that would help the public health team’s prevention work, please contact Rob Persey directly on robert.persey@brighton-hove.gov.uk Please title the email “Coronavirus: Councillor feedback” so the information can be shared with the relevant colleagues.

Some people and communities in the city are feeling particularly vulnerable. There have also been anecdotal reports of incidents of prejudice against some members of the community. Councillors are well placed to be a calm reassuring presence in their wards and to offer support. Instances of hate crime should be reported.

The council’s community safety team works closely with the police and our local communities to prevent anti-social behaviour and hate incidents and support people affected.

If you see a hate incident or need to let a resident know where to turn for help, our community safety team can support you and provide advice. You can contact the community safety team by:

You can also report hate incidents to Sussex Police or call them on 101 if it’s not an emergency.

Social media

Councillors and MPs have been sharing updates about good hygiene and services open in their wards. This is an effective way to share positive news and raise awareness of how to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is very strongly advised councillors are not drawn into discussion on social media about individual cases which could breach patient confidentiality. Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer has responsibility for sharing relevant details relating to cases. Anything else is speculation.  

Media interest

As before, it would be helpful if you continue to refer all media enquiries to the council’s communications team so that these can be worked on with our Public Health Team and Public Health England. Queries can be sent directly to the team on news@brighton-hove.gov.uk or 01273 293033.

The main aim is to maintain patient confidentiality and to avoid councillors being asked health questions that are not our area to respond to. This is also to ensure accuracy and consistency in the messaging being shared, bearing in mind Public Health England are the lead for communications.

Councillors and MPs continue to be increasingly important in reassuring local communities and raising awareness about how to prevent the spread of the virus. We can offer support for councillors regarding media requests that are beneficial for you to accept when these arise.

Health advice

What to do if you have symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital with mild symptoms.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

The NHS will not be testing those self-isolating with mild symptoms.

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel. Effective sanitiser gel should have a 60% alcohol content or higher.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel (see above) if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Please use this information to inform your residents about what has happened and refer them to the council’s digital and social media channels and other trusted sources of information as highlighted in this briefing.

number 7 - Thursday 12 March

6:45pm Thursday 12 March

Latest update

The government has announced today that the UK has moved into the “delay” phase and has changed advice for the public. The situation is fast-moving.

The latest information is on the government website and is as follows:

What to do if you have symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital with mild symptoms.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

The NHS will not be testing those self-isolating with mild symptoms.

The government continues to advise schools should remain open.

The government has not yet introduced “social distancing” because preventing general interaction could have a negative impact, especially on elderly people.

Situation in Brighton & Hove

We will be looking at the implications of the new national announcements and updating local information as soon we have more information to share.

As of 9am today, there are no further new cases reported in Brighton & Hove.

When more cases are confirmed in the UK, numbers are announced by the Chief Medical Officer.

The location of cases is announced on the government website and this will be the first source of information about the ongoing situation.

To date, a total of eight people with a Brighton & Hove postcode have tested positive for Covid-19. All are adults.

Five of the local cases have now recovered. As far as we are aware, all individuals affected and those connected to these cases first announced in February are now out of self-isolation and are well.

Encouraging everyone to maintain basic hygiene continues to be the best way to prevent spread of the virus. Advice from PHE on handwashing is below.

Background

Coronavirus (Covid-19) has been spreading in China since it was first reported in December 2019 and has subsequently affected other countries. Symptoms include fever cough and difficulty breathing.

Covid-19 can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Standard advice to prevent the spread of infection is recommended, including maintaining good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene.

Events and economy

At present there are no plans to cancel events in the city.

The council held a major events and cultural assets summit at the Brighton Centre on Tuesday 10 March with key city stakeholders. This was well attended. It provided the opportunity to share ideas and discuss plans together.

The situation with Covid-19 is changing daily. We are working with Public Health England, and the Department of Health & Social Care to respond as needed. Should the government’s position change, we will keep the city and key stakeholders within culture, leisure and tourism sector informed.

Protecting vulnerable people

The rise in numbers of people with coronavirus is a concern for anyone likely to be more adversely affected by the virus.

Advice specifically for residents who are at higher risk from coronavirus is being prepared by PHE and will be shared as soon as possible.

Information is also on our website.

PHE and the NHS is experienced in managing infectious diseases and reducing the impact of new viruses.

Where can I get more accurate information from?

Please also be aware that media speculation is rife about Coronavirus and not everything you read in the newspapers and online is accurate.

The release of trusted and accurate information will always be released initially by the Chief Medical Officer. Further guidance will then be issued by Public Health England, the Department for Health and Social Care or the NHS. The council will also support those messages.

You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

The council has a series of webpages for residents, businesses, visitors to the city and frontline workers. Information is regularly updated, please get in touch if you think any key information is missing.

The key role of councillors

Councillors and MPs have been sharing information in the community about the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This has helped raise awareness and is making a positive difference to the situation.

The hygiene advice from Public Health England is below. Please also consider if you need to self-isolate following the latest advice from government about preventing the spread of the virus

If any councillors need questions answered after talking in the community or having information to share that would help the public health team’s prevention work, please contact Rob Persey directly on robert.persey@brighton-hove.gov.uk Please title the email “Coronavirus: Councillor feedback” so the information can be shared with the relevant colleagues.

Some people and communities in the city are feeling particularly vulnerable. There have also been anecdotal reports of incidents of prejudice against some members of the community. Councillors are well placed to be a calm reassuring presence in their wards and to offer support. Instances of hate crime should be reported.

The council’s community safety team works closely with the police and our local communities to prevent anti-social behaviour and hate incidents and support people affected.

If you see a hate incident or need to let a resident know where to turn for help, our community safety team can support you and provide advice. You can contact the community safety team by:

You can also report hate incidents to Sussex Police or call them on 101 if it’s not an emergency.

Social media

Councillors and MPs have been sharing updates about good hygiene and services open in their wards. This is an effective way to share positive news and raise awareness of how to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is very strongly advised councillors are not drawn into discussion on social media about individual cases which could breach patient confidentiality. Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer has responsibility for sharing relevant details relating to cases. Anything else is speculation.

Media interest

As before, it would be helpful if you continue to refer all media enquiries to the council’s communications team so that these can be worked on with our Public Health Team and Public Health England. Queries can be sent directly to the team on news@brighton-hove.gov.uk or 01273 293033.

The main aim is to maintain patient confidentiality and to avoid councillors being asked health questions that are not our area to respond to. This is also to ensure accuracy and consistency in the messaging being shared, bearing in mind Public Health England are the lead for communications.

Councillors and MPs continue to be increasingly important in reassuring local communities and raising awareness about how to prevent the spread of the virus. We can offer support for councillors regarding media requests that are beneficial for you to accept when these arise.

Health advice

What to do if you have symptoms

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough

This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital with mild symptoms.

You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

The NHS will not be testing those self-isolating with mild symptoms.

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel. Effective sanitiser gel should have a 60% alcohol content or higher.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel (see above) if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Please use this information to inform your residents about what has happened and refer them to the council’s digital and social media channels and other trusted sources of information as highlighted in this briefing.

number 6 -Monday 9 March

2:30pm Monday 9 March

Latest update

As of Monday 9 March, a total of eight people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Brighton & Hove. All are adults. The location of cases is announced on the government website and the eighth case is due to be confirmed later today by Public Health England as being in Brighton & Hove.

Five of the local cases have now recovered. As far as we are aware, all individuals affected and those connected to these cases first announced in February are now out of self-isolation and are well.

In summary, the confirmed cases in the city are as follows:

  • Brighton & Hove cases 1 to 5: Connected to one source diagnosed in early February. All transmissions of the virus happened abroad.
  • Case 6: We have no details of this case, we’re waiting for more information from PHE. We cannot confirm whether this is connected to the city or not.
  • Case 7: The University of Sussex has confirmed this case is a student. Contact tracing is underway.
  • Case 8: A separate new case has been announced today at 2pm. Contact tracing is underway.

When more cases are confirmed in the UK, it will be announced as soon as possible by the Chief Medical Officer.

Given the rise in numbers across the UK, it is likely we will see more announced in the city. The experience and actions taken during the initial five cases has put Brighton & Hove in a good position to respond to the situation.

Encouraging everyone to maintain basic hygiene continues to be the best way to prevent spread of the virus. Advice from PHE on handwashing is below.

As of 9am on 9 March 2020, 24,960 people have been tested in the UK, of which 24,641 were confirmed negative and 319 were confirmed as positive. Three patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.

As the number of cases is expected to rise locally and nationally, we will not be updating on each new case. We will be following PHE advice about how to share information and you can find the details online (links at the end of this briefing).

Background

Coronavirus (Covid-19) has been spreading in China since it was first reported in December 2019 and has subsequently affected other countries. Symptoms include fever cough and difficulty breathing.

Covid-19 can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Standard advice to prevent the spread of infection is recommended, including maintaining good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene.

Panic buying

Supermarkets are limiting the number of some items people can buy at one time following instances of panic buying at the weekend. The current advice from government is that there is no need to stockpile and supply will be maintained if everyone buys only what they need for now.

Panic buying can prevent people from having what they need to take basic hygiene measures. It is essential that people have access to soap.

Panic buying is not helpful and can lead people to feel anxiety about the coronavirus situation.

Events and economy

At present there are no plans to cancel events in the city. It’s business as usual.

We are closely following advice from the government and PHE and will be ready to respond as new developments occur.

An extraordinary City Management Board is being convened tomorrow by the council’s chief executive with wider partners invited to share latest information and discuss business continuity plans.

Protecting vulnerable people

The rise in numbers of people with coronavirus is a concern for anyone likely to be more adversely affected by the virus.

Advice specifically for residents who are at higher risk from coronavirus is being prepared by PHE and will be shared as soon as possible.

PHE and the NHS is experienced in managing infectious diseases and reducing the impact of new viruses.

Recent travel

Please check the government website for the latest information about what to do if you or anyone you know has recently travelled to affected areas.

Where can I get more accurate information from?

Please also be aware that media speculation is rife about Coronavirus and not everything you read in the newspapers and online is accurate.

The release of trusted and accurate information will always be released initially by the Chief Medical Officer. Further guidance will then be issued by Public Health England, the Department for Health and Social Care or the NHS. The council will also support those messages.

You can find the latest information and advice from Public Health England at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

The council has a series of webpages for residents, businesses, visitors to the city and frontline workers. Information is regularly updated, please get in touch if you think any key information is missing.

The key role of councillors

Councillors and MPs have been sharing information in the community about the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This has helped raise awareness and is making a positive difference to the situation.

The hygiene advice from Public Health England is below.

If any councillors need questions answered after talking in the community or having information to share that would help the public health team’s prevention work, please contact Rob Persey directly on robert.persey@brighton-hove.gov.uk Please title the email “Coronavirus: Councillor feedback” so the information can be shared with the relevant colleagues.

Some people and communities in the city are feeling particularly vulnerable. There have also been anecdotal reports of incidents of prejudice against some members of the community. Councillors are well placed to be a calm reassuring presence in their wards and to offer support. Instances of hate crime should be reported.

The council’s community safety team works closely with the police and our local communities to prevent anti-social behaviour and hate incidents and support people affected.

If you see a hate incident or need to let a resident know where to turn for help, our community safety team can support you and provide advice. You can contact the community safety team by:

You can also report hate incidents to Sussex Police or call them on 101 if it’s not an emergency.

Social media

Councillors and MPs have been sharing updates about good hygiene and services open in their wards. This is an effective way to share positive news and raise awareness of how to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is very strongly advised councillors are not drawn into discussion on social media about individual cases which could breach patient confidentiality. Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer has responsibility for sharing relevant details relating to cases. Anything else is speculation.

Media interest

We are aware councillors are still being contacted directly for comment on Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Thank you to councillors from all parties who have been in touch with the comms team about this to let us know about queries.

As before, it would be helpful if you continue to refer all media enquiries to the council’s communications team so that these can be worked on with our Public Health Team and Public Health England. Queries can be sent directly to the team on news@brighton-hove.gov.uk or 01273 293033.

The main aim is to maintain patient confidentiality and to avoid councillors being asked health questions that are not our area to respond to. This is also to ensure accuracy and consistency in the messaging being shared, bearing in mind Public Health England are the lead for communications.

Councillors and MPs continue to be increasingly important in reassuring local communities and raising awareness about how to prevent the spread of the virus. We can offer support for councillors regarding media requests that are beneficial for you to accept when these arise.

Health advice

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel. Effective sanitiser gel should have a 60% alcohol content or higher.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel (see above) if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Please use this information to inform your residents about what has happened and refer them to the council’s digital and social media channels and other trusted sources of information as highlighted in this briefing.

number 5 - Thursday 13 February

2pm Thursday 13 February

Background

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) update has been spreading since it was first reported in December 2019. Symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms including coughing and shortness of breath.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Standard advice to prevent the spread of infection is recommended, including maintaining good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene.

Latest update

As of Thursday 13 February, there have been no new confirmed cases of Coronavirus (now called Covid-19) across Sussex.

Following the announcement that five cases of the confirmed Covid-19 were from the Brighton & Hove area, Public Health England (PHE) has carried out a thorough risk assessment and has traced the movements of the individuals.

PHE have contacted people who might have had close and sustained contact with the individuals as a precaution to provide them with health advice about any symptoms in case they become unwell. These individuals have been advised to “self-isolate”. This means they should stay at home and avoid contact with other people as a precaution. It does not mean they are ill and people who have had contact with these individuals do not need to take action.

People living across Sussex who have not been contacted by PHE are advised they should go about their daily routine as usual. There is comprehensive advice available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus for anyone who is concerned or wants to know more.

All schools are open in the city today.

NHS services are open as usual across Sussex and measures are in place to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.

Yesterday (12/02/2020) it was established that a healthcare worker working in the Accident & Emergency (A&E) Unit at Worthing Hospital was a confirmed case. As they treated a small number of patients on 4 and 5 February before they became unwell and self-isolated, PHE has contacted all patients seen by this individual and all colleagues who came into close contact with them, to advise on the precautions they need to take.

All services at Worthing Hospital, including surgery and outpatient appointments are operating normally.

Some GP practices across Brighton & Hove have been cleaned as a precaution but are now running as normal. A small number of patient appointments were rearranged to allow this to happen.

On advice from the Chief Medical Officer, the risk has been declared as "moderate" - a level which allows government to plan for all eventualities but that ultimately, that the risk to individuals remains "low".

Details of positive cases and their location can only be confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of England.

Hove Town Hall deep clean

A safeguarding training session was held by the CCG in Hove Town Hall Council Chamber on Thursday 6 February. On Monday 10 February the council was notified by Public Health England that one of the attendees had tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19).

When we were notified, we immediately organised a deep clean of the Council Chamber and surrounding areas, including the corridor, kitchen and toilets. This happened the same day and was a precautionary action.

People who used the chamber following the training session will not be contacted by Public Health England.

The area is safe and the attendee did not visit anywhere else in Hove Town Hall.

Additional alcohol hand-wipes and personal hand sanitizer gels have also been ordered for key civic offices to help reinforce good hygiene practices we should all be undertaking.

The key role of councillors

Councillors have been sharing information in the community about the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This has helped raise awareness and is making a positive difference to the situation.

The hygiene advice from Public Health England is below and digital versions of the two posters to use are attached.

If any councillors need questions answered after talking in the community or having information to share that would help the health team’s prevention work, please contact Rob Persey directly on robert.persey@brighton-hove.gov.uk Please title the email “Coronavirus: Councillor feedback” so the information can be shared with the relevant colleagues.

Some people and communities in the city are feeling particularly vulnerable. There have also been anecdotal reports of incidents of prejudice against some members of the community. Councillors are well placed to be a calm reassuring presence in their wards and to offer support. Instances of hate crime should be reported.

The council’s community safety team works closely with the police and our local communities to prevent anti-social behaviour and hate incidents and support people affected.

If you have been a victim of a hate incident or need to let a resident know where to turn for help, our community safety team can support you and provide advice. You can contact the community safety team by:

You can also report hate incidents to Sussex Police or call them on 101 if it’s not an emergency.

Social media

Councillors have been sharing updates about good hygiene and services open in their wards. This is an effective way to share positive news and raise awareness of how to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is very strongly advised councillors are not drawn into discussion on social media about individual cases which could breach patient confidentiality. Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer

has responsibility for sharing details about patients and cases. Anything else is speculation.

Frequently asked questions

We are preparing a range of questions and answers which will help you in responding to residents. This will be published on our website shortly and the link shared with you. We will add more information as soon as we get new updates.

Health advice

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel. Effective sanitiser gel should have a 60% alcohol content or higher.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel (see above) if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Media interest

We are aware councillors are still being contacted directly for comment on the coronavirus. Thank you to councillors from all parties who have been in touch with the comms team about this to let us know about queries.

As before, it would be helpful if you continue to refer all media enquiries to the council’s communications team so that these can be work on with Public Health England. Queries can be sent directly to the team on news@brighton-hove.gov.uk or 01273 293033.

The main aim is to maintain patient confidentiality and to avoid councillors being asked health questions that are not our area to respond to. This is also to ensure accuracy and consistency in the messaging being shared, bearing in mind Public Health England are the lead for communications.

As we move forward, councillors will be increasingly important in reassuring local communities and raising awareness about how to prevent the spread of the virus. We can offer support for councillors regarding media requests that are beneficial for you to accept when these arise.

Further information

Information for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms is available at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

number 4 - Wednesday 12 February

4:15pm Wednesday 12 February 

Latest update

No new cases were confirmed in Brighton & Hove in the Chief Medical Officer’s daily updates.

The key role of councillors

Councillors have been sharing information in the community about the best ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This has helped raise awareness and is making a positive difference to the situation.

The hygiene advice from Public Health England is below and digital versions of the two posters to use are attached.

If any councillors need questions answered after talking in the community or having information to share that would help the health team’s prevention work, please contact Rob Persey directly on robert.persey@brighton-hove.gov.uk Please title the email “Coronavirus: Councillor feedback” so the information can be shared with the relevant colleagues.

Some people and communities in the city are feeling particularly vulnerable. There have also been anecdotal reports of incidents of prejudice against some members of the community. Councillors are well placed to be a calm reassuring presence in their wards and to offer support.

Instances of hate crime should be reported.

The council’s community safety team works closely with the police and our local communities to prevent anti-social behaviour and hate incidents and support people affected.

If you have been a victim of a hate incident or need to let a resident know where to turn for help, our community safety team can support you and provide advice. You can contact the community safety team by:

You can also report hate incidents to Sussex Police or call them on 101 if it’s not an emergency.

Health advice

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel. Effective sanitiser gel should have a 60% alcohol content or higher.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel (see above) if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Media interest

A media briefing was held at Hove Town Hall yesterday at 5pm. Cllr Nancy Platts, leader of the council, and Geoff Raw, chief executive, spoke to local and national media.

The key points were:

  • Reassurance for residents
  • Confirmation of the high level of activity being carried out by partners and collaborative working across the city to respond to the situation
  • The important role of councillors in supporting communities and raising awareness of health hygiene
  • Health advice to help prevent the spread of the virus
  • The importance of patient confidentiality
  • Details about cases in the city must be confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer before they can be shared in public

We are aware councillors are still being contacted directly for comment on the coronavirus. Thank you to councillors from all parties who have been in touch with the comms team about this to let us know about queries.

As before, it would be helpful if you continue to refer all media enquiries to the council’s communications team so that these can be work on with Public Health England. Queries can be sent directly to the team on news@brighton-hove.gov.uk or 01273 293033.

This is to ensure accuracy and consistency in the messaging being shared, bearing in mind Public Health England are the lead for communications.

School closures

Contrary to media reports, all schools in the city were open today.

An update about schools will be added to the council newsroom later this afternoon.

Public Health England and the office of the Chief Medical Officer are clear in their advice that schools do not need to close. Headteachers with any concerns have been advised to speak with Public Health England if they have any specific worries.

The council’s school’s team is in regular contact with headteachers to discuss issues at individual schools.

Further information

Information for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms is available at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

number 3 - Sunday 9 February

5:40pm Sunday 9 February

Background

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus has been spreading since it was first reported in December 2019.

Symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms including coughing and shortness of breath.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. Standard advice to prevent the spread of infection is recommended, including maintaining good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene.

On Friday 7 February it was confirmed that the UK’s third positive case for 2019 Novel Coronavirus was a resident of Hove. The media had been reporting this to be the case since Thursday 6 February.

Confirmation of positive cases and location will only be confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer of England.

Latest update

It has today been confirmed by the Chief Medical Officer for England that a further patient has tested positive for 2019 Novel Coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the UK to four.

The new case is a known contact of a previously confirmed UK case, and the virus was passed on in France. Experts at Public Health England continue to work hard tracing patient contacts from the UK cases.

They successfully identified this individual and ensured the appropriate support was provided. The patient has been transferred to a specialist NHS centre at The Royal Free Hospital, robust infection control measures are being used to prevent any possible further spread of the virus.

More info at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Addressing the situation

The NHS and Public Health England are extremely well prepared to manage these cases and treat them and are working quickly to identify any further contacts the patient has had. This latest patient followed Public Health advice by self-isolating rather than going to A&E. For the latest advice visit gov.uk/coronavirus.

The local NHS and Brighton & Hove City Council are working closely with Public Health England (PHE) to manage the situation and to ensure everyone remain as safe as possible, using robust infection control measures to prevent any possible further spread of the virus.

Some Brighton & Hove residents have been told to “self-isolate”. During this time, they will be supported by PHE, who are monitoring them and will undertake further testing if they show any symptoms of the virus, and provide any further care needed.

We understand that it may be concerning to your residents, if they are told to ‘self-isolate’. This is a precaution, and absolutely the right thing to do, to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

Those who have been told to “self-isolate” are being asked to take the same precautions that everyone would to avoid other people if suffering from a heavy cold or the winter flu - stay at home and not go to work or school.

Public Health England are leading on control measures and they will be contacting people who may be affected using their established systems for similar situations. If someone has not been contacted by PHE as a close contact, they do not need to take any action.

There are reports in the media on a student at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy in self-isolating for 14 days following advice from Public Health England. Parents were emailed by the PACA headteacher to tell them the child is not showing any symptoms, but had been advised by Public Health England to self-isolate” for two weeks. We are not able to provide any further information on this case due to containment protocols and patient confidentiality.

Public Health England and the office of the Chief Medical Officer are however clear in their advice that schools do not need to close. We have advised all headteachers with any specific concerns to speak with Public Health England and to contact the council’s Schools Team if they were considering closing your school. We have been clear in the support available from us to all schools.

Brighton & Hove City Council has also been communicating information and advice to residents, staff and key stakeholders including:

  1. An open letter of reassurance to the city from Cllr Nancy Platts, Leader of the Council.
  2. Two public statements on the council’s newsroom for public and media.
  3. Messaging on social media to advise and re-enforce messaging.
  4. Two corporate broadcasts to all staff
  5. Specific advice to Brighton & Hove City Council frontline staff
  6. A briefing for all council managers.
  7. Briefings to all head teachers.
  8. Communications direct to community groups aimed at reducing public anxiety and community tensions.
  9. Communications and information for the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce to send it its members

Additional information

Public Health England (PHE) is the operational and communications lead for all multi-agency health protection outbreaks or incidents. They are publishing an update daily at 2pm until further notice.

Recommendations

Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.

Community cohesion

Some people and communities in the city are feeling particularly vulnerable. As councillors you can reassure our communities that they are a welcome and valued part of our city and support them to access health advice and with community safety issues.

Further information

Information for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms is available at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

number 2 - 7 February

5pm 7 February

Background

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus has been spreading since it was first reported in December 2019.

Symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms including coughing and shortness of breath. Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

Standard advice to prevent the spread of infection is recommended, including maintaining good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene.

Latest update

Since a case of 2019 Novel Coronavirus was first identified in the city on Thursday 6 February, we’ve been working closely with Public Health England and Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group to respond to the situation.

While we were waiting for an official announcement from the Chief Medical Officer about the location of this case, organisations were working to contain the situation, using robust infection control measures to prevent any possible further spread of the virus.

The patient is now being cared for at a specialist centre out of the area.

Public Health England are leading on control measures and they will be contacting people who may be affected using their established systems for similar situations. This is a priority for Public Health England, work on this is already underway and will continue over the weekend and coming days.

More info at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Addressing the situation

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Nancy Platts has published a message of reassurance on the council’s website with some advice for reducing the risk of catching colds and flu.

All staff have also been emailed with similar messages from Geoff Raw, Chief Executive.

Additional information

Public Health England (PHE) is the lead for all multi-agency health protection outbreaks or incidents. They are publishing an update daily at 2pm until further notice. The council and the CCG will be referring any media interest to the PHE update.

Recommendations

We’re asking people to take simple, common-sense steps to prevent the spread of illnesses, just like you would with other cold and flu viruses. Regularly washing your hands with soap and water, using tissues, and avoiding contact with other people or public transport if you’re feeling unwell will help reduce the spread of all cold and flu illnesses, including the coronavirus.

Some people and communities in the city are feeling particularly vulnerable. As councillors you can reassure our communities that they are a welcome and valued part of our city and support them to access health advice and with community safety issues.

Information for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms is available at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

number 1 - Thursday 6 February

2pm Thursday 6 February

Purpose of the briefing

This update provides information on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

There are three confirmed cases in the UK.

The latest updates are available on the government website:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

Media reports today are linking the third case to Brighton & Hove. This has not yet been confirmed by Public Health England.

We are working closely with Public Health England and Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). We will be sharing their advice and will provide more information as soon as possible.

What is the subject?

Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

More information is available from Public Health England is on the government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

Who does it affect and how?

Residents may be concerned about media reports. Please refer people to Public Health England information on the government website:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

Latest update

The Director of Public Health Alistair Hill is working closely with Public Health England and Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Recommendations

You may be approached by media for comment. Please do not speak directly to the media. Public Health England is managing media queries.

Everyone is advised to take simple, common-sense steps to prevent the spread of illnesses. Washing hands regularly with soap and water and using tissues will help reduce the spread of infections.

Please use the non-sensitive content in this briefing to inform your residents about what has happened or refer them to the council’s digital and social media channels. You may also like to share the non-sensitive information on your own social media to help respond to queries from residents and businesses.