Key Worker Hubs Set Up By Highland Council
25th March 2020
The Council has been working at pace to set up centres for the children of key workers. Anyone who has applied for a place at one of the key worker hubs in the Highland Council area will be contacted by the end of today (Wednesday 25th) with confirmation of the arrangements that have been put in place.
The centres are expected to be hosted at the following schools: Millburn Academy, Inverness Royal Academy; Dingwall Academy; Portree High School; Lochaber High School; Ullapool Academy; Golspie High School, Noss Primary and Miller Academy.
These centres will be staffed by volunteers drawn from Council staff, all of whom will have been checked to ensure that they are enrolled in the Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG). Please note the following key points about allocation of places in the Hubs for the children of key workers:
- Please be aware that the number of places we will be able to offer in the Highland Council area is limited and so not everyone who has requested a place will get one. We need to prioritise for those directly involved in addressing the health crisis linked with Covid-19 and others involved in the associated emergency response. However, we will be working hard to increase capacity over the coming days and weeks.
- Requesting a place in a Hub should be a choice of last resort. You should only request a place when you have exhausted all other possible means of providing childcare for your child(ren) while you are at work. The Scottish Government has issued public health advice about this and expects parents/carers to have explored all other options, such as using partners who are not key workers, using older children to supervise younger children, seeking changed shift patterns to avoid the need for childcare and so on.
- Children of key workers in age groups 0-5 will be placed in nursery settings and wherever possible, will remain with their existing childcare providers.
- The hubs will not replicate a school setting. Children will be expected to bring in the work and materials that have been allocated to them through their own school and they will be supervised whilst they work though these. Where practical and safe, age appropriate activities will also be arranged. Social distancing and health and hygiene practices will be in place - albeit in recognition that with young, energetic, children this will be a challenge to maintain at all times.
- It remains the case that home is the safest place for everyone, including children.
The most recent government information on Key Workers can be found at: https://news.gov.scot/news/supporting-coronavirus-key-workers
The Highland Council is working hard to release business grants to eligible local businesses as quickly as possible. The Council has received over 2,000 applications since the scheme was introduced last week and has set up systems to process these applications quickly while ensuring the necessary information is received.
Since The Highland Council's dedicated helpline went live last Wednesday afternoon staff have dealt with over 1,600 calls. The helpline has been set to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support.
Council tax payers in Highland who have lost their jobs or are experiencing a drop in their income are being encouraged to apply as quickly as possible for a reduction in their council tax. This help, known as the ‘Council Tax Reduction Scheme', is available for lower income households, including home owners.
Around 19,000 business rate payers in Highland will not receive their annual rates bill this April. The Highland Council recognises the exceptional economic challenges for local business and has therefore decided to pause business rates bills in respect of financial year 2020/21.
What is 'shielding'? If you fall within one of the groups recommended to shield, you will have received a letter or text from the NHS. Shielding is a measure to protect extremely vulnerable people by minimising contact between those who are extremely vulnerable and others.
During this time of restrictions it is important that we all stay active, for our physical health and mental well being. Recreation outside is an important element of this, but it is essential that each of us practice good social distancing while outside.
The Highland Council has launched a free helpline to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support during Covid19. The single line number - 0300 303 1362 - will connect callers to relevant Council specialist teams and will operate Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.
Highland Council will be providing e-vouchers to families to support access to free school meals from week commencing 30 March 2020. This innovative and easy-to-use service will ensure over 4,000 school children will continue to receive support for school meals while schools are closed.
THE HELPLINE GOES LIVE TODAY FROM 2:00pm ONWARDS. The Highland Council has launched a free helpline to give assistance and to collect details of individuals and community groups looking to provide volunteering support during Covid19.
Due to the COVID19 restrictions and the closure of Council Service Points, there has been a change in the way Highland Council provides its Homeless services. If you become Homeless, please contact the Council's Service Centre on 01349 886602 (during office hours) and 01349 886691 (out of hours) for further help and support.
[Printer Friendly Version]