Busy First Week For Highland Council's Covid-19 Helpline
1st April 2020
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. In the first 7 days the majority of the callers have been seeking support for businesses, along with providing offers to volunteer. Already we have over 240 groups offering assistance.
The single line helpline - 0300 303 1362 - is open between 8am and 6pm and is staffed by volunteers from Eden Court and the Council. As well as directly assisting callers, staff, who are all home based, are also signposting people to other organisations that can provide help and assistance too. All calls are free.
The Council is encouraging people to also continue to use their online forms to make payments, report problems and request a service. There are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from www.highland.gov.uk
To make a payment visit https://www.highland.gov.uk/pay
To report a problem visit https://www.highland.gov.uk/report
To request a service visit https://www.highland.gov.uk/request
A council spokesman said: "The statistics for the first week show how busy our staff are. This is a helpline for customers requiring or offering support during the coronavirus situation. If anyone has a query relating to other urgent council business, they should contact our Service Centre on 01349 886602 or continue to use on-line forms and resources as much as possible to ensure those most in need of assistance can be supported."
If anyone receives a Sheilding letter from NHS requiring them to self- isolate for 12 weeks and they require support, they should contact the Council’s dedicated shielding helpline at 01349 886669 and if they require food support, they should telephone the number provided in their letter.
The Highland Council can now confirm which of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region will re-open from Monday 1st June 2020. A phased approach to re-opening the sites will be adopted with strict controls in place to help manage social distancing and to ensure the anticipated high number of visitors and volume of waste can be handled safely and efficiently.
The Highland Council's Housing Service currently operates an annual garden aid scheme, cutting grass in approximately 1,300 council house gardens. The Garden Aid service is for older or disabled tenants who don't have anyone to help them cut their grass.
Following an ambitious bid by Highland Council supported by NHS Highland, to deliver rapid active travel interventions in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, The Highland Council has been awarded £752,954 from the Scottish Government's Spaces for People fund, which is administered by Sustrans. Over the coming weeks towns across Highland and the City of Inverness will see a roll-out of temporary walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure along priority routes.
Public assurance is being provided by Highland Council that the organisation is fully transparent and accountable during the COVID-19 emergency response as it publishes decisions made by its group of senior officers - or Gold Group* - under emergency procedures. The list of decisions made since 19 March 2020 is on the Council's website at the following link and will continue to the added to and updated as further decisions are made using emergency procedures.
The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant scheme, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, has now paid out £56,286,250 million to 5135 Highland businesses. The Highland Council's Head of Development and Regeneration, Allan Maguire, said: "We now are processing applications and approving payment within days of a business submitting a complete online application form and its accompanying evidence.
The Highland Council is pleased to announce that preparations are well underway for re-opening many of the Household Waste Recycling Centres across the region to the public from Monday 1 June 2020. The sites in Highland, along with all other Scottish Local Authorities, have been closed since the end of March due to the government's Covid-19 restrictions on non-essential travel.
Highland Council's Recovery Board Chair, Cllr Alasdair Christie has welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government's road map phasing the way out of lockdown, which was published earlier today. The First Minister revealed that Phase 1 of the Government's new four phase plan, could come into effect on 28 May, however the advice remains stay home, protect the NHS and save lives for now.
The Highland Council has noted the outcomes at Inverness Sherriff Court this morning regarding Home Farm Care Home on the Isle of Skye. The Sheriff made no decision on the Care Inspectorate's application to suspend registration but has adjourned the matter until 10 June 2020 on the basis that the collaborative approach being taken will continue to be monitored.
The Highland Council would like to remind Garden Waste Collection Service permit holders that the service resumed last Monday (11th May 2020) after being suspended due to the impact of COVID-19 on staff resources. Carron McDiarmid, Executive Chief Officer for Communities and Place said: "Feedback from our crews from the first week of collections is that the quality of the material collected from the brown bins was excellent with very little contamination which is really positive and I would like to thank the public for making a concerted effort to ensure that only the correct material was put into their bins.
The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant scheme, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, has now paid out £48.9m million to 4359 Highland businesses. This now includes payments to owners of multiple premises following the expansion of the scheme on 5th May 2020.
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