Easter Childcare For Key Workers - Hubs to remain open over the spring break
3rd April 2020
Learning and childcare hubs for the children of key workers will remain open across Scotland over the Easter holidays.
The move will help support key workers in the NHS and other key sectors on the frontline of the response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
All of Scotland's local authorities will keep learning and childcare hubs open in their areas to support children and young people. The number of hubs that are open, and the types of support they provide, will vary between each council area in response to local demand.
Education Secretary John Swinney said:"I am very grateful to colleagues in education and childcare who are working so hard to deliver this service.
"Clearly these are unprecedented times and this will be a very different Easter holiday period for teachers and pupils across the country. I would like to thank all of those who have volunteered to provide support over this time.
"Our key workers are on the frontline of the response to coronavirus and it's only right that we do everything we possibly can to support them.
“By keeping learning and childcare hubs open in our local authorities, we can make sure children are safe and well looked-after while their parents are doing critical jobs helping our communities."
Councillors taking part in today's virtual Corporate Resources Committee were left in no doubt about the significant and serious impact COVID-19 continues to have on the budget of The Highland Council. The scale and immediacy of financial challenges to be faced were laid out in a report that modelled two different potential scenarios - in the ‘mid case' scenario, a budget gap of £65.7m is projected, and in the most severe, a potential gap of £96.9m is projected.
The Highland Council has reported a successful year end position for 2019-20 delivering £18M of a 3-year savings plan and an underspend of £7.526m. The Council's unearmarked reserves, which act as a general contingency against unforeseen events or to meet unbudgeted costs, stand at £15.451M at 31 March 2020, having almost doubled over the year due to the in-year budget surplus.
Extra cash in the pockets of low income families Eligible parents of children aged four and five are being encouraged to apply for financial support worth £250. The one-off £250 payment is currently open to eligible families with a child who was born between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016 and who is old enough to start primary one this year.
Works on the Inverness West Link Stage 2 were suspended on the 24 March 2020 following COVID-19 guidance from the Scottish Government. The Highland Council has been in dialogue with Contractors RJ McLeod and has agreed that essential works are required to begin to address safety issues but primarily the works to be undertaken are to provide for physical distancing and encourage active travel, walking, wheeling and cycling as part of, and to augment the successful Spaces for People project.
The COVID-19 small business and self-catering grant schemes, set up to help companies stay in business during the coronavirus crisis, have now paid out £59,628,750 to over 5500 Highland businesses. The Council has now processed 99% of the applications received since the grant schemes opened.
Blueprint for safe return to classes. Detailed guidance on practical measures to allow schools to re-open on 11 August has been published.
The Highland Council is assessing the implications of the First Minister's announcements made on the 21st May about the first stage relaxation of lockdown, concerning teachers and other education staff returning to the workplace during June to prepare for the return to school and settings on 11th August. Highland Council's Education Committee Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The return to workplace and Highland schools for our Education staff will have to be undertaken carefully and gradually.
The Highland Council's Environmental Health Team is advising consumers to use their water wisely and check their private water supply systems for any signs of water leaks or risks of contamination. A private water supply is a property that does not have a Scottish Water mains water connection.
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.
[Printer Friendly Version]