08 August 2022Household Support Fund from Somerset County Council

Are you Struggling with bills? Support is available

The Household Support Fund is designed to provide short-term urgent financial help to Somerset residents who are struggling to afford household essentials such as buying food, paying for energy and water bills and other essential household items such as beds and white goods.

08 August 2022 Planning a journey in Somerset? Think Travel can help

A new one-stop travel information website has been launched by Somerset County Council to support more local people to access public and community transport.

If you don’t own a car – or you want to leave it at home and travel more sustainably, Think Travel can help you with your transport options. Whether it’s getting to the doctors, shops, travelling to work, college, or school, or just into town to meet friends or family, the new travel planner shows you what’s available. It covers public transport, community transport, the Slinky demand responsive transport service and car sharing.

To start your search, all you need to do is enter your journey start point and destination in the planner and Think Travel will find the available options for you.

As well as information on train and bus services, there’s also a dedicated car sharing notice board you can sign up to, where offers or requests for car sharing journeys can be posted.
The aim is to grow this facility and encourage local car sharing networks to evolve.
You can check out Think Travel here: https://somerset.thinktravel.info

Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Travel and Digital Cllr Mike Rigby said: “Think Travel brings together all available information on travel options in the county for those not using their own car, whether you’re a student, older resident who relies on community or public transport, or if you just want to help a little bit towards protecting our environment. It’s a really important tool in terms of supporting sustainable travel and hopefully it will play a part in growing car sharing communities across the county.

“Now more than ever, it’s vital we support alternatives to single private car use, while at the same time support residents who rely on public and community transport.
“I would encourage people to check out the service an see if Think Travel can help you.”

08 August 2022Food vouchers return for Summer Holidays

Schools will once again provide food vouchers to families eligible for Free School Meals to combat holiday hunger over the summer holidays.

Somerset County Council is distributing approximately £1.2m from the Government’s Household Support Fund directly to schools to help fund food vouchers for children eligible for Free School Meals over the summer holidays.

The allocation for this summer provides vouchers worth £10 per pupil each week of the holidays.  Schools will automatically provide food vouchers to eligible students.

Eligible families who are in urgent need can also apply for extra short term financial help by searching Somerset Household Support Fund online. The quickest way to get help is online, but if access to the internet is difficult or support is needed to apply, families can call 0300 123 2224 and Somerset County Council will help find an organisation who will support families to make an application.

Applicants must live in Somerset, be over 16, living independently of parents and carers, have proof of identity and be able to prove their income is not enough to cover essentials.

Household Support Fund payments can be used to buy food, credit for pre-payment meters for electricity, gas and water, and other essential household items such as beds and white goods.

Cllr Tessa Munt, Somerset County Council Lead Executive Member for Children and Families, said: “These are challenging times and Somerset County Council is pleased to be able to provide this support to families over the summer holiday break. Being able to eat well means children will return to school healthy, ready to learn and succeed. In addition, the Household Support fund helps not only with food but other essential items, bills and even important family furniture such as beds and a fridge, freezer or cooker. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need extra support.”

To access the Household Support Fund visit bit.ly/SupportFund22 or call 0300 123 2224.

08 August 2022Tell us where you don’t feel safe with the StreetSafe tool

Local people are being encouraged to use the StreetSafe Tool to anonymously tell Avon and Somerset Police and partners about public places where they feel or have felt unsafe.

StreetSafe has been introduced as part of the Government’s response to tackling violence against women and girls but all local people are being encouraged to use the tool to help identify areas where there are fears caused by anti-social behaviour and environment issues including lack of street lighting, abandoned buildings and vandalism.

The online tool enables residents to anonymously pinpoint on a map the location where they felt unsafe.

The information provided will be considered alongside the extensive evidence base already gathered by police forces and used to inform the community safety activities of police and partner agencies such as local authorities.

In Avon and Somerset, such activity has included installing CCTV in Weston-super-Mare and removing hedges to improve visibility in some areas as a result of reports received via the StreetSafe tool.

No crime needs to have been committed in order to indicate where local people feel unsafe. It is important to remember that the StreetSafe tool should not be used to report crimes. To report a crime, visit: https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/report/

PCC Mark Shelford said: “I very much welcome this free online tool; a crime doesn’t always have to be committed for you to feel unsafe but this feeling of unsafety is still very much justified. The police and partners want to understand local people’s experiences to help inform their community safety activities.

“I’m delighted that such activity has taken place already in Weston-super-Mare and I know local policing teams are eager to undertake further action. I encourage local people to continue to use the tool so, together, we can make our communities safer.”

Superintendent Paul Underhill, Neighbourhood Policing, Avon and Somerset Police added: “StreetSafe is a fantastic tool, allowing people to quickly and easily report exactly where and why they feel unsafe in certain areas.

“This information is used by our Neighbourhood Policing Teams to build up a picture of hotspot areas and specific issues. We’re then able to put an appropriate response in place whether that’s installing CCTV, increasing the number of patrols or working with partners to address practical isses like poor lighting or vandalism.

“We’d like to encourage more people to use the StreetSafe tool; the more information we have, the more we can do to make the streets safer for everyone.”

Visit the StreetSafe tool via: https://www.police.uk/pu/notices/streetsafe/street-safe/

08 August 2022Help shape the future of council services in Somerset

Help shape the future of council services in Somerset

People in Somerset are encouraged to join a new Customer Panel and help shape the future of council services.

From April 2023, Somerset’s five councils will be replaced by the new unitary Somerset Council which will deliver all council services to all communities – from waste collection and adult social care to housing, benefits and parks.

The Customer Panel is being established to ensure residents are at the heart of those services. No special skills are required, all you need is a willingness to take part in three research topics each year and provide honest and constructive feedback. Panel members will have the chance to take part in online surveys, one-to-one interviews, usability tests and discussion groups.

Cllr Val Keitch, Somerset County Council’s Lead Executive Member for Local Government Reorganisation, said: “We want to provide the very best services that meet the needs of everyone who lives and works in Somerset. Therefore it’s absolutely vital we listen to our residents and develop and improve our services in partnership with them.

“There are various ways you can get involved and we’d love as many people as possible to join in and play a key part in shaping our services.”

You can find out more about the Customer Panel and sign up online via our website. If you would like to find out more information please contact us by completing our Contact Us form or calling us on 0300 123 2224.

01 July 2022Sedgemoor RNLI lifeguards go live on Burnham-on-Sea and Brean beaches

RNLI lifeguards will be returning to Burnham-on-Sea beach and in addition will be providing a lifeguard service on Brean beach from this Saturday (2 July) until Sunday 4 September.

The charity is urging visitors to the Sedgemoor coast to visit one of these lifeguarded beaches.

Matt Whitley, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor for North Devon and Somerset says:

‘We are pleased to be providing a lifeguard service on these two beaches in Sedgemoor and encourage the public to choose either Burnham-on-Sea or Brean beach if they are planning a day out at the coast this summer.’

Last year (2021), RNLI lifeguards covering the south west dealt with 11,216 incidents, aided 13,664 people and saved 57 lives and the charity’s lifesavers are expecting a busy year ahead.’

The RNLI is urging anyone visiting the coast this summer to make sure they keep themselves and their families safe by following beach safety advice:

  • Visit a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags.
  • Check the weather forecast, tide times and read local hazard signage to understand local risks.
  • Keep a close eye on your family – on the beach and in the water – don’t allow your family to swim alone.
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float.
  • In an emergency dial 999/112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Matt continues;  

 ‘The RNLI have run a couple of lifeguard courses in the run up to the season and we have six lifeguards from last year returning to the beaches on Saturday (2 July). 

‘The RNLI is looking to expand the lifeguard service onto all three beaches along the Burnham-on-Sea stretch for 2023 and would welcome a chat with anyone interested in finding out more. Please contact Luke Penman Luke_Penman@rnli.org.uk

26 June 2022Public engagement period for the change and improvements of hospital services at Weston General Hospital

Healthy Weston Phase 2 is a programme of continuous improvement supporting Weston General Hospital to thrive at the heart of the community and deliver the care local people need most often.

An eight-week public engagement period about the proposal for change and improvements of hospital services at Weston General Hospital will begin on Monday, 20 June, and run until Sunday 14 August and the hospital wants to hear from you to help shape our plans.

The proposal has been developed by senior doctors, nurses, health and care staff with input from a public and patient reference group. It has been designed to secure a sustainable future for the hospital, and to ensure it can attract and retain the staff it needs in the long-term.

Under the proposals Weston General Hospital will:

  • become a centre of surgical excellence. This means thousands more adults of all ages will be able to have planned operations at Weston General Hospital
  • become a centre of excellence for older people’s care. This means the Hospital will provide more specialised care for people older, as well as all the usual services for people of all ages
  • help more people get home within 24 hours of going to hospital in an emergency. The Hospital will have a dedicated unit for assessing and treating people quickly

Weston General Hospital will continue to provide A&E services from 8am to 10pm, exactly the same as for the last 5 years.

All other services at Weston General Hospital will continue as now, such as outpatient appointments, maternity care, children’s services, cancer care, diagnostic tests like x-rays, intensive care, emergency surgery and stroke rehabilitation. Services will continue for people of all ages. People of any age who need emergency surgery, will continue to have their surgery at Weston General Hospital and will stay for as long as the need to recover, exactly like now.

Under the proposed new model, Weston General Hospital will focus on helping people get home quicker after accidents, emergencies or other unplanned care. It will have special units for assessing and treating people quickly. This means fewer people will need to be admitted and some people, who are not frail and need care longer than 24 hours, may need to transfer for their specialist care to other surrounding hospital leaving Weston to focus on developing same day care and centres of excellence.

Latest news  

Healthy Weston Archives - Healthier Together (bnssghealthiertogether.org.uk)

Public events   

 We are also holding a couple of public events; you can sign up to attend by following the links below.  

 Thursday, 30 June, 1pm – 3pm (face-to-face)

The Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, BS23 1AL

Healthy Weston Public Engagement Event (Face to Face) Tickets, Thu 30 Jun 2022 at 13:00 | Eventbrite

Monday, 18 July, 6pm - 8pm (online)  

Healthy Weston Public Engagement Event (online) Tickets, Mon 18 Jul 2022 at 18:00 | Eventbrite

Please get in touch if you have any questions or further feedback. You can contact us via email  bnssg.healthy.weston@nhs.net or call: 0117 900 2633

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