How to protect yourself and those around you this winter
COVID-19 hasn’t gone away – case rates are currently rising across Swindon. There are some key things that you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community:
Get vaccinated to reduce your risk of becoming seriously ill and to protect others
If you feel unwell or have symptoms, stay at home and avoid close contact with others
Let fresh air in when you meet with others
Wash or sanitise your hands regularly and cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze
Wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed public places and when coming into contact with people at higher risk of COVID-19
This winter, both COVID-19 and flu may circulate at high levels, potentially at the same time. Ahead of what could be a difficult season, you can boost your immunity by getting vaccinated as soon as you’re eligible:
Bird Flu confirmed in Swindon - what to be aware of
After a small number of dead birds were recovered at Swindon parks, test results have been confirmed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as avian (bird) flu.
The risk of transmission to humans and other mammals, such as cats and dogs, is very low. But it's important that if you see dead or sick wild birds in any of our local parks that you don't touch them. You should also not touch any bird feathers or areas contaminated by droppings.
Above is a clip from the video where Elliot Clark talks about how to make your heating more efficient, but you can watch the whole video on our Facebook page, where they talk about smart meters, when to get in touch with your energy provider and any financial support schemes available.
There’s other things you can do around your home to potentially save a bit of money including:
If you’ve got a condensing combi boiler at home (one that produces your heating and hot water) save up to 8 per cent in gas use and £70 per year (Octopus Energy) by turning down the 'flow' temperature
Second Government Cost of Living Payment to be paid next month
Around 24,400 families in Swindon will start to be paid the second £324 instalment of the Government’s Cost of Living Payment from 8 November. The first payment of £326 was issued earlier in the year, making a total £650 payment overall.
Further support to help those most in need of support
Over the past year around 80,000 Swindon households have received energy vouchers to help with rising electricity and gas costs. These were administered by the Council using £3 million in grant funding from the Government’s Household Support Fund. This funding has also paid for:
Emergency financial assistance
Grants for local charities like the Swindon Food Collective, Boxes of Hope, Swindon Night Shelter and Swindon Gorse Hill Salvation Army
Free school holiday activities and meals for around 7,000 children in Swindon
The Government recently awarded the Council a further £1.5m for support until March 2023 and we're currently working through how best to use this to support the community.
Future plans for town centre regeneration site
Since July, we've been progressing the unglamorous but essential work required to make a 20-acre site next to Fleming Way (known as Kimmerfields) suitable for future development..
This will involve safely removing four redundant oil tanks and installing new drainage, street lighting, roads and pavements.
To guide this future development on the site, the Council’s Cabinet will be reviewing an overarching plan next week for how the land could be used in the years ahead.
This has been informed by market analysis and discussions with partners on the feasibility to create:
A Cultural Quarter in Swindon including 1,200 seat theatre, media arts centre and art pavilion
A new town centre green public space
Up to 250 new town centre homes
200,000 sq ft of high quality office space
The now completed new Zurich office building (Unity Place)
Restoration work on the town’s historic Health Hydro has moved a step closer after a planning and Listed Building Consent application was submitted.
An initial £6.5m in Government and Council funding will be invested in this landmark building which will regenerate the main pool, refurbish the changing facilities and create a new health and fitness suite and a range of other improvements.
This investment is estimated to deliver twice as much in economic benefits, due to the knock-on effect of more people visiting and spending their money in the town centre.
These improvements are being coordinated by the Council in partnership with Historic England through the Swindon Heritage Action Zone.
Future phases of work will include the restoration of the iconic Turkish baths and the regeneration of the small pool.
Get on top of your finances with Crosslight Advice
Go along to Crosslight Advice’s free budgeting course next Wednesday (12 October) to help your way through the cost of living increases.
They’ll be at The Pattern Church (Penzance Drive, SN5 7JL) from 7pm to 9pm – sign up today.
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