Update from Steve Maddern, Director of Public Health
It’s fantastic to see that more than 85 per cent of adults across Swindon, Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset have received their COVID-19 booster vaccination so far. A huge thank you must go to all those who continue to support the vaccination programme, including our brilliant team of volunteers in Swindon, who selflessly give up their own time to help keep things running.
If you haven’t yet had your first, second or booster dose of the vaccine, it’s not too late. You can book an appointment on the NHS website, by calling NHS 119, or by finding a walk-in vaccine session near to you. Until 31 January, we're also offering a free return taxi journey to residents in Swindon who are either experiencing financial hardship or have mobility issues, to take them to a COVID-19 vaccination site, if they have no other way to get there. More information about how to access this service can be found on our website.
The Government has announced that from Monday (17 January), people with COVID-19 in England can end their self-isolation after five full days, as long as they test negative on day five and day six and don't have a temperature. Make sure you’re clear on the full details.
Here in Swindon, our case rate remains high, with particularly high numbers of cases in people aged 15 to 24 and increased rates in those aged 60 and over. Please make sure you get your vaccination (including a booster) to protect yourself from COVID-19, and continue to follow the guidance once you’ve had your vaccine to help stop the spread of the virus.
While the vaccine provides protection against COVID-19 and reduces your risk of becoming ill if you do catch it, it doesn't make you immune from catching the virus or spreading it to others in our community. We must all continue to be on our guard and do what we can to minimise the spread.
Latest COVID-19 case rate data
From 4 to 10 January, there were 3,247 new COVID-19 cases in Swindon.
As of today (14 January), the COVID-19 case rate in Swindon is 1,457 per 100k. The South West average is 1,106 per 100k, while the England average is 1,468 per 100k. Sadly, a further five people in Swindon have died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19.
Latest vaccination figures
As of 9 January, 85 per cent of people aged 12 and over in Swindon had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 84.1 per cent of people aged 18 and over had received both doses.
The percentage of people aged 18 and over in Swindon who have received a booster or third dose is 64.6 per cent.
Swindon residents who are experiencing financial hardship or who have mobility issues and no practical means to get to a local vaccination centre, can now book a free return taxi journey to a COVID-19 vaccination site until 31 January 2022. If you meet this criteria, you must book your vaccination appointment in advance using the NHS booking system, and then call V Cars quoting our account number and password.
There will be a vaccine walk-in clinic tomorrow (15 January) at the STEAM Museum, from 9am to 4pm. Check the latest details before you attend to see what vaccines will be available, and to check the dates and times of other walk-in sessions.
To guarantee a slot, you can book an appointment for your vaccine via the NHS website.
There will also be a vaccine clinic at Sanford House (SN1 1HE) next Thursday (20 January) from 9am to 4pm for anybody aged 16 and over. The clinic will be giving out first, second and booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Under current guidance, you can stop self-isolating after seven days if you get negative lateral flow test results on day six and day seven and you don't have a high temperature. However, from Monday (17 January), people self-isolating with COVID-19 will have the option to reduce their isolation period after five full days if they test negative on both day five and day six and don't have a high temperature.
The tests must be taken 24 hours apart. If either test is positive, you must continue to self-isolate until you get two negative lateral flow tests taken 24 hours apart, or until you have completed 10 full days of self-isolation.
Please note, there's separate guidance for travellers arriving into England.
Second vaccine doses for 12 to 15-year-olds
Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are needed to provide children aged between 12 and 15-years-old with full protection against coronavirus. Vaccine clinics are still being held in schools, but parents can also make sure their child is vaccinated without delay by booking an appointment at a local clinic.
Improvements in the pipeline for Coate Water
Preparations are currently underway to submit a planning and listed building application to refurbish and clean the iconic Coate Water diving board. If the applications are successful, we hope to bring the much-loved landmark back to its former glory this spring.
When we carried out our Parks Survey last year, residents said they would like more information about the heritage of Swindon’s parklands, so appropriate signage including a brief history of the diving board, will be provided as part of the work.
Our plans to build a new children’s play park at Coate Water are also progressing well and we will soon be going out to tender for the £500,000 project, which will see the park relocated to a more accessible position nearer to the public toilets, refreshment kiosk and car park.
Surveys being carried out at the Mechanics' Institute
If you're in the Railway Village over the next week, you may see some activity at the historic Mechanics' Institute building.
Working with Historic England and the Mechanics' Institution Trust, a survey is being carried out which will assess the condition of the building and identify any urgent actions that might need to take place to make sure the building remains safe.
Along with assessing its current condition, this latest survey will identify the likely costs to restore the building to how it was at the time it was listed.
Once we have this information, we will be able to decide how we can move forward with the building and enter into constructive discussions with the owner.
Carriage Works given a new lease of life
Have you ever wondered what lies behind the Victorian sheds that line one side of London Street close to the Mechanics’ Institute and the Railway Village?
The Grade II-listed building is an important part of Swindon’s railway heritage. Built in 1876 by Brunel, it was once the largest carriage works in the country.
Until recently much of the building has lain empty as it was too costly to be brought back into use by private investment. But it's now being given a new lease of life to act as a hub for the town’s growing creative and digital SME sector.
And now a business case has been submitted for a further £400,000 in funding to create a community digital media facility in Unit 9 of the Carriage Works. We have identified award-winning Create Studios (pictured above) as a suitable and established delivery partner to operate out of the newly-created hub.
You can read more here about the collective effort to invest in the future of our town centre.
Are you Swindon's next star baker?
Step aside Mary Berry, the Forget Me Not Bakers are here. Our Live Well team is looking for keen bakers to join their cohort of volunteers to make delicious cakes for local residents who might not otherwise celebrate their birthday.
The primary school admissions deadline is tomorrow
If your child is due to start primary or junior school this September, please visit our website to submit their school application by the deadline tomorrow (15 January), if you haven’t already.
Any applications received after the national deadline has passed, will be considered after all other applicants have been allocated their spaces. Every child starting primary or junior school must submit an application.
Pupils starting secondary school will find out what school they’ve been offered on 1 March and pupils starting primary or junior school will find out on 19 April.
Nominate someone for the Pride of Swindon Awards
Since 2009, over 145 individuals and 44 teams have been acknowledged and honoured for their incredible work in the community through the Pride of Swindon Awards. Do you know someone who you think should be the next winner?
They could be a volunteer who has given their time selflessly for years, a local health care worker who has gone the extra mile, a child or adult who has displayed remarkable courage, or an extra-special neighbour.
To submit a nomination, all you need to do is visit our website. Nominations close on 14 February.
Want FREE energy efficiency improvements for your home?
If your household income is under £30,000 a year and you live in a home with a low energy performance rating (EPC E, F or G), you may be eligible to apply for up to £10,000 of free energy efficiency improvements for your home. These home improvements could include insulation and solar panels. Find out more and check your eligibility here.
Treat yourself to a healthier lifestyle
Fuelling your body with a healthy and balanced diet is really important.
The brand new NHS Food Scanner app allows you and your family to make healthier food and drink choices everyday. Just scan the barcodes of your family's favourite foods and swipe to see the healthier options available in the supermarket. Download the app for free today on the App Store or through Google Play.
Make use of the additional recycling services on offer this month
Throughout January, we’re putting on additional recycling services to help you clear out your home after Christmas. Our crews will be collecting real Christmas trees (not artificial ones) for recycling up until Monday, 31 January. Visit our website to find out when the crews will be in your area.
If you have any extra recycling that won’t fit in your recycling boxes, you can use sturdy containers from around your home to put additional recycling out on your collection days this month only. More information can be found on our website.
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