Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest information and advice about coronavirus please click here. For information from East Grinstead Town Council, click here.

Related news articles

East Grinstead Churches Easter services on line

9 April 2020

Easter will be a difficult time this year as we move through the Covid-19 pandemic. Separated from friends and families at a time we are used to togetherness and celebration. For regular church-goers this will also present challenges as services are now no longer available to a physical congregation. As more and more of us stay connected through a digital world, East Grinstead Churches have moved online to bring their services directly to their parishioners.

Here are the ones we have heard of so far:

Catholic

Church of England

East Court Open Space & Playpark: changes due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

In line with the government’s official guidance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 we have temporarily closed some of the park’s services.

The following closures have been put in place to safeguard you:

  • East Court play equipment
  • East Court Toilets

East Court’s open space is crucial for exercise and mental wellbeing but you must stay at least 2 metres away from other people at all times.

  • You can go to a park for exercise, but you must stay at least 2 metres away from other people at all times.
  • The open space should be used for daily exercise only.
  • You should only go outside alone or with members of your own household. Team sports, social activities should not be taking place as gatherings of more than two have been banned.

Supporting people experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

Measures announced over recent weeks to tackle the coronavirus have seen people’s day-to-day life drastically alter. These changes are essential to beat coronavirus and protect the NHS, but are requiring families to spend unusually high amounts of time together at home.

The economic effects of the pandemic are also causing hardship, anxiety and placing additional stress on individuals and families.

The government acknowledges that the order to stay at home can cause anxiety for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses people are under.

Domestic abuse is more than physical violence. It can also include, but is not limited to: coercive control, economic abuse, online abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and/or sexual abuse.

If you or anyone you know is worried about or experiencing domestic abuse, services remain open and we have extended the availability of specialist help, support and advice on the following telephone number.

Call Worth Domestic Abuse Service: 0330 222 8181 (Monday to Friday, 9am- 5pm) or 07834 968539 (weekends, including Bank Holidays, 9am – 5pm)

Please see the following link which provides information about what you need to do if you need urgent police help through the silent 999 service.

Message from Deborah Urquhart – Deputy Leader of West Sussex County Council

Message from Deborah Urquhart – Deputy Leader of West Sussex County Council and Cabinet Member for Environment

Dear residents,

Over the last few weeks all of us have experienced change which could never have been predicted. We have all had to adapt to protect ourselves and others, and some people – including NHS and many local government workers – have had to step up to help others in extremely difficult circumstances.

I want to thank everyone for playing their part in the fight against coronavirus, and this includes everyone who is staying at home to help prevent the spread of the disease.

With the warmer spring weather looking like it’s set to stay, I know how tempting it can be to get outside. Many of us are lucky enough to have private outdoor space we can enjoy. But for many others a daily walk, run, or bike ride in their local area will be the only chance they get to enjoy the outside environment.

If you are planning to venture out for your one form of exercise a day, please remember to adhere to the current government advice and stay at least two metres away from people who are not from your household.

Where possible please start and finish your exercise from home, using nearby greenspaces and don’t travel unnecessarily. Be careful when walking out and about and stick to designated footpaths, obeying the rules of the countryside. Don’t forget to thoroughly wash your hands when you get home.

For more advice on the current situation please visit our website.

I wish you all a safe and peaceful Easter and ask that you spare a thought for the many colleagues and partners who will be working hard over the weekend to care for our residents.

Garden waste collections suspended

7 April 2020

Mid Sussex District Council will pause garden waste collections from Monday 13 April to protect staffing levels for the collection of rubbish and recycling.

As part of our national response to the COVID-19 emergency, the collection of rubbish and recycling is an essential service and must be maintained in the interests of public health. The Council has therefore paused the collection of garden waste to focus on the collecting of rubbish and recycling.

The garden waste service will be paused initially for a period of 12 weeks, at which point the situation will be reviewed, with a view to resuming the service as soon as is practically possible. The Council will contact all customers to inform them when collections will resume.

To ensure that nobody is financially disadvantaged by the suspension of the garden waste collection service, the Council will add time onto the end of each subscription period to cover the number of collections missed.

Councillor John Belsey, Cabinet Member for Environment and Service Delivery said:

“The Council is responding to a national emergency and we are doing everything we can to support our residents through this very difficult time.

“Our priority is to maintain our services for as long as possible but neither ourselves as a Council nor our service provider Serco are immune to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Serco staff are having to work differently, for example through social distancing, and collections are necessarily taking longer and causing additional pressures on staffing. Accordingly, we believe it is now appropriate to suspend garden waste collections. This has not been an easy decision, but it is an essential one if we are to safeguard our rubbish and recycling collections.

“I appreciate that this suspension will be an inconvenience for many, particularly at a time when you are being asked to stay at home and are no doubt making the most of your gardens. However, it is absolutely the right decision to ensure our crews can meet the basic needs of all residents during these unprecedented times.

“With the Government’s advice to stay at home it is going to be tempting to do some gardening but please try to avoid creating any unnecessary waste until the current restrictions are lifted. If home composting isn’t an option for you, please consider delaying plant trimming and pruning until the collection resumes.

“We strongly advise against burning your garden waste to avoid causing a smoke nuisance in your neighbourhood.

“Thank you for your understanding and support.”

For more information, visit the garden waste collection page at www.midsussex.gov.uk/gardenwaste where there are answers to several Frequently Asked Questions. Anyone who is unable to find the answer to their query online should email gardenwaste@midsussex.gov.uk.

A Message from the Leader of Mid Sussex District Council

3 April 2020

It is essential for our local economy that this money reaches Mid Sussex businesses as quickly as possible. We have today launched the process for local businesses to register for these grants if they are eligible, having received the funding and final guidance from Government in the last couple of days.

There are two separate grants available for qualifying businesses:

  • Small Business Grant – businesses will receive a £10,000 grant if they were in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief on 11th March.
  • Retail, Leisure & Hospitality Grant – businesses in these sectors will receive a £10,000 grant (if they have a rateable value of under £15,000) or a £25,000 grant (if they have a rateable value between (£15,000 and £51,000).

Letters are being sent to businesses we believe qualify asking them to register online and we are working with our local business associations to ensure the information reaches businesses. I would also be very grateful for your support in publicising these grants to businesses in your towns and parishes.

We intend to make the first batch of grant payments next week.

Full information and a link to the website where businesses can register can be found at: www.midsussex.gov.uk/revsandbens/business-rates/new-grants-for-business-rates/

Cllr Jonathan Ash-Edwards
Leader of Mid Sussex District Council

Message from Paul Marshall, Leader of West Sussex County Council to Residents

31 March 2020

I know these are challenging, worrying and unprecedented times for everyone in West Sussex, the whole country and indeed the whole world. Our priority is to make sure we protect the vulnerable members of our community, working with colleagues across the NHS and all of our partners, to get them the support they need.

I want to thank you for doing all you can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home and for your understanding as we stop providing some of our services, services we take so much pride in delivering under normal circumstances.

I am sure you will want to join me in thanking all of the dedicated council staff who continue to deliver services; social care staff supporting children, young people and their families; supporting our older residents and carers; and teachers who are keeping our schools open so that parents and carers can help in the fight against the virus.

We will continue to do all we can to tackle this outbreak and keep West Sussex residents safe. We can get through this together by staying apart for now.

Plea to drivers during coronavirus outbreak: Roads are quieter – the speed limit is the same

Roads may be quieter, but the speed limit is the same – that’s the message from the county council’s road safety team.

With reduced traffic during the coronavirus outbreak, Sussex Police contacted the West Sussex Road Safety team to say some drivers had been tempted to drive too fast.

Roger Elkins, county council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “As well as being against the law, speeding at any time involves unnecessary risks.

“During the coronavirus outbreak, emergency services and the NHS are facing immense pressure – being tempted to speed now risks additional strain on services if there’s an accident.

“We urge all road users to follow Government guidance during the outbreak and stay at home: only travel if absolutely necessary. But if you do have to travel, always drive, or ride, within the speed limit and at a speed appropriate to road conditions at the time.”

Anyone witnessing anti-social driving is asked to report it via: www.operationcrackdown.org

Charges suspended in Mid Sussex car parks

30 March 2020

Mid Sussex District Council is suspending parking charges in its car parks from Monday 30 March until further notice due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The move follows an announcement by West Sussex County Council on Thursday that social care and NHS workers can now park free-of-charge in West Sussex County Council on street spaces.

Regular parking patrols will continue to ensure public safety and the free movement of traffic, especially for the emergency services, carers and deliveries. People are strongly advised to be mindful of this and not to park on yellow lines, loading bays and clearways.

Councillor Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth said: We are suspending parking charges in Mid Sussex District Council car parks to help our residents park safely, support key workers and avoid road congestion during the Covid-19 situation.

“These are difficult times for everyone but particularly for those who live in areas with limited space to park. Key workers who return home at night after work are struggling to find free spaces and we want to do all we can to support them.

“Civil Enforcement Officers will continue to patrol the streets but their focus will very much be on enforcing yellow lines and loading bays so that essential vehicles can still travel freely on the network and not have to contend with dangerously parked cars.“ 

Guidance on access to green spaces

Government advice about Coronavirus and guidance on access to green spaces:

Please use the following guidance in order to stay safe:

  • stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily
  • you should only go outside alone or with members of your own household
  • keep at least 2 metres apart from anyone outside your household at all times
  • gatherings of more than two in parks or other public spaces have been banned and the police will enforce this
  • if you have a garden, make use of the space for exercise and fresh air
  • take hygiene precautions when you are outside, and wash your hands as soon as you are back indoors

Warning about Covid-19 Financial Rescue Package Scams

27 March 2020

Now that the Chancellor has announced the new Income Support Scheme for the self-employed, it is highly likely that a new wave of scam emails, calls and text messages claiming to be from HMRC will start to circulate. They will no doubt be offering financial help in exchange for your bank details etc. and probably contain a link where an email or text is concerned.

The messages will be scams – do not respond, delete immediately. HMRC do not contact people out of the blue asking for these details.

Be vigilant, stay safe.

Mid Sussex Marathon postponed

The Mid Sussex Marathon due to be held over the Whitsun bank holiday weekend as been postponed.  The race will be scheduled for a later part in the year and all current entries are transferred.

 https://midsussexmarathon.co.uk/

Following today’s UPDATE UKA & HCAFS STATEMENT, the Mid Sussex Marathon 2020 is now postponed and will no longer take place on 23rd to 25th May 2020.

We are in the process of dealing with all the logistical difficulties this brings, such as checking venue availability and will try to reach a decision on a new date as soon as possible. Our aim is to hold the event later in 2020.

If you have already entered , we will contact you directly with details of your options once these are confirmed. Please bear with us in the meantime and keep checking back for updates.

Free on-street parking for social care and NHS workers during coronavirus outbreak

Social care and NHS workers can now park free-of-charge in West Sussex County Council on-street spaces during the coronavirus outbreak.

It follows a central Government announcement that local councils in England should provide free parking in on-street parking bays and council-owned car parks for both groups of key workers.

Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “Social care and NHS workers are doing a vital job, supporting the most vulnerable in our community during the coronavirus outbreak. It is only right to take away the worry of time restriction and cost as these two groups of key workers try to park safely, as close to their workplace as possible.”

Social care and NHS workers will be encouraged to display supporting evidence in their windscreens, such as photocopies of their work pass with sensitive information removed, or a letter of evidence from their employer. 

Local councils are also being encouraged to waive any fines incurred by health and social care staff while carrying out their duties in recent days. The staff are encouraged to appeal any fines, with supporting evidence of their work.

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, has announced that local councils in England are to provide free car parking for NHS staff and social care workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Virgin Media ongoing street works during Covid-19

26 March 2020

Please note that letter drops in affected areas will cease until further notice.

East Grinstead Foodbank latest COVID-19 news

25 March 2020

Leisure, Learning and Lock-Down – Compass Card Online

This update is from from Compass Card, via Mid Sussex District Council

The Compass team are working to keep children and young people with special educational needs, and their families, as well informed as possible, as well as providing them with links and resources to help with home schooling. With that in mind we’ve developed a resource on our website, ‘Leisure, Learning and Lock-down’. You’ll find it here on our Facebook page https://www.compasscard.org.uk/news-and-events/leisure-learning-and-lock-down/ and also on our website here https://www.compasscard.org.uk/news-and-events/leisure-learning-and-lock-down/

Covid-19 Updates

23 March 2020

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

The Government has issued advice about disposing of rubbish should you have a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19 in your household. Used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths should be put into a rubbish bag. The bag should then be put into a second bag and tied securely. You should then wait 72 hours before putting it in your outside bin. You are able to dispose of other household waste as normal.

Please continue to check www.westsussex.gov.uk/coronavirus for details of any impact to County Council services. We would also advise you to check any information or updates given by your local district and borough council, as they operate your waste and recycling collections and will be able to advise of any disruption or changes.

Household Collections

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

At the present time, household recycling and waste collections continue as normal across West Sussex, and we will be supporting our colleagues at the district and borough councils to enable these to continue, but would ask residents to be sensible about their waste production.

You can also find information about recycling and waste reduction on our website; www.wastepreventionwestsussex.co.uk

Closure of Household Waste Recycling Sites

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

All Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRS) across West Sussex are now closed until further notice due to the current Covid-19 situation.

This is to reinforce the need for social distancing, protecting staff and highway safety. 

With high numbers of visits, the risks of spread are greater and we cannot encourage this risk or guarantee visitor or staff safety at the HWRSs. We will be looking at measures that can be taken to enable us to re-open the sites safely, but for the time being we have no choice but to close them entirely. We will issue guidance on disposal of excess waste, with the focus on vulnerable and elderly residents in the first instance. Thank you for your patience and understanding and please check the West Sussex Recycles website for updates and further information.

Registration services – changes to service

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

Registration offices are currently closed in: Burgess Hill, East Grinstead, Littlehampton and Storrington but appointments are available at the main hub locations.

Registering a death: In light of the current guidance, we are asking that only the main person informing us of a death, attends the appointment. We would also ask that anyone who is in self-isolation arranges for an alternative informant who has not been in contact with anyone who has the virus to collect the Medical Certificate of Death and attend the appointment. We apologise for any upset this may cause, but hope you understand the importance of protecting everyone’s wellbeing. Please note, the above guidance relates to registration of death appointments.

Registering a birth: we would ask that parents consider keeping those attending the appointment to register a birth to a minimum where possible, accepting that both parents need to attend if unmarried.  

For further advice please ring 01243 642122.

Ceremonies

Following the latest public health advice we have reviewed our approach to forthcoming ceremonies at both our WSCC ceremony rooms and Licensed Venues. We will be contacting couples directly to make them aware of the precautions we are taking to ensure we can deliver ceremonies in a safe way and will publish updates and responses to frequently asked questions on our website.

Understandably, we are dealing with an unprecedented volume of calls and are working our way through postponements, cancellations and questions, whilst dealing with the most imminent ceremonies first. We are committed to maintaining this service in these unprecedented times and adhering to the statutory minimum guidelines which require the couple, two witnesses and two registrars.

Care workers urgently needed – can you help?

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

The care industry will inevitably be under enormous pressure as the coronavirus outbreak develops. Our most vulnerable residents require round the clock care and a resilient workforce is required to look after their needs at this difficult time. If you are able to step in and take on a job in care please get in touch now. Don’t worry if you haven’t worked in care before as full training and on-going support is given. You may have worked in the travel, leisure and hospitality industries and have the perfect skills to work in care.

Our friendly Proud to Care team can help you find the right role – email now at proudtocare@westsussex.gov.uk or search for jobs here.

Explore the outdoors, responsibly

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

These are obviously very uncertain times. However, it is important people do still get fresh air and stay fit and well while closely following government guidance.

Spring is slowly arriving in West Sussex, take a moment if you can to think of your health and wellbeing and see our wonderful outdoors, while following guidance on social distancing.

To see what we have on offer in West Sussex, visit www.experiencewestsussex.com

Due to current circumstances all residents and visitors with bookings should contact the individual businesses to check their operating status, postponement and cancellation policies. For more information please click here.

All West Sussex Libraries closed until further notice

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

Following the latest Government advice, all 36 libraries in West Sussex are now closed until further notice.

Libraries provide a valuable service to residents and the library team are working on plans to offer a modified library service during these unprecedented times, which we will update people on as we know more.

For now, anyone who is currently not a member of their local library, but wants to join, can do so online.

Once registered, you will have instant access to the e-library service, where there are a range of downloadable books, audiobooks, magazines, comics and newspapers.

There are also procedures in place for anyone who currently has items on loan:

  • Library staff will automatically renew everything that is currently on loan and will continue to do so during the closures.
  • No fines and charges will be incurred during the closure.
  • Individuals do not need to call the renewals line to stop books and other items from going overdue.

More details will follow in due course, to keep up-to-date follow the library service on Twitter or Facebook.

Fire service on keeping vulnerable residents safe

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is offering alternative ways of ensuring vulnerable residents are fire safe in their homes during the coronavirus outbreak.

The service will be offering their free Safe and Well Visits via phone, Skype and by posting a useful resource document.

The visits are a way of offering advice on how to stay safe as well as smoke detectors and other specialist fire equipment free of charge.

General fire safety advice includes:

  • Smoke alarms should be on every level of the home. Check they’re working regularly.
  • Avoid smoking in comfortable furniture or beds #DontSnoozeAndSmoke
  • Fires such as log burners should be cleaned regularly, and guards placed around any open flames.
  • Electrical items should be checked, don’t overload plug sockets. Don’t leave anything on charge overnight.
  • Try and be more careful in the kitchen. 50% of home fires start here.
  • You should close your doors at night in case a fire breaks out. This will help to contain the fire/toxic smoke and prevent the spread by up to 20 minutes.

Book or refer someone for free Safe and Well advice here: http://bit.ly/WSFRSSafeAndWell.

Staying healthy and well at home

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

Maintaining your general health and wellbeing at home will be important in the coming weeks. Try including these ideas in your routine:

  • Stay physically active – stand up from your chair regularly, move around your house, and try to get outside into the garden; check out exercise resources online, including Super Six.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty – eat a variety of food groups, including protein, dairy and at least five fruit and veg a day (frozen or tinned are good), and 6-8 mugs of fluid.
  • Keep connected to your friends and family – talk to people on the phone, by text or video call if you can.
  • Look after your mental wellbeing – keeping busy with hobbies or learning something new can help – this guide has lots of ideas.
  • Stay safe and warm at home – let natural light and fresh air in, and use this safety checker.

You can also find guidance on staying safe and well at home from Age UK.

Information for parents regarding schools

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

On 19 March, the Government updated its guidance for educational settings, which now asks that parents should keep their children at home, wherever possible. It also asks that schools remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

West Sussex schools are being asked to continue to provide care for a limited number of children – children who are vulnerable, whose parents are key workers and critical to the COVID-19 response, and children who cannot be safely cared for at home. Definitions of ‘vulnerable children’ and ‘key workers’ are provided in the guidance.

The Government has also published further information for parents and carers about the closure of schools and other educational settings, which will continue to be regularly updated.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update from WSCC

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

West Sussex County Council’s Public Health team is working closely with Public Health England (PHE), which is leading the national COVID-19 response and providing messaging for the public.

The latest Department of Health & Social Care and Public Health England information on COVID-19 is available to read on the Government website.

Public Health England has a regularly updated blog to answer many frequently asked questions.

You can help prevent the spread of germs and infection by following NHS advice:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Find out about how the coronavirus is affecting West Sussex on our website.

Emergency Action Group Helpline for the self-isolated

20 March 2020

We are concerned about the elderly and those with underlying conditions which make them more vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus and are living in the East Grinstead and outlying villages area.

From Monday 23 March a helpline for anyone in one of these groups whose household is self isolating will be set up where they can arrange for some shopping to be delivered, prepared food delivered, prescriptions collected, activities in the home or other small errands.

The number to dial will be 01342 323636 and press 1 if you are in one of the vulnerable groups.  You will then be put through to the helpline.   This help line will be operating from 9 am–4pm Monday to Saturday, prepared food orders must be received by 11am for same day delivery.

All our volunteers who deliver are coming from established organisations and will have ID.

We are looking to post flyers and posters but please also spread the word.

This initiative (East Grinstead Emergency Action Group) is being coordinated by several groups and businesses in the town including Age UK East Grinstead and District, the Mug Tree and the Town Council.

The council website will also include a list of restaurants and food businesses who are now offering a delivery service.

Revised GTR services and update on COVID-19 response

There will be a gradual reduction in train services from the 23 March to culminate in a fully amended timetable from Monday 30 March.

To manage and protect train services for key workers, the UK rail industry is introducing a revised train timetable that is expected to be sustainable in this scenario. Our staff will keep people moving.

This timetable will be introduced gradually from Monday 23 March 2020 and will culminate in a revised timetable from Monday 30 March 2020. The timetable will remain in effect until further notice.

Information for customers to plan their journeys will be available on the homepage of any of our websites:

To provide a sense of what to anticipate, the fully revised timetable from the 30 March onwards will be an adaption of the existing Sunday timetable, with earlier start and later finish times to provide extra services for key workers.

This timetable provides existing customer familiarity and enables GTR to introduce a timetable with known driver planning, routes, train timings and interactions at sections of constrained infrastructure such as the Thameslink core between St Pancras International and London Blackfriars. It also means that interactions and connections with other non-GTR operated train services are known, robust, understood and stress-tested plans exist.

Tickets and refunds

Information on tickets and refunds is available on our websites, such as this link on the Southern webpage: https://www.southernrailway.com/travel-information/plan-your-journey/coronavirus-information

GTR are working closely with the Department for Transport to deliver our approach and have agreed the following changes:

Day tickets such as Anytime, Off-Peak or Super Off-Peak fares can be refunded in full without any administration charges if purchased directly from GTR (e.g. at a ticket office, via our websites etc). Third-party retailers such as trainline.com may have different policies.

Advance fares such as Southern £5 advance fares (purchased for specific dates and times) can be exchanged for an alternative journey free of charge.

Under current policy, the customer relations team is ensuring that annual season ticket holders that expect to travel more than forty weeks per calendar year in future are making as informed a choice as possible in the circumstances before opting for a refund.

This is because annual season tickets are priced on the value of forty weeks of weekly season tickets, with twelve weeks free. This means that for a refund, our customer services team will work out how much it would have cost a customer to travel up to the point when they stopped using their season ticket using weekly season tickets. We will then refund the difference between that amount and how much a customer paid for their season ticket. Employer season ticket loan schemes are usually paid in ten, rather than twelve instalments to account for how the system works.

How to spot a loan shark?

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) recognise that this period may be one of increased financial pressure for some people. The Team is fully committed to ensuring that illegal money lenders (loan sharks) do not take advantage and profit from other people’s hardship.

The Stop Loan Sharks helpline service (0300 555 2222) remains open and fully operational during the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage not only victims but friends, family members and the wider community to come forward if they suspect someone is suffering at the hands of a loan shark.

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