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 Court play park to remain closed

2 July 2020

Although the Government has announced that play parks can open from Saturday 4th,  it is only where the owners can comply with necessary safety measures and the Town Council is not able to do this yet. We are working on this and seeking advice, once we can open we will but please bear with us.  the following advice has been issued:

  • Children and parents must not interfere with closure measures where a playground remains closed. If it is closed then this will be for a good reason. Do not endanger yourself by breaching closure measures. Wait until the playground has been opened properly.

Once open:

  •  Maintain social distancing within the playground, according to the government’s latest advice and the signage or instruction in the playground.
  • If the playground is too busy then find another playground in which to play.
  • Wash your hands before entering the playground and after you have finished. Use hand sanitiser often.

We don’t know if Mid Sussex District Council are able to open their playparks yet either,  so please just wait a few more days so that you can safely use the parks,  please obey signage which is for your and your family’s safety. 

East Grinstead Town Council reception is reopening from Monday 6th July

To ensure your safety, please follow the new guidelines. Our service remains the same and you can continue to contact us by email or telephone as we have been throughout lockdown.   As the Government advice is still to work from home if you can, the office is being manned by a skeleton staff on a shift basis, the officer you may want might not be in on any given day, therefore you are advised to ring to make an appointment rather than drop in.   

Visitors to our reception will see signage to help you find your way to avoid crossing in the corridors and on stairwells.    Please follow the one way system in the building and maintain a 2m distance from others.    

We are required to comply with the NHS Track and Trace system; All visitors to the office have to write down your name, address & contact number which we will keep for 21 days*

Do not enter the building if you are feeling unwell

Hand sanitisers will be at the entrance of East Court and in reception, please use them. 

Our Reception has been fitted with a protective Screen; you must stay your side of the screen,  if you are attending for a proof of life certification you will need to remove any face covering for ID to take place.  

Opening hours; Reception will be open reduced hours 09:00 – 12:00 midday. You can continue to contact us between 9:00 – 16:00 Monday – Friday by phone on 01342 323636 or email us on: towncouncil@eastgrinstead.gov.uk 

Public toilets are situated in the car park, there are facilities available in the building. 

*our privacy and data protection statements are available here . If you are not willing to leave your contact details, please do not attend the offices in person, as this is a government requirement. 

COVID-19 update from West Sussex County Council

30 June 2020

  • Most recent Government Announcements – the new guidance for social distancing to be implemented from 4 July. This included changes to the two meter distance rulethe relaxing of rules for certain shops and venues, plus changes for those in the shielding category.  This is good news that many have been waiting for but we would urge everyone not to jeopardise the good progress our county has made so far in slowing the spread of the virus. Support our businesses and make the most of the relaxation, but please continue to take the necessary precautions at all time
  • Bereavement support during COVID-19 – The Sussex Bereavement Helpline has been set up to provide information and guidance Please call: 0300 111 2141 (Monday to Friday: 8am to 5pm). Find out more.
  • Ceremonies – WSCC Ceremonies team will restart marriage and civil partnership services from 4 July Find out more.
  • Local suppliers: new listings – Do you know which organisations and shops are delivering food and other essential goods in your area? Find out here Does your business deliver essential goods but isn’t listed? Please email us and we’ll add you to our website

Community hub (COVID-19)

https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire-emergencies-and-crime/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-and-information/community-hub-covid-19/

  • Request for support
  • Updates on Services
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Local suppliers and organisations
  • Updates from District and Borough Councils
  • Resources and data
  • COVID19 Testing
  • Schools and Education
  • Social care, health and wellbeing
  • Business and employers
  • Emergency PPE requests
  • Scams and fraud

Request support

Wherever you live, if your request is urgent, for example, you are going to run out of food or medicine within the next three days, please phone 033 022 27980 so that we can make sure you get the help you need as quickly as possible.

We are focused on making sure we continue to support the most vulnerable people in our community.

Four support options are currently available to residents, depending on their medical circumstances, location and needs:

  • Government support – For residents identified as medically vulnerable by the NHS. Register through Link GOV.UK.
  • Support from district and boroughs – For residents who do not meet the criteria for receiving direct Government support, but still need help.
  • Support from the County Council’s Community Hub – The team are coordinating all other support requests across the county and arranging help.

Request support via our form (external link)

  • Carer’s support – A dedicated service that offers general guidance and a provides a listening ear.

Carers Support West Sussex

Public Rights of Way service update & info

23 June 2020

Please note WSCC has suspended the 15 month Inspection and Maintenance Cycle, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, and is currently only taking action on Public Rights of Way where reported issues require work to ensure public safety on the network. Should any enquiries received not be of this nature it will be logged so it can be prioritised and addressed in the future when normal working practices are resumed. We are currently reviewing when we can re-start inspections in line with government guidance and ask you for your patience in dealing with issues that arise. It is also important to note that our summer clearance programme for surface vegetation has now begun on selected paths and is running between the 1st June and mid-August.

  • At this time it is important to remind people that public footpaths are for use by the public on foot only and cycling on these routes is a trespass against the landowner. This unlawful use risks conflict on the paths themselves and considerable challenges for people trying to keep the necessary 2m apart whilst enjoying the countryside.
  • It is also important to note that landowners are responsible for any side vegetation encroaching onto the path and any structures on the PROW network, such as stiles and gates. If appropriate to do so please contact the landowner, if known, directly to make them aware of the issue but if not you can continue to report such issues by following the link below.

https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/land-waste-and-housing/public-paths-and-the-countryside/public-rights-of-way/report-a-problem-with-a-right-of-way/#report-a-problem

  • A final reminder is the need to ensure good hygiene when using the PROW network including regular hand washing along with social distancing in line with government advice.

Safe Reopening of the High Street

19 June 2020

The attached image is the sign that is due to appear from next week in the Town Centre in East Grinstead, as a reminder at some of the narrower passing places in the town centre to try to keep your distance. West Sussex County Council contractors will be putting the signs up which have been purchased by Mid Sussex District Council (utilising a government grant).

Update from West Sussex County Council

15 June 2020

An update from West Sussex County Council

We’d like to start this week’s update with a reminder that from Monday 15 June passengers will need to wear a face covering on public transport. Exemptions to the rule include young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties. The government has issued advice on face coverings and also updated its FAQs as to what you can and cannot do at this time of the outbreak – please take a look.

Continuing on the theme of transport, this week we announced that the government has awarded a £9.8million boost for improving West Sussex Highways’ road network. This is on top of the £8million worth of road resurfacing/pothole prevention works already planned for this financial year.

We have another important transport update below which you should read if you have a bus pass, or know someone who has.

Next week we will start to see more activity on our high streets and in our town centres as non-essential shops begin to re-open. Like every part of the UK, our county’s businesses and economy have been badly impacted by coronavirus. Please help support your local place by shopping local and helping West Sussex not only recover, but thrive again.

Also please note that free bus passes from 15 June will only be valid for use after 9:30am.

Additional Business Grant Support available

5 June 2020

New Local Authority Discretionary Grants are now available to local companies who are not eligible for the Government’s main Small Business Grant support scheme.

The Government announced in March a scheme to provide grants to businesses in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief and those working in the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors. Those grants are to help businesses meet the ongoing premises related costs and challenges they are facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and are still available to qualifying applicants.

So far, Mid Sussex District Council has distributed more than £24m to nearly 1,900 local business but there are many more who don’t qualify for this support and are in desperate need of financial help during this coronavirus pandemic.

The Government has now allocated Mid Sussex District Council £1.4 million to help support businesses that were not eligible for the original grant. The Council has been asked by the Government to prioritise the following types of business for this funding, subject to eligibility:

  • Small businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces
  • Regular market traders with fixed stall locations who do not have their own business rates assessment and have their main domestic residence in Mid Sussex
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief
  • Businesses in the supply chain to the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality sectors that did not qualify for the original government business grants but pay business rates or have other property costs
  • Businesses that did not qualify for the original government business grants but pay onerous business rates or have relatively high property costs
  • Businesses which may have qualified for a business grant but are waiting for a business rate valuation decision from the independent Valuation Office

Applications are open to businesses outside of the categories listed above but will only be considered once these priority applications have been processed.

Local businesses are encouraged to apply for funding online at www.grantapproval.co.uk and applications must be received by Midnight on 14 June 2020. All applications will be assessed as quickly as possible after the closing date.

Councillor Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth said:

“We welcome this additional financial support from Central Government for our local businesses who have been hit so hard by this dreadful pandemic. However, we expect demand for this support to be extremely high, possibly over-subscribed, and so it will be important for us to assess each application against the set criteria swiftly and in an equitable manner.

“I urge every business that applies for this grant to provide us with as much information as possible about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected your business. Please provide evidenced details about the costs you are facing, of your lost income and information about your employees and how this funding could help you to protect local jobs.

“We’re aiming to support as many small business in our District as possible to ensure they continue to help the local economy post COVID19 but there is a limited amount of money available for this scheme and once it has been allocated the scheme will close.

“If your small business is struggling due to this coronavirus pandemic and you haven’t been able to obtain support from the Government through previous schemes then please submit your application now at www.grantapproval.co.uk

East Grinstead re-opening for business

As we enter the period of the new normal, East Grinstead non-essential shopping will begin to open up to us. Of course non- essential, depends on your view point!, but we all know now, that although we have been able to get our groceries and health care, very little else has been available to us. We may have been able to pick up a few extra items at the supermarkets, but the independents who do not sell food, have had to remain closed.

Some have moved online and many of you have been treated to an amazing service, often over and beyond what you might expect, but many of our High Street independents and their physical presence, have been sorely missed.

It has been sad to walk through East Grinstead and see the tightly closed doors and window displays stuck at Mother’s Day and Easter.

At last we are approaching a time when the Government feel it will be safe, with some extra measures, for shopping to resume. Retailers will be feverishly risk assessing their businesses and working out how they can become ‘Covid Compliant’. Fewer people in their premises, social distancing, strict rules on handling the wares, screens, queuing systems and anti-viral gels. It doesn’t sound exciting does it?, however, all of these things will be to ensure the safety of the customers and staff and to ensure their businesses can not only survive this crisis, but continue to thrive.

The traders can do all the necessary things for our safety, but the one thing they will need is a commitment from us to support them; to shop local. The traders are human beings, they a going through this crisis like the rest of us with the uncertainty of what the future holds.

So come on East Grinstead, you’ve shown how you can support the Key workers and each other through the last 10 weeks and please continue with that, but now, how about putting some money into your local economy. Every penny there goes to people who care about you and the town they trade in. Talk to the local businesses, they are ready to listen and you may find that we all have something else to really shout about.

Car park charges resume from 8 June

2 June 2020

Parking charges are set to resume in Mid Sussex car parks from Monday 8 June 2020.

Charges were suspended in Mid Sussex District Council car parks on 30 March 2020 to help residents park safely during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. With full lockdown measures in place and many people staying at home there was a shortage of on-street parking spaces, especially for the key workers travelling to and from work. The car parks provided a space for residents to park safely without adding to the road congestion.

Councillor Stephen Hillier, MSDC Cabinet Member for Economic Growth said:

“With lockdown restrictions starting to relax and people able to travel freely around the District once more, the pressure on street parking spaces has decreased significantly.

“Central Government has announced that they plan to gradually ease lockdown restrictions over the coming months. Non-essential shops will reopen in June, more people will be able to return to work and the Government hopes primary school children in England will be able to return to school.

“With the reopening of our town centres and workplaces, parking charges will help us to manage the demand for parking and ensure there is regular turnover of spaces, so people have space to park when they want to visit our towns and go shopping.

“NHS staff and care workers with a valid government permit on display will continue to receive free parking in our car parks and designated on street parking bays.”

New signage will be installed in all car parks to remind customers of how important it is to follow social distancing measures when getting in and out of vehicles or moving around the car park.

People are encouraged to use the MiPermit pay by phone service that is available in every car park to avoid contact with the machines. However, if customers choose to use a machine then signs will be on display to remind them to follow Government guidelines in respect of social distancing and hand washing.

Season ticket holders will automatically have additional time added to the end of their subscription period.

Mid Sussex Cabinet discuss coronavirus impact

Cabinet met on Monday 1 June to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on council services and finances.

Mid Sussex District Council staff are classed as Category One Responders for the coronavirus outbreak and they have a key role to play in leading the local response to the pandemic. Cabinet heard how the Council had taken on additional responsibilities to support the local community and that the coronavirus pandemic had led to increased demand for existing services.

The Council’s benefits staff have been working hard to support local businesses, issuing over 1,800 Business Support Grants, totalling more than £23 million alongside processing and increased number of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit claims. There has also been a significant increase in the number of people in need of temporary housing accommodation and the amount of waste collected from households has increased because people are spending more time at home.

In addition to the increased demand for services, Council income has reduced. Car park charges were suspended on 30 March to ease pressure on the roads and help residents park safely while people were asked to stay at home. Garden waste collections, which is a paid subscription service, was paused for a month to prioritise the collection of rubbish and recycling. Fewer people are able to pay Council Tax and rental income from investment properties has reduced because businesses have been asked to close.

The Council is currently losing between £600,000 and £700,000 per month because of the coronavirus pandemic and the required lockdown measures. The Government has provided just over £1.5 million to the Council in support of the coronavirus relief effort but this only covers income lost in April and May.

Cllr Jonathan Ash-Edwards, Leader of Mid Sussex District Council said:
“I would like to thank residents across Mid Sussex for all you have done to slow the spread of Coronavirus by following the public health guidelines over the past weeks. I know these weeks have been very difficult for many people.

“The coronavirus outbreak has placed unprecedented demands on the Council and our staff have done a tremendous job to maintain our core services, support our local businesses and protect the vulnerable throughout this pandemic.

“We receive daily briefings from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and we have remained agile, particularly during the early weeks of the outbreak, to change our approach quickly as we learn more about the virus.

“Just like many local businesses, the Council is seeing significant reductions in revenue because of the coronavirus outbreak. We are grateful for the financial support the Government has provided so far but more is needed and there is no guarantee of further support at this stage.

“We are on the road to recovery from this terrible virus but it’s clear that we will all face some difficult times ahead.

“We are currently reviewing all aspects of delivering our services in the short, medium and long term, with a view to making the required savings. We expect to have a revised Corporate Plan and Budget ready as early as September.”

The Cabinet meeting was the first to be held virtually by Mid Sussex District Council since the Government introduced temporary regulations to allow committee meetings to take place via video link.

Mid Sussex District Council to host virtual meetings

28 May 2020

Mid Sussex District Council is set to host its first virtual council meeting since new regulations came into force last month.

On Monday 1 June, the Council’s Cabinet meeting will be hosted online using a video conferencing platform and members of the public will be able to follow the debate on the Mid Sussex District Council YouTube channel.

Ordinarily, the 1972 Local Government Act requires councillors to be present to decide applications, but the Coronavirus Act and the temporary regulations provide a virtual alternative during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Committee meetings can now take place virtually, by phone or video link.

Tom Clark, Head of Regulatory Services at Mid Sussex District Council said:

“Hosting our Council meetings online will enable our Councillors to debate the important issues affecting our area whilst complying with the current requirement to maintain a safe social distance and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Modern technology means that every Councillor has the opportunity to take part in our meetings as appropriate from their home and local residents can follow the meetings live.”

Full details about future virtual council meetings can be found on the Committees section of the Mid Sussex District Council website at http://midsussex.moderngov.co.uk/

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting you? Let us know

18 May 2020

Survey from WSCC

Dear residents and partners,

We know that the current situation is affecting our residents in various different ways and we would like to understand how we can effectively support you.

We are launching a survey to gather your views and to assess the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on your lives.

Tell us how your lives have changed, how you are coping and what your thoughts are on life after this crisis. Your answers will help to shape our response to the current crisis as well as our plans for the future.

Please take 10-15 minutes out of your day to complete this very important survey by Sunday 31 May 2020.

Thank you in advance for your time and for your continued support.

VE Day At Home Party

5 May 2020

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe; VE Day. The day in 1945 that marked the end to the hostilities and the end of WW2 across Europe. To commemorate this momentous occasion the British Government had moved the early, May Bank Holiday from Monday 4th to Friday 8th and many events had been planned to allow as many people as possible to celebrate and remember the heroes of the War.

Today the World faces another battle; the Coronavirus, Covid-19 and plans for events with mass gatherings have had to be cancelled or postponed indefinitely. East Grinstead Town Council had planned a Civic Reception and cream tea for invited guests followed by free entertainment for all, culminating in a firework display at East Court. This will still happen at a later date. At this point we are planning for September 20th.

In the meantime, however, even in this period of social distancing we can still celebrate and remember those that gave so much during WW2. The Council is encouraging residents to hold their own VE Day ‘Stay at Home’ family parties, following all Government restrictions and regulations of course. This is not an excuse to get together with friends, family members and neighbours outside your household groups, but a chance to dress your homes in red, white and blue and celebrate in any way you can. In this way even in our isolation, we can come together for a moment of shared joy.

The Original day was planned to follow a standard format

2.55pm: The playing of the Last Post

Buglers, trumpeters and cornet players might like to consider playing the Last Post from the safety of their front or back garden, outside their front door or from their balcony or window. We would ask you not to play in an area that could attract a group of people however.

3pm: The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW II

We would very much like to encourage you all to still take part in the Nation’s Toast from the safety of your homes to pay tribute to the many millions in the United Kingdom and overseas who sacrificed so much to secure the freedom we have today. We would invite you to join the Town Mayor, Cllr Danny Favor,  live on the East Grinstead Town Council Facebook page at 3pm, stand and raise a glass or cup of refreshment of your choice and undertake the following toast: “For those that gave so much, we thank you.” This will be the first time such a tribute has ever taken place.

6.55pm: The Cry for Peace Around the World.

Town criers and others who wish to take part can perform the Cry for Peace from their front or back garden, at their front door or from their balcony or window. The words can be found on the Download page of the VE Day 75 website – www.veday75.org. Please don’t perform it from a place that might encourage people to gather.

We would love to see photographs and videos of your celebrations, so please post them to our Facebook or twitter @egcouncil and @VisitEG or send to towncouncil@eastgrinstead.gov.uk

107 Meridian FM will be broadcasting music from the 40s to mark the occasion, so tune in, enjoy the music and raise a glass to celebrate this momentous anniversary. People overcame adversity then and so, in time, will we.

Stay Home Saves Lives.

Modern Slavery and Covid-19: What to look out for and how to get help

4 May 2020

Garden waste collections return on 11 May

1 May 2020

Mid Sussex District Council is resuming garden waste collections from Monday 11 May.

As part of the Council’s response to the COVID-19 national emergency, garden waste collections were paused on 13 April to enable the collection crews to meet social distancing requirements and to preserve rubbish and recycling collections.

During the past month the Council has worked hard alongside waste collection partner Serco to secure additional resources that will enable our crews to practice social distancing and collect our customers’ garden waste safely. Collections were originally predicted to be suspended for a period of 12 weeks, but new working arrangements mean it is now possible to bring the service back after only a four-week pause.

When the service resumes on Monday 11 May, customers should place their garden waste bins out for collection on their usual collection day. Anyone who is not sure when their bin is due for collection can check online at www.midsussex.gov.uk/waste-recycling/bin-collection

The garden waste collection service has been paused for exactly four weeks and during that time each customer has missed two collections. To ensure that no household is financially disadvantaged by the suspension of the garden waste collection service, the Council will add four weeks 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

“This has been a difficult month for everyone and we are so grateful to all our garden waste customers for their patience, support and understanding during the past few weeks.

“We know that garden waste collections are important to people, especially during this lockdown period, so we have been working as hard as we can with Serco to reinstate them safely as soon as possible. I’m delighted to say that we are now able to resume our garden waste collections.

“We really appreciate the efforts you are making to hold on to your garden waste but please remain patient for a little while longer once collections are back under way and we work through the build-up.

“Our crews are not able to collect any side waste so it’s important to make sure all your garden waste is contained within the bin and that the lid is closed. If you are unable to fit all your garden waste into your green wheelie bin, please continue to store it until your next scheduled collection. This will ensure the safety and wellbeing of our collection crews and that we can continue to offer a garden waste service to everyone.”

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.

Schools update

27 April 2020

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

The majority of West Sussex schools have remained open to provide care for children of critical workers, those with Education, Health and Care Plans and those children deemed vulnerable who cannot be safely looked after at home. The provision of this care continued throughout the Easter Holidays and some schools even remained open on Good Friday and Easter Monday, to ensure parents and carers could continue working, supporting the COVID-19 response.

In addition, our schools are continuing to provide packages of education, support and activities to families to ensure children are keeping in touch with their learning and also engaging in some really positive and interesting activities.

We are immensely proud of staff in all of our schools and the local authority teams who are continuing to keep children at the heart of everything they do and work with families and carers to ensure children are safe and supported.

Library service update

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

Great to see that 963 people have joined our online library since we closed our buildings on 17 March.

We have added 1,300 extra ebooks and 450 eAudio titles and are now issuing about four times the number of these. Around 32,000 newspapers and magazines are being downloaded each week too!

Last week there were 2,500 views of the Ancestry page, which is linked to the free public version, and we have had over 50 compliments about this service.

We have been offering telephone support for library customers who want to use the ebook and audio but have never tried before – got some lovely comments about that too.

An additional 25 library staff have now been trained to accept and receive calls in the Community Hub and library delivery drivers have delivered emergency food parcels across the county.

Join the online library service.

County Council’s response to COVID-19 discussed

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

Cabinet met virtually on Wednesday this week to receive a formal update on our response to COVID-19 and the impact it is having on the county council’s financial position. 

They heard that following the Government’s official lock-down the council, in partnership with district and borough councils, launched community hubs across the county to make sure those people who are vulnerable, or have been made vulnerable by COVID-19, get the support, supplies and help they need.

Social care staff across the council have been working in hospitals and people’s homes supporting residents with social care and health needs.

The Cabinet also heard an update on the financial position of the council and the affect that COVID-19 is having on that.

You can listen back to a recording of the Cabinet discussion, where the agenda item starts at 2 hours and 14 minutes. Our press release is available to read here.

Your East Grinstead GP is still open for business

23 April 2020

Your East Grinstead GP is still open for business. Please do not neglect your important health needs and concerns during the current COVID-19 situation.

Patients will be offered a phone or video consultation initially. Should you need to attend your GP Practice we are taking care to make your visit as risk free as possible with stringent infection control procedures including waiting in your car if you arrive by car, prior to your assessment. As there are fewer ‘face-to-face’ appointments we are able to maintain social distancing within the waiting areas. Please contact your GP Practice by telephone. Please make use of 111 and your local pharmacy for simple illnesses of which hay fever is increasingly common at this time of year.

 Potential COVID 19 Cases

All of  the GP practices that serve East Grinstead have come together as a  joint ‘hot hub’ for suspected COVID-19 cases based at the EG Health Centre (next door to Moatfield surgery).

From this week NHS 111 may refer people with suspected COVD-19 who  will have an initial assessment in a drive through tent and where further treatment is needed will be seen inside the health centre.  You cannot attend the hub without an appointment.

There are barriers at the site (loaned by the Town Council) to help  stream people waiting for prescriptions,  or going to different parts of the site. The barriers are there for everyone’s safety so please follow signage as directed.

Update on litter bins/dog bins from MSDC

Mid Sussex District Council has reduced street cleaning crews across the district. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 the regular street crews have become operatives on the residential waste collection rounds. With this in mind, litter bins may be missed, but SERCO has advised that crews will be sent the next day to clear any bin that is full up.

Covid-19; making history

How many times have we looked through history books and marvelled at details in the photographs? Details that draw us in and illustrate moments in our history that shape the times we live in?

Every moment in time, becomes history as soon as it has passed; some are fleeting and only to remembered by the people they actually affect; Recorded yes, but reserved for reflection by a small number of people. Others are momentous and far reaching. Those moments are the ones that are recorded and studied for years and years to come.

Today we find ourselves living through a moment in time that we know will be poured over by future generations. The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the World as a whole and each member of our society will be affected in significant and possibly, long lasting ways. Life as we knew it, has changed and is continuing to change; History is being written right now.

These are the times, the moments and the images that will be written about and studied and they need to be recorded.

The Town Council has been contacted by the West Sussex Record Office who have put out a call for documentation about the pandemic to be preserved for posterity.

Please read the information below and help where you can.

History in the making: Collecting Covid-19 archives FAQs

 What does West Sussex Record Office do?

West Sussex Record Office (commonly abbreviated to WSRO) acquires and preserves the historic archives of the County, makes them available to everyone who wishes to see them, and promotes their use for study and enjoyment.

The Record Office was set up in 1946 and has been located in its current purpose-built archive centre at 3 Orchard Street, Chichester, since 1989. It holds collections dating back to 780 AD.

WSRO looks after records relating to almost every aspect of life in West Sussex. Key areas include local authorities, churches, schools, hospitals, businesses, landed estates, the Royal Sussex Regiment, photographs, maps, and community archives. We also collect records of local individuals which help to document the lives of ordinary people and the communities they live in.

Why is WSRO interested in collecting diaries about Covid-19?

WSRO’s mission is to collect unique documents relating to the history of the county of West Sussex, including items which record the local impact of major events such as the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have diaries at the Record Office dating back over three hundred years and they give us a unique window into the past and bring history to life before our eyes. By contributing diaries and other material recording your experience of the Covid-19 pandemic, you will help historians of the future to understand what people thought, felt and experienced during this time and offer them an insight into the impact of this event on people locally.

What type of material will WSRO take in?

WSRO can take in material in paper or digital format and accepts a wide range of different types of documents including, but not limited to, diaries, photographs, letters, leaflets, flyers, posters, oral histories. We are keen to create a community archive which is representative of people’s experience of the Covid-19 pandemic so welcome donations of any documents relating to this. This might include a diary kept in a notebook or photographs taken on your phone which document the impact of the pandemic. These are just two examples but if you are unsure, please don’t hesitate to contact us on record.office@westsussex.gov.uk and we can advise.

If you are creating material in a digital format then we ask that you use file types which are widely used and supported. These include: Microsoft Word (.docx or .doc), Microsoft Excel (.xlsx or .xls), TIFF (.tiff), JPEG (.jpeg), PDF (.pdf), .wav and .mp3. If you have any questions about the file formats of your digital records and what we can accept then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Although WSRO does not take in films or video, we are working with our partners, Screen Archive South East, who can. If you have films or video which you would like to deposit, please let us know and we will put you in touch with Screen Archive South East.

If you are taking photographs or filming you should ensure that people appearing in the image or film have given their permission or cannot be identified (e.g. if you are taking a photograph of a queue you might want to do so from the back so that people’s faces can’t be seen).

Unfortunately, WSRO cannot accept objects but please get in touch if you have this kind of material, or if you are unsure whether or not WSRO will take something, and we will be able to offer advice.

How do I send my diary to WSRO?

There are several different ways WSRO can receive material including in person, via post, and over email. However, before you bring an item in or send it, please contact us (record.office@westsussex.gov.uk). We may need to arrange an appointment to meet you, have questions about the format the item is in, discuss with you what will happen to the item(s) you donate, and agree what will happen with the copyright in the item.

If you are depositing a diary, it would be very helpful if you could write a very short paragraph to include your name, where you are from, your occupation and a little bit about yourself. This only needs to be a couple of sentences but it will help us, and researchers, to understand more about the context in which your diary was created.

What are the terms on which WSRO will take my diary? Is there anything to sign?

We are asking that any Covid-19 related material comes to us as a gift. This means that the ownership of the item will pass to WSRO on behalf of West Sussex County Council. This is to ensure that all material in this new community archive can be managed on the same terms.

We also ask, where possible, that copyright in your diary or photographs is assigned to WSRO and this is something we will discuss with you when you contact us about a potential deposit.

There will be a very short receipt to sign to confirm that you have donated an item or items to WSRO. We are also drafting a form which will enable you to specify in more detail how you are happy for your diary and/or other item(s) to be used.

What will WSRO do with my diary?

Any material which comes to WSRO is catalogued. This means that each item is assigned a unique reference number and archive staff write a brief description about the document to help researchers find it on our online catalogue. You can see some examples on our catalogue here: http://185.121.204.173/searchonline/. You could try typing ‘diary’ in the Quick Search box near the top of the screen to see examples of how other diaries have been catalogued.

WSRO will write the catalogue number on the diary or change the title of a digital item to incorporate the new reference. We will also take any measures which are necessary to preserve the document. This might involve repackaging it in archival materials, repairing damaged items, or creating digital copies.

Once this has been done, your diary can be found on the online catalogue and researchers can come into the Record Office to look at it.

Cataloguing can be a time-consuming process, particularly when we have received a large quantity of material, so the catalogue entries for your items will not appear online immediately.  However, rest assured that we will be working on this and a catalogue entry for your item(s) will appear online in due course.

Who will be able to see my diary? Will it be online?

Anyone who is interested will be able to come into the Record Office to look at your diary or other material you have deposited. This might include academics, school pupils, local and family historians, and there may be some media interest. Please be aware that researchers can request copies of material you have deposited for their own private research unless you have specified otherwise. Copies may be provided on paper as photocopies or electronically as scans but researchers sign an agreement to state that any copies they receive will not be reproduced elsewhere.

When you bring your diary in, we will ask you how you are happy for us to use it. We will not share your diary online unless you have given us explicit permission to do so.

What happens if my diary contains information I don’t want other people to see?

We understand that diaries by their nature can contain very personal and private information. If this is the case then we will discuss with you the possibility of applying a closure period. This means that no-one (aside from Record Office staff) will be able to see your diary for that time. We can be flexible about the length of the closure period and will discuss with you whether a closure period will be necessary and if so how long it would be appropriate to close your diary for.

There is also the possibility that your diary may contain information which would cause damage or distress to people mentioned in it. If this is the case, then under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) WSRO will need to close your diary to protect those individuals. Staff will discuss with you whether there is the possibility that your diary contains sensitive information about other people and will also check themselves. If your diary does need to be closed under Data Protection legislation then staff will contact you to let you know.

Urgent appeal for specialist equipment

21 April 2020

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

People in West Sussex who are no longer using key items of specialist community equipment are being asked to return them as soon as possible to help the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.

Items urgently needed include; specialist hospital-style beds, mattresses, hoists, commodes.

Any unused equipment currently on loan can be returned if no longer needed.

To arrange a collection please phone NRS Healthcare on 0345 127 2931 or email enquiries@westsussex.nrs-uk.net

NRS Healthcare runs the county’s specialist rehab equipment service on behalf of the council and the local NHS.

All collection drivers will follow strict social distancing measures.

Support and local advice

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

Could you benefit from emotional support, guidance and a listening ear? If so, Carers Support West Sussex are on hand to help during these uncertain times.

They are available via email, phone or online where they can offer you a friendly and informal chat. You do not need to be in a caring role to benefit from this service. 

Phone: 0300 028 8888
Email: info@carerssupport.org.uk
Website and online chat: www.carerssupport.org.uk

Response line opening times: Mon, Tue, Thur & Fri  9am – 5pm, Wed 9am-7pm, Sat 10am-12pm.

‘Thank you’ to the care workers

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

People working in care are doing an amazing job at this particularly difficult time and we want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to each and every person caring for our vulnerable and elderly residents. Now more than ever the care sector needs more people to work in care, so if you feel you have the skills and values to take on this challenging but enormously rewarding role please search for local jobs or contact our Proud to Care team here.

People from all sorts of backgrounds can be perfect for a job in care – read about Brendan who worked in Hotel Management for 25 years until he changed careers to work in care and hasn’t looked back.

Coranavirus update from WSCC

This is an update from West Sussex County Council.

As we enter a further stage of lockdown we wanted to give a reminder of where you can find the latest information and updates regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is so important that we all continue to stay at home wherever possible and do not meet others, even friends or family. Remember you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

We should all make sure we:

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash our hands as soon as we get home

With the majority of us spending prolonged periods of time at home, taking care of your mind as well as your body has never been more important. The Every Mind Matters website from the NHS has guidance, tips and advice on looking after your mental health and wellbeing at this challenging time.

If you are unsure about the advice then take a look at the government website for guidance on what you can and cannot do. There is also a really helpful blog from Public Health England which is regularly updated to answer many frequently asked questions.

There are steps we can all take to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Please follow the NHS advice and:

  • 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

Please also visit our dedicated webpage where you can find updates on our services and how they are being impacted in light of the current situation, as well as lots of other links to useful sources of information for residents and businesses.

Activities for teenagers and their families

17 April 2020

Active Sussex have joined forces with REBOOT to create a NEW and FREE weekly schedule of sports and activities for children and their families across Sussex. There are initially 10 sessions across the week from 6 local providers.

We will look to add more local providers to the schedule and will send any updates. Click here to view the schedule.

Ad: Relate North and South West Sussex services

Relate Sussex and their services have changed what they provide due to the COVID-19 outbreak:

Due to the current Covid-19 outbreak, Relate North and South West Sussex are offering telephone and web cam counselling.

Relate supports individuals, couples and families and also provides children and young people’s counselling. They have been working hard to ensure that people can access their services. Relate’s service supports people to manage their anxieties and fears and helps to build resilience in the current situation. It also supports those couples struggling with their relationships, whether married, co-habiting, or divorced and co-parenting.

Relate’s charges are on a sliding scale and they are able to offer subsidies or a limited number of sessions free of charge, dependent on funding available and on a case by case basis. Please ask when you telephone.

For more advice and details about telephone or web cam counselling, please telephone Relate as follows:

  • Mondays to Fridays 9am to 1pm 07799 170582
  • Mondays to Fridays 1pm to 5pm 07423 14791

Businesses and Residents Urged To Check Security

15 April 2020

Local businesses are being urged to ensure their premises are sufficiently protected during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Sussex Police believe there could be an increase in organised acquisitive crime across the county – including burglaries of business premises – and have increased police patrols and proactive targeting of known local criminals.

Officers are also advising residents to make sure that their valuables are secure, especially as warmer weather may well result in opportunistic crooks taking advantage of properties left insecure.

You can find crime prevention advice for protecting your business from the inside out and keeping high value items safe at home on the Sussex Police website.

Detective Chief Inspector Alasdair Henry, burglary prevention lead for Sussex Police, said: “We take burglary very seriously. Staff across the force are working hard to prevent an increase in burglary and we are ready to respond to any spikes in such criminality.

“We are urging business owners to ensure that they have sufficient and robust security features in place and that they are in full working order. Security cameras should be checked and owners need to make sure that any service doors are both secure and locked. Don’t store cash in premises whilst they are closed.

“Owners of high value jewellery are encouraged to ensure it is securely locked away in the house, ideally in a safe or similar secure storage, rather than being left in drawers or cupboards. Residents should ensure that doors to their homes are kept locked, especially overnight, but also when they might be out enjoying their gardens, and that they have measures in place to keep their residence secure.

“It is vital that we all work together to disrupt organised crime and prevent opportunistic burglaries. Our Sussex Police website provides some excellent detailed advice on how to protect your property from crime.

“Please do not hesitate to report suspicious activity to us. This includes reporting people trying to sell items that you suspect are stolen. If you have any information concerning burglary or people selling stolen goods please get in touch with us immediately online or by calling 101. You can also report anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“In an emergency, such as a crime in progress, please dial 999.”

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner said: “It is important to remember at this time that, whilst our police officers are having to provide support to protect the capacity of the NHS, they are still committed to protecting our communities because criminals are not staying at home.

“As many businesses have been forced to close due to the ‘lockdown’, the vacant premises are more vulnerable to being targeted by criminals seeking to make a profit from this pandemic. So, I’m urging business owners to heed the preventative advice that Sussex Police have released today and take simple measures to better protect themselves and their livelihood.

“The police are still there for us when we need them most, so if you see something suspicious or have been a victim of any crime type, please still report.”

Communities can work together to prevent crime. By joining an existing Neighbourhood Watch scheme or becoming a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, your community can be stronger together.

Wash your hands of coronavirus scams!

Along with East Grinstead Emergency Action Group is being co-ordinated by the Town Council / the Mug Tree via our switchboard number (0342 323636) you can pay for shopping by card over the phone or bank transfer, only if necessary for you and being your choice will we take cash.   All our volunteers have ID and will leave your shopping on the doorstep and ring the doorbell we will not enter your home for any reason.

Please stay safe.

Ad: Tarana Restaurant Lingfield

14 April 2020

Tarana are doing is 50% discount for NHS staff collection only from 5pm till 10pm 7 days a week. They are also doing deliveries for vulnerable customers from the hours of 12pm till 3pm Sunday to Thursday but require an order 24 hours before.

Call them on 01342 832222.

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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