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Coronavirus (Covid-19): council services update

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update Time 12:30 Date 13/07/20: temporary closure and restrictions on selected council services and facilities

The response to the national situation is being led by the UK Government and the devolved national Governments. Local authorities follow their lead and make regional and local decisions accordingly.

The UK and Welsh Governments have introduced strict new measures for essential travel, social distancing and public behaviour. Council services and facilities which would only encourage the public to make non-essential journeys are now closed until further notice.

The Council will comply instantly with all such national directions. More directions might follow. Not to do so would contravene Government guidance.

Any services or facilities affected by such announcements will be closed or withdrawn immediately. All essential Council services are running as normal at this stage, however, the situation does develop quickly. We will make decisions on prioritising our resources for the most critical services as necessary.  

The following Council services and facilities are currently closed or are operating on a restricted basis. This information will be updated on a regular basis so please visit this site frequently. 

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Childcare Provision in Flintshire 

Preparing for an increase in school operations 

Following the Education Minister’s announcement that schools can begin to prepare for an increase in operations from 29 June, we are working closely with our schools to ensure that our pupils have the opportunity to check in, catch up, and prepare for September.

During this period of school closure, schools have also worked very creatively to maintain pupil engagement in learning though a variety of means. It is clear that they will have to operate in a very different way for the foreseeable future, providing a combination of face to face and remote learning – a blended learning approach. 

The planning is in the early stages but we appreciate that parents and carers and, indeed, pupils and school staff, will have concerns and questions.  That’s why we want to keep you informed as decisions are made so that we hope that you will feel reassured and confident in the steps we are taking.  The safety and wellbeing of our staff and learners is of paramount importance in all our planning.

What we can say so far:

  • Because of the challenges posed by nursery aged pupils in relation to social distancing, the Council has made the decision to exclude this group of pupils from the check in and catch up sessions before the summer holidays.  Most other authorities in Wales are taking a similar stance.
  • Each school is different and arrangements will be in place to suit each individual school setting. We do know that there will be much smaller classes, providing secure dedicated time with teachers and classmates. This time will include online and personalised classroom experience and getting children and teachers ready for a similar experience in September.
  • There is no obligation to send children back to school if it is not right for them or their families. Therefore, during this time parents will not be fined if they choose not to send their child to school.
  • Flintshire’s transport unit is working closely with schools to determine the demand for school transport.  We have a robust transport network and are confident that we can meet these needs. Schools will not be open to more than a third of learners at any time, so we are looking at staggered pick-up and drop-off times, along with other options.  If you have requested school transport, you will be contacted by the school once that has been put in place.  Please ensure that the school has your up-to-date contact details.
  • We take the safety and wellbeing of our pupils and staff seriously and we are working with our partner NEWydd to ensure that all schools will be cleaned regularly and will have sufficient cleaning materials, soap and hand sanitiser available.
  • In Flintshire, We have taken the decision that pupils will be provided with in school catering and we are currently working through the options. However as the water fountains will not be in use, pupils can bring in a water bottle as long as it is clearly named and not shared with anyone else.
  • Other essential equipment, for example a pencil case, can be brought in but items must not be shared with other people.

Childcare for key workers and vulnerable learners

Since 30 March, Flintshire County Council has provided childcare for key workers and vulnerable learners through hubs.  From 22 June, children attending hubs will move back to their own school and the emergency childcare model will continue. We are working closely with schools to manage this transition.

The emergency childcare model operates from 8.00 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Children are fed free of charge – breakfast, lunch and a light afternoon snack. Most parents will be able to drop off and collect their children, but if this is not possible, the Council can arrange transport on request. 

Only children whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response should be offered places in schools/settings when there is no safe, alternative provision.

Flintshire’s position is that children who have been using the emergency childcare should not be switching between the emergency childcare and the “check in/catch up” sessions – this increases the risk of transmitting the virus between different cohorts of pupils.  In fact, these pupils have already had contact time with familiar staff to enable them to “check in and catch up”.

Free school meals 

The Council has now switched to a model of Direct Payments to parents/carers entitled to free school meals. If you have not supplied bank details via the Council’s secure online portal, please call the Council’s contact centre on 01352 752121.

Parents/carers can also email any questions to freeschoolmeals@flintshire.gov.uk and include the following information to ensure that their query is dealt with as quickly as possible:

  • Parent / carer full  name
  • Full address including postcode
  • Children's full name(s) and date of birth
  • Parent/carer contact details - email or mobile.

Direct payments will continue throughout the summer holidays and until your children return to school in September.  You will also receive payments until the end of the summer term and, while you children are in school, they will be provided with a packed lunch free of charge.

Flintshire Connects Centres

Flintshire Connects Centres will reopen on a phased basis from 13 July: 

13 July – Connah’s Quay and Mold

20 July – Flint

27 July – Buckley and Holywell

Summer Play Schemes

The Council has taken the difficult but necessary decision to cancel all play schemes in the County planned for the summer holidays in 2020. The decision has been made under Welsh Government guidance.

Children’s Play Areas  

Flintshire, along with many other Councils across Wales, has taken the decision – in the interests of public health –to close all play areas for which it is responsible - with signage erected – from Monday 23 March until further notice

Safeguarding our children and vulnerable residents

We all need to be looking after each other at this difficult time more than ever. It is especially important that we look after children and vulnerable adults who are currently not able to access their usual avenues of support. 

Flintshire County Council is responsible for co-ordinating child and adult protection services in the county. We are continuing to work closely with schools, North Wales Police, health agencies, doctors, health visitors, advocacy and other agencies to ensure children, families and individuals get the support they need.  

If you have concerns or suspicions about a child in Flintshire being harmed, a family needing support or an adult who is at risk, please phone: 

01352 701000 to report concerns about children; 

03000 858858 to report concerns about adults; or 

outside of regular office hours, please phone the Duty Social Worker on: 0345 0533116.

We will discuss your concerns with you and ask you for as much detail as possible. We will investigate your concerns and if necessary make a plan to protect the child or the adult.

Child Protection referrals or queries can be emailed to ChildProtectionReferral@flintshire.gov.uk

Adult Protection referrals or queries can be emailed to SSDuty@flintshire.gov.uk.

Please be aware that the inboxes are monitored weekdays, during office hours only.

We want to reassure you that we are all working hard to ensure our core child and adult protection processes are continuing and we are relying on professionals and public to report any concerns they may have about children, families and adults at risk. 

You can find more resources, information and advice on the Regional Safeguarding Board website: northwalessafeguardingboard.wales.

Flintshire Youth Justice Service & Flintshire Sorted

Due to the on-going situation, the Youth Justice Service and Flintshire Sorted Office is currently closed.

However, Youth Justice and Sorted officers continue to work from other locations. If you have any appointments or meetings arranged, you will be contacted directly by a member of the Youth Justice Service or Flintshire Sorted to discuss how this will take place. Until you hear from a member of the Team please assume it will continue as planned.

Whilst the office remains closed, we will be continuing our work and a Duty Officer will be monitoring our answerphone regularly throughout our normal working hours between 9am and 5pm Monday – Thursday and 9am-4.30pm on Fridays (except Bank Holidays). If you need to speak to someone please call 01352 701125 and leave your name and contact details along with a short message someone will get back to you. 

If however, your matter is urgent or relates to a safeguarding or child protection concern you can also contact Flintshire Social Services for Children on 01352 701000 between normal office hours. Outside of office hours you can contact the Emergency Duty Team on 0845 053 3116.

If your concern relates to a police matter please contact 101 for non-urgent enquiries or if the matter is urgent please contact 999. 

Professionals can still submit referrals to the YJS and Flintshire Sorted through the normal email mail box. 

Flintshire Record Office is closed to visitors.  For further details go to: https://www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/LeisureAndTourism/Records-and-Archives/Flintshire-Record-Office.aspx

 

Council Public Buildings and Offices

There will be no access to council public buildings and offices other than for employees and authorised visitors until further notice.

Help locating local services

Flintshire County Council has developed an online map to assist residents locate services available in their local area.

The map has six service categories which are:

  • pharmacies;
  • food banks;
  • milk deliveries;
  • food (deliveries, pickups and takeaways);
  • support (mental health support, telephone befriending, etc) and
  • shopping (collecting shopping, prescriptions etc).

To access the map, click here. It is recommended to use Google Chrome.

An online user guide can be accessed here

Streetscene Services 

All Pay and Display car parking charges across the County will be suspended from 25th March. This decision has been made both to reduce personal contact and the risk of surface transition of the COVID-19/coronavirus from pay and display machines, and to assist key workers and essential shopping at this challenging time. For further information go to https://www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/Resident/Streetscene/COVID-19-%e2%80%93-Important-Changes-to-Highways-Transport-Services.aspx

Beach Cleaning during this time is suspended and resources re-deployed to assist with delivering priority services across the County. 

The warmer spring weather, more daylight hours and a change in government advice means that limited resources can now be made available from Thursday, 16 April for some grass cutting and grounds maintenance operations to resume. For futher detail go to:  https://www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/Resident/Streetscene/COVID-19-%e2%80%93-Important-Changes-to-Highways-Transport-Services.aspx

Street Cleansing operations will be reduced in the rural areas from Monday, 23 March 2020 

Housing Services

The Housing Repairs team are working as normal, however all non-urgent visits have been suspended until further notice and the team will only be undertaking emergency repair work.   

Flintshire Registration Service 

The UK and Welsh Governments announced on 23 March, 2020 strict new measures for essential travel, social distancing and public behaviour including restrictions on the celebration of marriages and civil partnerships. For further information go to :https://www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/Resident/Registration-Service/Covid-19-Flintshire-Registration-Service.aspx

Youth Service

All Flintshire County Council run Youth Clubs will close until further notice.

Planning, Environment and Economy  

The drop-in service for planning advice has been withdrawn until further notice.  

All Job Clubs are closed until further notice.

Theatr Clwyd 

Theatr Clwyd has closed for all events, performances, screenings and outreach projects.

For further details https://www.theatrclwyd.com.  

Leisure Centres and Libraries

For further information go to www.aura.wales 

Older People Services: 

Croes Atti Day Centre, Flint: closed until further notice 

Men Sheds, Day Centre, Saltney: closed until further notice 

Short term care and respite services for Older People are suspended until further notice 

Learning Disability Services Rowley’s Pantry, Freshfields and Creftiau Cariad cafes: closed until further notice  

Hwb Cyfle Day Centre remains open with restrictions to outside visits and use of sensory facilities. 

Short Term Care and Respite Services for Learning Disabilities have been reduced.  

Mental Health and Wellbeing Services 

The following Mental Health and Wellbeing Services are closed until further notice:

Community Groups, Drop in’s, Social Links, Growing Places, Wellbeing Activities, Like-Minded Brochure, Double-Click 

The Memory Cafés listed below are closed until further notice:

Mix & Mingle,

Mold Horse & Jockey, Buckley 

Bistre Church Hall, Buckley 

Monday Mix,

Flint Clocktower, Mostyn 

Sealand and Queensferry 

Saltney 

Connah’s Quay 

Holywell 

Northop 

Pen-y-ffordd (Broughton) 

Dementia Inclusive Café – Mancot Coffee Morning 

Dementia Inclusive Café – Leeswood 

Dementia Inclusive Café – Hope 

Children’s Services 

The following services have been withdrawn until further notice: Flying Start Group Work Family Information Service - Outreach Parenting Programme Foster Care Groups Young Peoples' Groups 

Markets

The Car Boot Sale in Mold is cancelled until further notice.

Latest information on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19):

View the latest information on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Public Health Wales website

Coronavirus (Covid-19) what you need to do: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

GovDelivery Email Bulletin Service

In this challenging and fast-developing situation we encourage you to subscribe to our email bulletin service, GovDelivery - and also encourage others to sign up – particularly for “Your Council News” and “Twitter Updates”.  This will help you keep up-to-date - visit subscriber preferences.

News and information can also be found in our News Archive section of the website: https://www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/Resident/Council-Apps/News-Archive.aspx.