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Covid grant scheme for ‘most vulnerable’ extended

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Stop press from the Independent 

A coronavirus grant scheme providing help with food and bills for vulnerable households has been extended, with an extra £40million available.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said the Covid Winter Grant Scheme would be renamed the Covid Local Support Grant and will now run until June 20, in line with England’s road map, which is expected to finally lift lockdown restrictions on June 21.

The scheme, which allows English councils to provide support to families and individuals, was originally due to expire on March 31 but had already been extended to April 16.

Ms Coffey told MPs the move was in recognition that “some restrictions on the economy continue”.

The first extension added an additional £59.1million of support, and a further £40million has now been allocated.

More to follow in the next update

Young Carers in Schools Education Conference

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Young Carers in Schools (YCiS) Education Conference 2021

As many as 1 in 5 secondary school students could be a young carer.

Do you know your young carers?

Do you know how they have experienced the Pandemic?

Are you concerned for their well-being?

Would you like to feel more equipped and provide more effective support and intervention so that they can attain and fulfil their potential?

Join the Children’s Society on Thursday 29th April between 10:00am-5:00pm to find out how your school could make the best difference to these students.

Sessions to include:

• Lockdown through the Young Carers lens : hear from young carers
• What easy steps can schools and colleges take to improve life chances for young carers
• Q & A with Young Adult Carers: What they wished staff knew. What would you like to understand from young carers
• Mental Health programmes for young carers
• Open Forum : Recovery from Covid / F & HE / future developments

Register your interest, email YCiS@childrenssociety.org.uk

Visit their website here

New government service launched to support quarantine compliance

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Published 13th April

The government has launched a service to carry out further visits on people who have a duty to quarantine following international travel.

It is still illegal to holiday overseas and those entering the country following international travel must quarantine for a period of 10 days at a managed quarantine site or the address listed on their passenger locator form. Compliance is critical to reduce the risk of Variants of Concern entering the UK.

Those quarantining at home may be visited by staff employed on behalf of the NHS Test and Trace service. These checks will be in addition to those already carried out by police officers, who make up to 1,000 home visits per day.

NHS Test and Trace staff will not have any enforcement powers, however, a referral will be made to the police if NHS Test and Trace staff have a reason to believe that an individual may be breaching quarantine rules. Officers will consider enforcement action following further investigation.

Individuals who fail to comply could be issued with a fixed penalty notice, starting at £1,000 and increasing up to £10,000 for repeat offences. Mitie was awarded the contract to carry out the NHS Test and Trace visits following a government procurement exercise.

These checks are in addition to the work by the Isolation Assurance and Compliance Service to contact everyone returning from non-red list countries

For more information go to the Government website



Coronavirus and the social impacts on disabled people in Great Britain: February 2021

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The main points are:

In February 2021, among people aged 16 years and over in Great Britain:

• A larger proportion of disabled people (78%) than non-disabled people (69%), said they were worried (very or somewhat) about the effect that the coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their life; for disabled people this proportion was lower than in September 2020 (83%).

• Disabled people more often indicated coronavirus had affected their life than non-disabled people in ways such as their health (35% for disabled people, compared with 12% for non-disabled people), access to healthcare for non-coronavirus related issues (40% compared with 19%), well-being (65% compared with 50%) and access to groceries, medication and essentials (27% compared with 12%).

• Feeling stressed or anxious, feeling bored and feeling worried about the future were the well-being concerns most frequently cited by both disabled (67%, 62% and 57% respectively) and non-disabled people (54%, 63% and 52% respectively) in February 2021; feeling bored has increasingly been reported by both disabled (43% to 62%) and non-disabled (42% to 63%) people with well-being concern since September 2020.

• Among people who indicated coronavirus affected their well-being, disabled people more frequently than non-disabled people specified that the coronavirus was making their mental health worse (46% for disabled people and 29% for non-disabled people), they are feeling like a burden on others (25% and 10%), they are feeling stressed and anxious (67% and 54%) or they are feeling lonely (49% and 37%).

• Disabled people had on average poorer well-being ratings than non-disabled people across all four well-being measures (life satisfaction, feeling that things done in life are worthwhile, happiness and anxiety).

• For both disabled and non-disabled people, life satisfaction and happiness ratings were poorer in February 2021 than in September 2020; compared with a period prior to the coronavirus pandemic (in the year ending June 2019), all well-being ratings of disabled and non-disabled people remained poorer in February 2021.

• Disabled people tended to be less optimistic than non-disabled people about life returning to normal in the short term: around a fifth (20%) of disabled people compared with over a quarter (27%) of non-disabled people thought that life will return to normal in less than six months.

• Positive sentiment towards the vaccine was high among both disabled and non-disabled people: 94% of both disabled and non-disabled people reported they had now either received at least one dose of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, were awaiting one, or would be likely (very or fairly likely) to have a vaccine if offered.

You can read the report here

Mapping loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic

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After a year of lockdowns, social distancing, and restrictions on travel and gatherings, some groups of people have reported high rates of loneliness and poorer well-being in recent months.

Between October 2020 to February 2021, results from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) show 7.2% of the adult population (about 3.7 million adults) felt lonely “often” or “always”.

Mapping trends across the country shows the types of places where a higher proportion of people felt lonely, and differences in personal well-being.

They found areas with a higher concentration of younger people (aged 16-24) and areas with higher rates of unemployment tended to have higher rates of loneliness during the study period.

You can read the report here


Coronavirus and compliance with government guidance, UK: April 2021

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These publications from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) explore the attitudes and behaviours of different social groups in relation to compliance with coronavirus (COVID-19) government guidance across the UK.

There are 2 publications:

In their own words: How different people respond to coronavirus guidance
The government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance has restricted day-to-day life to reduce the spread of infection. In interviews and diaries, people from different social groups describe in their own words what influenced them to follow – or not follow – the guidance.

Coronavirus and compliance with government guidance, UK: April 2021
Exploring the attitudes and behaviours of different social groups in relation to compliance with coronavirus (COVID-19) government guidance across the UK.

You can read the reports here

£18 million announced for cycle training for children and their families

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Press release 9th April

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today (9 April 2021) announced £18 million for cycle training across the country to ensure children and their families have the confidence to choose active travel, as the government encourages everyone to choose to walk or cycle where possible.

The funding, which is managed via the Bikeability Trust charity, will go toward delivering high-quality, practical on-road cycle training as a modern day equivalent of the ‘cycling proficiency’ scheme many parents will themselves have undertaken during their school days.

Learn more about Bikeability cycle training courses here.

Bikeability, brought in from 2007, goes beyond the playground, teaching children to cycle safely on modern roads. At different levels of the scheme, children will learn how to:

  • develop early cycle handling and awareness skills (Bikeability Balance)
  • master pedalling (Bikeability Learn to Ride)
  • prepare for on-road cycling (Level 1)
  • cycle on single-lane roads and simple junctions (Level 2)
  • handle busier streets, complex junctions and roundabouts (Level 3)

And, for families looking to improve their confidence cycling together, local authorities can offer bespoke Bikeability Family training sessions with an instructor, to help them feel confident in a range of scenarios ranging from a weekend ride to commuting and taking the children to school.

For more information go to the Government website

Specialist job coaches to help young people onto the jobs ladder

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Press release 9th April

Young people will benefit from six-month intensive employment support packages as the Department for Work and Pensions recruits an extra 150 specialist Youth Employability Coaches across the UK.

Youth Employability Coaches are specially trained to support young jobseekers facing significant barriers to get on the first rung of the jobs ladder, such as young people without formal skills or qualifications.

For up to six months, young jobseekers will get intensive support and mentoring training as well as access to training, apprenticeship placements, suitable job opportunities, the Sector Based Work Academy Programme and the Kickstart Scheme.

Support will even continue for six weeks after the young person has started work, to make sure they’re given help to settle into the role and find their feet.

For more information go to the Government website


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