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e-connect 2 December

Date published: 2021-12-02

Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

Let's look after each other. Covid hasn't gone away.

Coronavirus update 2 December 2021

A message from Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

Reports this week about the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, will be concerning for many of us. Mandatory mask-wearing in shops and on public transport, as well as a push to get booster jabs to all adults this winter, have been announced by the Government. It is a sharp reminder that we are still in the midst of the pandemic and Covid has not gone away. Our Director of Public Health, Becky Reynolds has a fuller update in this newsletter, below.

Yesterday, the council and its commissioning partner BSW CCG were told of the acquisition of Virgin Care by Twenty20 Capital. I want to reassure you that we are now carefully considering this announcement, and any impact on the contract we had recently agreed with Virgin Care.

Giving people a bigger say underpins the way we take decisions and I am pleased that the next step in our Liveable Neighbourhoods project was launched on Monday. Liveable Neighbourhoods aims to give fairer access to residential neighbourhoods and create healthier outdoor spaces for everyone.

Communities are being enabled to help co-design schemes that will improve their environments and create healthier spaces in this next stage of the project. Over the next three weeks please take a look at our map-based page on and pin your comments or find out about a series of virtual and face-to-face events.

Some months ago I called on the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to show much more ambition in its plans to tackle the climate emergency and to deliver net zero. Tomorrow, I will join council leaders from Bristol, South Gloucestershire and West of England Mayor Dan Norris, to discuss proposals contained in WECA’s  Green Recovery Fund paper when we meet at The Space Community Centre in Keynsham. I look forward to working with the mayor to make sure this fund is directed at our key priorities, including schemes like our Bath Riverline, which aims to improve 10km along the River Avon in Bath for better walking, cycling and ecology.

Last week I took the chance to visit a new multi-use games area in Bath that is benefitting the local community thanks to £54,000 in Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which we granted after listening to the community, who suggested a number of improvements at the former Rosewarn Park in Whiteway. Thanks also to our partners Curo for working with us on the scheme.

Tonight we hold the last in our autumn/winter series of local meetings where we have met residents to talk about some of the winter pressures facing our local communities and services. Thank you to everyone who has joined on zoom for the area forums. Our next meeting will be on December 14 to discuss the council’s budget setting and details will be made available soon.

Have a good weekend.


A message from Becky Reynolds, Director of Public Health at Bath & North East Somerset Council

As we are hearing on the news, the new Covid variant called Omicron is causing some concern. This particular variant has lots of different mutations that suggest it could be more transmissible, cause more severe disease, or make the vaccines less effective, but we just don’t know yet. Lots of data is being gathered to help understand this more, but it will take a couple of weeks before we are clearer on how big a threat the variant poses. As so little is currently known, it’s essential that we take action to minimise any impact it may have.

The control measures that we have become so familiar with throughout the pandemic are effective at reducing transmission of all strains of the virus - keeping a safe distance from others, washing hands regularly, keeping indoor spaces ventilated, getting vaccinated, getting tested regularly, and self-isolating where required.

New, temporary changes have been introduced to help slow down the spread of this variant, including the wearing of face coverings. There are some places where people over the age of 11 now must wear a face covering by law, unless they are exempt, and these include shops, on public transport, and in premises that provide personal care and beauty treatments such as hair salons, barbers, and nail salons. The full list of places can be found here.

Further changes to help stop the spread of the variant brought in include a requirement for international arrivals to self-isolate when they arrive in the UK. They will need to take a PCR test within 48 hours of their arrival, and remain in isolation until they return a negative test. Also, people who are told by NHS Test and Trace that they are a contact of suspected or confirmed Omicron cases will be legally required to self-isolate, even if they have been double vaccinated or are under the age of 18 years and 6 months.

Finally, the government recently announced that booster vaccines would become available for all adults over the age of 18 as a way of further reducing the spread of the Omicron variant. However, these changes haven’t yet come into force and vaccination teams across the country are working very hard to make this expanded booster vaccination programme available. Currently booster vaccines are only available for people over the age of 40, those with an underlying health condition and frontline health and social care workers. Other groups are being asked to patient and wait until their specific age group is called forward before trying to book an appointment. For further information please go to the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG website here.

Our Covid-19 rates in B&NES have continued to fall from about six weeks ago when they were over 1000 per 100k people and currently they are at 376 per 100k. We know these measures are effective, and if we all do our bit, they will be effective against Omicron as well.

These are the latest Covid case figures for B&NES – please play your part to drive the number down.

Covid-19 update


Plans to expand the booster rollout

Covid-19 booster vaccines will soon be available to all adults over the age of 18.

Under the new plans, which have been announced in response to the new Omicron variant of coronavirus, the waiting period between a person’s second primary dose and their booster jab will also be reduced from six months to 12 weeks.

Boosters for people over the age of 40 are being prioritised, and adults aged between 18 and 39-years-old are being asked to wait to be contacted by the NHS before attempting to book a jab or visiting a vaccination site. For further information, please go to the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG website here.

For those eligible, you can now book your booster via the National Booking System, or by calling 119.

Information about the local rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, including details of vaccination centres and an extensive list of frequently asked questions, is available here.

When you should wear a face covering

The law on wearing a face covering in England has now changed. Face coverings must now be worn in shops and shopping centres, personal care services, in transport hubs and on public transport.

In other indoor settings where a face covering is not legally required, you should still continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.

For the full guidance, check the government website.

Covid support for local businesses

The council has produced a whole host of materials (including posters, postcards, and social media assets), to help support local businesses.

If you need to advise customers that face coverings are now mandatory on your premises, for example, download and print out an appropriate poster to display in your window or on your walls.

In addition to this, two new community engagement officers will be visiting public-facing businesses over the next few weeks to support them in engaging the public with control measures. This includes providing posters about Covid measures to use in their settings. This will be particularly important over the Christmas period when high streets will be at their busiest.

Test and collect vanCovid testing guidance

Remember: you should test regularly, particularly on days when you're in a busy place, or meeting vulnerable people, because you are more likely to catch or spread Covid-19.

Locations of our test and collect van are published on our website, and you can pick up a free test kit or have a supervised test. Staff will also answer questions about Covid-19 vaccinations.

Don't attend the van or the test and collect hub in New Bond Street if you've any of the symptoms of Covid-19. Take a PCR test instead.

You can also pick up test kits from our libraries in: Timsbury, Radstock, Bishop Sutton, Weston, Midsomer Norton, Keynsham, Bath One Stop Shop, as well as most pharmacies.

Latest council news


Applications open for energy support grants

Families on low incomes struggling to pay their energy bills can now apply for a £250 grant from the council.

Mobile library comes to town

The council’s mobile library is making a special appearance in the centre of Bath for a festive event bringing Christmas cheer and a love of literature to the city.

New modern £54k multi-use play area opens in Whiteway

A new multi-use games area in Bath that will benefit the whole community has opened with a new name of Whiteway Green.

Get involved with tree planting in B&NES for National Tree Week

A range of tree-planting events have been running across the district to celebrate National Tree Week – and there’s still more activities planned for you to get involved with.

Liveable Neighbourhoods move a step closer

The council this week launched the next stage of its Liveable Neighbourhoods project to help make communities healthier ‒ and it wants to hear your views.

Christmas activities at Baths, Museum & Gallery

Your familiy can enjoy a ‘monster’ programme of things to see and do at the council’s museums over the Christmas holidays.

New consultation on extension to Milsom St gate

A consultation on traffic orders needed to trial an extension of a temporary traffic restriction at Milsom Street in Bath has been launched.

Huge drop in waste sent to landfill

New figures show there has been a big drop in the amount of waste from across Bath and North East Somerset being sent to landfill.

Late night Christmas shopping in Bath & Keynsham

Last week saw the launch of late-night Thursday evening Christmas shopping in Bath. If you need to pick up a few presents, why not come on down and enjoy the Christmas lights.

The council is also offering free parking on Saturdays in council-owned car parks during December. The offer gives people a better opportunity to ‘shop local’ in Keynsham High Street this Christmas.

Have your say on improving travel on A37 and A367

Do you live near or travel along the A37 or A367? How do you travel? Have you experienced congestion, poor air quality or other issues on these routes? Do you have ideas on what improvements should be prioritised to help people move around more easily and sustainably?

The West of England Combined Authority has launched a joint survey with the council to help it make choices and put together proposals to improve transport on the two key routes between Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Westfield and Bath/Bristol.

The aim is to encourage people to be less dependent on their cars by improving bus services and walking and cycling infrastructure. Feedback from residents will be key to developing plans for the A37/A367.

To take part in the survey and find out more visit here.

The A37/A367 Corridor Survey closes on the 19 December 2021. To request a paper copy or alternate format please call 07436 601889 or email.

Council meeting calendar

Do you want to know about decisions being taken by the council and have your say? Please follow this link to the council’s calendar of meetings.

Latest Government guidance


Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make one

This page explains when to wear a face covering, exemptions from wearing one, and how to make your own face covering.

Safer travel guidance for passengers

Walking, cycling and travelling in vehicles or on public transport during the coronavirus outbreak.

Return to your claim for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

Use the online service to check the status of your payment, how much you were paid or if you think the grant amount is too low.

Safer transport guidance for operators and people who work in or from vehicles

Safer working principles and risk assessment for transport operators and organisations, and people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles.

Student sponsors, migrants and short-term students

Guidance for student sponsors, migrants and short-term students on temporary concessions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Advice for pregnant employees

Advice for pregnant employees on risk assessments in the workplace and occupational health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Follow us online

You can follow us on twitterfacebook and instagram; subscribe to us on YouTube, read the latest releases on our newsroom and if you sign up on nextdoor we are there too.

For updates on our services visit our website.

Employment and Skills Pod

Are you returning to work after a short or long break? Perhaps you are already in work and planning to change the direction of your career? The Employment & Skills Pod can help you find the right opportunities.

Since launching in March, more than 70 B&NES residents have been helped with their job, business and training goals. Here is what some of them said about our services:
  • “People who work there are professionals and always do their best to help!”
  • “Straight to the point of the problem.”
  • “My recent experience with BATHNES Employment & Skills pod was very helpful, it opened my heart to what I would love to do and opened some doors to keep me progressing with my finances end career. 10 out of 10.”
  • “I thought it was very helpful, staff were clear, practical and very fast with support.”
Call us now on 0300 247 0050 or email us on You can also find out more on the website.

Live Well B&NES: information for all

A web-based resource providing information, signposting and support to residents in Bath & North East Somerset has launched. 
Live Well B&NES provides a wealth of useful information, signposting and resources for families, including Ofsted registered childcare, children and young people with additional needs (our SEND Local Offer) and adults needing care or support to live independently.
Information, services and groups are regularly added to Live Well B&NES. If you work with, support, provide services or run groups for children and young people or for adults needing care or support (such as older people, adults with physical disabilities and/or sensory impairments, people living with mental ill health), and haven’t already registered - make sure you’re included! It’s free and takes less than five minutes to register.
Find out more:

Future Bright

Do you know someone who is in work and wants to take the next step in their career? Future Bright offers FREE careers coaching, support and access to training. Future Bright Careers Coaches work with local residents to develop the skills and confidence needed to improve their work and pay. Check out the Future Bright newsletter to read about those who have already benefitted from the project.   
For more information go to or give us a call 01225 395555.

Specialised dementia groups in B&NES

Age UK Bath & North East Somerset are starting two new specialised Dementia Groups, which are now running weekly in Midsomer Norton & Bath.

These groups are a safe, fun environment for people to come for activities and friendship. Staff are trained in Maintenance Cognitive Behaviour Therapy which helps concentration, confidence, memory and wellbeing.

You can find out more here or call 01225 466135.

Do you look after someone else?

If you support someone who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, addiction or who needs extra help as they grow older, Bath and North East Somerset Carers’ Centre is here for you.

Their friendly team will listen to any concerns you have, offer practical advice and access to free wellbeing activities to ensure you’re happy and healthy in your caring role. Contact our freephone support line: 0800 038 8885 or email us. We’re available 8:15am-12pm, every weekday.

Support available from the Community Wellbeing Hub

Anybody who is a resident of Bath and North East Somerset can benefit from support from the Community Wellbeing Hub, including those people who are isolating due to testing positive for Covid-19 or being in contact with someone who has Covid-19.

Originally a collaboration between Bath & North East Somerset Council; Virgin Care; the 3SG; Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group; and other third sector organisation representatives, the team can offer a range of support services such as mental health, returning home from hospital, income, housing and benefits advice, emergency food, as well as lifestyle services for help with stopping smoking, getting active or losing weight.

To contact the Hub:
Phone: 0300 247 0050.
Text: 07870 868368
Opening hours: Monday–Friday, 9am until 5pm

If you need to contact the council about its services please ring Council Connect on 01225 394041 or email

Domestic abuse

Southside provides help to people who live in Bath & North East Somerset who are at risk of domestic violence and abuse. The working hours are 9am-5pm Monday-Thursday, and 9am-4pm Fridays. Local support services can be found here.

Sight loss support

Sight Support West of England provides emotional and practical support to help people adjust to living with sight loss. Since lockdown this has been either online or over the phone. Now following careful planning, some Covid-secure face-to-face support sessions are resuming on an appointment only basis.

Your Community Sight Loss Adviser will be available at Manvers Street Baptist Church, Bath on the first Wednesday each month and at Midsomer Norton Town Hall on the 4th Thursday each month. 
To find out more, or make an appointment please call  0117 3224885 or email For more information on the full range of services visit

For more useful information visit the RNIB website:

Local agencies and useful links

We have been working closely with local agencies and if you would like to find out more about their work please look on their website: RUHAvon and Somerset PoliceCuro, and Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG.
  • Public Health England updates a daily dashboard:  It includes deaths that have occurred in all settings where there has been a positive Covid-19 test, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. 
  • Latest information on coronavirus:
NHS information on coronavirus:
Visit our Bathnes youtube channel

Tune in

Local radio is a great way of keeping up to date with essential information, if you don’t already you should tune into BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Somerset or BBC Radio Wiltshire.
BBC Radio Bristol BBC Radio Bristol
BBC Radio Somerset BBC Radio Somerset
BBC Radio Wiltshire BBC Radio Wiltshire
Somer Valley FM covers Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Westfield and surrounding villages including Farrington, Paulton, Peasedown, Coleford and Stratton.

Broadcast online and on 97.5fm you can contact at or call 01761 411 755
Somer Valley 97.5FM Somer Valley 97.5FM
Bath Radio is a community radio station which has been operating as a hospital radio station for the past 50 years. It now broadcasts to the wider Bath community. Listen online.
Radio Bath provides local news and information, promotes the city and supports its businesses, charities and community organisations.
Keynsham’s KTCRfm 105.8FM is now broadcasting 24/7.

KTCRfm covers Keynsham, Saltford, Hanham, Bitton, Warmley, Clutton, Timsbury, the Chew Valley and as far south as Temple Cloud. East to the eastern edge of Bath. North across South Gloucestershire to the M4 corridor and west into many parts of Bristol.
KTCRfm 105.8FM KTCRfm 105.8FM

BA1 Radio have been established for a year in Bath and operate from a studio in Southside Youth Hub, broadcasting twelve hours of shows every weekday, focusing on Bath and the local community, including hourly news reports.


call: 01225 941 080
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