The latest from neath Port Talbot as local authorities continue to adjust to the pandemic
Find out the latest on services in your Council area:
Neath Port Talbot Council is calling on parents or guardians of school pupils to check if they are eligible for free school meals.
The message particularly applies to parents whose personal circumstances may have changed recently.
This week schools in Neath Port Talbot changed from ‘Grab & Go’ snack bags, brought in at the start of the recent school closures, to weekly payments into parents’ bank accounts.
The council says since these changes were announced, they’ve already received thousands more applications from eligible families.
Parents and carers can find out more and register for free school meals via Neath Port Talbot Council’s website: npt.gov.uk
NB: Eligible parents that register by today Wednesday April 8th ...can expect payments after April 14th; and back dated to last Monday April 6th.
NPT Council explains its policy on new enforcement powers
Under emergency regulations put in place to control the spread of Coronavirus, Neath Port Talbot Council says it’ll only use new enforcement if it has to.
The regulations, granted by Welsh Government, allows councils in Wales to issue fixed penalty notices of up to £120 to anyone ignoring rulings such as social distancing or gathering in crowds during the current pandemic.
Update on field hospital builds at two Neath Port Talbot locations
Work has started on transforming two key local sites into field hospitals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just over 1,300 temporary beds could be available if needed at Llandarcy Academy of Sport and the Bay Studios site on Fabian Way.
These will be in addition to extra beds at Morriston, Singleton and Neath Port Talbot hospitals, as outpatients and other clinical and public areas are being redesigned.
Reduced bus services
Neath Port Talbot Council is asking residents to keep checking bus timetables as close to the date you intend to travel to ensure you have the most up to date timetable information.
The Council is reminding residents that they should be observing the Government’s public health guidance which is to stay home wherever possible.
If residents absolutely must make journeys out of their home area they should now have back-up plans in place so they are not totally reliant on bus services.
Residents who are key workers and need to travel to work but who do not have transport available to them should urgently discuss their situation with their employer.
These are unprecedented times and demand for buses has dropped dramatically.
People are reminded they should only travel if it is absolutely necessary.
For information on service disruptions go to:
From fake face masks to fake holiday refunds: NPTC says be vigilant...
Neath Port Talbot Council’s Trading Standards team is advising residents to remain vigilant following reports of a rise in coronavirus related scams locally and across the country.
Working with National Trading Standards, they’re warning of fake phone calls and dodgy door steppers as well as online and social media scams.
Reports include fake face masks and Covid19 testing kits being sold online, door-to-door offers of anti-bac cleansing services for driveways and paths ...and fake holiday cancellation refunds on the phone.
It seems scammers are particularly targeting older and vulnerable people at this time. Anyone who suspects a scam of any kind should report it to the police or Trading Standards.
NPTC launch drones to distribute public information messages.
Neath Port Talbot council are deploying drones equipped with loud hailers to ensure people stay at home.
The Council says drone operators are working with South Wales Police to target areas where people are breaking Government rules on social distancing.
Support for small businesses – reminder of who gets what.
Neath Port Talbot Council, working with Welsh Government, is continuing to contact small businesses locally who are eligible for a range of coronavirus support packages.
Letters are now arriving at companies across the area. Directors and business owners working from home or self-isolating can get more details on the council’s website: npt.gov.uk
Small business support packages include:
• 100% discount on business rates for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses with a rateable value of five hundred thousand pounds or less
• A ten thousand pound grant to all businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief
• And ...A twenty five thousand pound grant for businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors with rateable values between just over twelve thousand and fifty one thousand pounds.
Scam warning over school meals reimbursement
Neath Port Talbot Council’s Trading Standards Department has issued a warning
over current scams concerning school meals in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
That’s after reports that some parents are being contacted for bank details in order to
reimburse school meal payments already made.
NPT Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Community Safety, Cllr
Leanne Jones, said:
“Nneither schools nor the Local Education Authority would ever
ask for these details and NPT Trading Standards are looking into the matter”.
‘Grab and Go’ bags for pupils eligible for free school meals
Neath Port Talbot Council is reminding parents and guardians of pupils eligible for
free school meals ...that they’re still entitled to ‘Grab and Go’ lunch bags.
Social distancing measures are in place and schools are giving out time slots for
parents to pick up their bags before returning straight home.
Restrictions on black bags to be restricted as household waste recycling centres close
Council officers will be out and about after reports that some pubs and restaurants in the area were't complying with the Government's request to close.
'Safe and well' service launched for vulnerable
Funerals restricted to immediate family
Public toilets to close
Limited numbers in Registrars' ceremonies.
• As part of Neath Port Talbot Council’s response to the Coronavirus emergency, a series of changes to council services, closures and other measures have been put in place.
• All Neath Port Talbot’s Household Waste Recycling Centres are now closed. These measures have been taken as the Council now has to focus on priority services that protect public health.
• The closure of Recycling Centres may lead to increases in normal household refuse, especially if the household has people isolating at home ...so, NPT Council has temporarily suspended its restrictions on the number of black bags of waste you can leave at the kerbside until further notice.
• Bulky waste collections have been temporarily suspended - the Council will honour existing requests, but will not be taking on additional bookings.
• For the time being NPT Council continues to collect green waste
• Neath Port Talbot Council recognises the need to maintain social distancing and avoid large gatherings, with that in mind all funerals in NPT are now restricted to immediate family.
• Neath Market has been extremely busy and NPT Council is reminding shoppers to maintain social distancing rules.
• All public toilets are now closed as there’s insufficient staff to maintain satisfactory hygiene levels
• Also, due to social distancing recommendations, Registrars in Neath Port Talbot will now only marry people at Register Offices ...with just a limited number of attendees.
• Legally only six people need to be present at a marriage ceremony: the couple and two Registrars, plus two witnesses. We have made the difficult decision to restrict numbers attending all Register Office ceremonies to just the couple and 2 witnesses.
• Following the Government’s announcement that pubs and restaurants should close, Neath Port Talbot Council received reports that some premises aren’t complying. So, over the course of the next days or weeks, council staff will be out and about to monitor the situation.
Neath Port Talbot Council would again like to thank all residents and business for their support and understanding at this difficult time.
• From Monday March 23, in line with Government advice on social distancing, all NPT Council offices will closed to the public. Key staff are still working from those offices and are observing strict social distancing procedures. Other office based staff are working from home. Alternative arrangements are being made for vulnerable people who do need speak face-to-face with staff.
• In these unprecedented times, Neath Port Talbot Council are stressing how important it is that we all follow guidelines and advice from Public Health Wales, Welsh Government and Central Government
• Neath Port Talbot Council are adapting and reacting to the challenges on a daily and hourly basis
• All NPT Council run parks are now closed
Neath Port Talbot Council is working hard with its partners to support the UK-wide response by introducing new ways to support local residents and local businesses at this time.
To do just that, they’ve now launched two new services:
1: NPT SAFE AND WELL ...which is aimed at helping people who have been identified as medically vulnerable
• Working with partner agencies, over 4000 people in NPT who fall into this category have been identified
• Those residents will be receiving letters shortly asking them to self- isolate at home for up to 16 weeks so they are shielded from the risk of contracting Coronavirus
• Many people who are medically vulnerable will have support from family, friends and neighbours that they can rely on. But some people will have no support.
• The new NPT Safe and Well service will arrange a trusted volunteer to help people who do not have support with daily living tasks such as food shopping, medical supplies etc ...and other everyday things like walking their dogs
• It’s important to stress that this service is NOT a health or social care service ...and that these volunteers will observe the social distancing public health guidance to the full.
• Volunteers will carry proof of identity and WILL NOT ask for any money or bank details.
• The NPT Safe and Well service is free of charge
• People who need to use this service should contact the Council on 01639 686868. You can also find out more about NPT Safe and Well on the council’s website: npt.gov.uk
2: NPT BUY LOCAL ...providing support for local businesses
NPT BUY LOCAL is a FREE on online resource to help our local businesses promote their services to one another in order to ‘buddy up’ and work together
• It works a bit like a ‘dating app’ for businesses!
• To register your business or to find out who is able to provide you with a service ...go to website: npt.gov.uk...and click the NPT Buy Local button
• NPT Council understand the financial distress the current situation is creating for local businesses and are playing their part in getting financial assistance to businesses as soon as it is released by government
• At NPT Council’s website you’ll find more details too on the Government’s £10 thousand pound small business grant scheme...with concrete guidance on which businesses qualify, how they can apply etc