Voluntary groups reminded of grants deadline, as trading standards teams find pubs complying with lockdown

Published: Thursday, 30th April 2020

Voluntary organisations and community groups are being reminded that they have one day left to apply to a grant scheme to help them continue to support residents through the coronavirus outbreak.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has pledged £100,000 of financial support to groups that are providing critical help to people impacted by coronavirus living in the city. The money is also to help ensure that organisations still have access to financial support if they have seen their usual funding streams reduce due to the coronavirus.

The authority has so far received 60 applications since the grant scheme launched on 22 April. The deadline to submit applications is 4pm on Friday 1 May and forms can be found at www.stoke.gov.uk/voluntaryfund.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “We have had a really good response from voluntary organisations and community groups. This money is to help them to continue to deliver important support to communities at this most difficult of times.

“There’s only one day left to apply so don’t miss your chance. We will be going through all applications next week, with the intention of allocating this funding as soon as possible. If groups are not successful, we will also help with options to signpost them to other support.”

Meanwhile, trading standards teams have issued a total of nine prohibition closure notices to premises across the city, and five social distancing warnings, since coronavirus legislation came into force. The closure notices have been issued to a florist, a mobile phone shop, a gym, three vape shops and three barbers. The social distancing warnings have been issued to four food retailers and a factory. So far, all notices and warnings have been complied with.

Since the coronavirus legislation was passed on 26 March, trading standards teams have responded to 121 complaints from the public and via the police regarding premises across the city. The service wrote to all pubs in Stoke-on-Trent a week ago to remind them of the regulations, after receiving a large number of complaints that some pubs may be operating lock-ins.

Councillor Brown said: “We’re pleased to say that pubs have responded to the letters, and we haven’t had any new complaints about those premises. We are concerned that a small number of pubs may still be operating lock-ins, and we ask them to stop this, to protect residents from the spread of this horrid virus. We will continue to make visits, and we will take action as appropriate.

“Our teams have issued an ASB notice to a pub in Tunstall which has residential accommodation above it. Officers found people from the flats drinking cans of beer from the pub in the communal area of the pub. This is not allowed. We ask all pubs to please continue to abide by the regulations.

“When visiting premises, we have found some pubs using the closures to carry out renovations, with some owners on site and not trading. We have also found some pubs to have left lights on at night for security reasons.”

Residents can contact public.protection@stoke.gov.uk or call 01782 234234 if they have queries about businesses opening or if they wish to report a business that should be closed.

A ‘sweep’ of brown bin collections is continuing across the city, with council crews visiting a further 285 streets tomorrow in Ball Green, Basford, Bucknall, Cliff Vale, Etruria, Goldenhill, Hanley, Hartshill, Norton, Norton Green, Oakhill, Penkhull, Sandyford, Shelton, Springfields, Stoke and Trent Vale.

A total of five brown bin collection crews were out across the city today (Thursday) and had to tip their wagons at least twice more than normal, due to the weight and volume of garden waste in bins. The extra tipping has meant that crews were not able to collect from around 338 properties in 15 streets. These bins will be collected as soon as possible.

Households are asked for their continued patience as crews complete this work this week and next. If crews cannot get to a specific street on the day allocated, they will return as quickly as they can.

The authority is reminding businesses and employees of a triage service to match workers who have been made redundant during the coronavirus outbreak with job vacancies.

The service is led by Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, with support from the council and other partners. The work is being co-ordinated by the National Careers Service West Midlands.

The triage service will match those people recently made redundant with new work in the sectors currently experiencing growth. The service will also work with employers facing redundancies to ensure a smooth transition for employees into new work opportunities.

While the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme is helping businesses retain their staff during the current outbreak by paying 80 per cent of an employee’s salary, there are redundancies currently being made by businesses across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

While this is happening, there are large gaps in the labour market in sectors vital to the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.

The triage service is the result of contributions from multiple partners including the Department of Work and Pensions, local authorities and others. The service is for all employees affected and businesses across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire who are having to make changes to their workforce as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The referral contact details are:

  • If you have been made redundant or are at risk of redundancy: 0121 296 5550 or email ncswmenquiries@prospects.co.uk to book a telephone appointment.
  • If you are an employer whose staff are at risk of redundancy, please call 07879 603635.
  • If you require support to fill urgent vacancies, please call 07879 603635.

For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.

For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.