Our dedicated support service

Working closely with the huge number of amazing local volunteer groups working in our communities, we have launched our very own telephone-based support service to help vulnerable and isolated residents who need help with shopping, collecting medical supplies, and other day to day tasks. This service is there for anyone who doesn't have friends or family around to help and is for anybody who hasn't been identified by the NHS as high-risk. To contact our service call 01235 422600 or email communitysupport@southandvale.gov.uk. If you have already contacted us, please don't worry about contacting us again – we have your details.

We will offer them any support or guidance they need, even if that's just a friendly voice, and where they need specific help, we'll match them up with local volunteer groups near them who can help (more on this later).


Our support service is there to compliment the county council's support line service for vulnerable high-risk residents who have been advised to stay at home for 12 weeks. Anybody in this situation who has nobody around to help should call 01865 897 820 or email shield@oxfordshire.gov.uk for support.


The two services sit side by side and have the same opening hours to help us share information about people in need.

Operating hours - phone lines are open:

  • 8.30am to 8pm Monday to Friday
  • 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday

Match making service

We have set up a dedicated team of people to link requests for help with the community groups on the ground who can deliver it. This service relies on us having the latest information on community groups operating in the districts.

We urgently need to know about the groups leading and coordinating community action in your communities – so please email their details to communitysupport@southandvale.gov.uk. We'll be matching these groups up with people calling us for support.

There's been some mixed messages about whether community groups can provide help to residents if they're approached directly for support and the answer's absolutely but, please follow the government guidance for volunteers.

Our support services are there for everyone not in the NHS high-risk category, but especially those with no support network around them so any help community groups can give to reduce the pressure on these services would be very welcome.

Planning

Like most of our staff, our planning officers are working remotely from home. This has meant having to adapt some previously well-established processes in order to continue providing planning services to our residents. The knock-on effect of this has been some delays in registering and validating planning applications, which you may have noticed in your weekly lists.

In light of the national social distancing measures we are currently not carrying out any site sites and we've cancelled our planning committee meetings for the time being.

As a key stakeholder in our planning process we realise the current situation will also be impacting on your ability to carry out site visits and hold your own planning committee meetings. It would be enormously helpful if you could let us know what measures you have put in place to continue to view and comment on planning applications over the coming months, along with any other procedures you hope to use, or if you feel we should be asking the government to pause the planning process at this time – perhaps in line with the twelve week timescale for self-isolating high-risk residents. This information will help us consider if we should seek to establish a new way of determining applications or take a different approach.

Please could you send this information and any other planning queries to:

Waste updates

So far, our waste crews are managing extremely well to keep collections running as smoothly as possible. There has however been the odd disruption with some garden waste collections not happening on the usual day.

If any collection is missed it will mostly likely be as a result of us diverting resources to priority services. The advice we're giving to residents if collections are missed is as follows:

if the bins on your street are not emptied, please leave them out for up to three days (including weekends) and we'll try to catch up. If they are still not emptied, please bring them back in and we will empty them on the next planned collection day.

We have had to suspend our kerbside small electricals and textiles recycling service as the centres that would normally accept these items are currently unable to process them.

We're asking residents to keep these items until the service has resumed and making it very clear that they must NOT go in the general rubbish or recycling bins because of the fire risk to waste collection trucks.

We are also reminding people that gatherings like community litter picks should no longer be taking place until the government guidelines allow, and until our crews can cope with the extra waste collection.

Support for shops and businesses that have had to close

We've updated our dedicated website for businesses, South and Vale Business Support with the latest advice and support that is available for any business concerned about the impact of COVID-10 on its organisation.

We have also launched an online form for local businesses so they can apply for the government's small business and retail grants. This will make it much easier for them to access financial help from the government.

Businesses can find the form and more details on Business Rates pages of the South and Vale websites.

Car parking charges suspended

We have suspended all parking charges in our council run car parks across South and Vale until 1 June.

This is to support key workers and those who are shopping for essential food or medical supplies during the Coronavirus pandemic.

We hope you've found this update helpful, which we plan to send every week. Whilst we are very happy for you to share this information with your community groups please bear in mind that the situation is changing very rapidly and therefore information can go out of date very quickly. Our websites are the best sources for the latest information on our services: