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BBC News: UK officially in recession for first time in 11 years
Wednesday 12th August 2020
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Coronavirus bubbles: How do they work and who is in yours?

As lockdown restrictions are eased further, people across the UK can now set up support bubbles.

The aim is to help people who've been cut off from friends and family.

Those inside a support bubble count as one household and do not have to socially distance from one another.

What is a support bubble?

A bubble is defined as a group of people with whom you have close physical contact. The idea was first introduced in New Zealand.

Single adults living alone - or single parents whose children are under 18 - can now form a support bubble with one other household.

The second household can be of any size and can now include people who are shielding.

The independent advisory group Sage has been asked to examine if, when and how people might safely be allowed to expand their bubbles.

What are the support bubble rules?

Support bubbles must be "exclusive". Once in one, you can't switch and start another with a different household.

People in each bubble can stay in each other's homes and do not have to socially distance. They count as one household, which means that in England a further household is now allowed to stay overnight with them.

Anyone in the bubble contacted as part of England's test and trace programme must stay at home. If they develop coronavirus symptoms, everyone in the bubble must self-isolate.

BBC Front Page News

UK officially in recession for first time in 11 years

The UK suffers its biggest slump on record, while Rishi Sunak says conditions are "unprecedented".

Replacement A-level grades 'no lower than mock exams'

Last-minute changes have been made to the way A-level and GCSE results in England are to be decided.

Major emergency response after train derails near Stonehaven

Smoke can be seen as about 30 emergency vehicles are called to the scene, near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire.

Coronavirus: Cases surge as France goes 'wrong way'

The prime minister warned the French public it must take serious action to control a surge in cases.

New dinosaur related to T. rex discovered on Isle of Wight

Four bones found at Shanklin belonged to a new species of theropod dinosaur, a study finds.

Coronavirus: Airline refunds ‘still too slow’ despite warning

Which? says the Civil Aviation Authority needs more powers to punish airlines over refund delays.

'Major incident' declared in Fife after thunderstorms

A major incident is declared in Fife after torrential rain brings flooding and disruption.

More Sussex homes without water as heatwave continues

About 300 properties had been without water since Friday, with more now affected by a burst pipe.

BBC news for Staffordshire

Anglesey boat death: Family of Jane Walker from Staffordshire 'deeply shocked'

Jane Walker, 52, died after the boat she was on collided with a water bike.

Murder arrest over woman's death in Audley

The woman's death is being treated as unexplained as police inquiries continue.

Keeley Bunker: Wesley Streete jailed for rape and murder

Keeley Bunker, who was celebrating her 20th birthday, "trusted" Wesley Streete to walk her home.

Stone pub landlord 'complacent' in enforcing Covid-19 rules

The landlord of the Crown and Anchor says he "regrets" not taking a tougher stance with customers.

How will I get my A-level, GCSE or BTEC exam results this year?

Exams in the UK were cancelled this year, but how are students learning their results?

Coronavirus: Severe mental health problems rise amid pandemic

An NHS Confederation report predicts a 20% increase in demand for services in the coming months.

Coronavirus: What happens if I'm in an area on the watchlist?

How health bosses decide whether a town should go back into lockdown if Covid-19 cases rise.

Coronavirus: What are the new lockdown rules for Preston and other areas?

Preston has become the latest place to impose restrictions. But how does a local lockdown work?

AskTen - Nine things you may not have noticed last week!

1. A radical idea to boost the economy. The only real growth as we recover from this epidemic is going to come from the gig and hustle economy. Lots of high-earning self-employed professionals could be a lot more effective if they took on an assistant. But they don’t because it immediately traps them in the whole nightmare of employment law and tax and pension regulations. It would be easy to exempt the first employees from all those rules. Likewise, how about a £5,000 tax-free hustle allowance that allows people a side gig they don’t have to pay tax on? Both would create jobs. Editor

2. Covid-19 sees a surge in early retirement. The number of people retiring before the age of 65 rose by more than 55,000 as the UK went into lockdown, official data reveals, suggesting that Covid-19 may be driving an increase in early retirement. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that in the March to May period of this year, the number of under-65s describing themselves as “retired” was 55,311 up on November 2019 to January 2020. MoneyWeek

3. Building your resilience muscle. Resilience is a muscle. The more you fall, the easier it is to get back up. Your recovery and bounce back period decrease every time. But what does resilience look like in the workplace, particularly during crisis times? It’s being open and transparent, sharing the vulnerabilities and acknowledging how challenging a time it is. Encouraging professionals to focus on the one action they can take no matter how they feel or how afraid they are will help them bounce back from adversity. We cover leadership and resilience in the next lesson of 10/10, our government supported leadership development and mentoring programme. [READ MORE]

4. Brits in no rush to return to work. It’s taking British workers longer to return to their normal workplace than their counterparts in continental Europe, according to Morgan Stanley research. Working from home continues to be widespread in the UK, where only 52% of employees have headed back to their place of work. This compares to 85% of workers in France, 76% in Germany, 75% in Spain and 74% in Italy. The survey, conducted in mid-July, also found that 82% of workers in the five countries would like to keep working remotely, but only 17% would want to do so five days a week. The Telegraph

5. Something cool to take the heat out of your finances. Emma is a free app is “described as ‘your best financial friend’…designed to help you avoid overdrafts, cancel wasteful subscriptions, track debt and save money”. You can use Emma to set budgets and track all of your accounts, including investments and pensions, in one place. The app has “the ability to find and cancel any wasteful subscriptions you may have signed up to but forgotten about”. The Emma app is registered with the FCA and uses “state-of-the-art security measures, so you can rest assured your data is safe”. Money Management

6. Redundancy advice requests soar. As the government starts to wind down its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for furloughed workers, thousands of companies and employees are seeking redundancy advice. Conciliation service Acas said calls to its redundancy advice line almost tripled in the past two months as the coronavirus crisis continues to impact UK businesses. Acas suggests redundancies should be used as a last resort and recommends employers look for alternatives instead, such as: recruitment freezes; limits on overtime; more flexible working to cut down on office costs; moving employees into other roles. The Times

7. Is the pandemic workday longer? The pandemic lockdown workday is, on average, 48.5 minutes longer than usual, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. It also has about 13% more meetings and 1.4 more daily emails, according to the research, which looked at 3.1 million people in 16 big metropolitan areas in North America, Europe and the Middle East. VPN data has also pointed to odd work hours, Bloomberg reports, attributing the changes to blurred boundaries between work and home and childcare demands. MSN

8. What to do after you mess up at work. Mistakes at work happen. Even though it can be tempting to avoid responsibility, the best thing to do is to own up honestly and fix the issue for the following reasons: [1] The longer you wait to admit the error or solve the problem, the more damage is done. [2] Not revealing the screw up will count as another mistake you made. [3] You build trust among colleagues and bosses, who know you will always update them about any bad situation before it's too late. Editor 

9. The bottom line. The price of a seat aboard Virgin Galactic’s space plane VSS Unity, the interiors of which were unveiled in a series of virtual simulations last week, has been set at  $250,000. Around 600 customers have paid deposits, although no date has yet been set for take-off. MoneyWeek

Covid Updates for Staffordshire

Friday 24 July 2020
In this update:
• Care homes start to open carefully to visitors
• Face coverings to be worn in enclosed public places
• One in five targeted by COVID scammers
• 31 August deadline for 30 hours funded childcare
• Support available for farmers

Care homes start to open carefully to visitors
From this week, care homes will be able to allow visitors back in to see their residents, so long as adequate measures are in place to prevent spread of coronavirus.
Care homes were advised to temporarily halt visits in the early weeks of the pandemic to prevent vulnerable residents and staff from catching the virus.
Many residents, although staying in touch remotely via telephone or social media, haven't had face-to-face contact with family members for months. So news this week that care homes can carefully start opening their doors, albeit still in a restricted way, will no doubt be welcomed by many who have missed seeing their loved ones in person.
The new national visiting guidance requires our Director of Public Health, Dr Virginia Pearson, to assess arrangements here in Staffordshire by carefully weighing up the situation in each individual care home, while considering the context in the local community. She says: "Currently our COVID-19 incidence, and therefore risk levels in Staffordshire, are very low.? "We know that care home providers are continuing to follow all of the current public health requirements, and we'll work closely with them around these new visiting arrangements."

To limit risk of infection where visits go ahead, the government would like to restrict visits to one regular visitor per resident, as much as possible. Visitors will be encouraged to wear face coverings and to wash their hands thoroughly before and after putting on and taking off their face covering; and to wear other appropriate personal protective equipment depending on the need of their visit, such as gloves or aprons.
Care homes will also consider whether visits could take place in communal gardens or outdoor areas, where ever possible.

Face coverings to be worn in enclosed public space

It's Friday the 24 July, and if you’ve not already heard, face coverings must be worn in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and transport hubs, from today.
It's the law, so from now on you'll need to wear something like a mask, scarf or bandanna that fully covers your nose and mouth in enclosed public spaces.
Even when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. But if you're sat in to eat or drink, you can take it off. It's important because the risk of transmission is so much higher indoors, so please let's all do our bit. I wear a face covering to protect you. You wear a face covering to protect me. It's simple. It helps fight spread of the virus, and besides, it enables further easing of national restrictions. If you're a business, you're encouraged to encourage your customers to follow the law, through signage and in-store information. You can find out more about when to wear a face covering and how to make your own on the government's website. When using a face covering, the government strongly advises that you:

• make sure it covers your nose and mouth fully
• wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on or taking it off
• avoid touching the front of it or taking it off and putting it back on again a lot in quick succession
• wash it regularly and store it in a plastic bag in between washing or wearing
• avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth while wearing it
• not share your face covering with others

There are some exemptions, so if you see anyone not wearing one, there may be good reason. Face coverings are not mandatory for:

• Children under 11 years old
• People with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering
• Children under 3 years old should not wear face coverings as the could cause choking or suffocation

If you are exempt from wearing a face covering, you might feel more comfortable using an exemption card to show that you don't have to wear one. You can download one to print or save to your smartphone from the government's website. It's up to you though, you don't have to carry one and you shouldn't be routinely asked to provide any written evidence of your exemption.

More about the ‘tracing’ in the NHS Test and Trace

We’ve been asked this week to explain a bit more about what happens if you develop any of the coronavirus symptoms. So, we thought we’d unpick it a little and explain more about the 'tracing'. We all know the symptoms - a continuous cough, a high temperature, loss or change in taste or smell - and if you have any of these you must be tested for coronavirus as soon as possible. You can have a test kit delivered to your home or arrange a test at a testing centre. Either way, you need to arrange it online or by phoning 119 if you don't have internet access. Results usually take up to 48 hours to come back.
If your results are negative and you no longer have the symptoms, brilliant, you can stop self-isolating.

If your results are positive, you and members of your household must self-isolate and you'll be sent a link to the NHS Test and Trace website to create a confidential account in which you can record contact details for people you've been in close contact with recently.

If you've not got internet access, you'll receive a call from a contact tracer, and they'll ask you details over the phone. It's important that you know that the details you give will be kept totally confidential. Those people also won't be told the identity of the person who's given their details. Contract tracers will contact the people identified and advise them to self-isolate. We've listed the things that contract tracers will ask you, and (so that you're not fooled by someone else pretending to be from the Test and Trace service) we've listed things they they won't ever ask you.

One in five targeted by COVID scammers

A new survey by Aviva has found that more than one in five people think they've been targeted by coronavirus scammers. Some 22 percent of people in the study believed that emails, texts, phone calls and other contacts they’d received from what appeared to be legitimate companies mentioning COVID-19, were in fact fraudulent. Despite suspecting them to be scams, nearly half of those surveyed didn’t report it, the most common reason being they weren’t sure who to report such scams to. Janet Quinn, Lead Scams Officer - Staffordshire, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards service said: "We've seen a number of different scams over the last few months from scammers trying to make money out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"These people just want to take money from you and they use all the tricks in the book to try to do so, often targeting those members of the public they see as the most vulnerable.?

“If you suspect that you’ve been approached with something that does not look or feel right, please report it to Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133.”

To find out about some of the COVID-19 scams to be aware of and how to stay safe, we have a guide called 'Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Scam Aware'. Or you visit the Staffordshire, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards website for more information and advice.

It’s getting busier out there. Please Share this Space

A reminder to “Share this Space” has been issued to everyone using Staffordshire’s roads and paths this summer. With roads and walking and cycling routes getting busier again, as more people return to work and more visitors travel to Staffordshire, we're urging everyone to take extra care. Cyclists are asked to please pass walkers slowly and carefully, letting people know you’re there and giving them space.Dog walkers on shared paths are asked to keep dogs under close control on a short lead. Pedestrians are asked to check for traffic if they are stepping into the road to maintain a social distance.
Drivers and motorcyclists are asked to be considerate and to give vulnerable road users such as cyclists and horse-riders extra space (two metres if possible) when passing them. And be aware of the possibility of pedestrians stepping into the road for social distancing. We've published films, animations and graphics on our Share this Space webpage, so that you can help us spread the message via your own social media channels.

31 August deadline for 30 hours funded childcare

If your income has changed due to coronavirus – perhaps you’ve lost income, or maybe you’re working additional hours – you may be wondering whether you still qualify for the 30 hours of funded childcare per week. The government has announced temporary changes to the eligibility rules so that parents are not disadvantaged by the coronavirus pandemic. If you are a working parent and have a 3 or 4-year-old child, and your income has changed, you could still be eligible for 30 hours of early learning and childcare per week from September. All eligible parents are encouraged to apply for, and reconfirm, their 30 hours and tax-free childcare entitlements, even if they have not been using their entitlement due to the coronavirus pandemic and the closure of childcare settings during lockdown. Find out more and apply online before Monday 31 August

Support available for farmers

A free event aimed at supporting farmers who have found the coronavirus pandemic particularly difficult to deal with mentally, will take place next Friday (31 July), between 6.00pm and 8.00pm. It’s been organised by Staffordshire, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards to help tackle the stigma surrounding mental health. The event will feature speakers from The Farm Community Network, The Yellow Wellies Campaign and The National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs. The event also includes a Q&A session and questions can be asked anonymously. You can get a free ticket online here.

Barnados launches new service to support at-risk children

Barnados has launched a new service this week to support vulnerable children and young people who are exposed to even more risk during the coronavirus pandemic.
It's called See, Hear, Respond. It's government-funded and brings together a coalition of national and local charities to identify and support vulnerable young people.
The aim is to provide early intervention before children reach a threshold for significant harm, where statutory services become involved.
If you think that a child is in immediate risk of harm, call 999. If you have concerns about a child’s health or wellbeing, you can report it anonymously to Staffordshire’s Multi- Agency Safeguarding Hub on 0345 155 1071 or email mashsecure@Staffordshire.gov.uk
To find out more or to report a concern to See, Hear, Respond, visit the Barnados website. A helpline is available for parents, carers and children wishing to make a referral or for more information. The helpline number is 0800 157 7015.

Contacting the Police this summer

This summer we are expecting even more people than usual to visit the region, and Staffordshire Police say this may cause a considerable increase in demand on their contact centres. So they're asking that if you need to contact them, please 'ClickB4UCall'. Staffordshire Police offer a range of online services which can be used to report any non-emergency crimes and incidents including Report Crime Online, WebChat and Email 101.If you have a question, but not sure who can help, then make AskNED – their non-emergency directory - the first place you look to find the answer.
AskNED has hundreds of answers to the most commonly asked questions and provides you with the information about who can help and how to contact them.
You can find your nearest Police Enquiry Office on the Staffordshire & Cornwall Police website.In an emergency ALWAYS dial 999.

Leisure facilities can reopen tomorrow

Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools can open their doors again tomorrow, Saturday 25 July, but it won't be business as usual. They will be following strict new guidelines in order to keep their customers and staff safe, such as introducing timed bookings, spacing equipment two metres apart, enhanced cleaning and sanitising and encouraging people to change and shower at home. Many gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools in Staffordshire are run by district councils, so check your local district council's website to see what's reopening in your area and the special measures they have in place before you visit.

The latest national advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the
Government website and NHS website. You can find local guidance and information about the impacts on our services on the Staffordshire County Council website.
Please forward this email to anyone you think would find it useful and encourage them to sign up.Please note that all of our sites and offices are closed to the public, except for necessary prearranged visits, but you can still contact us if you need to.

Information about coronavirus (COVID-19) is available in different languages and formats including Easy Read from Learning Disability Staffordshire and British Sign Language (BSL) from Sign Health. BSL users can contact Staffordshire County Council using the InterpretersLive service. If you need information in another language or format please let us know by email via customer@Staffordshire.gov.uk or phone 0345 155 1015 or SMS text (text ‘Staffordshire’ then your message to 80011)

The latest BBC Video News clips

Coronavirus: What is a recession?

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown many countries into recession - but what exactly is it and how could it affect you?

Coronavirus: Dealing with excessive facial hair during lockdown

People who go to beauticians for medically related treatments have had to treat themselves in lockdown, and it's affecting every part of their life.

Gay conversion therapy: ‘It made me feel broken’

Organisations promoting the idea that sexuality can be changed argue their practices are ethical but Boris Johnson wants to ban the practice.

Police officer run over by thieves backs 'Andrew's Law'

PC Gaz Phillips who nearly died just days before PC Andrew Harper is supporting his widow's campaign for tougher sentences.

Coronavirus: How lifeguarding has changed for the RNLI

Beach lifeguards say they have seen a rise in antisocial behaviour as lockdown restrictions ease.

Unemployment and coronavirus: Older workers feel 'forgotten'

Julie Morris explains what it is like to be job hunting in your late fifties during coronavirus.

Keith Mason and fiancée go viral after inspirational posts

Keith Mason and Riona Kelly have been posting about her recovery and it's become a lockdown hit.

Black Lives Matter: Campaign for black businesses has been 'extraordinary'

A campaign to support businesses run by black people has had an "extraordinary effect" on sales.

Alpha Course Email: revtimurc@me.com 
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Tettenhall Wood Luncheon Club for Elderly
Meets at the United Reformed Church Hall, Mount Road on Tuesdays 10am - 2pm