Good evening Councillors
We thought it would be helpful to update you on District Council plans to support both our residents and our local businesses while the new lockdown is in place.
Community support
Following the announcement of the Tier 5 lockdown our community COVID-19 support, through our Help Hub has stepped up again to ensure our most vulnerable residents are supported.
This time however, we are in a much better position than we were in April with nine months of learning to draw from. We also now have good contacts with established community and mutual aid groups enabling us to call upon their help where required. We have been keeping in touch with our community and mutual aid groups since the first lockdown and they are all happy to help us support our communities again with practical assistance.
Our key learning from last year is that the proactive calling of our vulnerable residents wasn’t as successful as good communication via our website and our social media channels and having staff working in our local communities.
Learning from the last main lockdown also taught us that there was confusion with who to contact. Therefore, there will be one main number 01508 533933 for residents to call and one email address helphub@s-norfolk.gov.uk
Information is also available on our websites:
https://www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/coronavirus-information
https://www.broadland.gov.uk/coronavirus
We will be extending the operating hours of our Help Hub to between 08:15 and 22:00 Monday to Friday. For the next three weeks we will also be open Saturday and Sunday. There was a steep decline over the duration of first lockdown of residents needing to contact us at the weekend, and we received no weekend calls during the November lockdown. We will assess the demand during the first three weeks to see if we need to open at weekends.
We are already seeing an increase in calls to our Benefits Team and unfortunately, this is likely to continue.
Covid Support Advisors
Since 30 November, the Covid Support Team has been highly active and visible in our towns, villages and retail centres across South Norfolk and Broadland. They have been, in the most part, welcome visitors to schools, small and large businesses and centres of population, offering support and advice.
They have also been active in the night- time economy, advising and supporting traders and customers in the hospitality industry and feeding intelligence relating to potential regulation breaches to our regulatory teams.
With the advent of tighter regulation and the need to enhance the local offer in contact tracing, during the lockdown, the team will be re-focussing on particular areas of work.
From 7 January the Covid Support Team will be fulfilling three functions:
A dedicated team will be working on Enhanced Contact Tracing. This team will be visiting the homes of all those who have tested positive for COVID19 recorded in the previous day across the districts. They will be advising on self-isolation, remedying any deficit in contact with the Test and Trace Team and supporting residents with any welfare needs in self isolation.
Visiting and advising small businesses running essential retail outlets and supporting their customers in adherence to the current covid- related regulations.
Maintaining a presence in residential areas to provide advice and reassurance to residents and to identify any difficulties experienced. They will also be alert to signs of and intelligence relating to breach of regulations with a view to escalation to enforcement.
Functions 2 and 3 will be managed within the Environmental Protection Team. Geographical areas of deployment will be led by intelligence from Public Health relating to the prevalence of infection and by local intelligence from internal and external sources. These will be planned on a weekly basis but may vary daily according to intelligence and public health priorities.
School testing
We made an offer to our high schools to support them with pupil testing. This offer was gratefully received by some but following the announcement of the lockdown the demand has significantly reduced. We will take a watching brief and look to support further in future, if required.
Keeping our residents active
Working with Active Norfolk, we have been successful in a Sport England, Tackling Inequalities Fund bid for £10k. The bid was to create 5000 physical activity packs to be sent to targeted, inactive people who do not access digital content.
The packs will consist of an exercise sheet, DVD and resistance band alongside some general information about Broadly Active and Active Norfolk initiatives. Most of the packs will be distributed by condition specific teams at the NNUH but we would welcome suggestions from Members for other outlets.
Keeping our residents warm
In July 2020, the Chancellor announced £2 billion of support through the Green Homes Grant (GHG) to save households money, cut carbon and create green jobs.
The GHG is comprised of up to £1.5 billion of support through energy efficiency vouchers and up to £500m of support allocated to English Local Authority Delivery partners, through the LAD scheme.
The primary purpose of the LAD scheme is to raise the energy efficiency rating of low income and low EPC rated households (those with E, F or G), this is expected to result in the following outcomes:

a. Tackling fuel poverty by increasing low-income households’ energy efficiency rating while reducing their energy bills

b. Supporting clean growth and ensure homes are thermally comfortable, efficient, and well-adapted to climate change.

c. Supporting economic resilience and a green recovery in response to the economic impacts of Covid-19, creating thousands of jobs; and
d. Using learnings from the delivery experience to inform the development and design of further energy efficiency and heat schemes.
A total of up to £200m was available in the first tranche of the funding for delivery by 31 March 2021. A further £300 is planned to be allocated through Local Energy Hubs in 2020/21.
Broadland District Council submitted a bid on behalf of the Norfolk Warm Homes Partnership. This consortium was set up for the delivery of Warm Homes Funding across Norfolk. All seven Local Authorities in the county are part of the consortium and supported the bid.
We have successfully secured the full £1.24m we applied for, to improve 180 homes by 31 March 2021. Grants will be available across the county as well as targeted areas identified by the partners. In the bid we identified residential mobile home parks in Broadland, South Norfolk areas.
Eligible properties will have an EPC rating of E, F or G rated and be occupied by people with a total household income of £30,000 or less. We are able to support a package of measures in each home with the aim of achieve a post works EPC rating of C or above.
For owner occupiers, grants can fully fund the work, up to £10k
For private sector rented, grants can cover 2/3 of the total cost of works, up to £5k
The existing referral routes and governance structure from the Warm Homes Partnership will be used to deliver this project. The bid includes funding for additional staff as well as marketing, ancillary works and quality assurance.
Information about the grant funding can be found at:
www.norfolkwarmhomes.org.uk
Residents can also call 01603 430103 for more information about how to apply for grant funding.
Business Support Grants update
Tier 4 – Local Restrictions Grant (Closed) Addendum
This scheme launched in December to support businesses that are mandated to close due to local restrictions is now active. We have prepared payment files for those customers that we already know meet the criteria for these grants as they previously claimed the grant during the period of National Restrictions in November. Depending on their Rateable Values eligible businesses will receive payments of £1,334, £2,000 or £3,000 for every 28 days that these local restrictions remain in place. Payments covering the period that we were in Tier 4 (26/12/2020 – 04/01/2021) and the first two weeks of the National Lockdown (05/01/2021 – 18/01/2021) will be made to 1,748 businesses this week.
Closed Business Lockdown Payments (CBLP)
This is the £4.6bn scheme announced by the Government earlier this week. Following a call with BEIS and the Secretary Of State earlier today it was confirmed that full guidance about eligibility along with our funding allocations for this scheme will be provided to us week commencing 11 January 2021. Eligible businesses will receive a one-off payment, determined by their Rateable Value of either £4,000, £6,000 or £9,000 (these payments are in addition to the Tier 4 Closed Addendum scheme mentioned above). Where businesses have previously claimed grants we fully expect to be able to make payments without the need for businesses to reapply. For those that have not previously claimed, a new web-form is being developed to allow us to make payment in a timely manner.
Tier 2 Local Restriction Grant payments
Although this scheme is no longer active, we can and are still making awards to businesses that were mandated to close or saw a significant drop in their income during the period that we were in Tier 2 (02/12/2020 – 25/12/2020). We have also extended this scheme to accommodate non-rated businesses that operate within the hospitality, hotel, B&B, leisure, culture and events sectors.
Christmas Support Payments – £1,000 payment for wet-led pubs.
All but a handful of these have now responded to this scheme meaning that we have now paid £85k to eligible pubs.
Discretionary Support Grants (the Additional Restrictions Grant)
The first phase of this scheme ran until 23 December 2020. In total we received 470 applications. The assessment process continues, and we are on target to review and respond within 10 days to all applications. So far 305 payments have been made to local businesses.
As part of the Government’s announcement this week we will receive extra funding into the ARG, but again await confirmation from BEIS about the exact allocation. We expect this information week commencing 11 January 2021. Conversations are ongoing and we will liaise with Leaders and the relevant Portfolio Holders shortly to agree the content and details of phase 2 of this particular scheme.
The tables below show the value of grant applications received so far. Applications are being verified to check eligibility before payments are made by BACS.

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Brendon Bernard
District Councillor For Ditchingham and Earsham Ward.

T. 01986 893240
E. brendonbernard@me.com
http://southnorfolk4villages.co.uk
www.libdemswaveneyvalley.org