Show domestic abuse the red card

Fans will be looking forward to the football season getting underway again after professional sport was put on hold due to the coronavirus lockdown. However, matches can often mean an increase in domestic violence and abuse.

The number of domestic abuse reports forces receive often rise during national and international football competitions. And, with the re-start of the football season, including the Premier League and the Championship getting back underway this month, Lichfield District Council is backing a campaign, devised by Cannock Chase Council, to deter perpetrators of domestic abuse and encourage victims to seek help.

Councillor Ashley Yeates, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, said: “It’s important to recognise that football itself does not cause domestic abuse. The behaviour and actions of abusers who exert power and control over their victims cause domestic abuse.

“Watching football can be emotional, frustrating, joyous, and it can be accompanied by alcohol. And now, after the heightened stress of lockdown, there is a real concern that this could lead to more instances of domestic abuse. This is why we are working to highlight this issue and signpost to support services.”

Sergeant Neil Quinn, Lichfield Neighbourhood Policing Team, added: “For many the return of the football season is welcomed but for others it is a time of dread due to the heightened risk of domestic abuse.

“If you recognise you often take it out on your partner, when the game doesn’t go your way, we want you to know there is support available to help you change.

“Equally, if you are the victim of domestic abuse report this to the police, always dial 999 in an emergency or seek support from one of the many domestic abuse support services available locally.”

Perpetrators of domestic abuse are being encouraged to get help from New Era Domestic Abuse Service on 01785 601690, an organisation which offers specialist domestic violence prevention services.

Victims, individuals and families who have concerns, can report abuse and get support from New Era’s Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent 24-hour confidential helpline on 0300 303 3778 or access their 24/7 live chat facility at www.new-era.uk.

Local support is also available from Pathway Project, a 24-hour confidential helpline, by calling 01543 676800.

Media enquiries

Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council

T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

Reporting domestic abuse

Domestic abuse victims can call the police on 101, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always call 999.

Staffordshire-wide support for victims and their families:

New Era’s Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent 24-hour confidential helpline (across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent): 0300 303 3778 and their 24/7 live chat facility at www.new-era.uk.

Local support for victims and their families:

Pathway Project – a 24-hour confidential helpline (supporting Lichfield District and Tamworth): 01543 676800.

Staffordshire-wide services for perpetrators wanting to change their behaviour:

New Era Domestic Abuse Service for perpetrators who want support to change (across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent): 01785 601690.

Discretionary business grant fund opens

Lichfield District Council has launched its discretionary business grant scheme, which is the latest government measure to support businesses that have been impacted by Covid-19.

Businesses across Lichfield District that have faced hardship due to Covid-19 can now apply to be considered for a £5,000 discretionary business grant. These grants are for businesses that have not benefitted before and occupy a shared commercial premises, as well as others such as bed & breakfasts.

Since the start of April, Lichfield District Council has been distributing small business grants and retail, hospitality and leisure grants to more than 1,400 businesses across the district. Now businesses that were ineligible for one of these grants, and who meet the criteria, have an opportunity to apply for a non-repayable cash grant to go towards their business costs.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Investment & Tourism, said: “We’re really pleased to be launching the discretionary business grants as they will help many businesses across the district who have not been able to access financial support so far.

“We will aim to distribute the grants fairly and have deliberately taken a decision to pay a fixed grant of £5,000 to help more businesses to cope in these challenging times.”

The government has provided local authorities with guidance on which businesses are eligible and the types of businesses that should be helped.

Councillor Andy Smith, Cabinet Member for Customer Services & Innovation, said: “This grant fund will help eligible businesses that have seen their turnover drop by more than 20%, but are still facing premises related costs, such as rent, utility bills, property insurance, that are more than 50% of their current monthly bills.”

Awards will be worked out using a combination of information on the application form and evidence provided. Checks will be carried to prevent fraudulent claims to ensure the money reaches as many businesses as possible.

To be eligible to apply for a grant, businesses must have been trading on 11 March 2020, must not be in administration, insolvent or where a striking-off notice has been made, and must be ineligible for other support schemes.

This grant is aimed at small and micro businesses that have relatively high ongoing fixed property-related costs, that can demonstrate they have suffered a significant fall in income due to the Covid-19 crisis, and that occupy property, or part of a property, with a rateable value or annual rent or annual mortgage payments below £51,000.

Before applying for a discretionary business grant, businesses should first check their eligibility for a small business or retail, hospitality or leisure grant, which has a greater pot of money available.

To find out more and how to apply, go to www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/dbg.

More than £7,000 in grants awarded to local voluntary groups

Since inviting applications for a share of its coronavirus relief fund, Lichfield District Council has so far agreed to fund eight voluntary groups.

The outbreak of coronavirus has seen local voluntary groups across Lichfield District stepping up and adapting to give invaluable support to local people who need help – from doing shopping, collecting prescriptions, gardening, giving out activity packs and befriending services.

Some groups have adapted the support they offer and need funding for new activities and the different ways they are delivering support, and others need help to continue what they are doing.

Lichfield District Council set up the coronavirus relief fund to help the local voluntary and community sector to continue with the vital support it is offering.

Thanks to multiple donations, and a £11,500 boost from the council, the fund has reached almost £25,000, and in April it was opened up to voluntary groups, charities and organisations who were invited to apply for grants of up to £1,000.

Working in partnership with We Love Lichfield, eight applications have been agreed by the council:

  • Lichfield and District Live at Home supports older people to maintain their independence and live more fulfilled lives through a wide range of activities including befriending, lunch clubs, assisted shopping activity, outings and social activities. With face-to-face activities suspended, they have been awarded a grant of £1,000 to help offer remote support to their Lichfield members, including food deliveries, telephone befriending and activity packs.

 

  • Live at Home Burntwood has adapted their service to support their elderly members through the coronavirus crisis and they too are now offering a telephone befriending service, over the phone care checks, emergency provision of food and hygiene supplies, and activity packs. They have needed to take on additional volunteering staff to be able to do this, and have been given a grant of £1,000 to help with staff, volunteering set up, and telephone costs.

 

  • Kendall & Wall Charitable Trust support elderly and disabled people, organising wheelchair-accessible outings. Since lockdown the group has been supporting their clients through telephone calls, delivering shopping and sending regular newsletters. They will use their £1,000 grant to print and post their newsletters, on petrol for the deliveries, and telephone costs.

 

  • Burntwood Be A Friend is a new partnership group set up by a range of local charities, churches and organisations in Burntwood to help those who are most in need in the local community. They are helping with hot meals, shopping, telephone befriending and collecting and delivering prescriptions. Their £1,000 grant will go towards funding their seven day a week phone line, the befriending, food and supplies, volunteer DBS checks, training and expenses.

 

  • Liberty Staffordshire CIC support young people with physical and learning disabilities. They too have been adapting their service to deliver a virtual service including virtual youth clubs, fitness sessions, online Makaton chat and setting daily and weekly challenges for their members. Their £1,000 grant will be used to develop emotional wellbeing support tools for young people in the current crisis and help them to transition back in to society.

 

  • South Staffordshire Network for Mental Health is a local charity based in Lichfield that supports people experiencing mental illness and people at risk of mental health issues. Their £855 grant will help them to adapt their service to provide mental and emotional support through social media and Zoom.

 

  • Lichfield Re:Cycle recycles bikes, helping people ride, maintain and repair bikes. They also provide bikes on free long-term loan to people who can’t afford to buy them or need them for health reasons. They are also loaning out bikes to key workers who need them during the crisis. Their grant of £720 will be spent on volunteer expenses, storage costs for the bikes, and tools and parts for fixing them.

 

  • Lichfield Scrubbers, who make scrub sets for local hospitals and GP surgeries, has been awarded £500. This money will help the group to buy material to continue their work creating scrub bags, headbands, ear protectors and scrub caps.

 

Councillor Ashley Yeates, Cabinet Member for Communities & Housing, said: “Thank you to everyone who contributed towards the coronavirus relief fund. It’s really heart-warming to see our community coming together in this way.

“I am really pleased we’ve been able to give some vital funding to these charities and groups that are working hard to support a range of vulnerable people across the district.

“All eight groups are making sure their members have access to the support they need, from hot meals for the elderly and bikes for key workers, to scrub sets for NHS workers and over the phone support, helping to prevent loneliness and providing reassurance during this difficult time.

“I hope we will see more applications from groups who are working to support local communities across the district.”

The coronavirus relief fund is still open for applications from local not for profit voluntary organisations, charities, and groups.

To find out more visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/relieffund.

Media enquiries

Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District CouncilVolunteer at a food bank Volunteer moving goods to distribute to the community Lady with a white bicycle from the re-cycle scheme Child riding bicycle from re-cycle scheme

T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

Visit Lichfield announces District Doodles winners

Children from across the district have been putting their artistic skills to the test as part of Visit Lichfield’s District Doodles competition, and now the results are in.

Last month Lichfield District Council’s visitor economy service, Visit Lichfield, set children and young people the task of creating a piece of art featuring a local attraction they are looking forward to visiting once lockdown restriction are eased.

The competition came to a close at the end of May and the judges have now met virtually to choose a winner in each of the three age categories.

District Doodles judges included Councillor Iain Eadie, Peter Walker, artist in residence at Lichfield Cathedral, and Mandy Billington, an artist whose Lichfield illustrations appear on mugs sold at Lichfield’s visitor information centre.

They chose one-year old Isaac Jackson’s finger painting of Beacon Park’s flowers and trees as the winning entry in the 0 to 5 age group.

Finger painting of green tree with brown trunk and green bush with red and blue flowers

Competition was fierce in the 6 to 10 age category, and the judges picked a winner and runner up. Nine-year-old George Lewis won with a rainbow coloured drawing of Lichfield Cathedral. Ten-year-old Ruby Neville scooped the position of runner up with her picture of the nursing memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Drawing of a rainbow coloured Lichfield Cathedral with the night sky above Drawing of the memorial, a pair of hands holding a miniature globe

Finally, 11-year-old Henry Epstein came first in the 11 to 15 age group with his picture of Lichfield Cathedral reflected in Stowe Pool.

Drawing of the silhouette of lichfield cathedral and the skyline reflected into Stowe Pool with hues of orange and purple in the sky and pool

All four winning entries will be featured in The Hub at St Mary’s Letters from Lockdown exhibition, which is planned to take place following lockdown. The children will also each receive a family ticket to a choice of Visit Lichfield tours, to enjoy when they are up and running again.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said: “I really enjoyed judging District Doodles with Peter and Mandy. We had some lovely entries that showed how much our local attractions are valued and missed.

“It meant we had a tough job to choose the winners, and I’d like to thank everyone for taking part and to congratulate the winners on their artwork.

“I know we are all looking forward to the time when we can get out and start enjoying all that the district has to offer.”

To find out more about Visit Lichfield, go to www.visitlichfield.co.uk.

Find out more about Letters from Lockdown, visit www.thehubstmarys.co.uk/letters-from-lockdown.

Media enquiries

 Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council

T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

 

New playground for Stowe Fields

Work will start later this month on a new play area at a popular Lichfield visitor attraction.

Lichfield District Council is unveiling its plans for a brand new play area in Stowe Fields. Lots of new play equipment will join the existing five ways swing and orbital roundabout on a grassy area to the side of Stowe Pool.

Play equipment

Example play equipment including trim trail, zip wire, play towers with bridge and slide and swings.

Work to install the play equipment is expected to start from mid-June 2020. When complete, the playground will feature a variety of swings, including a basket swing, a 30m zip line, two slides, climbing frames, wooden stilts, a spider’s net, a fireman’s pole, a seesaw and more, for a range of ages.

The equipment will sit on a 320m² green and black fleck safety surface, which should help protect children from bumps and scrapes, and is suitable for all weather. Once installed Stowe Field’s old junior play equipment, next to the outdoor gym, will be removed and the area re-landscaped to enhance the view from Stowe Pool towards Lichfield Cathedral.

Councillor Liz Little, Cabinet Member for Recycling & Leisure, said: “It’s wonderful that this project is set to get underway and it looks like it will be a fantastic play area when complete.

“We know families are really keen to see a better play offering at Stowe Fields and this playground should keep children entertained!

“When social distancing measures are relaxed in the future, I am sure children will be really excited to use the equipment and get rid of some of their pent up energy.”

The playground project is set to cost £56,820, which the council is covering with funds it had set aside to improve Stowe Pool and Fields.

Work to install the playground is expected to take around four weeks, depending on the weather. However, the council does not plan to open it while social distancing measures are in place.

Find out more about Stowe Pool and Fields at www.lichfieldhistoricparks.co.uk.

Media enquiries

Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council
T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

Do It – Staffordshire

Volunteer Week – 1-7th June 2020
Staffordshire is getting a new digital volunteer platform: Do It – Staffordshire

During the coronavirus outbreak, we have seen a huge surge in residents stepping up and putting themselves forward to help their community.

We want to build on this amazing community spirit and make it as easy as possible for volunteers and local voluntary groups to connect.

To help us achieve this, Staffordshire County Council have commissioned the popular digital volunteering platform,

‘Do It’ to create a Staffordshire only ‘eco-system’ within their website.

The ‘Do It’ platform already has hundreds of local organisations and volunteers signed up as members.

The new ‘Do It – Staffordshire’ area of the website will enable residents to sign up to be a ‘Staffordshire Volunteer’ and find local opportunities. The system also enables local voluntary organisations, mutual aid groups and charities to digitally share their opportunities for free and manage all the applications they receive.

The “Do It – Staffordshire” page is still being built, but during volunteer week, we want to encourage as many local organisations and residents to sign up to ‘Do It’.

Help us share the message:

You can help us to get people signed up to Do It by sharing these posts on Facebook and Twitter.

If you know any organisations that may want to set up a free ‘Do It’ account, they can click here to sign up.

Reopening high streets safely

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has awarded Lichfield District Council £92,501 so it can help businesses in its city and town centres to reopen following the Covid-19 lockdown.

With non-essential retailers expected to reopen from 15 June, Lichfield District Council is planning for how it will spend the £92,501 to help its local businesses to establish safe trading on high streets and other commercial areas.

The money has come from ERDF’s Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, which is a £50 million pot that is being distributed to local councils across England.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Investment & Tourism, said: “The £92,501 funding will go towards helping to keep our urban centres and green spaces safe.

“I had an exchange of emails last week on this funding with County Councillor Helen Fisher, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, and County Councillor Sue Woodward, who is also Leader of Burntwood Town Council.

“I also contacted District Councillors Darren Ennis, (Chasetown ward), and Brad Westwood, (Boney Hay and Central ward), for their help and support in hearing what ideas businesses in Burntwood have on how this money should be used.

“We have also asked for the views of our Business Improvement District and a number of visitor attractions, such as Lichfield Cathedral, Drayton Manor, the Lichfield Garrick and the National Memorial Arboretum.

“The funding will go towards helping to get our district wide local economy going again, through actions to keep our urban centres and green spaces as safe as possible.”

This funding comes on top of the government’s package of support for business and workers during the economic emergency.

Media enquiries

 Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council

T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

European Union logo - European Regional Development Fund

Safer public places

Lichfield District Council has put together a local policy for how it will promote safer urban centres and green spaces as the country starts emerging from lockdown.

The safer urban centres and green spaces policy sets out how the council, working in partnership, will help make public places as safe as possible.

This includes ten specific measures the council will put in place, such as increasing signage to promote social distancing guidance, and increasing the cleaning of public facilities, including toilets, street furniture and car park pay and display machines. There will also be a queueing system at any toilets and cafés in district council-managed parks.

The policy encourages business owners to adopt measures to enable people to safely access business premises, and the use of temporary markings on the ground to help traders set up social distancing separation.

It also sets out that the council will work with private landlords of commercial and retail properties to put suitable safeguards for tenants, customers and staff in place.

As well as promoting where cycle racks are located across the district, the policy encourages people to pay for parking at the council’s car parks using the pay by phone facility where possible. It also restricts access to public lifts to two people at a time, or family groups if they include children.

In the policy, the council confirms it will work with partners, including Lichfield City Council, Burntwood Town Council and Staffordshire County Council, to consider ways to enable people to access key centres and green spaces and move safely around these locations maintaining social distancing.

Councillor Iain Eadie, Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said: “For everyone emerging from lockdown it is going to be a learning process. We might not get everything right first time and as things unfold, we might need to change what we all do.

“Our policy approach just now is based on trusting people to follow the social distancing guidance and highlighting the safeguards that need to be in place to protect our residents, visitors and businesses. If we need to bring in stewarding, one way flows to safeguard people navigating around our town and city centres, or, taking steps to avoid any pinch points, we will do that. We will do whatever it takes to make sure our district is safe and COVID-19 secure.

“Partnership working is going to be key. We are already talking with Three Spires about their plans and with the Lichfield BID about additional signage, hand sanitisers and a range of other measures to keep shoppers safe. We are looking at opening our own public toilets for longer, whilst also highlighting where cycle racks are located for those who want to cycle or walk into our shopping centres.

“Being able to trust people to do the right thing means I want to ask anyone venturing out to our parks and centres to remember to keep two metres apart from anyone who is not from the same household.  If you are meeting up with someone from outside your own household, please remember it is with just one other person. You should not be meeting up in groups regardless of age. To keep safe it is sensible to wash your hands before and after going out.

“We know lockdown has been hard for an awful lot of people.  With the sun shining people want to go out and see friends and family.  We are not at that point yet, so if everyone can keep following the social distancing guidance, we can help protect each other and look forward to a time when we can open the city, town and village centres up fully.”

The safer urban centres and green spaces policy is available online at www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/saferpublicspaces. 

Media enquiries

 Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council

T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

The policy sets out that the district council will: 

  1. Provide increased signage to help inform social distancing measures and reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.
  2. Put in place enhanced and additional cleaning regimes for public toilets, street furniture and other community facilities.
  3. Encourage people seeking to use our car parks to use the pay by phone payment method.
  4. Restrict the number of people who can access public lifts at any one time to two people (or a family group where it includes children).
  5. Promote the use of cycle racks across Lichfield city and elsewhere in the district.
  6. Permit the use of temporary markings on the ground including within Lichfield city to help demarcate social distancing separations.
  7. Encourage business owners to adopt suitable measures to enable people safely to access business premises.
  8. Work with private landlords of commercial/retail property to put in place suitable safeguards for customers and staff.
  9. Work with partners such as Lichfield City Council, Burntwood Town Council and Staffordshire County Council to consider ways to enable people to access key centres and green spaces and move safely around these locations maintaining social distancing.
  10. Put in place queueing systems at toilets and cafés serving our parks to maintain a safe environment.

Council urges caution over Bank Holiday weekend

With the weather forecast looking good, Lichfield District Council is urging its residents to continue to social distance ahead of the May Bank Holiday weekend.

With beautiful parks and open spaces across the district, the council is keen to remind residents that it is vital to keep following the government guidelines on social distancing when out and about.

The guidelines include:

  • Keeping two metres apart from others at all times, unless they are part of your household
  • Maintaining good hand hygiene, including washing your hands before and after going out and using hand gel
  • Exercising outdoors as often as you wish – following social distancing guidelines
  • Only meeting one other person from a different household outdoors at a time – following social distancing guidelines
  • Staying at home as much as possible, and not leaving your home if someone in your household has symptoms

Councillor Liz Little, Cabinet Member for Recycling & Leisure, said: “I know everyone will be looking forward to the long weekend, and we are so lucky to have such wonderful green spaces across the district, including Beacon Park, Fradley Junction, Chasewater Country Park and many more. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and continues following the social distancing measures. Together we can help stop the spread of coronavirus.”

The district’s playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skate parks remain closed for the time being, but parks and open spaces are open for everyone to enjoy, following the government guidelines.

To find out more about how the council is working to make urban centres and outdoor spaces safer, visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/saferpublicspaces.

Media enquiries

 Esther Epstein, Press & Communications Officer, Lichfield District Council

T: 01543 308778 E: esther.epstein@lichfielddc.gov.uk

Fly-tipping in Comberford

Fly tipped tyres on Tollgate Lane

A dozen tyres have been found this morning at Manor Lane, Comberford. Cllr Moore alerted the Parish Council and a report has been made to Lichfield District Council.

Lichfield District Council aim to investigate fly-tipped items that are dumped on district council or adopted highway land by the next working day.

Please be aware that it may take longer to remove the dumped waste depending on the type of waste and the equipment or staff required to remove it.

They are only responsible for clearing up fly-tipped items on district council and adopted highway land – and will not remove rubbish that is found/reported to be dumped on private land. This is the responsibility of the landowner.

Where possible they will also take enforcement action and fine people who fly tip in the district, to help prevent it from happening again.

If you have any information that could help to identify those responsible, or if any new information comes to light, please let Lichfield District Council know by calling 01543 308000 quoting reference: FTC000859

Two other local instances of large numbers of tyres being fly-tipped have happened in recent weeks in Amington (50 tyres) and Kingsbury (140 tyres.) The Parish Council have made the District Council aware of this in the hope they may carry out a joint investigation with Tamworth Borough Council and North Warwickshire Borough Council to catch the culprit/s.