Cardiff Council COVID-19 Update: 3rd June

In the latest COVID-19 update from Cardiff Council: reaction to today’s Welsh Government announcement on schools reopening; a generous donation of 200 mobile phones to Cardiff Council’s homeless service;continuing to provide for period dignity; and supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Careful and planned; Support for Cardiff schools in preparation for June 29th

Responding to the announcement by the Education Minister today, Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: “Many children across the city will be missing their friends, teachers and the routine which school provides. I also know that although many families are struggling with working from home and home educating, there will be parents and staff who have concerns about children returning to school and we will be working to address that.

“Today’s announcement by Welsh Government provides a carefully managed opportunity for children and young people to return to their schools, as they check-in, catch-up and prepare for September. It does not mean that all pupils will return on June 29th. There will need to be significantly fewer pupils in school at any one time which means that for much of the week most pupils will continue to be at home.

“It will however, mean that all pupils will have the opportunity to spend some time in their school before the summer break, to catch up with teachers and see first-hand how different their school experience will be with physical distancing in place and a careful regime of cleaning and contact limitation.

“We will continue to work with Welsh Government as we continue preparations for this, and we look forward to seeing the guidance which is being released next week. Over the coming weeks we will continue to support our schools, ensuring the health and wellbeing of our staff, pupils and their families, with theemphasis on building confidence and reducing anxiety.

“At the same time I welcome the news that parents will not be penalised if they do not wish their children to return at this point and that the Minister was clear that children and teachers who are shielding or living with those who are shielding are not expected to return to school at the moment.”

Every little helps supporting the vulnerable

A generous donation of 200 mobile phones to Cardiff Council’s homeless service is supporting vulnerable individuals on their journey away from the streets.

Tesco Mobile have provided the devices, each with pre-loaded credit, so that individuals in emergency accommodation can keep in touch with their support workers.

The current health emergency has presented services with a unique opportunity to better engage with homeless individuals in the city.

More than 140 people are now staying in the additional emergency accommodation the Council sourced to safeguard those who had been sleeping on the streets during the COVID-19 emergency and many more clients than before are willing to accept help, particularly substance misuse support.

Providing clients with mobile phones enables the Multi-Disciplinary outreach team (MDT), to be better connected with individuals, providing reassurance during this anxious time and reminding them about appointments for medical and other services.

Clients can also receive counselling with the MDT counsellors over the phone or via video chat, which also helps with social distancing measures at this time.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: “The current situation has allowed us to make great strides with our clients experiencing homelessness. There are only a handful of people still sleeping rough in the city and more people are taking the opportunity to move off heroin and onto to treatment programmes that can keep them on track towards rebuilding their lives.

“We are determined to build on this success and not see people drawn back to the harmful lifestyle of rough sleeping, begging to fund a habit and substance abuse.

“We are extremely grateful to Tesco Mobile for their very generous donation which will help our teams stay in touch with clients more easily.

“Members of the MDT can check on clients’ welfare more regularly and give them the support they need on this journey. The increase in the amount of people coming off drugs means many more psychological issues are coming to the fore and clients are in urgent need of therapy and counselling.”

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Support provided to address period dignity during school closures

Cardiff Council continues to address period dignity, despite schools being closed due to COVID-19.

All female pupils in years 7 to 13 who currently receive Free School Meals, will be provided with financial support so that they can purchase feminine hygiene products.

The scheme, funded by Welsh Government’s Period Dignity in Schools grant and administered by the Council’s Free School Meals team, will provide a £15 voucher per pupil to cover the summer term.

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said:

“As part of our period dignity programme, students are provided with free period products in school but with schools currently closed, it is important young women and girls do not miss out.

“This scheme will ensure those who need it most will still benefit and illustrates Cardiff’scommitment addressing period poverty in our communities and helping to tackle stigma.”

Cardiff Council’s scheme to promote period dignity amongst girls and young women in primary and secondary schools was rolled out in March 2019.

The programme contributes to Cardiff’s commitment to becoming a Child Friendly City, where the views and priorities of children are at the heart of decision making.

Counselling team support young people’s mental health and wellbeing

The 2talk2 school based counselling team are continuing to deliver services to young people, aged 11 to 18, in Cardiff.

Our counsellors are working from home helping schools while they are closed by providing telephone based support for young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

They have created an online resource for young people on Instagram @cardiff2talk2. The team also came up with the idea of the mental health half marathon challenge and they are posting wellbeing activities and ideas as challenges.

We are working together with parents, schools and services like Primary Mental Health Support Service to reach and support as many young people as we can at this challenging and uncertain time.

Schools have been very positive about the team adapting their service to the challenges of Covid 19. In recent feedback many schools said how they found the service excellent and appreciate how responsive and supportive it has been.

You’ve always got someone at 2Talk2.

Phone: 029 22 330709

Click and Collect library services

A new click and collect library service is being introduced in Cardiff next week.

From Monday, June 8, library users will be able to order a selection of books to collect from one of the four core hubs that have remained open throughout the lockdown period, as the Council embarks on a phased reopening of services from the city’s hubs.

Phase 1 of the recovery will allow customers to pre-order titles either via Cardiff Libraries online catalogue or by calling a new library phone line where they will be offered a selection of five books based on their interests and preferred genres.

Staff on the library line will then arrange an allocated time slot when the books can be collected, from one of the four hubs – Central Library Hub, Ely & Caerau Hub, St Mellons Hub and The Powerhouse, Llandedeyrn. Loans will be for the usual three week period and will need to be returned to the same hub as they were collected from, by appointment.

The new library phone line is 029 2087 1071. Customers should select option 2. The library catalogue is available here  where residents can also become new members of the library service or reset their PIN.

Books ordered can be delivered to people’s homes in Cardiff if they are unable to visit hubs as they are shielding or self isolating.Staff will call or email customers to advise on delivery slots available.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: “We’re very pleased to be able to offer this new click and collect library service to customers. We know that people have missed using our hubs and libraries over the last few months so this is a positive step forward as we work on the phased recovery and reopening of our facilities.

“It’s important to remember that the four hubs where this new service will be delivered from are not open as normal and the library service is not fully operational again yet. Customers will need to collect and return books at a set time to ensure we can maintain social distancing and help keep our staff and customers safe.  

“I’m also pleased that we are able to cater for our older and vulnerable customers by providing a home delivery service, which will enable those shielding or self-isolating to stay at home. We are also pilotingloaning pre-loaded eReaders for housebound customers, which could be extended wider if successful.”

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