This is our rolling blog of news and service updates, which will be updated regularly.
Friday 31 July update
New grant fund to help community groups provide essential support
From Monday August 3, groups will have two weeks to apply for funding of up to £3,000 to enable them to provide a service that is specifically linked to the pandemic recovery.
This could be by, for example:
- Providing support to individuals and families in financial hardship, but who do not currently meet various thresholds
- Enabling social supermarkets to become Covid-safer by funding protective equipment; screens, face coverings, gloves etc
- Extending the availability of discounted food – reducing the price of lunches, food hampers etc
- Providing budgeting and cookery courses for local people
For details of how to apply and an application form, groups should visit www.wirral.gov.uk/covidfood.
A further 26 playgrounds set to reopen this weekend
From, Saturday 1 August another 26 council playgrounds will reopen, giving families and children more choice on where they can get out in the fresh air, get active and play.
32 of the council’s 67 playgrounds have already opened following extensive safety checks.
However, nine council playgrounds will remain closed until further notice after safety checks revealed the need for urgent repairs – some caused by vandalism. Some repairs require specific parts from across the UK and abroad so at this time, the council is unable to confirm a reopening date.
Playgrounds which will remain closed include:
- Whitfield Common
- Eastham Rake
- Oakdale Rec
- Demense Street
- Wheatland lane
- Thornton Hough
- Price Street
- Rose Brae
- Queens Park
Suspension of council car parking charges in Wirral to be continued until Autumn
On street parking charges as well as those at council car parks and the country parks were suspended at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in March.
This was extended for a further month and now the Leader of Wirral Labour Group and Cabinet Member for Finance & Resources, Cllr Janette Williamson, has announced plans to continue the extension as part of a series of steps to support the Wirral economy.
It is proposed that the issue of car parking charges be reviewed at the first meeting of the cross party Policy and Resources Committee when it meets for the first time in October. A wholesale review of parking charges across the Borough has been requested and a report will also be available for the Committee to consider.
COVID-19 testing boost for Wirral
Bringing extra capacity for COVID-19 tests to the borough, the centre will initially be operating in Birkenhead by appointment only. From Saturday August 1 to Monday August 3 it will be at Europa Leisure Centre site in Birkenhead, and then from Tuesday 4vAugust to Thursday 6 August at Woodchurch Leisure Centre site. Further dates and locations will be announced later.
The mobile unit is in addition to Wirral’s satellite testing centre in Bidston which operates seven days a week. For the latest information, visit www.wirral.gov.uk/test where you can also book a test at the Bidston satellite testing site.
The mobile testing site is walk in or drive through and will provide an additional 400 ‘self-swab' tests per day.
Everyone over the age of five who is showing symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss of or change to their sense of smell or taste – is eligible to apply for a test.
Residents who meet the above criteria can apply for a test at the mobile site through the NHS website or the Gov.uk website, and select the Wirral site as an option via the booking process. Instructions on how to take the test and how and when individuals will receive their results will be provided when they take their test.
Thursday 30 July update
New scheme offers Wirral diners mouth-watering 50% discounts this August
From 3 August, customers can get a mouth-watering 50% off food and non-alcoholic drinks (up to £10 discount per diner) on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when they visit businesses that are registered with the scheme.
To find out local businesses that have signed up for the scheme, enter your postcode here.
‘Eat Out to Help Out’ runs every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday until 31 August.
Guidance for visiting care homes safely
The Government announced last week that care homes can now reopen to visitors, with strict safety measures in place.
To help reunite loved ones while reducing the risk of Coronavirus during visits, Wirral's Public Health team has provided guidance for care providers and visitors.
If you’re calling in to see a family member or friend, please be aware of the new safety measures in place and check with the care home about its visiting policy. Safety measures include:
- Visitors must wear a cloth face covering or face mask during their visit
- Hands should be washed on arrival using the facilities provided, and again afterwards
- Social distancing guidelines must be respected
- Outdoor visits are preferred, where possible
- Gifts that cannot be cleaned are not advised at the moment (e.g. flowers)
Council leisure service launches outdoor exercise classes
The council’s leisure service is set to launch a series of new outdoor exercise classes from Monday 3 August – with more than 30 classes to choose from every week.
Classes will include activities such as Pilates, HIIT, Run in Wirral, Zumba and Revs Cycle and will be held across Wirral in a variety of outdoor spaces including Birkenhead Park, outside the Floral Pavilion and the Oval Leisure Centre.
For now, classes will be limited to 5 people per session so anyone wanting to use the classes will need to book quickly to avoid missing out.
Prices will start from £4.20 per session and can be booked on a pay as you go basis. Currently, Invigor8 memberships will remain frozen until further notice.
New signs to identify pollinator havens installed around the borough
New signs are being installed on a number of additional verges to help the public identify them as havens for pollinators such as bees, butterflies and beetles.
As part of Wirral’s Climate Emergency response, certain verges across the borough have been not been cut, to encourage long grasses and wildflowers to grow and create the perfect environment for wildlife and wildflowers. Grass verges which are left to grow provide the best environment for pollinators.
Not only are they a good food source for wildlife, some wildflowers encourage native butterflies to land on them. Maintaining these sites means that wildflowers will be pollinated, but also protects the future of some species – particularly the orange-tipped butterfly.
It’s worth noting that while pollinator sites require less maintenance to provide an ideal environment for wildflowers, some work is still be required to continue to protect the habitat. Cutting only takes place after the wildflowers have been pollinated.
Wednesday 29 July update
The Floral Pavilion is back in time for summer
The Floral Pavilion will partially reopen to the public from Friday 31 July to eat, drink and relax.
The Floral’s Blue Lounge will offer floor to ceiling views of the River Mersey, retractable patio doors, air conditioning and dedicated toilets as well as a spacious area for visitors to eat safely and enjoy the freshly made refreshments on offer.
The newly updated Floral Café menu includes hot food, sandwiches, snacks, and pastries and will be available as part of the government’s ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme.
The new takeaway service will also be available from the ground floor of the venue.
To help ensure social distancing measures, separate entrances, exits and one-way queuing systems will be marked around the building for access to each of the services opening up - making it easier and safer for customers to access and move around the venue.
Currently, the box office remains closed and will not be hosting performances until further notice.
Tuesday 28 July update
Water sports to return to marine lake
Wirral Sailing Centre will officially reopen West Kirby Marine Lake to licence holders only from Thursday 30 July.
Activities such as sailing, windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking will be able to start on the marine lake again as long as users have pre-booked a session on the water.
Sailing will be restricted to one person per boat only, unless a second person is from the same household or from a social bubble in line with government guidance. The boatyard, toilets and washrooms all remain closed and staff will only be on site to provide advice on bookings.
Access to the lake will only be permitted during sailing centre opening hours - 9am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
For more information visit the Wirral Leisure website or to book a session call 0151 929 7707.
Monday 27 July update
Have your say on plans to tackle anti-social behaviour in coastal resorts
Wirral Council is consulting on plans to introduce temporary Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in two areas of the borough, the Dips in New Brighton and the beach and Cubbins Green in West Kirby, that have been affected by crime and anti-social behaviour.
Since the introduction of government lockdown restrictions due to the Covid-19, criminal offences and complaints of anti-social behaviour have increased dramatically in these areas.
Council officers have been working closely with Merseyside Police on specific operations to tackle problems when they occur and in recent weeks and the Police have implemented Dispersal Zones in an effort to reduce problems. However, Dispersal Zones are short-term solutions often lasting only a few days, which is why the council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Team is now looking to implement PSPOs to give enforcement agencies wider-reaching and longer-term powers to take action if further issues occur. If implemented, the Orders will be in place for two years.
The consultation period runs for two weeks from Monday 27th July. For full details and a link to comment on the plans, visit www.wirral.gov.uk/pspo. Alternately you can submit comments on the proposals by post to Wirral Anti-Social Behaviour Team, Wallasey Police Station, Manor Road, Wallasey, CH44 1DA.
Friday 24 July update
More playgrounds reopen across Wirral this weekend
Last weekend, eight of the council’s 60 playgrounds opened following extensive safety checks. From Saturday 25 July another 24 will open giving families and children more choice on where they can get out in the fresh air, get active and play.
The remaining play areas will reopen by August, with the next sites set to reopen scheduled for Saturday 1 August.
Residents should note that Oakdale Park play area was one of the sites due to reopen from Saturday 25 July but due to vandalism at the site, estimated to cost the council £850, the site will need to have some works done in addition to further inspections before this site can safely be reopened.
Grass cutting and weed maintenance update
The usual seasonal programme of outdoor maintenance had to be paused for three months but has since resumed with grass cutting prioritised on key routes, main road highway verges and dangerous locations, followed by residential areas starting this week.
The first of the residential areas to be cut are Eastham, Rock Ferry, Beechwood, Prenton and Woodchurch, Irby, Seacombe and Greasby. The in-house team are working hard to catch up on the current programme of works which can be found on the council’s website.
The council’s weed control contractor, Man Coed VM Ltd, has also restarted works, alongside trialling a number of alternative methods including manually scraping weeds away and reducing the use of chemicals. The weed control programme is also published online.
The council’s pollinator programme has encouraged long grasses and wildflowers in certain sites to create the perfect environment for pollinators such as bees, butterflies and beetles. Signs are being installed at sites to inform residents these areas are being managed as pollinator-friendly verges.
While pollinator sites contain wildflowers, some maintenance is still needed to continue protecting pollinators and the habitat at these sites. Cutting takes place after the flowering of wildflowers when bees, butterflies and other insects have pollinated them.
Thursday 23 July update
Bowling greens reopen
From Friday 24 July, bowling greens across the borough will reopen and, in line with shortened season and limited play, there will be no charge for bowling clubs for this year.
Time slots have been allocated to the clubs as usual so members of the public are reminded to only use bowling greens when they are not in use by club members. This will also help to manage social distancing.
Club members and residents using bowling greens should make sure they adhere to safety measures including:
- Wash hands before leaving home and after returning home
- Only participate in practice, exercise and members only match play (matches to only take place between members of one club - no ‘home’ and ‘away’ teams to meet)
- Do not share equipment with others
- Do not shake hands or make physical contact with other players
- Maintain social distancing
- Only use the area with a maximum of 6 people on the green at any one time
Bowling greens should not be used by club members or residents if they or anyone in their household or bubble that has coronavirus or is showing COVID-19 symptoms or if they have been told to self-isolate by NHS test and trace.
All litter or discarded items must be taken away or disposed of properly by those using the area.
Club members should note that Bowling Pavilions will not be reopening at this time.
Monday 20 July update
Free cycle training for children over the summer
Free cycle training, usually offered through schools, has been scheduled from 20 July to 27 August 2020 to ensure that children over the age of 10 can still receive this vital safety training.
The free sessions, run and hosted by Bikeright and HYPE Merseyside, take place throughout the summer on Mondays to Fridays.
All courses are 9am till 3pm and take place in small, friendly groups of six children with two qualified instructors. Instructors have been trained to operate to current hygiene and social distancing guidelines.
Children attending the sessions are expected to have basic riding ability and their own bicycle and helmet in order to participate in group training.
Friday 17 July update
Phased reopening of playgrounds
Council owned playgrounds will start to reopen to the public in a phased approach from Saturday 18 July, with eight playgrounds reopening across the borough in the first phase.
Sites that will reopen this weekend include Ashton Park, Birkenhead Park, Central Park, Meols Park, Mersey Park, New Ferry Park, Torr Park and Vale Park.
The remaining play areas will then reopen gradually on a weekly basis to ensure that required safety works have been completed. The next sites will be reopened on 25 July and 1 August, with all sites to be reopened in August.
Whilst the play areas will begin to reopen, there is guidance in place and a number of precautions that any visitors to these areas should follow to keep as safe as possible and signs will be displayed at all open sites to reinforce this.
Wednesday 15 July update
Notices of marriage appointments resume
For couples planning on tying the knot, notice of marriage appointments can now be made at Birkenhead Town Hall.
Face-to-face appointments for notices of marriage have been on hold since lockdown began in March and Birkenhead Town Hall has implemented some extensive measures to ensure that the return of this service can be carried out safely and within the government guidance.
Notices of marriage can only be provided by appointment only. Residents can request an appointment by emailing email@example.com with a contact number. A member of staff will then call residents who have emailed to book them an appointment.
Only Wirral residents should attend. If both members of the couple live in Wirral, then both people will need to attend the appointment. If only one lives in Wirral, then only that person should attend.
Friday 10 July update
Central Government have advised that from 25 July gyms, leisure centres and indoor pools can start to reopen if they are able to follow the strict new guidelines.
Our teams are reviewing the new guidance and working tirelessly in the background to determine how our facilities can be adapted to accommodate the newly released regulations. We need to take the time to do this to make sure our facilities are as safe as possible ahead of reopening. We are also talking to our staff many of whom are shielding or have been temporarily deployed to help other council services. We hope to be able to update you in the coming week.
Our centres being closed doesn’t mean you can’t keep active! Our leisure service and Invigor8 fitness teams have been offering FREE online exercise classes through their social media page to allow residents to get fit and healthy at home. There are around 26 free live classes each week hosted online by an experienced team of fitness instructors and you do not even have to be a member.
The weekly timetable is posted on their Facebook page every Sunday so you can plan your week and even invite friends to your favourite classes.
We’re working hard to open as soon as possible and look forward to seeing you soon.
We are working through a plan to reopen libraries on a phased basis in the coming weeks.
We have 24 libraries in total, so it will take time and investment to open up all premises in a COVID-secure way for staff and library users. We are also assessing staff availability as we have a number who are working in COVID-19 responses roles, such as staffing helplines and supporting with emergency food provision.
One Stop Shops
Face-to-face advice from our customer service staff is still not able to be provided. We are working at addressing this, but in the meantime most service requests can be dealt with online at wirral.gov.uk. Information about other ways to contact the council for customer service requests at this time are available at online in our coronavirus update.
Museums and Galleries
The Williamson Art Gallery and Museum and the Priory remain closed to visitors while we work through a plan to ensure they can reopen in a way that ensures the safety of visitors and staff.
In the meantime there are a number of online galleries available and can be viewed by visiting The Birkenhead Priory and Williamson Art Gallery websites. Staff continue to stimulate debate and art/heritage appreciation regularly using their social media channels. These include:
- Birkenhead Priory Facebook page
- Williamson Art Gallery Facebook page
- Williamson Art Gallery Twitter
- Wirral Museums on Instagram
Playgrounds & outdoor gyms
We are working through a plan to reopen play areas and outdoor gym equipment on a phased basis in the coming weeks.
We have more than 60 play areas across the borough and there’s significant work to do to make sure they are safe to reopen. Legally required safety inspections, which were suspended during lockdown, must be carried before play areas can reopen as well as routine maintenance and grass cutting.
These pre-opening activities are currently taking place and we are working hard to make sure they are complete as soon as possible so these facilities can reopen.
Outdoor exercise classes
Over the past few months, local parks and open spaces have helped many of us stay active and well, both physically and mentally.
With nicer weather and further relaxation of lockdown, outdoor exercise classes are a great way to look after health and ease ourselves back into some normality.
Residents should note that if you are hosting an exercise class in a park, open space or on one of Wirral's beaches, this will need to be registered as an outdoor event and the class will need to be in line with the latest government guidance (as of publication, no more than 6 people in attendance).
You can contact the council's parks and countryside team and register your exercise class as an outdoor event by visiting the council's website.
Highway Verge Maintenance (Grass Cutting)
We postponed the highway verge maintenance cutting programme in early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consequently many verges have not been cut for approximately 3 months.
The verge maintenance cutting programme has now resumed with a temporarily reduced workforce and are likely to see longer grass on highway verges.
Teams are initially prioritising key routes, rural roads and dangerous locations with available resources and will move into residential areas as increased staff numbers become available and more seasonal workers are recruited.
Highway Weed Control (Weed Spraying)
We postponed the highway weed control programme in early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consequently many areas will not have been treated for approximately 3 months.
Weed control treatment has now resumed and crews are working through a schedule that will cover all areas of the Borough over forthcoming weeks. Once treated weeds have died back, our street cleansing crews will remove dead weeds as part of their normal operations.
Thursday 9 July update
Register of Births resumes fully
Wirral registrars are now up to date with appointments for the registration of births after successfully reopening Birkenhead Town Hall for appointments from Wednesday 1 July.
All parents can now register the birth of their child. Registrations are by appointment only and offices at Birkenhead Town Hall will be cleaned between each family.
Appointments can be booked online at www.wirral.gov.uk/births
Whilst the service has now resumed in full, parents are asked to read the safety measures in place before visiting the town hall to ensure they are prepared for their visit.
Friday 3 July update
Marine Lake walkway reopens to public – but at a safe distance.
The walkway around West Kirby Marine Lake is set to officially reopen to the public from Saturday 4 July as restrictions continue to ease. However, social distancing remains crucial and signage has been installed along the walkway and at each entrance as a reminder to walkers. Regular visitors will know the walkway is narrow, making it harder to keep a distance if people are passing in both directions. Safety was the main consideration when the council closed the path earlier in the year following concerns including feedback from residents. The latest national guidance on social distancing and coronavirus is available on the government website.
A maximum of 30 people can attend funeral services from next week
Funerals at Landican and Frankby can see a maximum of 30 people attend from Monday 6 July, in line with government guidance, to help families grieve together for their lost loved ones.
Up to 30 mourners will be permitted to attend funerals, burials and graveside and cremations/ burials. Previous restrictions, introduced on 27 March, meant that only 15 mourners could attend a loved ones service.
Although the number has increased, government guidance still limits those who should attend a funeral to immediate and close family members only.
Residents should still be aware that social distancing measures remain in place at cemeteries and crematoriums in order to protect the safety of those attending a service and staff.
Thursday 2 July update
Registering a birth
After the successful reopening of Birkenhead Town Hall this week, registrars are now accepting bookings for babies born before the 30 April 2020.
Registrations are by appointment only and offices at Birkenhead Town Hall will be cleaned between each family.
Appointments can be booked online at www.wirral.gov.uk/births
Parents are asked to read the safety measures in place before visiting the town hall to ensure they are prepared for their visit.
Tuesday 30 June update
Parents and families can register the birth of their child at Birkenhead Town Hall from this week
From Wednesday 1 July, parents can once again attend face-to-face appointments to register the birth of their baby - with measures in place at Birkenhead Town Hall to protect the safety of them and their family.
Registrations are by appointment only and offices at Birkenhead Town Hall will be cleaned between each family.
Appointments to register the birth of a baby have been on hold since lockdown in March. Extensive work has taken place to enable the return of the service in a way that keeps families and staff safe and minimises the risk of coronavirus.
Parents are asked to only book an appointment to register a birth if their baby was born before 31 March 2020 as priority is currently being given to those born earlier in the year first. Further appointments will be made available for babies born from 1 April 2020 as soon as possible.
Appointments to register a birth can be booked online at www.wirral.gov.uk/births
Thursday 25 June update
Public toilets, lifeguards and access to Hilbre Islands to return
Wirral Council is continuing to exercise caution in lifting restrictions in response to changes in national guidelines. However, ahead of this weekend, a number of developments have been made possible as part of a wider Summer Coastal Plan that is being implemented in Wirral.
Some public toilets are reopening, beach lifeguards are returning and restrictions are being lifted for people wanting to walk to Hilbre Islands this weekend as part of the summer planning.
Care leaver hub to offer safety and support
A dedicated ‘hub’ is being created to give young care leavers a safe space for support with learning, health, accommodation and more.
Wirral Council’s Children’s Services duty team offers a single point of contact for care leavers, particularly at times of crisis. Since the coronavirus pandemic, the care leaver team has had to scale back its usual contact, operating predominately ‘virtually’.
Now, a building which is already leased by the council in Birkenhead will become a hub for care leavers, to give them and the staff who support them a physical place to have face to face contact. It will allow care leavers to access a space, dedicated to them, where they can pick up a range of independent living skills - preparing them for success in adulthood.
The establishment of the hub has been done with input from care leavers themselves.
Wednesday 24 June update
Model Aircraft Flying and Paragliding resumes
Residents enjoying the borough’s parks and open spaces should be aware of the activities and where they may be taking place.
Model aircraft flying by the Wirral Radio Control Flying Society can start again from Wednesday 24 June at Arrowe Country Park and paragliding by North Wales Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club (NWHGPGC) can resume from Saturday 27 June at Wirral Country Park in Thurstaston.
Only authorised model aircraft clubs and paragliders can utilise Wirral’s open spaces.
In terms of coronavirus relate safety, measures have been put in place to ensure all activity is in line with Government advice and is being reinforced by the British Model Flying Association (BMFA) and British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA).
Tuesday 23 June update
Free school meal update for the summer holidays
Families in Wirral with children eligible for free school meals will continue to receive this support during the summer holidays.
The extension comes after the Government announced the ‘Covid Summer Food Fund’ on Tuesday 16 June. The fund will support eligible children with a voucher to cover the full six week summer holiday, beginning next month.
Families in receipt of the free school meals will continue to receive the voucher from their child’s school over the summer break. If your vouchers stopped as your child returned to school or your school has continued to provide meals throughout lockdown, you will receive a voucher for the summer break.
Landican Cemetery resume 40-minute services
From this week, Cemeteries and Crematoria resume 40-minute services for families of lost loved ones who would like to request this length of service.
It is hoped that by reintroducing the longer services it will help grieving families to have additional time with those they have lost.
Monday 22 June update
LCR Cares Fund reaches £1m milestone
LCR Cares Fund has now handed out over £1m to organisations in the Liverpool City Region. The Hive and Koala North West are just two Wirral organisations who benefited from the crowd-funding initiative - read their story at https://bit.ly/2ALZLVC
Thursday 18 June update
Market traders to receive further rent relief
Birkenhead Market traders will receive 50% off their rent for the next three months to help them bounce back after reopening.
After charging no rent for three months due to lockdown, the council has agreed the latest reduction in rent until 20 September for all market traders who were able to reopen from the 15 June 2020.
Traders who must start later because of government restrictions, such as tattooists, hairdressers and barbers, will continue to pay no rent until they are able to start trading again and will benefit from 50% off their rent from that date until 20 September 2020.
Popular retailers such as mobile phone repair shops, fashion retailers and more returned to work earlier this week – joining the country produce traders who have been able to trade throughout lockdown.
The market is now open from 9am - 3pm, Monday to Saturday with a strict social distancing policy, clear signage and floor markers throughout the site.
Wednesday 17 June update
Remaining municipal courses get set to return
Council-run Brackenwood and Hoylake Golf Courses will reopen to the public from Friday 19 June as municipal golf makes a full return in Wirral.
This is the final stage of the council’s phased approach to reopening after Arrowe Park and the Warren golf courses welcomed players back over the last two weeks.
Tee times will be charged at normal rates and will be available to anyone wanting to play on a council course on a pre-pay and play basis only. Currently, Invigor8 leisure memberships remain frozen.
Tee times should be booked and paid for online before arriving to play.
Safety guidelines can be downloaded in full on the Wirral Leisure website and should be read thoroughly by players before arriving to play.
Have your say and help make travel in Wirral healthy and safe
Over the last few months, Wirral’s existing cycling and walking infrastructure has provided access around the borough to help maintain physical and mental wellbeing during this time and the council want to ensure sustainable and active travel can continue to be supported as lockdown eases.
Wirral are set to receive a share of a £1.9 million Department for Transport (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Fund for Merseyside and are already looking into measures to support increased active travel but want resident input so that these measures can provide the best support to Wirral.
The council would like resident support and feedback to help identify roads, routes, paths and areas that could be adapted to help maintain social distancing or improved for cycling and/or walking. The feedback generated will be supported by a second instalment of funding, that is expected later this year.
Early responses are encouraged before the survey will close on 31 August 2020.
Tuesday 16 June update
Reopening of premises
As a Council we want to support as many businesses to re-open as quickly and safely as possible.
For now hairdressers, barbers, beauty and nail salons, tanning studios, piercing and tattoo parlours must all remain closed until July 4 at the earliest.
Monday 15 June update
School Crossing Patrols service resumes
As more children return to Wirral schools, the council’s Road Safety Team have been working closely with schools to assist them with their plans for reopening, including the return of the School Crossing Patrol service.
If you are setting of on the journey to school with your child, whilst a lot of the road safety messages remain the same, as traffic increases and lockdown eases, it is now so important that we remember the basics. Prepare for the journey to school by reminding yourself and your children about road safety by reading our tips for a safe walk, cycle or car ride to school.
Friday 12 June update
Wirral’s children’s centres are continuing their dedication to support families during the current health crisis with the introduction of dedicated live ‘Let’s Talk’ sessions.
During the coronavirus lockdown, the council team moved their support for families online. This virtual ‘what’s on’ offering now includes live question and answer time for parents and carers and the first three sessions have reached more than 11,500 people.
Topics covered so far include, baby weaning, general wellbeing and an ‘all about babies and toddlers’ session - covering everything from reflux to sleep. The sessions are run on the council’s My Child Can Facebook page and members of the children’s centre teams alongside colleagues in the 0-19 team answer any questions, share ideas and chat with parents and carers.
Thursday 11 June update
Capacity for testing people for COVID-19 in Wirral is increasing from this week.
Everyone over the age of two years who is showing symptoms of coronavirus is now able to apply for a test locally.
The Wirral Satellite Testing Centre is based at Bidston park and ride station, and offers a 7 day service for people who can either drive through or walk in to the site – however tests are strictly by appointment only. People arriving at the test site without a booking will be turned away - without exception.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and/or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. These symptoms are regularly reviewed and updated at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
You can apply for a test via www.wirral.gov.uk/test and once you have applied for a test, a member of Wirral Testing Team will contact you to arrange an appointment.
Wednesday 10 June update
Arrowe Park Municipal Golf Course will reopen to the public from Friday 12 June following the successful reopening of the Warren, Wallasey last week
The reopening is part of the council’s phased approach to bringing back municipal golf as safety over speed remains its top priority.
Tee times will be charged at normal rates and will be available to anyone wanting to play at the Warren and Arrowe Park on a pre-pay and play basis only. Currently, Invigor8 leisure memberships remain frozen.
Details for the reopening of Brackenwood and Hoylake municipal courses will be announced soon.
Council outdoor tennis courts will reopen this week
Whilst council outdoor tennis courts will reopen from Friday 12 June, specific safety measures have been put in place to protect the safety of residents and staff.
Before visiting our tennis courts, please take the time to read about the below safety measures in place at this time:
- Courts must be pre-booked online at: https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/WirralParksTennis
- Keep all access gates open at all times
- Allow others to leave before you enter the court - wait away from the gates
- No competitions, coaching or group sessions
- Play with members of the same house or one individual from another house only
- Maximum of 2 players per court (unless players are all from the same household)
- All litter and discarded items must be taken away and disposed of by court users
- No shaking hands or physical contact with other players
- Only handle your own racket and personal (marked) tennis balls
- Follow Public Health guidelines around hygiene
- Avoid changing ends or change at opposite sides of net
- Maintain social distancing at all times
Please note that the Oval and Bidston Tennis Courts will not be reopening at this time.
Tuesday 9 June update
Angling resumes at parks approved fishing lakes
Recreational fishing at all council parks resumes on Wednesday 10 June in line with latest government guidance.
Any residents using these areas are reminded to adhere to social distancing guidelines and safety measures that have been introduced for recreational fishing.
- Government social distancing guidelines allows angling to resume as long as they fish alone (or with members of their own household) only, and remain a minimum of 2m (6ft) from other visitors to parks
- One angler per fishing peg around lakes to avoid close contact with others
- Match or competition fishing is not permitted
- Anglers must have an Environment Agency rod license
- All litter/discarded fishing line must be taken away by anglers
Thursday 4 June update
Municipal golf to make phased return
Wirral’s municipal golf courses will begin to open to the public as part of a phased return.
The Warren in Wallasey will open first on Friday 5 June and will be followed by the remaining courses soon after.
Currently, Invigor8 memberships remain frozen. Tee times will be charged at normal rates and will be available to anyone wanting to play at the Warren on a pre-pay and play basis only.
The phased return will make sure each course can open safely and with enough time for staff to get the courses in playable condition.
A series of guidelines have also been introduced to protect both players and staff, including:
- Tee times are limited to a maximum of four players. Players from separate households must remain 2m apart.
- Tee times will be available Monday – Sunday, 9am - 6.30pm.
- The course will remain closed outside of these hours for customers wanting to start their game.
- Golfers must not come to the course without booking a tee time online first.
- Junior members must be accompanied by an adult.
The guidelines can be downloaded in full on the Wirral Leisure website and should be read thoroughly by players before arriving to play.
Wednesday 3 June update
Garden waste collections set to resume
Fortnightly garden waste collections will return from June 16, following disruption due to Coronavirus.
The move comes as staff numbers at Biffa – Wirral Council’s waste collection contractor - begin to return to normal after many had to self-isolate or shield.
The service, suspended in April/May this year as lockdown began, will continue to collect brown bins for existing customers until August 24 without needing to subscribe again. Current subscribers will receive all the collections they paid for before lockdown began.
For those who wish to sign up for the next collection year (August 25 2020 – May 31 2021), the subscription window will open in July.
Current subscribers will be able to check their next collection date on the council website from June 12, when the four-weekly collection service ends.
- If you had a collection between 19-29 May – your next collection will be on your usual day, week commencing 15 June.
- If you had a collection between 1-12 June – your next collection will be on your usual day, week commencing 22 June.
Safety at the forefront for Wirral’s educational settings
Educational settings such as schools, nurseries and childminders in Wirral will receive starter packs of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to help them welcome children and young people back safely.
Provided by Wirral Council, PPE packs which include fluid-resistant surgical facemasks, disposable aprons, disposable gloves, hand sanitiser and full-face splash visors.
Alongside the PPE kits, schools and early years settings are being provided with a pack including the latest Public Health advice and guidance to support the phased reopening.
Monday 1 June update
Major investment scheme starts at Tower Road (A554) on Monday 8 June.
The £3.2 million improvement scheme will improve the area and lower traffic speeds, making sustainable travel more accessible and help support increased active travel during this time.
The scheme, designed and delivered in partnership with Peel L&P, will be delivered in two different phases of work, each with specific temporary and clearly signed traffic management arrangements.
Works within the Tower Road scheme will see the widening of pavements and reduced road width to give more space and priority to those cycling and walking.
All necessary risk assessments and safety measures have been put into place, in line with the latest government guidance.
Saturday 30 May update
Coronavirus mobile testing facility to return to Wirral strictly by appointment only
A mobile testing site, facilitated by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), will offer strict appointment-only COVID-19 testing in Wirral from Sunday 31st May to Tuesday 2nd June.
Everyone over the age of 5 who is showing symptoms of coronavirus, a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss of or change to their sense of smell or taste is eligible to apply for a test.
Friday 29 May update
The best way to stay safe over a sunny weekend
This weekend, we’d encourage you to stay in and stay local avoiding potentially busy areas.
Our popular outside destinations are getting busier, keep in mind that it’s harder to stick to a social distance if it’s busy. The best way to stay safe is to stay at home.
Thank you to everyone who is staying at home and staying away from our busy areas.
Update: West Kirby Sailing Centre
West Kirby Marine Lake, the lake footpath, the sailing centre and the car park next to West Kirby Sailing Centre all remain closed.
The health and safety of residents is a top priority for the council and everyone must continue to follow the social distancing guidelines set out by the government.
With the Marine Lake in particular, having to rescue people out of the water when things go wrong puts staff and other residents in danger – please stay off the water until notified otherwise.
Public urged to be vigilant following grass and gorse fires
Following grass fires in Wirral, residents and visitors are reminded to be extra cautious during this recent spell of hot weather.
- Ensure cigarettes are extinguished correctly and cannot reignite.
- Do not throw cigarette ends on the ground or out of car windows
- Take your litter home with you
- Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires (take them home and recycle them)
- Do not light fires or barbecues in open countryside or woodland – only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and NEVER leave them unattended. Remember, barbecues are not allowed on beaches.
- If you see a fire, report it to the fire and rescue service immediately by calling 999 and give the nearest main road that the fire appliance can access. Apps like What3Words can help to give a more accurate location.
- Don’t attempt to tackle fires yourself – leave the area as quickly as possible.
Discretionary funding support for Wirral businesses
The next round of discretionary funding to support struggling local businesses will open from Friday 5th June.
The Council has received £2.56million; the Government has asked local authorities to give priority to groups of small businesses that are ineligible for current support, namely charities in receipt of charity rate relief, B&Bs which pay council tax, businesses in shared workspaces and regular market traders. Of course, other small businesses, not in these highlighted groups, will also be welcome to apply where eligibility is met.
Coronavirus symptom tracker app: download and join the fight
If you are looking for a proactive way to help in the fight against coronavirus, a new 'symptom study app' has been released to help recruit 'citizen scientists' report symptoms and advance vital research on COVID-19. Learn more about the app and sign up
Mayor gives thanks to care workers on behalf of everyone in Wirral
The Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Tony Smith, has written to the managers and staff of care homes across Wirral to thank them for their incredible dedication and hard work since the pandemic began at the start of the year.
Thursday 28 May update
Food, Drink & Music Festival rescheduled for next year
Wirral Food, Drink & Music Festival has now been rescheduled. The rescheduled date will see legendary Merseyside bands Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), Echo & the Bunnymen, and The Coral continue to headline the award-winning event for an unmissable weekend on 3-5 September 2021.
People who have already bought tickets to the evening concerts will be emailed by Tickets Wirral. For further information, please go to visitwirral.com
Monday 25 May update
Foodbank appeals for donations for emergency food effort
With more and more people once again doing their ‘big shop’ in person, Wirral Foodbank is urging shoppers to consider putting a few additional items into their trolley to donate to those in need in the borough.
Wirral Foodbank has been – and continues to be – a key partner in the Emergency Food Hub operation set up by Wirral Council in conjunction with a range of community food providers to ensure the most vulnerable people receive supplies of a range of provisions during the current crisis. Read more about the work of Wirral Food Hub and how you can donate.
Friday 22 May update
Free school meals provided during half term through council investment
Plans are once again in place to ensure Wirral children who normally get free school meals do not go hungry during the school holidays.
Wirral Council will be providing vouchers for families who receive free school meals to cover the May half term holiday (25th-29th May). The council offered the same support during the Easter holidays earlier this year.
There is a risk that over half term, vulnerable children may go with out a sufficient meal each day. This £163,000 investment will ensure those children are safeguarded and protected. School holidays are not usually covered by the current free school meal scheme.
Council Leader urges residents and visitors to stay home this bank holiday
Thursday 21 May Update
Mental Health & COVID-19: Top 5 tips for staying well
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week has been all about kindness. Now, more than ever, it is so important to check in with yourself and look after your mental wellbeing. Whether you are working from home, furloughed, on the frontline, self-isolating, or juggling little ones and home schooling, our five top tips can help you to stay well. Top 5 tips for staying well
Wednesday 20 May update
Newest guidance on reopening of schools in Wirral
Monday 18 May update
Statement on reopening of schools in Wirral
Wirral Council started a consultation with all stakeholders, including trade unions, professional bodies and parents of children with reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children in order to assess the best way to support the safe return of more children to school. In the next few weeks all childcare providers and schools will be considering how best to operate.
Graffiti and fly posting
Street cleansing services will continue around the borough to ensure litter bins and waste removal is prioritised.
The graffiti and fly posting removal service has fully resumed.
Wirral organisations given cash boost by crowd-funding initiative
A community fund established by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has celebrated reaching its £1 million fundraising target, just a month after it was launched. The LCR Cares crowdfunding page was set up to raise much-needed funds for charities and community groups in the Merseyside region and has so far helped 191 organisations.
Wirral joins Merseyside message to stand strong on stay at home guidance
Local authorities in Merseyside are calling for members of the public to remain vigilant and continue to stay home as much as possible, in light of national changes to the UK’s Coronavirus response.
Tuesday 12 May update
A phased return for garden waste collections
Garden waste collections will make a comeback in Wirral from 19 May as part of a phased return - with a reduced 4-weekly collection service planned initially.
The plan is designed to get things moving and help subscribers with the build up of garden waste, as staff gradually return to work after self-isolation or their shielding period has ended.
Golf courses and Sailing Centre to remain closed for now
All Wirral Council’s golf courses, and the sailing centre will remain closed temporarily.
We have been reviewing the detail from Central Government on reopening certain services. We are working hard behind the scenes to get everything ready, as quickly as we can, while keeping the safety of our staff, residents and customers at the heart of what we do.
Monday 11 May update
In last night’s broadcast to the nation, the Prime Minister proposed a series of steps to ease Britain out of the coronavirus lockdown, beginning with a return to work for some areas of industry and a relaxation of the rules on exercise from Wednesday.
Wirral’s senior leadership team are working through the now published recovery strategy to gauge a better idea of what the plans will mean for our residents.
However, until we have that clearer picture, there will be no immediate new changes to any working arrangements for Council staff. Buildings will remain closed and staff are being told to remain working as they currently are.
The message to residents today is that we must continue to work together to control the spread of the virus to protect both ourselves and our families.
For now, this means residents must continue to
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible)
- Wash your hands regularly
- Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
Thursday 7 May update
New grant scheme launched for childcare providers
A new grant scheme being launched in Wirral will allow childcare providers to apply for up to £10,000 of funding during the coronavirus epidemic. In total, up to £350,000 will be available for providers who meet the eligibility criteria and will help to support Wirral’s key workers and safeguard vulnerable children. More details on the grant scheme will follow.
Mayor of Wirral, Cllr Tony Smith, reflects on the 75th anniversary of VE Day commemorations
On the eve of the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the Mayor of Wirral, Councillor Tony Smith, reflects on the commemorations and the current public health emergency.
Council partners with charity to support BAME communities during COVID-19
Wirral Council is partnering with Wirral Change on an initiative to deliver emergency food hampers to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities across the borough. Wirral Change, a local charity which works with and supports people from racial minority communities in the borough, from this week took on responsibility for putting together and delivering emergency hampers where there is a specific request for certain World food items.
This initiative will join the Council and partner organisations’ wider efforts to try and meet individual needs through the emergency food hampers that are being given to the most vulnerable in Wirral during the current COVID-19 crisis.
First prohibition notice issued in Wirral
A pub in Wirral has been issued with a Prohibition Notice after it was found to be in breach of the coronavirus restrictions. The action followed reports to Merseyside Police that people had been seen gathering outside and drinking inside The Railway Inn, in Port Sunlight.
Wirral Council’s licensing team was contacted and issued the Prohibition Notice following CCTV evidence viewed by Merseyside Police that individuals were found to be drinking in the premises.
Stay alert to fraud and scams during COVID-19
Health Director update: Thank you for distancing - Please keep up the good work
Fostering through challenging times
The need for more foster carers in Wirral hasn’t stopped in light of the current health crisis, with many children still needing loving homes. This is the message from Wirral Council ahead of Foster Care Fortnight which runs from 11- 24 May.
Improvement works take place at Mersey and Ilchester Parks
Improvement works are taking place at Mersey and Ilchester Park from Monday 4 May whilst the parks remain closed to the public, as part of a funding program to improve local parks.
The Secret’s Out - Oxton Gardens are Going Virtual!
One of Wirral’s best-loved events ‘Secret Gardens of Oxton’ was forced to shut its gates to visitors when the country went into lockdown in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. But green-fingered organisers have decided that if people couldn’t come to the gardens this year, then the gardens would come to them! ‘Oxton’s Virtual Gardens’ Facebook page will be made public at 10am on Sunday 10 May and will remain open during the Summer for people to enjoy.
Wednesday 6 May update
Wirral’s youth team resumes work to educate and support young people through COVID-19
Staff from Wirral’s Detached Youth Team have resumed their vital youth engagement work, with a focus on supporting and educating young people who are not following social distancing guidelines.
The Detached Youth Work Team - through working closely with partners to share local intelligence - has identified hotspots in Wirral where young people are congregating. Staff from the team will have a presence in these highlighted areas, where they will encourage groups to follow guidelines to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
Local poets give Wirral a voice in ‘The World in Lockdown People’s Poem’
Wirral’s poets have contributed to ‘The World in Lockdown People’s Poem’, a patchwork style poem that documents the mood of the borough during our lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The stirring, poignant and at times uplifting poem will be launched on May 11 on the ‘World In Lockdown’ Facebook page.
Tuesday 5 May update
Wirral unveils major multi-million pound package to support borough’s care workers
Wirral Council has led the way in recognising the vital work that frontline care staff are carrying out in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost £12 million extra funding is being committed to supporting care workers on the frontline of tackling the coronavirus epidemic in Wirral.
The move includes a long term commitment to extend payment of the Real Living Wage as well as extra funding for domiciliary carers and those working in supported living. Additional payments agreed last month to Wirral care providers to ensure staff are paid the Real Living Wage will now be extended beyond the initial six month period.
Delivering the news to vulnerable people in isolation
Food packages delivered to Wirral’s most vulnerable will now include a copy of the popular newspaper The Metro in a unique collaboration between the council and publisher.
The partnership will help ensure those receiving the vital packages which are helping people self-isolate effectively will also provide them with another route to being kept up to date with news.
Monday 4 May update
Health and social care worker testing by "appointment-only"
From Monday 4 May a Wirral satellite site will continue testing priority frontline staff with COVID-19 symptoms on an ongoing basis from Monday 4th May - on a strictly appointment-only basis.
Merseyside campaign highlights domestic abuse support during COVID-19
Partner organisations across the Liverpool City Region have teamed up to launch a new domestic abuse campaign at 11am today - telling anyone experiencing abuse during the Coronavirus pandemic: #YouAreNotAlone.
Kings Parade, New Brighton becomes ‘health highway’ during lockdown
The council has temporarily closed one lane on Kings Parade, New Brighton (A554) to motor vehicle traffic from the ‘Clown Roundabout’ to the roundabout junction with Harrison Drive.
The move comes as the council responds to a decrease in traffic during lockdown and they’ve been looking to temporarily open up road space for residents to keep healthy during lockdown.
Friday 1 May update
Dedicated helpline set up for Wirral’s young people
In response to the current health crisis a dedicated freephone helpline has been set up by Wirral Council to support young people who may be struggling.
The helpline, which will be staffed by professionals from across the council's children’s services who are experienced in dealing with young people, will be open from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. All calls made to the number will be free.
Children and young people can call 0808 196 4147 to speak to one of the advisors who will be there to take their call. In an emergency always dial 999.
ERIC (large item) collections to resume
The council has announced that the ERIC (large item) collection service in Wirral will resume from Monday 11 May.
The service allows residents to dispose of large or bulky items, such as white goods or items of furniture, without having to leave their home or wait in queues once the tips re-open. People wanting to use the service can book a collection now through the council website. Availability each day is limited, to make sure that Biffa can complete the collections as scheduled. You will be allocated the closest available collection date.
Thursday 30 April update
FREE online fitness classes for all
Wirral Council's own leisure service and the Invigor8 fitness team are offering free online fitness classes through their social media page to allow residents to get fit and healthy at home. There’s around 26 free live fitness classes each week hosted online by an experienced team of fitness instructors and you don’t even have to be a member. The videos stay on the Invigor8 Facebook page too so you don’t have to do it live if life gets in the way.
Innovative hi-tech help for socially isolated people in Wirral
Hundreds of tablet computers have been distributed to people in Wirral who are isolated and alone to allow them to keep in touch with friends and family during the coronavirus lockdown.
Age UK Wirral, Vodafone UK and Wirral Council are working together to distribute more than 250 tablets, each with Vodafone data included to ensure the tablets are ready to be used. The activity is also being supported by The Steve Morgan Foundation, LCR Cares Fund & National Emergencies Trust and Wirral Lions Club who have helped fund the scheme.
Hospital and health care sites are marked to thank NHS workers
L&R Roadlines Ltd, are working with Wirral Council to help mark several hospital sites around the borough with a message to thank NHS workers for their ongoing efforts during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The new road markings, that L&R Roadlines Ltd have installed free of charge to the council, will help to provide a daily reminder to all staff at these hospitals of the huge amount of thanks and gratitude the whole borough is showing towards them, as they continue to look after and keep the community safe.
Closure order after reports of drug dealing at Birkenhead flat
Joint action taken by Wirral Council’s anti-social behaviour team and Merseyside Police has resulted in a closure order being made on a flat in Birkenhead. The order was successfully applied for and obtained at Wirral Magistrates Court on 30th April 2020 under section 76 of the Anti-Social Behaviour crime and policing act 2014 in relation to a flat on The Woodlands in Birkenhead.
Wednesday 29 April update
MOD testing site comes to Wirral
From Thursday 30 April - Saturday 2 May the Ministry of Defence will operate a mobile testing site for essential workers with symptoms of Coronavirus. More information on testing criteria and how to book is available here.
Wednesday 22 April update
Finding calm among the chaos
Wirral Council is inviting people to to tag their Instagram photos with #wirralcouncil to help spread and share some positivity during these difficult times. You can follow the council on Instagram at www.instagram.com/wirralcouncil
Tuesday 21 April update
Keeping kids safe online
With screentime on the rise, five useful tips to help parents and carers keep children safe online have now been published.
Monday 20 April update
Wirral Council is now on Instagram!
Along with news, the council's new Instagram page will feature great photos, videos and inspiring stories, with opportunities to get your pictures reposted.
Flytipping reports surge
As reports of flytipping rise, the council has already removed more than 29 tonnes of flytipped waste since the nation went into lockdown. Officers have .
While acknowledging the difficulties residents are facing managing their waste at this time, the council is warning that it will continue to take a tough line on incidents of fly-tipping and will keep on investigating all reports with a view to prosecuting those responsible. Not only does fly-tipping use valuable resources which could be used to keep essential services going but it also presents a fire risk, a problem the fire and rescue service really doesn’t need right now.
Friday 17 April update
Help is at hand for Wirral residents
Thousands of Wirral residents have already received essential practical support from the Hub during the COVID-19 crisis.
A partnership between the council, Feeding Birkenhead – Supporting Wirral, Wirral Foodbank and other community food providers, the hub is a centralised, coordinated effort to maintain a sustainable food distribution service for our most vulnerable residents for as long as the restrictions and risk remain.
Pedestrians and cyclists get priority at Birkenhead Park
Birkenhead Park will be closed to vehicles temporarily in line with government guidelines.
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the borough has seen an increase in the number of cyclists and pedestrians and the closure aims to keep them safe and reduce the number of people travelling to the park by car. Please do not park or block access to the park gates as emergency services and park staff will still need to maintain access for essential services.
Dog fouling reports increase: please pick up after your dog
Residents are urged to clean up after their dogs after a surge in reports of dog fouling since lockdown began. With council services stretched to the limit as the impact of COVID-19 continues to affect everyday life, it’s never been more important for us all to work together and reduce the strain on resources.
If you are taking your dog out for a walk, make sure you have dog poo bags with you. If you can’t find a bin, or the bin is full, please carry the bag home with you and put it in your green bin.
Live streaming trial at Landican Crematorium
The council is piloting a live streaming trial at Landican Crematorium, enabling families, relatives and friends to say goodbye to loved ones and be able to grieve as they wish to at an already difficult time. Government guidelines on social distancing requires the number of mourners at funeral services to be limited to 15.
Thursday 16 April update
Planning services update
During the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, in order to prioritise services and enable essential work to continue, we have suspended the service for any new pre-application requests until 11 May 2020, when this will be reviewed.
Any planning applications or pre-applications that have already been submitted will still be processed and we are working as hard to complete these and resume services as soon as possible.
Cemeteries and Crematoriums update
To allow adequate social distancing, measures have been taken to protects the safety of residents and staff during this time. Public toilets will only be open during service times, services will all be 20 minutes long and all services will be at a standard rate.
Wednesday 15 April update
Business grants update
The council has now distributed nearly 2,500 grants to local businesses, totalling more than £27m.
We opened the process for applying for grants on the afternoon of Monday 30th March. By Friday of the same week we paid out the first grants.
- By 3rd April – 272 grants were approved, £3.125m paid out
- By 10th April – 2,072 grants were approved, £22.260m paid out
- By 14th April – 2,459 grants were approved, £27.775m paid out
This has been made possible due to teams working together to process these grants, deal with enquiries and coordinate the response. Wirral has been leading the way on this issue, with businesses elsewhere in the city region even contacting Wirral for help and advice, as they have heard how well the team have managed to provide support.
Pay boost for frontline care workers
The council has just committed almost £3m pounds to ensure care workers on the frontline of dealing with the coronavirus are better paid. The authority is using part of the extra Government funding for tackling coronavirus to help bring care sector workers up to the real Living Wage. The aim is to help the care sector keep and recruit staff who are on the frontline of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The council's contracts with care providers will be updated to ensure the additional funding is passed on to frontline staff.
Today marks the 31st anniversary of the Hillsborough stadium tragedy. The flag at Wallasey Town Hall is flying at half-mast and people across the country will be observing a minute's silence at 3.06pm.
Thursday 9 April - Monday 13 April update
Household waste collections
Green and grey bin collections are slightly behind schedule, but bin crews are working hard to ensure all collections of grey and green bins are caught up by Saturday 11 April. Bin crews will still be collecting bins on Good Friday and Easter Monday. Please put your bin out by 7am on your usual day and it will be collected that day or the next.
Emergency food hub
For residents who are in need of emergency food, for whatever reason, use the Emergency Food Hub's online facility.
For further help and advice call our COVID-19 helpline: Mon to Fri 9am - 5pm (open Good Friday and Easter Monday) on 0151 666 5050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 8 April update
Household waste collections resume
Biffa resumed collections of green and grey bins on Wednesday morning, following agreement that the current health and safety measures in place are in line with national guidance for waste collection operatives. Read full details of the catch-up plan here
Mental health support
It is understandable to feel vulnerable or overwhelmed as we hear about Coronavirus in the press, on social media or in conversation. Additionally, staying at home during this time, while it will reduce the spread of the virus, comes with its own unique challenges. It’s important to take time, even little and often, to look after ourselves – especially in times of stress. Here are a few extra tips to help support and manage your wellbeing, while at home.
Support for carers
A range of digital resources is available for Carers to provide some extra help during the coronavirus lockdown. A Carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid necessary care and support for a relative, partner or friend. The care provided could be for someone who is frail, ill or has a disability. Read more about how Wirral Council has joined up with Carers UK to provide a package of support which is free to Carers.
Tuesday 7 April update
Household waste collections
The council has been made aware of a dispute between Biffa and some of their collection staff, that led to a delay in bin collections today. We are continuing to work closely with Biffa in an effort to help them come to a speedy and appropriate resolution so that essential waste collections can resume as soon as possible and we can put arrangements in place to catch-up on any missed collections. In the meantime, residents whose collection has been missed are advised to leave their bin out as they will be prioritised under any catch-up plan.
Monday 6 April update
Support for local businesses
The council is distributing more than £15m of grants to Wirral businesses - helping them to continue through the Coronavirus outbreak. Since we launched the claims process on 30 March, 2,271 businesses have submitted claims via our website, and approved claims were paid out as soon as the Government released the funds last Wednesday. This money is providing relief and reassurance to both business-owners and their employees and staff worked extra hours over the weekend to process the applications as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Beware of scammers
The council is aware that both locally and nationally, scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to carry out fraud. Please be extra vigilant during this time, and make your friends and family aware of the risks. Look out for emails or text messages asking you to click unknown links or open attachments, or if someone gets in touch to say they can offer compensation for cancelled travel or event plans. Fraudsters may also offer you hard-to-get products like hand sanitiser, facemasks or vaccines, or claim to be raising money for charity. If you suspect fraud in Wirral, please report it online or call 0800 731 5783.
If you didn't get chance this weekend, check out the Williamson Gallery's Art & Photography Exhibition for 2020 when you can - it's online this year for the first time. You can even vote for your favourite at the museum website
Friday 3 April update
Hilbre Island closes to visitors
Hilbre Island has today closed to visitors following government guidelines to help tackle COVID-19 (coronavirus). This closure will help the council to prioritise health and safety, observe social distancing guidance, and reduce the spread of coronavirus. Visiting Hilbre Island is considered a non-essential journey, and closing will also help to reduce pressure on essential resources should emergency assistance be required. Parks across Wirral, however, will remain open for people to exercise.
Reminder: Help with paying Council Tax
Announced yesterday, Wirral Council has announced a range of options to support residents who are struggling to pay their Council Tax. The options include spreading the cost over 12 instead of ten payments, applying for Council Tax Support, and a further reduction for working-age residents already in receipt of Council Tax Support. The council has also reminded residents still worried about paying their bill to contact the Council Tax team for advice.
Fly-tippers warned they face prosecution
Having seen a marked increase in reports of fly-tipping across the borough since the nation went into lockdown, Wirral Council is warning it will continue to take a tough line on incidents of fly-tipping and will keep on investigating all reports with a view to prosecuting those responsible. Residents are urged to dispose of their waste responsibly through the regular kerbside collections - or hold onto it until COVID-19 passes. Fly-tipping will never be tolerated, but even less so at this time when all available resources are concentrated on keeping essential services going.
Thursday 2 April update
Birkenhead Market delivering the goods
Birkenhead Market traders are working together to provide home deliveries of essential fresh food to local communities and businesses in need. They’re now serving 300-500 customers each day with fresh fruit, veg, bread, fish and meat with even more calling for home deliveries. A local care home has also used the service after being told they couldn't buy in bulk from a supermarket to feed their service users. Social distancing measures are in place at the market to help keep everyone safe and orders for delivery are taken over the phone.
Help with council tax
The Government has confirmed a £500m national 'hardship fund' to help people who already receive Council Tax Support get a further reduction on their bill. Working-age Wirral residents who receive Council Tax Support will have a £150 reduction applied to their bill automatically, there is no need to apply.
Other support measures in place include:-
- Council tax payments can be made over 12 months, instead of 10, to spread the cost of lower the monthly amount.
- People on a reduced income can apply for council tax support if they have not done so already
Any resident who may be experiencing difficulty in meeting their bills should contact the council as soon as possible.
Domestic abuse support
While residents will be following Government advice and staying home to help reduce the risk of COVID-19, we know there are vulnerable people in our communities who will be concerned about the prospect of staying home – particularly those who are dealing with domestic abuse, violence, and coercive or controlling behaviour.
The council continues to work with Merseyside Police and providers of domestic abuse support to maintain essential services for anyone affected during the weeks and months ahead. Advice and information is available by telephone, text message or online services. Find out more on our Wirral View story. This information is publicly available and can be shared with anyone who may need it.
Wednesday 1 April update
The council is offering extra support to local residents who need to 'shield'. You may have seen information about 'shielding' - this is something put in place to protect people whose health is extremely vulnerable. People asked to shield will need to minimise all interaction between themselves and others, for at least 12 weeks. Residents should have been contacted directly by the Government if they need to shield but the council will also be making contact to offer additional support such as help getting food.
Free school meals over Easter
Last week, Wirral Council stepped in to ensure any child who was entitled to a free school meal would not go without a lunch now schools are closed. This was to bridge the gap until the national scheme from the Government was up and running. The national scheme is now in place but we've extended our commitment to those children to cover what would have been the Easter school holidays. So, any Wirral child entitled to a free school meal during term time, will also get food vouchers or gift cards provided to their family to cover the Easter period as well.
Bonfires and barbecues
The council and Merseyside Fire and Rescue have issued an urgent joint appeal for residents to not light bonfires or barbecues at the moment. Coronavirus can cause significant respiratory problems for people who contract the virus. When they are trying to manage symptoms at home and following health advice by opening windows as much as possible, smoke from neighbouring properties or nearby allotments can cause breathing difficulties to become critically worse.
Tuesday 31 March update
Emergency food hub
Wirral’s new Emergency Food Hub, a partnership between the council and community food providers, has launched an online facility to provide a single point of contact for residents who need urgent help to get food. Residents who are in need of emergency food, for whatever reason. Anyone who is unable to go online, or has problems completing the form, should call the Wirral Coronavirus Helpline on 0151 666 5050.
Wirral Foodbank donations
As the need for food support has increased and donations and supplies have been disrupted, Wirral Foodbank is encouraging shoppers who can spare a few additional items to make a donation at one of their collection points at supermarkets.
Monday 30 March: afternoon update
Garden waste collections
Brown bin collections have been suspended until further notice due to reductions in the number of collection staff and to ensure green and grey bins can continue to be collected without disruption. Green and grey bin collections are now running on schedule and bins should be put out on all residents' usual collection day as normal.
Monday 30 March: morning update
Wallasey Town Hall, Birkenhead Town Hall, Bromborough Civic Centre, Conway Centre, Hamilton Building and Rock Ferry OSS were officially closed from Friday 27 March. Marriss House will close at 5pm today. A review of all buildings will be taken at weekly intervals.
The One Stop Shop at Conway Street is now closed, which means all are closed until further notice. The council's Contact Centre will be operating on reduced hours from today, 9am – 5pm. Click here for the latest updates.
Weekend (28-29 March) update
Emergency Food Hub
The council and community food providers are coming together to make sure vulnerable residents don’t go hungry during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation. A new initiative will see Feeding Birkenhead, Supporting Wirral, Wirral Foodbank and other third sector food providers, coordinating efforts and centralising their bulk food collection and distribution operations at a new Emergency Food Hub, which will be managed by Wirral Council. Further details of Wirral’s emergency food response, including the new arrangements for people to request help, will be released in the coming week.
Support for the self-employed
The council has pledged £100,000 to support self-employed residents during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis while they wait for financial assistance from central government. Anyone looking to apply for help through the Local Welfare Assistance Scheme, should visit the council website and check their eligibility
Support for businesses
From tomorrow, Monday 30 March, businesses will be able to go online to claim cash grants to support them at this time. A one-off grant of £10,000 has been earmarked for all active businesses currently eligible for small business rate relief (SBRR) or rural rate relief to help meet their ongoing business costs. In addition to this, a one-off, cash grant of up to £25,000 will be available for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. Full details of all support measures in place for businesses can be found on the Wirral Council website.
Free school meal vouchers
Wirral children who normally get free school meals will receive vouchers to cover the cost of food, as Wirral Council steps in to ensure no child goes without a lunch now schools are closed. There are plans for a Government scheme to support children eligible for free school meals but it is not yet in place. In Wirral, the council has put its own scheme in place, in partnership with local schools, to bridge the gap.
Allotments remain open and accessible to allotment holders, however if you tend your plot please follow the government’s guidelines on hand washing and social distancing. Allotment holders who are currently self-isolating and/or cannot tend their plot, ‘non-cultivation’ notices and inspections have been suspended until the end of June to ensure your plot will not be taken from you as a result. For those interested in applying for an allotment plot, providing proof of ID ‘in person’ is not required for the period to the end of September 2020, however this will be required retrospectively.
Public Rights of Way
Public Rights of Way remain open however, footpath user paths are asked to follow the latest Government guidance on hand washing and social distancing to protect themselves and others. People should not gather on these paths, Police have the authority to disperse groups and should be informed if happening.
On-street disabled parking bay applications
Any new on-street disabled parking bay (OSDPB) applications have been suspended as applications need to be signed by a doctor and submitted as a paper copy. This will prevent vulnerable and at-risk residents visiting their local GP surgery, Post Office or One Stop shop and will protect them and others during this time. All existing applications registered on the system will continue to be assessed and delivered in line with the agreed criteria.
From Monday 30 March, Wirral Registrars will be closed to the public temporarily. Deaths can be registered remotely by phone.
Some highways inspections will continue to ensure that routes for key workers and essential operations can continue, protecting residents. Please do not approach highway staff whilst they are working - only essential work is being carried out.
Friday 27 March update
Today saw the launch of a new online resource aimed at matching residents with the local support they need during the COVID-19 situation. The Wirral InfoBank website has an easy-to-use search facility, which shows what help is available nearby simply by residents inserting their home postcode.
The new platform will also:
- help people individuals to register to volunteer with local groups and the NHS
- allow community, voluntary and faith groups to tell us how they might be able to help
- register offers of help from local businesses, match their expertise and resources with local need
- signpost to the most up-to-date national health information
The InfoBank is part of a package of wider preparations to focus resources on the most critical services, while ensuring residents get the information they need. It joins the Wirral Coronavirus helpline, launched last Friday for residents. The helpline specifically helps residents who aren’t ‘online’ to access information from the Council and some of its partner organisations.
Crews are working hard to make all brown bin collections by the end of the weekend. Requests for additional brown or grey bins have been suspended until further notice. You can read more here. Advice has also been issued for residents on measures they can take to better safeguard collection crews at this time.
Invigor8 memberships for Wirral leisure centres
All direct debit payments for memberships have automatically been suspended (from 21 March) until Leisure Centres re-open and annual subscriptions will be extended in line with the closure period.
The Council’s tree maintenance contractor, Mancoed, are now only undertaking emergency safety related tree maintenance works in line with the latest government guidance. Tree inspections are essential work and will continue in order to protect the safety of our residents.
Thursday 26 March: afternoon update
Any items or books currently on loan from libraries around the borough will be automatically renewed. Libraries are also offering a number of online services allowing residents to access e-books, newspapers and resources. Library staff are also making phone calls to isolated library users who may not have digital access.
Beware of potential scams
Unscrupulous and heartless scammers are using the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to carry out frauds and scams around the world, including here at home in Wirral. The nature of the crimes ranges from illegal sales, where victims have made purchases online from fraudulent traders, to phishing scams, which use emails or text messages to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing personal information. Read more about how you can take steps to avoid becoming a victim of one of these schemes…
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has been lobbying central government to support the self-employed through this time. They're looking to hear from people in the city region who are freelance, self-employed and sole-traders to understand the impact of COVID-19. Take part in the survey...
Thursday 26 March: morning update
All planned roadworks, major projects and schemes have been suspended - unless they are essential safety works. This has been agreed with our contractors and partners in order to help protect residents and staff. Essential inspections and highway repairs on our roads, footways and streetlights will continue as necessary to maintain safety on the network.
From Friday 27 March, the number of mourners that are permitted to attend a funeral, both burials at graveside and cremations/burials within our chapels (Landican and Frankby) will be reduced to a maximum of 15 people. This is an unfortunate but necessary update to allow for national social distancing guidelines. Non-essential services in this area will be suspended with further changes being made in order to protect the safety of residents and staff during this time.
Wednesday 25 March: afternoon update
One Stop Shops
Due to the number of staff having to self-isolate we will now only be able to offer a One Stop Shop service at the Conway Centre to all Wirral residents. Waiting times will be longer than normal. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Parks: are they open for your hour of exercise?
All public parks are open, but children's playgrounds, enclosed sports pitches, outdoor gyms and Wirral municipal golf courses are all now closed. Please remember to keep two metres apart from others: that’s roughly the width of two park benches or one and a half bikes.
Registrars: Births, Marriages, and Deaths
Wirral Register Office is now only open for death registrations. All birth and notice of marriage appointments have been deferred for the foreseeable future. All marriage ceremonies have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. If you need to contact the register office, please email email@example.com
The government have launched a new WhatsApp service as a trustworthy source to keep you updated on any new Coronavirus news. To use the free service, add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.
Lady Lever Art Gallery
This stunning gallery may be temporarily closed, but you can still enjoy their world class art from the comfort of your own home. Enjoy some of their collections whilst socially distancing.
Wednesday 25 March: morning update
Street cleansing and weeding
Street cleansing services are being prioritised to specific parts of the service and highway weeding is going to be suspended for three weeks as Wirral Council continues to introduce measures to respond to COVID-19 and government announcements.
Grafitti and flyposting
Graffiti and flyposting will only be removed in the next three weeks if it is offensive, while vehicular crossings and access markings won't take place over the same time frame.
Business support grants
Central government have released guidance on businesses eligible for grants to help with staffing costs, VAT, business rates and more to support operations during the current COVID-19 situation.
Youth, adult and visitor services
- Youth Services: All youth hubs, youth clubs and youth outreach has now stopped. We are in the process of working with partners to provide online access to support and activities for young people.
- Adult Care: Day care services have been largely stepped down across Wirral. Wirral Evolutions, who support around 400 people now only have four people who absolutely require this support attending at Pensby Wood for three days a week. Age UK have stopped day care and are focused on providing support for people in their homes, with Council assistance.
- West Kirby Marine Lake: The path around the Marine Lake is closed as the nature of the path and its popularity means it will be difficult to maintain social distancing.
- Visitor Centres: All visitor centres around the borough are officially closed.
- Jobcentres: Now closed. Customers can access support online at dwp.gov.uk In an emergency only, customers can call their Jobcentre directly on the following numbers: Bromborough - 0151 644 4462. Birkenhead - 0151 551 6658 / 0151 268 6395 / 0151 551 8696. Upton - 0151 551 6536
Your NHS needs you
Last night Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock called for an urgent appeal for 250,000 volunteers to support our NHS. If you'd like to join their army of volunteers, please sign up!
We really appreciate everyone's efforts in helping slow down the spread of COVID-19. The easiest way of doing this is to continue socially distancing and avoid non-essential travel. If you must leave the house for food supplies or exercise, please remember to keep 2 metres away from everyone else - this is roughly the length of a surfboard or 2 guitars.
If you or a family member are classed as high risk of severe illness from COVID-19, shielding will help protect your family. This requires the high risk person to stay home at all times and avoid face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks. If you have others in your household who are not at high risk, they are not required to adopt this, but follow guidance on social distancing.
If you want to read your newspaper without leaving the house - now you can!
Wirral Libraries now have full image editions of: The Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, The Daily Telegraph, and The Liverpool Echo as well as text content of all UK newspapers including the Wirral Globe. To access this, log into your library account.
Tuesday 24 March
Public parks and municipal golf courses
All Wirral Council public parks remain open for people to use for one hour of exercise per day. Areas such as children’s playgrounds, enclosed sports pitches and outdoor gyms will be closed until further notice.
It is vital that visits to any of our parks follow the latest government rules, particularly those on social distancing.
All Wirral municipal golf courses are now closed until further notice.
Household waste recycling centres
Following the Prime Minister's latest announcement, visits to household waste recycling centres across Merseyside are closed with immediate effect and until further notice.
Monday 23 March
Catch-up plan for missed bin collections
In light of the Government’s recommendations about social distancing, Wirral Council and Biffa have been working hard this morning to put measures in place to keep bin collection crews as safe as possible while carrying out their duties.
Unfortunately, this has meant that regular collections have not been able to go ahead today as normal. However, collections will resume tomorrow with bins scheduled for collection today instead being collected tomorrow (Tuesday). A full catch-up schedule for this week has been released.
From 4pm today (Monday 23rd March) both Pensby Children’s Centre and Rock Ferry Children’s Centre will temporarily close. This will enable our efforts to be more effective through the following sites:
- Bromborough Children’s Centre (covering Wirral South and Wirral West)
- Seacombe Children’s Centre (Wallasey)
- Brassey Gardens (Birkenhead)
Following Government’s advice and adhering to social distancing and reduced contacts, Children’s Centre sessions will be suspended and the offer to families will be via telephone, email, the MyChildCan and Wirral Council Facebook feeds and websites. More information is available here.
Friday 20 March
Bin collection contingency plans
Contingency plans have been put in place for bin collections to ensure the most vital services are delivered as Wirral continues to manage the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
The council anticipates higher levels of absence as COVID-19 continues to impact daily lives. This means having to prioritise services based on the potential impact on health.
New helplines for residents and businesses
Wirral Council has launched a new telephone helpline for residents and businesses during the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
The helpline will provide a ‘front door’ to advice and support from the Council and its partner organisations, including:
- Residents who need support with their day-to-day needs
- Residents or organisations wishing to volunteer
- Signposting for national health advice
- Support for local businesses and organisations (not just Wirral Chamber members)
- Advice about education arrangements
Limits on number of mourners at funerals
Numbers of mourners at funerals are to be limited as part of measures to tackle the spread of Coronavirus.
The council is now asking families and funeral directors to limit the number of people attending funerals at cemeteries and crematorium to no more than 30 mourners.
Thursday 19 March
Leisure centres to close
All Wirral leisure and sports centres, including West Kirby Concourse, the Oval Leisure Centre, Europa Pools, Leasowe Leisure Centre, Guinea Gap Leisure Centre, Woodchurch Leisure Centre and the Wirral Tennis and Sports Centre, are to close indefinitely after today (Thursday 19th March 2020) due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
As a consequence, all classes and activities - including swimming and tennis lessons - are suspended until further notice. This also extends to our community-based Sports Development sessions and disability programme.
All direct debit payments for memberships will automatically be suspended from 21st March 2020 until Leisure Centres re-open and annual subscriptions will be extended in line with the closure period.
Libraries to close
Wirral Libraries will be closed temporarily from 5pm today (Thursday 19 March) until further notice.
The temporary closure includes all library events and activities. Residents are encouraged to sign up or join online, where they can access a wide range of e-books and e-audio for free. To sign up, they need to fill out a short form giving their name, address, and contact details.
Borrowers who have books which are due back to the libraries during the closure period will have any fines waived.
Chamber launches business support helpline
The government has announced financial measures to support businesses during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Businesses will be able to access some of this support through the council and we are working on providing this support as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, Wirral Chamber of Commerce have launched a helpline for all Wirral businesses and community organisations: please call 0151 650 6982 or email firstname.lastname@example.org