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Coronavirus service updates

This is our rolling blog of news and service updates, which will be updated regularly.

View NHS advice, resident and business helplines and other government guidance on the Wirral Council website

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. 

However:

  • 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. 

The council’s Communications Team and Printing Services have developed a bundle of materials which every setting is entitled to, the cost of which will be covered by the council. It includes social distancing banners, posters aimed at children and young people, staff health posters and floor markings.
 

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.

You can find more information about the scheme and the traffic management that will be in place on wirral.gov.uk.

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.  

Residents who meet the above criteria can apply for a test via the NHS website, and select the Wirral site as an option via the booking process. 

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

An update from Council Leader, Councillor Pat Hacket 

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

Guidance on the most common questions on schols reopening. 

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.

We talk to two Wirral organisations who have benefitted, Wirral Youth Zone (The Hive) and Koala North West.

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

A new section of Wirral Council's website is helping residents and businesses to protect themselves from Coronavirus fraud.

Health Director update: Thank you for distancing - Please keep up the good work

An update from Julie Webster, Wirral's Director of Public Health.

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.

Hillsborough anniversary

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 covid19enquiries@wirral.gov.uk

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.

Online exhibition

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

Shielding

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

Council buildings

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. 

Customer services

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

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.

Registrars

From Monday 30 March, Wirral Registrars will be closed to the public temporarily. Deaths can be registered remotely by phone.

Highways work

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

InfoBank launched

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.

Bin collections

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. 

Tree Maintenance

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

Libraries

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…

Self-employed survey

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

Highways

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.

Funeral services

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 rbdm@wirral.gov.uk

COVID-19 WhatsApp

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!

Social distancing

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.

Shielding

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.

And finally...

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.

For regular updates on household recycling centres, visit the MRWA website or visit the council's 'find a tip' webpage.

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.

Children's centres

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 policy@wirralchamber.co.uk