Author Archive: southashfordcf

Chair of South Ashford Community Forum

Keep Active

If you are under 70 with no underlying health conditions, you can still be active outside as long as you stay at least two metres (around three paces or six feet) away from other people.

You can walk the dog, go for a run or go for a bike ride – provided you keep your distance.

If you are over 70 and self-isolating, or you are pregnant or have an underlying health condition, but feel well, you can go outside with the same advice of keeping your distance from others.

If you are self-isolating with symptoms, or someone in your household has symptoms, you should not leave your home – but that doesn’t mean you should stop moving. It’s really important to use movement and activity as a way of breaking up your routine, if you feel well enough. Cook, play active games, dance or go into the garden if you’ve got one.

You can find information and guidance for healthy lifestyle choices, and a selection of free apps to download at One You .

If you are unwell – use your energy to get better and don’t try to be active. If you can get out of bed, then do so, but don’t try to do too much.

Finally, if you are feeling better after having had the virus, return to your normal routine gradually. We don’t yet know what the long term effects are but as far as we know, there is no reason why you can’t gently return to normal activity.

Remember, if you go out, you cannot use public gym equipment available in parks and you must not be in groups of more than two people, unless you are with people in your household.

Want to exercise at home?

You can. There are plenty of free resources available for exercising at home:

There are also a huge number of celebrities, musicians, physical trainers and others live-streaming dance parties, workouts and chats while socially distancing – check the social media profiles of your favourites to join in or search on YouTube.

The Body Coach (Joe Wicks) does a daily 30-minute workout for children every morning at 9am on his YouTube channel.

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
https://www.kentcht.nhs.uk/2020/03/25/looking-after-your-mental-health-and-wellbeing/

Mental health and emotional wellbeing

Naturally, you may be feeling worried or anxious due to the unprecedented challenges we are facing.

You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping. You might miss being outside with other people if you are social distancing or self-isolating.

At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which, in turn, can make you feel worse.

There are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically active during this time such as:

  • Look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website.
  • Spend time doing things you enjoy when you have time – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to or watching favourite radio or TV programmes.
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, regularly exercise and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.
  • Keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can or get outside into the garden. You can also go for a walk outdoors if you stay more than two metres away from others.

Further information on looking after your mental health during this time is available below:

If you are feeling worried about what impact self-isolation and social distancing may have on your life, there is a Coronavirus financial help and rights guide available by Martin Lewis. This includes advice about sick pay, mortgages, rental help, energy top-ups, cancelled events and more from Martin Lewis at moneysavingexpert.com.

Live Well Kent is a local online and telephone support service offering guidance and advice about mental and physical health.

Mental health advice for young people

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
https://www.kentcht.nhs.uk/2020/03/25/looking-after-your-mental-health-and-wellbeing/

School closures

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, schools, colleges and childcare providers will be closed to the majority of pupils until further notice. This applies to both state-funded and independent schools.

The reason for closing schools is that the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

Children of critical workers and vulnerable children

Schools and other educational establishments, remain safe places for children. Schools, colleges, nurseries, childminders and other registered childcare settings have therefore been asked to remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children where they can.

Childcare providers, schools and colleges are also encouraged to continue to look after critical workers’ children and vulnerable children throughout the Easter holidays.

The Department for Education (DfE) has published a document telling educational establishments which children should continue to be cared for.

Children of critical workers and vulnerable children whose school is unable to stay open.

The DfE are expecting the majority of settings to stay open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children so they can continue to attend their usual provider, but acknowledge this will be impossible for some – such as small rural schools.

Where a setting is unable to stay open, the DfE will work with the local educational authority, regional school commissioners and neighbouring providers to find an alternative setting for their pupils.

Where the alternative setting is not nearby the Local Education Authority (Kent County Council) will provide transport arrangements to support them.

If your child’s school or childcare setting is closed to you and you need help finding provision at this time please contact:

For nursery and childcare settings:

Email – kentcfis@theeducationpeople.org
Telephone – 03000 41 23 23

For school settings:

Email – emergencyschoolplaces@kent.gov.uk
Telephone – 03000 41 21 21

Department for Education
https://www.gov.uk/…/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Home learning resources

Many schools will be setting some work for children at home, but this may be limited leaving children with time to fill.

We list below some sources of learning activities that can be used at home.

Hungry Little Minds Simple, fun activities for kids, from newborn to five
Kent Children’s University Spring ChallengeDon’t be put off by ‘university’ in the name. These activities are fun for children of all abilities.
KCU’s runs three challenges every year. For spring this year activities have been “designed to support your family with social distancing and self-isolation”.
KCU/CU/TEP Home learning resources Kent Children’s University has been working with other Children’s University managers across the UK, as well as services within The Education People, to create a sizeable resource of home learning activities, Challenge materials and ideas to support children aged 4+ keep creative, entertained, active and busy during these unpredictable times.
BBC BitesizeDaily content that supports you as schools close across the UK, to help you with your education and wellbeing
The Great Indoors Keep your kids learning new skills and having fun (and avoid hearing ‘I’m bored’ from the Scouts
Try this at home Explore nature at home, in your garden or local outdoor space with the Natural History Museum
Science MuseumLearning resources that can be used at home from the Science Museum Group

Social distancing

Reducing the social interaction between people will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is practicable.

The measures everybody should take are:

  1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
  2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
  3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this. Please refer to employer guidance for more information
  4. Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
  5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
  6. When in public places keep at least two metres from people who are not members of your household.
  7. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services

Everybody is strongly advised to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible, but particularly particularly if you:

  • are over 70
  • have an underlying health condition
  • are pregnant

This advice is likely to be in place for some weeks.

Public Health England
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

Coronovirus update

You will have seen/heard that the Government is planning to ask those over 70 to stop social contact for a prolonged period.

The Minister for Health has emphasised that the Government have not yet decided when this period should start. Starting too early will prolong the period that over 70s need to ‘self-isolate’.

Those with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic lung disease and some cancers may be more suscetible to more severe affects of the virus and should take extra care to protect themselves.

For more advice on Coronavirus see our earlier post

Coronovirus latest advice

The Prime Minister, supported by the Chief Scientific Advisor and the Chief Medical Officer announced new measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) this afternoon.

No new restrictions on events were announced. Schools are expected to continue to open as normal, unless advised otherwise by local public health officers.

Stay at home guidance for coronavirus symptoms

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection

  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (See Ending Isolation section below for more information)
  • this action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.
  • plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home.
  • ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.
  • stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible.
  • sleep alone, if that is possible.
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.
  • stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.
  • you do not need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.

Those self-isolating with mild symptoms will not be tested.

Continue to good hygiene practice

The Chief Medical Officer emphasised that the most important thing for individuals to continue to use good hygiene practice previously recommended.

Do
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
Don’t
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

NHS
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

KCC Trading Standards Checked

Kent County Council has launched its Trading Standards Checked scheme for businesses in the home repair and improvement sector.

Trading Standards Checked helps protect Kent residents – especially those who are more vulnerable to doorstep callers – from criminal and rogue traders. It also supports legitimate businesses by giving them trusted accreditation to show consumers that they are legitimate and trustworthy.

Traders applying to be on the scheme are checked thoroughly. KCC has access to information and systems that no other scheme in Kent has, together with highly trained, experienced staff with a range of skills developed in their work supporting KCC Trading Standards.

Mike Hill, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services, said: “Trading Standards Checked is a trusted accreditation like no other for Kent traders.

“It will set businesses apart and give customers peace of mind when dealing with Trading Standards Checked traders. It’s also a simple, hassle free trader scheme that offers value for money and provides businesses with all the support they need to trade with confidence.”

KCC currently has two special offers for traders, which are available until 31 March.

Kent members of Checkatrade are offered free membership for the first year, and non-members of Checkatrade can benefit from an “early-bird” discount of 50%, which means a fee of £249 plus VAT for the year.

Consumer advice is available at:
https://tschecked.kent.gov.uk/consumer-advice

Information for traders at www.kent.gov.uk/tschecked

Kent County Council, 10 March 2020
https://kccmediahub.net/kccs-trading-standards-checked-scheme-launched745

Don’t use Paypal ‘friends and family’

PayPal customers encouraged by sellers to make payments via its ‘friends and family’ option instead of ‘goods and services’ are unnecessarily leaving themselves without payment protection – and some are even losing cash.

PayPal’s system allows users to select between making a payment for ‘goods or services’ – which comes with Buyer Protection should something go wrong – or ‘family and friends’ which is essentially a money transfer and does not offer protection.

In the last two weeks alone, we’ve spoken to several MoneySavers who have been encouraged by sellers to make payments using the ‘friends and family’ option – in some cases by online scammers.

We don’t know for certain why scammers do this, but we believe it’s because it’s harder for shoppers who’ve paid via ‘friends and family’ to get their money back. Legitimate traders can also benefit from being paid via ‘friends and family’ because those who are paid via it aren’t charged a fee, unlike with the ‘goods and services’ option.

However, the message on this is clear and simple: if someone selling you goods or a service asks you to send a friends and family payment, you should refuse. Otherwise you won’t be reimbursed if something goes wrong.

Callum Mason
MoneySavingExpert.com 10 March 2020
https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/paypal-scam-victims-warn-against-fraudsters-who-ask-for–family-/

The Wangiri fraud

Wangiri is a Japanese word meaning ‘one (ring) and cut’.

It’s a telephone scam where criminals trick you into calling premium rate numbers.

A fraudster will set up a system to dial a large number of random phone numbers. Each calls rings just once, then hangs up, leaving a missed call on the recipients’ phone.

How does it work?

A person finds a missed call on their phone. If the person calls the number back they will be re-routed to a premium rate number overseas and will be subsequentlycharged for the expensive call.

What are the signs?

The call…

  • takes place at night or during working hours (reducing the chances for the recipient to answer the call);
  • displays an unusual international country code.
  • rings only once;

What can you do?

  • If you have a missed call from an unknown number, don’t call back.
    A legitimate caller will either leave a message or call back.
  • If you receive several such calls, let your phone operator know.

Europol
https://www.europol.europa.eu/activities-services/public-awareness-and-prevention-guides/telecommunications-fraud