E-Bulletin from 5 May 2020

Information published on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it is affecting our services.

Learning at home update

Home learning is continuing across West Lothian and we've heard from three more schools on how pupils and staff have been getting on.

You can read an update from West Calder High School, St Kentigern's Academy and Deans Community High on Learning at home

International Workers Memorial Day

A one minute silence took place on Tuesday 28  April to mark a worldwide day of remembrance for International Workers' Memorial Day.

International Workers' Memorial Day takes place annually around the world on 28 April as an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made unwell by their work.

The day is an opportunity to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace incidents and ill health and to promote campaigns and union organisation in the fight for improvements in workplace safety. The slogan for the day is Remember the dead - Fight for the living.

This is especially relevant this year as the coronavirus outbreak presents a new threat to workers looking to carry on delivering essential services

Social Care recruitment continues

A campaign to recruit more people into social care in West Lothian is continuing.
Anyone looking for further information on the available positions or to apply please visit the following page on Social Care Job opportunities

Food fund launched

West Lothian Council is investing over £1 million to ensure local households in need get access to food.

The West Lothian Food Fund has been set up to co-ordinate the area's share of the Scottish Government's £70 million Food Fund. It aims to support those most in need, who are not part of the shielding programme and, who are experiencing barriers to accessing food through the usual routes.
This includes people with coronavirus symptoms and their families, financially at-risk families, older people, those with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and marginalised households.
Families with children who are eligible for free school meals will continue to be provided with school meals.  This includes either a packed lunch or hot meal to go, breakfast cereal, milk and a snack.  In addition, the council will provide a £10 payment per child, per week to support eligible low-income families. This money will be paid into their bank account fortnightly.

Further information can be found on £1 million to ensure access to food

Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund (NSEHF)

Additional financial help is now available to help self-employed people in West Lothian.
Individuals who started their own business in the 2019/20 tax year (April 2019 - March 2020) can now apply for a one-off hardship payment of £2,000 if they are suffering financial hardship due to Covid-19.
The funding has been available via the Scottish Government's Hardship Fund. West Lothian Council is administering the application and distribution process in West Lothian. Find the criteria and how to apply by visiting Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund (NSEHF)

Scottish Canals issue towpath advice

Scottish Canals have issued guidance for anyone using the canal towpath as part of their daily exercise.

They have placed posters at various locations as a reminder and are asking that people refer and follow the guidance as well as following a checklist which is available on Scottish Canals website

Grass cutting to resume in priority areas only

Essential grass cutting tasks are being reinstated on a prioritised basis by West Lothian Council following the COVID-19 outbreak.

The work is being undertaken to protect key open space assets, with a number of other councils in Scotland carrying out similar work.

Ground Maintenance was not considered as a key service during the initial lockdown process and many staff members were either redeployed to other essential service areas or are self-isolating.  However the council has inspected a number of its open spaces and believes it is important that some grass cutting and other essential maintenance tasks are reinstated on a phased basis as soon as possible.

The main reason to reinstate grass cutting in some areas is to ensure minimal maintenance is carried out to prevent irretrievable asset deterioration. 

Maintenance will resume on council owned golf courses and bowling greens, school grounds, football pitches and large parks, roadside verges and other large grass areas across West Lothian.

All cutting will be carried out in line with guidance on social distancing to protect staff and members of the public. The council has stressed that this is not a complete return to normal standards.

The council will put measures in place to ensure that the service is delivered in line with guidance on social distancing for staff and members of the public.

Weed management operations remain suspended, but will reviewed on a weekly basis, with a limited service an option where essential. The staff recruited for the Garden Maintenance Scheme, which was due to start on 6 April, have been re-deployed in Waste Services and the scheme remains suspended