Coronavirus information

Coronavirus - BSL-friendly - advice and how our services are affected

Useful BSL links:

If you wish to have information translated in BSL please take part in the survey.

If you need any support or guidance please contact the Information Officer at Reading Deaf Centre, Marie Oxenham-Hall, - https://readingdeafcentre.co.uk. Contact details: info@readingdeafcentre.co.uk or SMS/Facetime on 07704 687298.

Marie Oxenham-Hall
Marie Oxenham-Hall

We have closed most of our public buildings but will continue to run essential frontline services.

Our priorities at this time are to:

  • ensure continuity of
  • support vulnerable people
  • support the local economy

If you need to contact us please contact the information officer at Reading Deaf Centre  https://readingdeafcentre.co.uk the first instance, this service will support you contacting the council. We appreciate your patience as we deal with enquiries at this busy time. We will prioritise those in most urgent need of our help, and we will respond to everyone as soon as is possible.

Team Reading: Coronavirus response volunteers

We are asking people to sign-up now to join a list of response volunteers who can be called upon to support the activities of local organisations in their response to the coronavirus outbreak as required. Please contact the Information Officer at Reading Deaf Centre if you wish to become a volunteer.

Coronavirus: One Reading Community Hub Support

Hub Support and Volunteer Line 0808 1894325 

Reading Deaf Centre

SMS: 07704 687298

Do you need extra help during the Coronavirus outbreak - or do you want to offer a helping hand? A new Community Hub has been created for Reading Borough Council residents needing additional support during the outbreak or those wanting to volunteer their time or services, and for businesses who have the resources to help support the community.

The One Reading Community Hub is a partnership between Reading Borough Council, Reading Voluntary Action, Reading Deaf Centre and Reading's wide and varied voluntary and community sector.

The public is being urged to only contact the Hub if they have urgent welfare needs which a family member or trusted friend or Reading Deaf Centre cannot help them with. This is so that resources can be directed to the people that need it most at this challenging time. All offers of help and support are welcome from individuals, businesses and other organisations. The Hub cannot provide health advice and will direct customers to NHS 111. BSL Access connect https://interpreternow.co.uk/.

How services are being affected

Adult social care

Face-to-face visits are being limited to essential only. We are making phone assessments where necessary and viable. Most day centres are running as normal. 

Maple Day Centre closed until further notice.

Nursing homes - please contact nursing homes directly for their policies and guidance.

Local services - see Reading Services Guide's Wellbeing Newsletter and latest updates about local services for Covid-19.

Concessionary bus pass travel

For the duration of the coronavirus emergency,

Reading Borough Council is allowing anyone with an elderly persons concessionary bus pass to use this service at any time for free travel on local bus

services, including before 9.30am on Mondays to Fridays. Wherever possible elderly residents should order a food delivery or ask someone they trust to shop for them, but by allowing earlier travel with a concessionary pass we can offer a better option for those who cannot do so.

Libraries

Recorded information for libraries is available on

 0118 901 5950 or info@readinglibraries.org.uk

  • All sites are closed
  • Items can now only be returned at the Central Library bookdrop
  • No items will be due back whilst we are closed. Systems will update soon to reflect this. No fines relating to overdue books will exist
  • All events and rhyme times are cancelled
  • The Home Library service is suspended
  • eBooks, eAudio and eMagazines service unaffected

Waste services

Waste collection crews are taking a number of precautions to help prevent the spread of Covid19, including the use of gloves and regular use of hand sanitiser.

There are further steps everyone can take to help us and help protect our key workers. Please wash your hands before putting your bins out and clean your bin handles before bringing the bin back in. Please do not put out extra waste next to your bin.

If you have had a clear-out please store the waste at your house, in your garden or garage, until the current government restrictions are lifted to reduce pressure on collection crews. This is very important as the recycling centre (tip) is now closed. Waste collections will start from 6am each day rather than 7am until further notice.

Both recycling centres - Island Road, Reading and Longshot Lane, Bracknell - are now closed. This information is correct at the time of recording but is subject to change. Please check with contact the information officer at Reading Deaf Centre  https://readingdeafcentre.co.uk

Bottle and clothing banks - due to increased demand we are increasing collections from the banks. If the banks are too full to use, please take your recycling home and try again when the banks have been emptied. 

Garden Waste Collections

The garden waste collection service restarted as of Monday 27th April. Garden waste subscriptions of residents who had already renewed will automatically be updated to start from 27th April for a full year, with no charges for the period that the service was suspended.

Getting rid of you waste if you are self-isolating or confirmed to have coronavirus

If you have been confirmed to have coronavirus or suspect you may have, you should dispose of waste that is heavily contaminated - such as tissues and cleaning cloths - in a different way than usual:

  • place the contaminated waste in a plastic bag or bin liner, tied securely
  • place this bag in another bag and tie it securely
  • store these bags separately from other waste for at least 72 hours before putting it
  • in with your general rubbish for collection

Financial difficulties

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Officers will be available by phone to provide you with advice and assistance if you are in financial difficulty.

We can help and support you by ensuring that you are receiving all the income and/or welfare benefits that you may be entitled to help you pay your priority bills.

You can contact us on 0118 937 2197 or email debt.advice@reading.gov.uk.

More debt advice

The government is bringing in emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation until the current national emergency ends.

You are expected to work together with your landlord to make an affordable repayment plan for any rent arrears you owe, and to take immediate action to reduce the level of any rent arrears by claiming benefits you are entitled to.

If you are struggling to make rent payments, contact your landlord to let them know as soon as you can and get advice.

Paying for energy

If you have a pre-payment meter and are unable to add credit due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus, contact your energy provider and discuss the options to keep your energy supply. Options include nominating a third party for credit top ups, having a discretionary fund added to your credit, or being sent a pre-loaded top up card.

If you do not have a pre-payment meter and are in financial difficulty, you should still contact your supplier for help. They may be able to reassess, reduce or pause bill and/or debt repayments.

Loan and credit payments

Contact your bank and explain that you are experiencing difficulties due to the impacts of the Coronavirus. Most banks offer a three month 'payment holiday', whilst some will also not charge you for missed payments or accept reduced payments.

If you are experiencing difficulties due to the impacts of the Coronavirus contact your lender and explain your issues.

Most lenders will not charge you for missed payments, some will allow you to increase your credit limit or give you a 'payment holiday'. Be careful when extending your credit limit.

Being paid whilst off work

The government has issued guidance for households with possible coronavirus to stay at home and self-isolate. Contact your employer as soon as you know you are unable to attend work and discuss the arrangements for pay.

Check if your company has a sick pay scheme, you can check this with your manager and details will be in your employment contract.

If you cannot get company sick pay, check to see if you are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay. This is when your employer pays you £94.25 per week whilst you are unable to work for up to 28 weeks. You will be able to receive it from the first day you are unable to work (from 13 March 2020).

Visit www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay for more information.

If your employer asks you not to work and you are not self-isolating, you should receive your full pay.

If you are self employed you are not eligible to receive Statutory Sick Pay, so if you cannot work due to the government guidance regarding coronavirus you may need to claim benefits to increase your income.

Claiming benefits

If your income is disrupted, you need to claim all the benefits your entitled to straight away.

The situation regarding benefit entitlement in relation to the coronavirus is changing day by day, the best way to find out the benefits you might be entitled to is to use an online calculator.

Reading Borough Council has a benefit calculator you can use at www.reading.gov.uk/uc/claiming click 'Universal Credit online calculator', this will check entitlement to all benefits.

If you are already claiming benefits you will need to notify them of your reduction of income so they can be reassessed.  

BSL support for contacting HMRC - https://royaldeaftax.org.uk

If you lose your job

The coronavirus is having an effect on jobs, with some employers are asking employees to take unpaid leave and other employers having to lay off a number of their employees.

If this happens to you, its important that you get all the advice available to you so you can make informed decisions and benefit applications quickly. You can get more information from www.citizensadvice.org.uk and www.acas.org.uk/advice (No BSL translations).

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