News

Financial support for businesses during lockdown

Financial support for businesses during lockdown

Financial support is still available for eligible businesses significantly impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place.

There are three schemes being administered by Folkestone & Hythe District Council on behalf of central government during the third national lockdown:

  • Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG)
  • Closed Business Lockdown Payment
  • Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG)

Cllr David Monk, F&HDC Leader, said: “This money is a crucial lifeline for businesses currently unable to trade as they usually would.

“This is about supporting our local economy as best we can right now. We have been working hard to ensure this funding is getting to the businesses which provide much-valued products and services to residents across our district in a timely manner.

“It’s been fantastic to hear such positive feedback ranging from small traders to bigger businesses with larger overheads. Many have said the grants have made this current situation less stressful and acted as a real lifeline during lockdown periods.”

While more information about all of the support available can be found at folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/covid-19/business-support, here is a basic breakdown of the three:

Local Restrictions Support Grant

This is aimed at businesses which have been legally required to close due to localised restrictions and are business rate payers. Where possible, we have contacted eligible businesses.

For those who have successfully applied for an LRSG in the past, subsequent grants will be paid automatically when applicable – meaning you do not need to fill in any further forms at this stage.

More than £2.25 million has been issued for the second national lockdown, as well as the Tier 3 and 4 restrictions, since the beginning of November.

For more information, visit folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/local-restrictions-support

Closed Business Lockdown Payment

This payment was introduced by central government for the national lockdown beginning 5 January. It is only for those who are legally required to close and are business rate payers.

All eligible businesses that have already applied for an LSRG for the national lockdown period in November 2020 period will automatically receive this additional grant.

For more information, visit folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/local-restrictions-support

Additional Restrictions Grant

This is discretionary grant is available for businesses which have been impacted by the national lockdowns but have not been legally required to close or are not business rate payers.

To be eligible for this grant businesses need to have been significantly impacted (at least 25%) and incurred fixed business costs that cannot be cancelled.

This scheme is paying awards equivalent to the LSRG and Closed Business Lockdown Payment available to businesses legally required to close and are business rates payers.

To date, the council has received around 335 ARG applications with some 136 approved. The grant funds awarded so far total more than £1.2 million – which is around 55% of our original allocation from central government.

For more information, visit folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/additional-restrictions-grant

Posted by Tim Prater in News
Civic Centre site in Folkestone to be used for Covid Vaccinations

Civic Centre site in Folkestone to be used for Covid Vaccinations

The Civic Centre site in Folkestone is due to be used as a vaccination centre against COVID. Residents will be invited to get the vaccine when it is their turn and advised where they should attend to get their jab.

The Folkestone & Hythe District Council owned site is going to be part of the massive immunisation rollout of the COVID vaccine when it becomes operational as a vaccination centre later this month.

Vaccinations will take place in the car park of the site.

The Civic Centre site will predominantly cater to patients from the following GP surgeries: The New Surgery, Guildhall Street Surgery, Sandgate Road Surgery and Manor Clinic.

Oaklands Medical Centre is another vaccination hub in the district catering to patients of Sun Lane Surgery, White House Surgery, Oaklands Health Centre, Hawkinge and Elham Surgery, The Folkestone Surgery, Folkestone Health Centre and New Lyminge Surgery.

The vaccinations are being given to certain individuals first in line with the national priority list. You will be invited to attend when it is your turn to be vaccinated.

Please do not turn up on site or ring the site as you may hamper the vaccination effort and will not get a vaccination without an invitation.

Cllr David Monk, Leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide the use of the Civic Centre site. This vaccination programme is crucial to us being able to get back to normal. It’s important we all take up the offer of this protection and I am eagerly awaiting my own invite to get vaccinated.”

In addition, Folkestone & Hythe District Council proposed the use of Folca – the former Debenhams building – before Christmas. Officers have been working hard to explore plans and practicalities with the NHS Kent Community Health Foundation Trust ever since and continue to do so.

A service for the Romney Marsh area is also in the final planning stages. Subject to being approved a service at Lydd Airport is expected to open in the week of 18-24 January (exact date to be confirmed).

For more information about other vaccination sites, please visit kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/covid19vaccine

Posted by Tim Prater in News
Sandgate Library: STILL at your service

Sandgate Library: STILL at your service

Despite the national lockdown, Sandgate Library continues to offer a limited book “Select and Collect” pick up service.

Folkestone, Cheriton & Wood Avenue Libraries are at present all closed but it is possible for library members of any Kent library to make use of the Select and Collect service at Sandgate Library.

Sandgate Library is open for a Select and Collect service on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10.00-12.00. Collection by appointment only.

Please phone 07552 810271 Monday-Friday 10.00-12.00 (closed Weds) or email sandgate.Library@kent.gov.uk to place Select and Collect orders directly with library staff and to arrange a collection time and date.

Bookshelf browsing and use of computers and WiFi are currently unavailable until further notice.

Due to the national lockdown, Kent Libraries have made further changes to the service. Although you cannot enter our library buildings at the moment, from today (Monday 11 January) they will continue to provide:

  • Select and Collect book bag pick-up service at several libraries (including Sandgate, Hythe, Ashford and Dover locally). You can order titles that are available at your chosen Select and Collect library for free. You can then pick up your bag of books at the doorway in a Covid-secure way, via pre-booked appointment. Find out more at www.kent.gov.uk/selectandcollect
  • Reservation service for specific titles from the catalogue at a charge of 80p (for doorway collection at a Select and Collect library)
  • Digital offers – including e-books, e-audio books, e-magazines, e-newspapers and the online reference library – are always available on their website
  • Online learning resources and free access to a number of Cisco courses
  • Ask a Kent Librarian support including 24/7 chat service – www.kent.gov.uk/askakentlibrarian
  • Mobile libraries – which will continue the Select and Collect pick-up service
  • Home Library delivery service to vulnerable customers
  • Kent Archives will continue to offer a remote enquiry service while the search room is closed.
Posted by Tim Prater in Library, News
Coronavirus vaccine scams warning

Coronavirus vaccine scams warning

Action Fraud has received reports from members of the public who have been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS, offering them the opportunity to sign up for the vaccine. The texts ask the recipient to click on a link which takes them to an online form where they are prompted to input personal and financial details. In some cases the online form has looked very similar to the real NHS website.

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/alert/coronavirus-vaccine-scams-warning

How to protect yourself:

In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the National Health Services of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

– The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.

– The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.

– The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.

– The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.  

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to report@phishing.gov.uk. Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Posted by Tim Prater in News

The Diary of a Community Garden Aged One and Three-Quarters

Since the launch of the Sandgate Community Garden in Saga’s Enbrook Park in May 2019, founder member and driving force Leonie Wootton has written a weekly diary on the progress made, and works “to do” for the garden.

Sunny morning on Sandgate Community Garden

With Leonie’s agreement, we’ve created a Sandgate Community Garden page with a full archive of all of all her diary entries to date. We’ll be keeping it updated with new entries weekly from now on.

Get involved and learn more about Sandgate Community Garden, its diary and the ongoing development of the site: the many successes, volunteers, occasional disasters, more than a few bugs, food (especially cake), beer, huge range of produce and flowers, birds, bees and more!

Posted by Tim Prater in News
Covid-19 GP Vaccination Centre Confirmed

Covid-19 GP Vaccination Centre Confirmed

Folkestone Civic Centre has been confirmed as the Covid-19 Vaccination Centre for Folkestone and Sandgate’s The New Surgery, Guildhall Street Surgery, Sandgate Road Surgery & Manor Clinic.

Vaccinations will start week commencing 11 January.

There is more information at http://www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/your-health/coronavirus/covid19vaccine

This location does not offer a drop-in vaccination service. All vaccinations are arranged in advance through invitation based on the national priority groups. Please wait to be contacted for when you can get the vaccine.

This is the GP led vaccination service centre. There are also plans to set up mass vaccination sites across the County, each offering up to 3,000 vaccinations a day, and announcements on the sites for them will follow as soon as the locations are confirmed.

Posted by Tim Prater in News
Light Up Sandgate for Christmas 2020

Light Up Sandgate for Christmas 2020

Thank you to all those local businesses and residents that have taken the time to add a little more sparkle to Sandgate this Christmas!

Our judging panel visited every road in Sandgate on 18th December, and saw hundreds of fantastic decorations. However, in their completely subjective opinion, they awarded prizes too:

The Dog House and the Providence Inne on Sandgate High Street for best business decorations, and a “Commended” to Acula Creations for their window display.

Houses in Highland Close and The Crescent for their residential decorations, and a commended in Wilberforce Road.

And a big well done to Enbrook Valley and Bybrook Field for the joint efforts in both!

Again – thanks to all that have decorated their place in any way, and a very Happy Christmas. You can see more on the Light Up Sandgate for Christmas Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LightUpSandgate

Posted by Tim Prater in News
A Christmas Message from Sandgate Parish Council

A Christmas Message from Sandgate Parish Council

I’ve been blown away by our community in 2020. Families shopping for neighbours, people volunteering at Community Hubs, collecting for charity, bringing a little light into people’s life. Local businesses that have adapted so fast to find new ways to survive and serve.

It takes pressure to make diamonds. There’s been such huge pressure, and Sandgate has shone. Thank you all.

I was honoured to be elected as Sandgate Council Chairman in May, succeeding Robert Bliss. We expected he’d be around to give us guidance, and to gently tell me off, for years. Tragically that wasn’t to be, and Robert passed away in August. We all miss him.

Despite the challenges Sandgate has still got things done.

Being the only “locally run” Kent Library allowed us to reopen Sandgate Library in September where many others could not. Although Lockdown 2, and Tier 3, have added challenges, we remain open for click and collect services.

We’ve taken management of Fremantle / Enbrook Valley Park from the District Council, enhanced the maintenance and facilities and shown that bit more TLC.

Our new Sandgate CCTV system, covering our shopping areas and Sandgate Park, is now operational. It should make our already safe area feel even safer.

And through the year, I’ve been humbled that so many people took some time to remember on VE Day, VJ Day and Remembrance Sunday. We did not, and will not, forget.

Thanks to Leonie Wootton and the Sandgate Community Garden team who’ve delivered projects including the Community Garden in Saga’s grounds and planters in Sandgate High Street, Golden Valley parade, Fremantle Park and the Esplanade. I was delighted to deliver to Leonie the KALC Community Award 2020 that she so deserved.

Finally all best wishes for Christmas. Here’s hoping that 2021 brings health, happiness, vaccinations, and time with those we love.

Tim Prater, Chair, Sandgate Parish Council

Posted by Tim Prater in News
Census 2021 will provide a snapshot of modern society

Census 2021 will provide a snapshot of modern society

Households across Folkestone and Hythe District will soon be asked to take part in Census 2021.

The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives us the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. It has been carried out every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941.

It will be the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets.

“A successful census will ensure everyone from local government to charities can put services and funding in the places where they are most needed,” Iain Bell, deputy national statistician at the Office for National Statistics, said.

“This could mean things like doctors’ surgeries, schools and new transport routes. That’s why it is so important everyone takes part and we have made it easier for people to do so online on any device, with help and paper questionnaires for those that need them.”

Census day will be on March 21, but households across the country will receive letters with online codes allowing them to take part from early March.

The census will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. And, for the first time, there will be a question asking people whether they have served in the armed forces, as well as voluntary questions for those aged 16 and over on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Results will be available within 12 months, although personal records will be locked away for 100 years, kept safe for future generations.

For more information, visit census.gov.uk.

Leigh Poppy – Census Engagement Manager for South East Kent

Posted by Tim Prater in News
Stronger Kent Communities: 2021 Training Course and FREE Coaching for Community Groups and Organisations

Stronger Kent Communities: 2021 Training Course and FREE Coaching for Community Groups and Organisations

Interim Stronger Kent Communities CEO, Claire Haffenden, is running the below fundraising sessions. Marketing sessions are run by a variety of Kent-based professionals.

Fundraising

SKC Introduction to Grant Making Trusts: Aimed at beginners; this interactive webinar will introduce you to the theory behind writing a good funding application. Thursday 21 January. £15. Book your place: https://bit.ly/2HzqRmk

SKC Getting Started with Fundraising Planning: This online session looks at how to create a fundraising plan. Thursday 4 February. £15. Book your place: https://bit.ly/2VesNUN

SKC Demonstrating Impact: This online fundraising session will give you the tools to measure your impact more effectively. Thursday 11 February. £15. Book your Place: https://bit.ly/33cQd0Y

Feedback:

“I found the course very informative and have recommended it to others”

“It has taken years for me to have this subject explained so clearly”

“Very informative at an easy to follow pace :)”

Marketing

NEW: SKC Introduction to Social Media: This interactive online session will look at what platforms to use, how to use them and why / what they are good for. It will cover the basics such as hashtags and tagging. It will also look at how to speak to different audiences on your social media platforms, such as funders and beneficiaries. It will focus on facebook, twitter and linked in, but also look at instagram and youtube. Tuesday 9 February. £15. Book your place: https://bit.ly/3722h7w

NEW: Getting Your Stories in The Media online WORKSHOP: Faye Smith is running a follow up to her popular taster training session. During this two-hour workshop, attendees will have a chance to develop story ideas and media pitches for their own organisation and to share ideas. There’s some homework in advance to get the most out of this session. Tuesday 16 February. £15. Book your place: https://bit.ly/3l69wzg

NEW: Taking Photographs to Promote your Organisation: Kent-based photographer, Ed Thompson, will show you practical tips on image capture, thinking about style and branding and permissions – all key elements of promoting your organisation on social media, websites and in the press. A good image sells a story. Photography tips will work for those capturing images on a smart phone, so its something that can be done with minimal equipment. Ed is used to working with the voluntary sector and everyone from staff to volunteers will be encouraged to think about taking photographs to promote their organisation. Tuesday 23 February. £15. Book your place: https://bit.ly/2KwHpwm

NEW: SKC Tips and Tools for Editing and Archiving Promotional Photographs: This interactive webinar will cover editing and archiving photographs so you have promotional images at your fingertips. Editing tips and tools will work for those working with minimal equipment such as a smartphone. Everyone from staff to volunteers will be encouraged to contribute to your archive of photos, images will be easily uploaded and stored – and accessible by those with permission. Tuesday 9 March. £15. Book your place: https://bit.ly/3pZZ3ci

Please note:

If the £15 training fee is prohibitive, then please get in touch and we may be able to help.

Let us know if you were interested in our SOLD OUT free sessions SKC Marketing for Small Organisations, SKC Introduction to Fundraising, SKC Digital Fundraising Forum and we may be able to run them again.
Find out more

Free Coaching

Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund, we are delighted to provide up to 5 hours of free one-to-one advice from our professional partners to small groups and organisations. This service will be available until the end of March 2021.

Our professional partners are experts on charity registration, business and financial planning, marketing, fundraising and much more. If there is something that you need help with, we will try to match you with an expert who can provide you with the advice and support you require.

Find out more.

The Stronger Kent Communities website has been refreshed and includes information on specialist volunteering, coaching, training and web resources so do take a look https://strongerkentcommunities.org.uk/

Posted by Tim Prater in News