Keep in touch here with the reaction of Uckfield businesses and residents to the Coronavirus pandemic. This story will be updated during the course of the day.
Update at 3.10pm: East Sussex County Council says: “Be aware of people offering shopping or medication collection services. Don’t assume everyone is genuine. It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.”
Update at 2.18pm: Wealden Police say in posts on Facebook and Twitter that they are visiting beauty spots, car parks, and around towns and they are pleased to see Uckfield listening to Government advice.
Update at 10am: Uckfield Town Council ground staff have seen a few incidents of fly tipping around Uckfield since recycling centres closed and the council is appealing to residents to resist doing that.
Town clerk Holly Goring said: “In these unprecedented times, we are all in the same position. I would ask people to be considerate and as soon as the household waste centres are open again we will be able to safely dispose of our waste.”
Uckfield Chamber of Commerce
Uckfield Chamber of Commerce is staying in touch with members, many of whom are working from home during the pandemic.
The organisation has set up a new way for members to engage via Twitter through #UCCHour every Friday at 11am. To take part all you have to do is use the hashtag, above, then follow the conversation as it progresses.
The Chamber says: “During these challenging times, businesses can benefit from sharing their content on as many social media platforms as possible.
“So, whether you are an ‘old hand’ with hundreds or thousands of followers, or whether you are new to Twitter, we’d love you to join us each Friday.”
Chamber secretary Ian Noble says, following a conversation with Wealden Police inspector Jon Gross, that businesses should be aware that with the shift to people working from home, break-ins are more likely to shift towards vacant commercial premises that would usually be occupied during the working day.
“Fortunately, to date, there have not been any incidents in North Wealden, although we should all be aware of the threat and report anything unusual via 101 or online.”
In addition Ian says Wealden Council has provided Keep your Distance poster designs for business use which are available for any businesses which would like to use them.
Wealden Council is publicising support offered to businesses affected by COVID-19.
A crisis fund of £47 million is available to support Wealden businesses, and grants of up to £25,000 are available to those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
Any small business that already pays little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief, Rural Rate Relief and Tapered Relief, is eligible to apply for a one-off payment of £10,000.
Wealden is able to accept applications for grant funding with details available here.
Council leader Bob Standley says: “Business rates for many Wealden businesses have already been suspended for the 2020-21 tax year, and we hope that this additional support will go some way to help prevent closures and redundancies.
“We urge as many eligible businesses as possible to apply for this one-off grant funding to help support and secure their future in the aftermath of Coronavirus.”
There’s more advice for business on the Wealden website here.
People concerned about paying council tax because of the effects of social distancing on their income are asked to email Wealden Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It might be possible for payments to be deferred for a number of months or for people to make a claim for council tax support, or apply for financial help from the Department for Work and Pensions.
Find more information on the Wealden website here.
Help for the isolated
Community hubs have been set up across East Sussex to provide extra support for people feeling isolated, anxious, or unwell at home during the pandemic, who don’t have anyone to help.
One of the hubs is operated through Wealden Council and can be contacted by calling 01323 443322.
The hubs are a partnership between the voluntary sector, the health service, county council and district and broody councils.
Help might include connecting you with:
- local voluntary group to pick up food or medicine for people
- volunteers to talk to people who feel isolated
- access to food banks
- health provider to consider treatment
- advisers on finance, benefits or other welfare measures.
Read more on the East Sussex County Council here.
Remember food outreach service
Remember there’s a food outreach service operating in Uckfield, Buxted, Framfield, Blackboys, and Palehouse Common, for people in isolation an unable to get their own supplies. There’s more information here: Uckfield Coronavirus contact details for over 70s and vulnerable food boxes