Coronavirus Frome FAQs

Last updated 19th May 2020

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation progresses, there are many questions and concerns about how the necessary government measures will affect us all. We’ll do our best to answer your questions, and keep this page updated with useful information.

  • How can I help others?

Get to know your neighbours and offer help where needed. There are a number of local charities who will urgently be looking for more help over the coming weeks and months including Active and in Touch and Fair Frome. There is also an online register of volunteers that you can add yourself to here.

  • Is the Town Council still operating?

Yes, we are.  While the Town Hall is closed to the public, Council staff are still working but from home where possible in line with government guidelines.

  • Is Fair Frome still operating?

Yes, although opening hours and services may need to be altered as the situation progresses. For up to date information please visit the Fair Frome website, call 01373 488578 or email info@fairfrome.org

  • I have elderly relatives in Frome who may need help/support, but I’m too far away/in self-isolation, what help is available?

There is currently a lot of work going on to coordinate local volunteers to help support vulnerable people with basic needs such as shopping and prescription collections. We are encouraging people to activate their support network in the first instance.  We are also able to offer those without a support network some services, all the details can be found on our Support Services page.

You can also contact local groups Active and in Touch and Health Connections Mendip for more advice.

  • Where can I find a list of which local shops are still open or offering deliveries?

We’ve updated our directory on Discover Frome with a dedicated COVID-19 shopping page and will be continuing to update this over the coming weeks.  There you can find details of businesses that are still open, delivering food and drink locally, those offering takeaways for collection and delivery as well as which local retailers are operating online.  Please let us know if you are a business and would like us to include you in the listing.

  • I’m unable to leave home/self-isolating, how can I get food/prescriptions?

We are encouraging all Frome residents to get to know their neighbours and be aware of anyone in their street who may need help. Making contact with somebody near by is your best source of support in the immediate future.  You may be able to  sign up for the online prescription service here, and over on Frome Community Drivers website you can find details of how they are helping with prescription delivery or call 07596 591391. We are also offering further assistance on our Support Services page.

  • I’m worried about maintaining good mental health for me and my family during this time, where can I find support?

There are a range of groups and charities who are able to offer remote services to help you through the coming weeks. Visit our Advice & Support for families page for a list of organisations who can help with a range of issues for families and individuals.

  • I am on a zero hours contract and have been laid off, what do I do?

You may be able to claim Universal Credit. To find out more and to check if you’re eligible visit www.gov.uk/housing-and-universal-credit or call 0800 328 5644.  The Government website has guidance for employees.

  • I can’t pay my rent/mortgage, what do I do?

You may be eligible for universal credit to help pay your rent if you are unable to work/lose your job due to the Coronavirus. Please visit the Government website for more information: www.gov.uk/housing-and-universal-credit or call 0800 328 5644.

If you’re a homeowner, you might be able to get help towards interest payments on:

  • your mortgage
  • loans you’ve taken out for certain repairs and improvements to your home

This help is called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). For more information visit www.gov.uk/support-for-mortgage-interest

  • I run an independent business, what help/support is available if I have to close?

We’ve put together some useful links for business owners to help you through this uncertain time.

  • Are bin collections and other council services running as normal?

From Monday 11th May Frome’s Recycling Centre will re-open for essential visits only; specific guidelines and certain restrictions will still be in place. Please find more information on opening times and guidance on our recycling update page.

The Garden Waste kerbside collections will also be reintroduced on Monday 11th May.  Bulky waste collection are still  suspended. Most other kerbside collections are running normally, although some recycling collections may be impacted due to staff shortages.

If your recycling was not collected, please do not leave containers out or report it. Put the boxes and food waste bin out again next week, the waste crew will do their best to prioritise your recycling collections.

It may help crews to rinse containers, squash all but glass and aerosols, flatten all boxes and tear card to fit in boxes, sort-segregate materials without using carrier bags, and put out by 7am. Put all food waste in the food waste bin.

Please check on the Somerset Waste Partnership website for the latest updates.

The Government has also issued specific advice on how anyone with symptoms of the Coronavirus should dispose of their personal waste such as tissues and disposable cleaning cloths, you can also find this advice on the Somerset Waste Partnership website.

  • Is the Citizen’s Advice Bureau open?

Following Government guidelines, Mendip Citizens Advice offices are now closed for drop in sessions.
The team are still available to help over the phone, their advice line number is 0344 488 9623.  They are also offering an email advice via their website: https://tinyurl.com/sr26jko

  • Do I still need to pay my Council Tax?

You will still need to pay your Counctil Tax, you may be able to spread your payment across 12 months if you don’t currently do this, please call Mendip District Council on 0300 303 8588 to see if this is possible.  Alternatively, there is a hardship fund available for people to access if you are struggling to pay due to financial hardship

  • Will local public transport services continue to run as normal?

Some bus and train services have been and continue to be reduced. We’ll be updating our Public Transport page as and when we receive new information. You can also find regular updates on the Frome and Villages Bus Users website and GWR.com.

  • I am concerned about domestic violence

SIDAS (Somerset Integrated Domestic Abuse Service) can support anyone effected by domestic violence (which is likely to increase over the coming weeks).  Their number is 0800 69 49 999  and is available 8am – 8pm or email heretohelp@livewest.co.uk.  More information can be found on the SIDAS website.
Moving to a friend’s address for several days to allow a “cooling off” period following arguments at home or if you are feeling unsafe is allowed during this period.  Additionally, those living with domestic abuse can access safe spaces at Boots pharmacies.  Those needing help can ask staff at the counter to use the consultation room, where they will be able to contact services for help and advice.

  • Are the parks and green spaces still open?

Our parks and green spaces are still open. This is in line with the Government’s current advice; which you can find here.

We will be aiming to keep on top of our grass cutting, but please be aware that our Rangers are no longer working in the parks and green spaces on a day to day basis.

Because of this, if you see something that might be a problem – let us know by calling 01373 465757.  That way, we can look at it and can complete any emergency works that have to happen.

Please look after yourselves and others by following the latest advice:

  • Stay at home – no unnecessary journeys or social contact
  • You can carry out unlimited exercise per day following social distancing guidelines
  • Please go alone or only with members of your household. You are now allowed to meet one other person from a different household outdoors – following social distancing guidelines
  • When you’re out, keep at least 2m (6.5ft) apart from anyone not from your household
  • What about play areas – and places like the skatepark?

As shown above, the Government’s advice on play areas and outdoor gyms is very clear: these should remain closed.

There are two main reasons for this:

  • These both have a higher risk of close contact;
  • And a higher risk of people touching (shared) surfaces

As such, all of our play areas and our play equipment remain closed until further notice.

In conjunction with the local Police, we are keeping these spaces closed as well:

  • The outdoor gym at the Old Showfield
  • The outdoor gym at Tower View
  • The pump track at Welshmill
  • The skatepark at Mary Baily
  • The multi-use sports court at Mary Baily

These spaces remain closed because of how difficult is it for people to keep the recommended distance from each other while they’re using these spaces; and because there have been a number of reports of large numbers of people gathering in these spaces not following the guidance about distancing and meeting up with people from other households.

The public toilets in Victoria Park also remain closed .

  • Are the tennis courts open, I’ve seen people playing on them.

The tennis courts on Mary Baily are now open for bookings again but restricted play must be adhered to. Please find detailed information from the Lawn Tennis Association and see further details here.

  • Is the leisure centre open? What about other venues and community groups?

In line with the latest Government advice, leisure facilities are still closed.

  • Can I still go to my allotment?

There are no plans to close the town’s allotment sites, and the Government has suggested that this is viewed as your exercise for the day.

People will still need to be mindful of social distancing while they’re out; and the Allotments Association has local guidance in place at the various allotment sites, including limited parking. Where there are gates or padlocks involved in entering the allotments, then please think about good hand hygiene.

  • What should I do if I see someone not following the Government guidelines?

We should all be following the latest advice on the Government’s website regarding staying home and social distancing. If you feel that individuals or businesses are not following the guidelines and are putting themselves and others at risk you can report it on the Avon & Somerset Police website.

We will keep these pages updated with where help is required and how you can get involved. Somerset County Council also has a Coronavirus latest updates page providing information from the county-wide services they run and support.

If you have a question that we may be able to help with please email info@frometowncouncil.gov.uk

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