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02 April 2020

COVID-19 Multi Agency Update - Wednesday 1 April

Cumbria County Council

KEY MESSAGE: New emergency support line launched for vulnerable people needing urgent help

Cumbria County Council and partners launched a new emergency support service this week for people at high risk of becoming seriously ill, as a result of COVID-19, and who do not have support available from friends, family or neighbours. Please include reference to the telephone number and email address as much as possible in all CV-19 related coverage. Graphics are attached to this release which can be used on social media.

Those at high risk include people over 70 years old, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions who should be protecting themselves by staying at home. The majority of these people will already be receiving support from family, friends or local voluntary groups with tasks like shopping or collection of medicines if they require it. But we know that a small number of people will not have this support. If they have no alternative, these people will now be able to call the Freephone number to request help with getting food, medicines, essential supplies and home deliveries.

Cumbria County Council has been working closely with District Councils, Cumbria CVS, Cumbria Community Foundation, community and voluntary sector, private sector and military to establish these new arrangements. To support the new helpline every area is coordinating a supply of essential food, medicines and supplies which can only be accessed via the emergency helpline or email. The requests received asking for help will then be matched with local support and supplies being offered by community groups, volunteers, councils and businesses.

The Emergency telephone support line is 0800 783 1966.

Or you can email your request for help to COVID19support@cumbria.gov.uk.

Further details about this support service can be found online at Cumbria.gov.uk. The telephone ‘call’ centre will operate Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5pm and 10am to 2pm at weekends. The service will also accepts referrals from members of the public who may be concerned about people in their community.

Cumbria is already seeing widespread community and voluntary sector support for the response to COVID-19 and informal support, including neighbourhood WhatsApp groups and community Facebook groups, alongside a commitment from existing community emergency planning groups, local churches and faith groups and formal voluntary sector organisations who are working with the county council and partners including District Councils and NHS.

Cllr Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said:

“People who are self-isolating or shielding must not go out to get food shopping, many of these people have good support networks who they can rely on forthe delivery of food, medicines or essential services and supplies. But for those who don’t we are launching the new emergency support helpline.

“We want to reassure the public that we are ready to provide support to our most vulnerable residents who may not have friends or family available to help them."

Cllr Deborah Earl recorded a short video to launch the emergency support line. This is available to view and share from the council’s Facebook page here.

Carolyn Otley, Cumbria CVS, Chair of Community Resilience Group:

“It is important to speak to others and ask them to help you to make arrangements for delivery of food, medicines and essential services and supplies, and look after your physical and mental health and wellbeing.

“It’s been reassuring to see there is already widespread community and voluntary sector support for the response to COVID-19 across Cumbria. We all must continue to work together to help those who are isolated or at high risk.”

The helpline will also accept referrals from members of the public who may be concerned about people in their community.

For up to date information on COVID-19 in your area, please go tocumbria.gov.uk/coronavirus/communities.asp.

Statement from Colin Cox, Director of Public Health

On the rate of CV-19 cases in Cumbria

“This current rate of positive COVID-19 cases in Cumbria appears high compared to the national average; however these figures need to be treated with caution.

“The figures do not represent the actual number of cases of COVID-19 in the county. Testing is still mainly being done in hospitals at the moment; but the majority of people with symptoms are not in hospital so are not being tested. The number of positive tests is therefore just a small proportion of the probable actual number of cases. This is the same across the whole country.

“Because testing is not widespread in our communities, the number of positive tests reported depends very much on the number tests carried out. This varies across different parts of the country. Cumbria is likely to have done more tests per head of population than in other places, so is likely to have more positive tests per head of population.

“Cumbria also had its first cases quite early. There were only 24 cases in the whole country by the end of February; Cumbria’s first cases were identified on 3 March. This means that it is inevitable that Cumbria is slightly ahead of the pattern being seen in the country as a whole. It is also possible that the epidemic in Cumbria will peak earlier than elsewhere.

“Finally, the average age of the population in Cumbria is older than most other parts of the country, and therefore will see more positive cases due to COVID-19 affecting elderly people more significantly than other age groups.

“We are carefully monitoring all relevant statistics to get a better understanding of the pattern of the epidemic in Cumbria, which is still at an early stage.”

On Social Distancing

“The current restrictions are inconvenient, by they are critically important. The thing to remember is that there will be a gap between social distancing starting and seeing any change in the rate at which people become infected because of the virus incubation period. Nationally it appears there are early indications that social distancing is having a positive effect and the number of new cases may be slowing. But it is still early days and people must continue to follow the guidance.”

Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board (CSAB)

As the situation with COVID-19develops, Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board and our partners continue to work together and remain committed to protecting adults with care and support needs from abuse and neglect.

During these difficult times we want to make sure, the most vulnerable in our communities are safe and that we protect them. Abuse can happen anywhere and take many forms including, physical, emotional, sexual and financial. To find out more about how to spot the signs please visit our website cumbriasab.org.uk


We are asking members of the public, volunteers and local communities to be vigilant and if they see something, which doesn’t feel right, report it.


Safeguarding adults from the risk of abuse or neglect and the processes in place to make enquiries and protect individuals is very much business as usual. Please if you see something, say something and report it.

Concerns will always be taken seriously and will be dealt with confidentially. Professionals will make the necessary enquiries to ensure that the adult at risk is safeguarded from abuse and they are supported to take action and make choices which enable them to retain control over their own life.

If you are concerned that an adult (18 years and over) is at risk of abuse or neglect please call:


Copeland and Allerdale - 0300 303 3589

Carlisle and Eden - 0300 303 3249

Furness and South Lakes - 0300 303 2704


Out of Hours 01228 526690

In an emergency and if the person is in immediate danger, call 999

CSAB will continue to work closely with our colleagues to ensure that we protect the most vulnerable adults in our community.

Remember see something, say something.


Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service

Keeping the public and staff safe during Coronavirus

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) is keen to reassure communities across Cumbria that we are still very much able to respond effectively to any emergency incidents, as required. We will also continue to help vulnerable people stay safe through fire prevention where possible.

CFRS has implemented extra safeguarding measures to protect its responding staff and also to minimise the risk of infection to the public. For example, staff have been advised about social distancing and are undertaking additional cleaning of uniform and equipment to limit any possibility of virus spread.

CFRS Area Manager Craig Drinkald, Head of Community Safety said:

“Obviously the best way to prevent spread is for crews to not be exposed to any possible infection, and this is where the public can really help.

With more families at home, the risk of fire will increase, but with some simple steps you can reduce these risks.”

Cooking - never leave any cooking unattended, read the instructions clearly and don’t cook after consuming alcohol.

Electrics - don’t overload sockets or electrical systems. Always turn off and unplug electrical equipment when it’s not in use.

Smoke alarms - check they are working, at least once per week, if they are not working then get some working detectors fitted on at least every floor of the property.

Escape routes - make sure everyone in your property knows how to get out if a fire does occur, close all doors at night to limit the spread of any fire or smoke.

Deliberate fires - people are still having fires to burn refuse or garden waste - do not do this! It causes false alarm calls and also can spread to outbuildings very quickly.

CFRS will continue to visit vulnerable or elderly people in their homes and can provide assistance with fitting their smoke alarms, but the service is encouraging the general public to look after their own fire safety and help to make sure that Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is available for the public who really need our response or prevention staff.

If anybody requires a ‘Safe and Well’ visit, please call 0800 358477 or email HART@cumbria.gov.uk. More fire home safety information at https://firekills.campaign.gov.uk/ and https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/cumbriafire/


Carlisle City Council

Our staff are working hard to support our residents, businesses and local communities.

We have followed government guidance regarding the business grants and to ensure that all eligible businesses access the grants as quickly as possible, we are targeting our approach rather than asking businesses to apply. The government has made it clear that this is not an application process and that councils should be proactively contacting businesses that could access the funding. Within their guidance, updated and reissued today (Wednesday 1 April), they state that ‘Local Authorities will contact eligible businesses to arrange payment of the grants.'

We will be sending letters to around 3,275 businesses today (Wednesday 1 April) within the Carlisle area and will process the grants within five working days of receiving the necessary information. We expect to be awarding over £30million in grants through this process.

Within the letter we’ll be asking for some company details and for some businesses, their bank details. We need this information to process the payment and to ensure that the funding goes to the right place and that all eligible businesses get access to the grants, we don’t want any business to miss out.

We’ll be asking for the bank details from some businesses because they have cancelled their direct debit meaning that we will no longer have access to their details.

We’ll ask businesses to send the information to us electronically to speed up the process. This could be a scan or a photo using your phone of the completed form.

If any business is struggling to get to their business address to get hold of their mail, we’re asking them to please contact us by calling 01228 817234 or emailing NNDR@carlisle.gov.uk

Any eligible business that has any concerns or does not receive a letter by Monday 6 April, is asked to us contact us by calling 01228 817234 or emailing NNDR@carlisle.gov.uk

We will be sending nil balance bills to businesses that are eligible for business rate relief.

We are also promoting other grant and funding opportunities. We are also searching out other funding opportunities which we are also promoting to partners. Our website provides up-to-date information on the government funding and is regularly updated when new schemes or guidance is provided.

We are working closely with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, Cumbria Tourism and Carlisle Ambassadors to support local businesses.


Copeland Borough Council


Copeland Council has created a series of frequently asked questions to help keep residents and businesses informed. For answers to questions around council tax, business rates, waste and recycling, and more, go to https://www.copeland.gov.uk/coronavirus-faqs

Council awards £3 million grants

Copeland Council has so far awarded 245 businesses affected by Coronavirus, a total of £3,005,000 in Government grants. Cash grants of £25,000 are being awarded to businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector, dependant on rateable value. These businesses are also eligible for 100 per cent business rate relief, for a period of 12 months, irrespective of rateable value. Small and rural businesses can apply for cash grants of £10,000 and some are eligible for 100 per cent rate relief. Small business awards are dependent on the rateable value being less than £15,000. For more information and to apply for rate relief or cash grants go to https://www.copeland.gov.uk/coronavirus-resources-business, email business.rates@copeland.gov.uk or call 01946 598300.


Barrow Borough Council

All cemeteries owned by Barrow Borough Council will be closed to the public from tomorrow (Thursday, April 2) in line with new government regulations surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

This includes Barrow Cemetery, in Devonshire Road, Dalton Cemetery, in Newton Road, Dalton, and Ireleth Cemetery, in Broughton Road, Ireleth.

Funerals will continue to go ahead, though the number of attendees is limited and people are asked to follow guidance on social distancing which include remaining two metres apart in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.


Local Resilience Forum

Cumbrian businesses urged to support the national CV19 response

Everybody is aware of the urgent need to increase the supply of ventilators available in the UK and to make sure that our essential front line services including doctors, nurses and care home workers have the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to keep them and those in their care safe.

Cumbrian businesses, which are renowned for their innovation, creativity and ingenuity, are invited to support this national call for more ventilators and PPE.

Innovate UK, the national innovation body, is working closely with Formula 1 and a collective of UK-based teams, engine manufacturers and their respective technology arms as part of an initiative called Project Pitlane, which aims to deliver 5,000 ventilator units by April 10, as part of the national effort to develop, manufacture and deploy medical respiratory devices.

Jo Lappin, Chair of the Local Resilience Forum’s Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) and Chief Executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “There’s an opportunity for businesses in Cumbria and the wider North West to play a role in this vital national effort.

“Project Pitlane is looking to deliver 5,000 units by April 10 and then scaling up to produce 5,000 each week.

“It is looking for firms, which could be part of the national supply chain to deliver this level of scale up. There is a particular opportunity for injection moulding companies, and tooling for injection moulding.  Units of approximately 300mm x 300mm are needed so relatively small in size.

“Project Pitlane will conduct its own procurement exercise and so this is a chance to make sure that local firms can be considered by the procurement manager.

“There is no guarantee that the firms will gain business just by being on the long list but I’m sure that all approaches will be gratefully received.”

Businesses able to contribute are invited to contact Rick Holland, Regional Manager, North West England, Innovate UK -- Rick.Holland@innovateuk.ukri.org

Meanwhile, the wider Cumbrian business community also has the opportunity to support the national effort by making sure that our local health and social care workers have the vital PPE that they need to do their jobs.

Jo Lappin asked any businesses with spare Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to get in touch. 

She said: “We’re very grateful to the organisations that have offered their PPE to protect our healthcare workers. We have been delighted by the response, and are very appreciative of the businesses that are going out of their way to help.

“However, currently donations are not keeping pace with demand and I would therefore urge any business that can help to get in touch by this web link -- https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/V9L9DT2.

“We welcome donations of any personal protective equipment but would particularly welcome moisture repellent facemasks, which are desperately needed.   

“Your donation really can help to protect our most vulnerable citizens and our most precious assets - our health and social care workers.”

The spare equipment provided will be issued to key medical and social care facilities across Cumbria, with collection available, if needed.

Businesses in Cumbria are being urged to follow Government advice around safe working to ensure that both the county’s workforce and economy are offered protection during the current Coronavirus outbreak.

The multi-agency Cumbria Strategic Co-ordination Group, which is managing the county’s response to Covid-19, is reminding the public that not all businesses need to close under current guidance, providing that they are operating safely in line with social distancing guidelines.

Jo Lappin, Chair of the Local Resilience Forum’s Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) and Chief Executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership said: “In these unprecedented times, it is vitally important that we pull together as a community to support each other.

“An important part of this is keeping our businesses operating as much as we can, given that our future economic and financial wellbeing is dependent on this.

“It is important that we are all operating in line with national guidance and government has made clear that where businesses can continue to operate it is important that they do.

“We have excellent examples of businesses that have changed their systems and processes to ensure that they are putting the safety of their people at the heart of their operations, genuinely looking for the workplace to be the safest place for their workforce.”

Those businesses which have been told to close are in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors with the details provided at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close

Detailed Government advice regarding safe working for all other businesses is located here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19#keeping-your-business-open

Employers and employees are encouraged to discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

The guidance continues: “If you cannot work from home then you can still travel for work purposes, provided you are not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

“Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelinesincluding, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).”

Chair of the Cumbria Strategic Co-ordination Group, Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery, said: “It is clear that businesses locally have responded to the challenges that we all face and a great deal of work has been done to protect the health and well-being of employees and the public.

“Many businesses are critical to maintaining manufacturing supply chains providing the food, medicine and medical supplies that we all need and to keep utilities functioning. The Government has only mandated the closure of certain sectors of business, notably in the hospitality and retail sectors while other sectors continue to operate in line with socialdistancing guidance.

“I am heartened to see local businesses adapting to the current situation and, where appropriate, finding ways to continue to operate in these difficult times. It is critical that businesses play their part in minimising the spread of the virus and thereby protecting the NHS.

“The Strategic Coordinating Group is committed to mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on society and the economy of Cumbria and to plan for recovery.”


People First

Chat and Check Service

A new Covid-19 support service is available for people who have learning disabilities and /or autism called ‘Keeping People connected.’ As you will know people with learning disabilities and/or autism can be extremely vulnerable in normal times, this is of course magnified by the current international Covid-19 crisis.

People First has been working with NHS England and other partner organisations to put in place a dedicated support service for people with learning disabilities and /or autism. The service includes check and chat calls from specialist advocacy staff who will work with a person to understand and access their current situation, including issues such as health and wellbeing, food, medication, isolations, support needs, safety and understanding of the current situation re lockdown and shielding.

People will then be supported by having regular ‘check and chat’ calls during the week, and signposted to more specialist statutory services if needed. Safeguarding concerns will be addressed rapidly.

We need your help to make contact with the people who would benefit from the service. Please share the attached flyer and this letter with as many people as possible, and/ or make contact with us to give us names of people who would benefit from a regular check in call.

It’s our duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society, this new service can do that. In time we hope to be able to connect people with peers to provide group (virtual) support.

The Keeping People Connected service will offer:

  • Immediate safety assessments
  • Support, connection
  • Advice and information in accessible formats
  • Signposting to specialist service
  • Regular check in calls by trained professionals
  • Friendship and support to be less isolated
  • Safeguarding referrals where appropriate

To discuss this further please contact Cathy Mellstrom on 07763 542284 or e mail


COVID-19 Update 1 April