Residents who are struggling to pay their Council Tax are being urged to get in touch with Uttlesford District Council to discuss their circumstances.
Each year the council sends out more than 35,000 bills in order to collect Council Tax. This money is then distributed to other authorities to help pay for vital services.
Residents who have not yet paid or have struggled to make their payments will shortly receive a reminder that payment is due.
About 3,000 reminders will be sent out in the next few days. These will request households to either bring their accounts up to date or get in contact with the council to discuss alternative payment arrangements or what support is available to help residents avoid building up a level of debt that is unsustainable. Details of where to go for other financial support will also be provided.
Cllr Neil Hargreaves, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Budget, said: “We know the last few months will have hit many households hard and that people’s financial circumstances may have changed as a result of the pandemic. It is important these households make contact with us as soon as possible.
“For those who are struggling to pay their bills, we have teams on hand to provide assistance and advice on alternative payment options as well as ensuring residents get all the financial help they are entitled to.”
If you are suffering exceptional hardship due to the impact of coronavirus or another change in your circumstances, are concerned about your repayments or you require
more information, please contact the council’s Customer Service Centre via firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01799 510510.
Alternatively, if you would prefer to speak to an independent party, contact Uttlesford Citizens Advice on 01799 618840.
For more details on this media release please contact the Communications Team on 01799 510442 or email@example.com
What is My Support Space?My Support Space is an online resource designed to help you manage the impact that crime has had on you.
It is a free, safe, secure and confidential space where you can choose how you want to be supported after crime.
It’s easy to create an account
Registering for an account with My Support Space is quick and easy. We don’t need many details from you. Sign up at mysupportspace.org.uk/MoJ
You can access My Support Space from any computer, tablet or smartphone with internet access.
How can it help me?
Once you’ve created your account you can access a range of tools to help you cope and move forward after crime.
You can work through a series of interactive guides which address your specific needs. The guides feature videos, techniques, activities and tips, and can be completed at your own pace. You can save your progress and revisit where you left off at any time.
You can also create an online diary, find useful resources and request direct support.
Who is it suitable for?
My Support Space is for people aged 16 and over who have been affected by crime and traumatic events and feel able to cope, but who may need help to move forward.
Starting on 5th October is a week long law enforcement campaign to increase awareness of Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking, in particular focusing upon child exploitation. As a result, the content of this EFAS has changed slightly in line with this campaign.
Criminals will sometimes try and launder money through the bank accounts of innocent people under a number of different disguises.
Fraudsters may ask you to receive money into your bank account and transfer it into another account, keeping some of the cash for yourself. If you let this happen, you’re a money mule. You’re involved in money laundering, which is a crime.
You might be approached by fraudsters online or in person. They might post what looks like a genuine job ad, then ask for your bank details.
Once you become a money mule, it can be hard to stop. You could be attacked or threatened with violence if you don’t continue to let your account be used by criminals.
Don’t Be Fooled by offers of quick cash.
Criminals need money mules to launder the profits of their crimes. Mules will usually be unaware of where the money comes from – fraud, scams and other serious crime –or where it goes.
Becoming a money mule can have serious consequences for you and for others. Illegally obtained money from money mule accounts can be used to fund other organised crime including:
Violence has no place in our society, and as a society our role must be to tackle violence and the root causes of violence and to work with the public and partners to create the safe and secure communities we all want and that allow all of us to flourish and prosper.
Gangs that exploit vulnerable people and coerce them into a life of crime are preying on some of the people most in need in our society. While no agency can tackle this alone, in Essex we know that working together, through our Violence and Vulnerability Unit, can turn the tide against these gangs, protect those in need and help to ensure we all live prosperous and productive lives.
This newsletter from our Essex Violence and Vulnerability Unit will tell you more about what we are doing in the county, highlighting how with excellent partnership working, we have an opportunity to shape and influence how to best support young and vulnerable people who are being, or are at risk of beingexploited and involved in crime, through innovative projects, data led research and sharing intelligence and best practice.
Tackling gangs and serious violence and protecting children and vulnerable people from harm are key priorities in our Police and Crime Plan and are important to the people of Essex. Only by working together can we get on top of the issue and create better futures for our young and vulnerable people.
Detached Youth Workers start
We are really excited to announce the start of our Youth Detached & Outreach project funded by both the VVU and Active Essex. The project works with young people aged 10-14 in Basildon, Colchester, Southend, Tendring and Thurrock, and has been created by the Essex Council for Voluntary Youth Services (ECVYS).The project sees local grassroots organisations working within their communities to reach young peopleat risk of youth crime and gang affiliation. The partnership is the first of its kind and brings together Essex Boys and Girls Clubs, Bar’n’Bus, Southend YMCA, The Red Balloon Foundation, Essex YMCA, Home-Start Colchester and Teen Talk to focus on joint aims for detached work across the county but with a local focus.
This programme of work has received £60,000 from the Joint Violence & Vulnerability Budget. This is a partnership fund which includes funding from the Home Office (£1.1m), £500,000 from Essex County Council and £200,000 from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.
The project is currently funded for six months and could be a real lifeline for young people that may not have had much contact with a trusted adult for over six months due to Coronavirus. Working together, ECVYS and the VVU are looking at a range of options, and other funding sources, to be able to extend the programme across the whole county.
For more information about the project please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.Rachel is the CEO of ECVYS and works alongside the VVU on a range of initiatives.
VRU evaluation published
In August the Home Office published an independent evaluationof the work of Violence Reduction Units (VRUs).The evaluation found that since being established,VRUs have made good progress, laying a foundation for an evidence-based, targeted response to serious violence.
The evaluation found that in their first year,the Units invested in 175 programmes designed to help young people at risk of being drawn into violent crime. They include prevention work in schools, communities, prisons, hospitals, pupil referral units and police custody suites, which reached over 100,000 individuals across different risk groups.
Of these 100,000 individuals, more than 51,000 were identified as potentially high-risk, or suspected to be involved in criminal and violent activity. The remaining young people may live or attend school in an area with high levels of deprivation or crime and were targeted by interventions to increase awareness of the risks.
Evaluation showed that the VRUs all identified a common set of perceived key drivers of serious violence, these included adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), deprivation and austerity, which had manifested in a variety of ways that had made individuals more at risk of becoming involved in violent crime.
The findings will continue to influence our interventions and future work and we are working closely with the evaluation team, commissioned by the Home Office, on the next stage of the evaluation.
Home Secretary visit
Last month, Home Secretary Priti Patel visited Achievement Through Football and one of its projects in Basildon, where she chose to announce the new Vulnerable Children’s Charity Fund, with £2.9m distributed to VRUs to support charities working on violence prevention projects.
As one of the 18 VRU areas, Essex had the opportunity to apply to the Fund and was awarded £98,101. This is supporting 14 smaller charities providing critical frontline services for children and young people, to ensure they can meet increased demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as continuing their day-to-day activities.
The funding will allow them to continue to support vulnerable young people at risk of violence, adapting support services if necessary, for example by using remote working and technology.
Working jointly with the Essex Council for Voluntary Youth Services and the Essex Boys and Girls Club,we invited small charities across the county to apply for funds. The successful applicants were as follows, delivering a mixture of countywide or localised work: Bar’N’Bus; Changing Lives, Chelmsford 5th/9thScout Group; GEI (Girls Empowerment Initiative); London Bus Company; NOO YU; Outhouse East; Refugee Action –Colchester; SAFE Supporting Asperger Families in Essex; Waltham Abbey Youth 2000; Motivated Minds; Proximity Services; ATF (Achievement Through Football); Seabrooke Community Association.
Missing in Lockdown
The number of children reported as Missing reduced significantly during the UK’s lockdown response to the COVID 19 pandemic, but ECC’s Involvement Service found that young people who did go missing were more interested in engaging and communicating during this time.
106 missing chats were accepted during the period 21st March to 21st May 2020. This is more than three times the amount compared to the same period in 2019.
The Choices programme that supports young people identified as Missing and/or are vulnerable/at risk from criminal exploitation (CE) also continued its support through the pandemic by offering contact virtually through Zoom, telephone, text and video calls.
The team found that lockdown provided opportunities to develop different relationships with young people, with more time and capacity available to invest in building relationships and young people and families being more readily available. Parents also were more likely to be involved in missing chats with the number taken up by parents in relation to the number of missing episodes increasing.
The Choices programme has received £30,000 from the Joint Violence & Vulnerability Budget.
We are currently considering how to further develop and grow our existing “provider list.” This would be a place for organisations who work in the community on projects that support the work of the VVU, to register their interest(and possibly go through an eligibility process). We would then signpost them as potential providers.
This list may potentially be used to communicate any funding opportunities that we identify or otherwise arise.We are keen to reach as many eligible groups as possible, so watch this space for further details.
As many of you are aware, in August 2020 there will be changes to the over-75’s TV licence.You will now only be entitled to a free TV licence if:
You, as the licence holder are 75 years or older, AND
You, or your partner living at the same address, receive Pension Credit.
Households that do not fall into this category will need to begin paying for a TV Licence. During August and September, TV licencing will be writing to those who need to set up a licence explaining the next steps. However, we know that criminals have been exploiting TV licencing email scams for a number of years.
1.Check the sender—all genuine emails are sent from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2.Check for a postcode—if you have provided a postcode to TV licencing then their emails will include part of that postcode.
3.Check your name—TV licencing will address you by name. Be suspicious of any that address you as ‘ Dear Customer’ or just use your email address.
4.Check the spelling & grammar—look for unusual hyphens and strange or missing full stops. They may also put capital letters on unusual words.
5.Check the links—always check where the links are taking you before you click on them—hover over them on a computer or press and hold on a phone/tablet.
REMEMBER: There are other ways of contacting TV licencing, including over the phone. There is also a helpline for over-75 TV licence queries—call 0300 790 6117.
Carnival Cruises data breach
Carnival Cruises have confirmed they were the victims of a data breach on August 15th 2020, meaning staff and customer personal data may have been stolen.Carnival have not stated how many customers had been targeted, or which brands had been affected (as Carnival operate a number of big brand names including P&O, Cunard and Princess Cruises).
Anyone who is a customer is advised to change their account password using the advice provided by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).It is also suggested that they monitor their bank account for suspicious activity and be vigilant for unexpected emails.
Paypal scam via Facebook Messenger
Action Fraud have warned of a widely reported scam where criminals use Facebook Messenger pretending to be a friend or family member asking for the use of residents PayPal accounts.
Scammers will state that they have sold an item on Ebay but cannot receive payment because they do not have a PayPal account. They request that the payment be sent via the message recipient’s PayPal account before being transferred to an account controlled by the fraudster. Once this has been done, the original transaction is reversed and the PayPal account is left in negative balance.
Again, residents are urged to update their PayPal password information and if possible turn on two-factor authentication (using another method to verify it is you).
For more info, read the Action Fraud article here.
With the lifting of lockdown restrictions, there will be a phased reopening of the three leisure centres in the district. Great Dunmow Leisure Centre and Lord Butler Leisure Centre will be reopening on Monday 27 July on reduced opening hours. Mountfitchet Romeera Leisure Centre will be reopening on reduced opening hours on Monday 10 August. A phased reopening is planned for services in the centres over the next few months.
Please support our retailers by shopping local and safely – maintain social distancing at all times, wear a face covering, and follow the signage that is in place to protect you and others. ► Advice for shoppers – how to stay safe while out shopping, where to park and getting further updates as new businesses open up ► Advice for businesses – which businesses can open, when you can open and how to work safely.
Survey: have your say on temporary road closures in Saffron Walden
The Saffron Walden Business Improvement District is asking for people’s views on the closure of the Market Square to traffic during the pandemic. There are only a few questions so it should not take long to complete. ► Take part in the survey Thinking of starting a food business from your home? Please remember that you must register your business at least 28 days before you start trading. Food premises registration is a legal requirement, and failure to do so could result in legal proceedings. There is no fee for registration. You can register online or print a registration form on our website.
The Essex Energy Switch, a countywide initiative designed to help residents reduce their gas and electricity bills, saved an average of £258 for each of the 1,644 households who took part when the scheme ran earlier this year. In October the cycle starts again, when energy companies will once again bid at an auction to see who can offer the lowest energy tariff to households who have signed up. You can register any time from 4 August until 5 October. ► Find out more
It’s competition time!
Love Essex is giving away a plastic-free picnic hamper to one lucky winner that has signed the Essex Plastic Pledge this month. If you haven’t already signed up, click here and take the pledge! The competition closes at midnight on 31 July – T&Cs apply. Summer Holiday activity camp Essex Boys And Girls Clubs will be running an activity camp for 5 to 13 year olds in Uttlesford every day (Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm) of the summer holidays. The programme will take place in three locations: Monday and Tuesday at Newport Youth Club Wednesday and Thursday at Thaxted Youth Club Friday at Sampfords Youth Club The day consist of a range of fun activities and lunch. For more information, email Rebecca on email@example.com. ► Book a place
Click & Collect activity packs
Saffron Walden Museum’s next click and collect activity pack “Romans going Potty!” is now available to buy online. This week become a museum conservator and rebuild a Roman pot from a real pot sherd, make a mosaic and a Roman coin stamp. ► Book yours online Pack collection is from Wednesday 29 July. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your collection.
Looking after your mental health
It is important that we all take a little extra care to look after our mental health. With many feeling worried, anxious or isolated during these challenging times, Every Mind Matters highlights that there are lots of things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing and help others to prevent any concerns they have from becoming serious issues. Protect yourself and others Handwashing plays a key role in protecting yourself and others from coronavirus. Wash your hands more often Use soap and water for 20 seconds Or use hand sanitiser ► How to wash your hands Stay alert to stay safe We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must: stay at home as much as possible work from home if you can limit contact with other people keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible) wash your hands regularly Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms. ► FAQs: what you can and cannot ► Latest NHS advice