New face covering regulations

Under new regulations, the public need to wear face coverings that covers the nose and mouth in additional enclosed public spaces, as well as frequent hand washing and careful social distancing. It will be compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. Plus, face coverings must be worn in banks, building societies and post offices.

Face coverings will not be mandatory for:

  • anyone under the age of 11
  • those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as respiratory or cognitive impairments that make it difficult for them to wear a face covering

Wearing a face covering will not be made mandatory in other venues that have measures in place to protect staff and the public from COVID-19. These include:

  • eat-in restaurants and pubs
  • hairdressers and other treatment salons
  • gyms and leisure centres
  • cinemas, concert halls and theatres

Plus, wearing a face covering will not be made mandatory in venues such as:

  • hairdressers and close-contact services
  • eat-in restaurants, cafes and pubs. Face coverings will be required in cafes or take-away restaurants that do not provide table service, other than in designated seating areas
  • entertainment venues, including cinemas, concert halls and theatres
  • visitor attractions (such as heritage sites or museums)
  • gyms and leisure centres
  • dentists or opticians. But NHS guidance states that face coverings should be worn in hospitals

Click here to read the guidelines in full

Beware vicar scam email

If you receive an email from Revd David Commander asking you to contact him urgently about something DO NOT reply by email. This is a scam that it currently occurring in parishes where someone is creating email accounts in the name of vicars and using them to contact congregation members. The message asks the recipient to contact the vicar urgently about a “delicate issue” or “urgent matter” but not to phone. It seems that anyone who replies directly to the email will be asked to hand over cash or vouchers.

David Commander stresses that he would not send such an email and if there was an urgent issue he would telephone not email.

Playground re-opens

The Benenden playground is open but under several rules to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission:

– Only 6 children to use the playground at any one time (with accompanying adults). If others are waiting to enter, please leave after ½ hr.

– Do not use the playground if any family member has any signs or symptoms of coronavirus

– No food or drink on play equipment or in the playground area

– All litter must be taken home and disposed of

– There are several more important rules so please click here to read the full guidance.

Iden Green playground remains closed for the time being

Benenden Village Trust encourages all users to be patient and mindful of the needs of others. Non-adherence to these rules and government guidance may result in the playground being closed.

Business support – what help is available

These are some of the Government schemes that are protecting jobs and companies:

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS): The Government will cover 80% of wages (up to £2500/month) for staff furloughed. Extended until end October.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS): One-off taxable grant available to self-employed for 80% of their average trading profits across 3 months (capped at £7,500). Available until 13 July.

Statutory Sick Pay: Repaying companies for periods of employee sickness related to the virus, starting on or after 13 March.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS): Up to £50,000 financial relief available to small businesses interest-free for 12 months.

Fast Start Funding: Funding to support the next generation of businesses, including virtual reality training platforms for surgeons, virtual farmers’ markets and other innovations borne out of the pandemic.  

Source: the i newspaper

St. George’s Church opens for individual private prayer

From Monday 15th June, the church will be open from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week. Rev’d David Commander will conduct Morning Prayer at 8am at St. George’s on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You may, if you are around, join him in private prayer whilst he conducts the Daily Office. (Social distancing must be observed.)

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Join a local Men’s Shed: make friends & share skills

As part of Men’s Health Week 15-21 June, Kent residents are being urged to join their local Sheds project which aims to support wellbeing by encouraging men and woman of all ages to make friends, share skills and support their local community. During the current social distancing guidelines, a number of Sheds have adapted to offer members support on a virtual reality basis.

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Celebrate our neighbours during Neighbourhood Watch Week

There has been a surge in neighbourliness as people look out for the vulnerable and talk to those next door more than ever before – a silver lining to the cloud COVID-19 has cast over our daily lives. The Neighbourhood Watch scheme is encouraging a variety of activities this week that you can take part in such as a Facebook Live Quiz on 12th June at 7pm. To take part simply visit facebook.com/ourwatch/.

Check out the organisations social media and website to see the big and small ways in which neighbours have been connecting, sharing, supporting and spreading kindness and post your own.  

More information can be found at https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/letsstayconnected

Covid-19 Discretionary Business Grants Scheme

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has launched a Discretionary Grant Scheme for local businesses. Deadline for applications is 7 June.  This fund does not replace the Small Business Rate Relief, Rural Rate Relief Grant Fund or the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, but is aimed at small businesses that were not eligible for these funds.

Priority businesses: the following types of businesses will be prioritised for grants:

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Free IT support available

Until the end of May Infinity Group are offering free technical IT support to the elderly and vulnerable in the Tunbridge Wells Borough. They are helping people to get online and set up essential services such as shopping or communicating via video applications on computers and phones and they will offer guidance and advice on online safety. The support will be delivered over the phone or via video link, to avoid contact with those that are shielding. 

Click here for more details or call them on 01892 57699 or email sos@infinitygroup.co.uk