Advice for Residents

The latest information on services and advice will be updated here regularly. This is a fast moving situation with daily information coming from government and public health agencies, and we are working hard to get residents all the answers to the questions we are being asked.

Our team are very busy supporting the national efforts to reduce spread of COVID-19. It may take us a little longer to reply to any other enquiry, so please bear with us. 

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Housing

  • What Money and Benefit Advice can I access?

    We know that you may be worried about how you'll pay your rent if you are unwell, are self-isolating or your job situation changes. We want to reassure our tenants that we are here to help. If you're worried about paying your rent, please get in touch.

    • Email: Housingincome@winchester.gov.uk
    • Send a message: Via your Mycouncilhouse account
    • Telephone:
      • Rent Accounts Team: 01962 848 205
      • Tenancy Sustainment Team: 01962 848 918

    We're here to provide help and advice.

  • What if I can’t work – do I qualify for Statutory Sick Pay?

    Please access the government website for the most up to date information on statutory sick pay

  • What do I do if I’m not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?

    If you’re not entitled to SSP you may be able to claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance, based on your national insurance contributions. This is paid at the rate of £73.10 per week. The government has suggested that this would be paid to self-employed workers and those on zero hours contracts. This will be available from the first day of sickness or absence rather than the eighth day.

    If you can’t get Statutory Sick Pay or New Style Employment and Support Allowance you may be able to claim Universal Credit without going to the jobcentre. This benefit is usually not paid until one month and seven days after your claim although you can ask for a repayable advance. If you’re getting other benefits such as Housing Benefit or Tax Credits these will stop and instead be part of your Universal Credit payment. You can apply for Universal Credit online here.

    You may be eligible to apply for an advance payment up front. Please note that any advance will need to be repaid by instalments out of any entitlement, so will reduce your payments.

    Find out more on the government website.

  • What if I’m self-employed and can’t work?

    HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC) have set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to COVID-19. The dedicated coronavirus HMRC helpline for self-employed people is 0800 0159 559.

    If you are self-employed you are eligible to claim Universal Credit. You can apply for Universal Credit here. 

    You may be eligible to apply for an advance payment up front. Please note that any advance will need to be repaid by instalments out of any entitlement, so will reduce your payments.

    Find out more on the government website.

  • What if I’m on Universal Credit and need to self-isolate?

    If you’re already claiming Universal Credit let your work coach know as soon as possible, particularly if you can’t attend a jobcentre appointment. If you don’t let them know before you miss an appointment, you could be sanctioned. To do this, use your online journal or call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

    Most face to face appointments have now been made into a telephone appointment instead, so please make sure you mobile is on and charged. All health reassessment appointments have been suspended for three months. If you are due to attend a jobcentre appointment, but can’t because you are self-isolating or unwell, special arrangements will be put in place and appointments rescheduled. Mandatory work search and work availability will also be
    removed to account for a period of sickness.

    If your income reduces because you are unwell, have to self-isolate, or are caring for someone in your household who is affected, your Universal Credit should change to take this into account. The Minimum Income Floor (which applies to the self-employed) will also be relaxed for those affected by COVID-19.

    Find out more on the government website.

  • What additional support is being provided to extra care and sheltered housing?

    The sheltered housing team will be making frequent personal contact with all extra care and sheltered housing residents to highlight any individual needs to ensure appropriate help and support is provided where required.

    We ask that visits to our extra care sheltered scheme are avoided if possible. 

    Residents can contact the team directly by emailing shelteredhousing@winchester.gov.uk or by telephoning01962 855 335  

  • What if my council property needs repairs or improvement?

    You can report a repair here


Benefits and Welfare 

  • Can I receive discretionary housing payments?

    Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) can provide extra money where you need extra help to meet your housing costs, for example there is a shortfall between your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs and your rent liability.

    For further information about benefits and welfare services, click here

  • How can I pay my rent if I’m self-isolating or unwell?
    • Online - You can pay on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week on our website. Please make sure you include your seven digit reference number.
    • Direct Debit - You can set up and manage a Direct Debit through your online customer account
    • Over the phone - 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 01962 848205
    • Via your tenancy online account - Mycouncilhouse
    • Bank transfer - you can pay your rent straight form your bank account to ours. Our account number is 00000000 and our sort code is 62-23-59. Please quote your seven digit tenancy reference number so that we know who the payment is from.
  • What if I can’t pay my rent?

    We know that some of our customers are worried about how they will pay rent if they are unwell or need to self-isolate. We want to reassure all our customers that no one will lose their home as a result.

    You will still need to pay your rent, but if you are in financial difficulties, we can give advice on options available to you. If you’re worried about paying your rent, please let us know as soon as possible.

    Get in touch with us:

    • Email: Housingincome@winchester.gov.uk
    • Send a message: Via your Mycouncilhouse account
    • Telephone:
      • Rent Accounts Team: 01962 848 205
      • Tenancy Sustainment Team: 01962 848 918
  • Advice about benefits and rent payments

    We can provide specialist advice and support to tenants struggling to pay their rent. Our aim is to work with residents to sustain their tenancies. The council also commissions an independent Money Advice service which is provided by Winchester Citizens Advice Bureau.

    Citizens Advice Winchester are not currently able to offer face-to-face services, but you can get advice by phone, email or online by calling 03444111306 (open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5pm and Saturday 10am to 12noon) or emailing advice@winchesterdistrictcab.org.uk and you can also visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk

    Visit www.gov.uk/housingbenefit to find out about Housing Benefit and Universal Credit from The Department for Work & Pensions.

    If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness or concerned about your current housing situation and would like to discuss your situation with a member of the housing options team, please complete the registration form on Jigsaw Customer Portal and your referral will be sent to a housing options officer who will make contact with you to discuss your situation. You can also email homelessness@winchester.gov.uk or call 01962 848 163 or call the Customer Service Centre 01962 840 222

    For further information on housing services, click here


Waste, recycling and street cleaning

  • What is happening to my waste collection?

    All waste collections remain fully operational at this time however as of Monday (March 30) there will be some temporary changes, to find out more about them visit our new service changes due to COVID-19 page https://www.winchester.gov.uk/covid19/service-changes

    Due to collections taking longer, we need to start some rounds earlier. Please place bins out for collection the evening before your scheduled collection day, or by 6.15am on your collection day as per your waste calendar. This is 45 minutes earlier than the usual time to allow the staff to stagger their start times and reduce their contact with others.

    Please take extra care to disinfect or clean the handle of your wheeled bin or box when you put it out and after collection.This is an extra precaution for the crews and you to reduce the risk of passing any infection

    Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin. Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

     

  • Can I continue to take waste to household recycling sites?

    All of Hampshire County Council’s Household Waste Recycling Sites are now closed. For the latest information please check Hampshire County Council's webpages.

  • What if I am unwell?

    If you are unwell even for a short period, you can request an assisted collection by emailing customerservice@winchester.gov.uk or calling 0300 300 0013.

  • What should I do with my waste if I have COVID-19?

    On 11 March the government provided guidance on how to dispose of your waste correctly. Anyone who has tested positive or is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should double bag their waste and it should be put in a suitable and secure place and marked for storage.

    Please find further information here: https://www.letsrecycle.com/news/latest-news/defra-coronavirus-waste-disposal-advice/

    For further information about our waste, recycling and street cleaning services, click here


Council Tax

  • What happens if I can’t pay my Council Tax?

    The Benefits & Welfare team can provide specialist advice and support to residents struggling to pay their rent or pay their Council Tax. Council Tax Reduction can help pay your Council Tax if you’re unemployed, on a low income or claiming benefits.

    If you are single and pay Council Tax but share your home with another adult who is on a low income and does not pay rent, you may be able to get Second Adult Rebate on your Council Tax.

    For more information about council tax, click here

  • Council Tax support

    We’re committed to helping residents who may be struggling financially due to the limitations placed on households as we look to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  There is a range of measures we have in place to support you.

    • If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax then please contact our team on 01962 848 288 or email counciltax@winchester.gov.uk. We’ll provide helpful assistance based on your individual situation and work with you to arrange a suitable payment plan.

    If you currently pay your Council Tax over 10 months we can spread those instalments over 12 months or alter the timing of your payments for you. Please see the back of your Council Tax bill for details.

    If you are:

    • unemployed;
    • claiming benefits; or
    • on a low income

    our Benefits & Welfare team can help you to claim Council Tax Reduction. This will help you to pay your Council Tax.

    • Residents of working age, who already benefit from some Council Tax Reduction, will receive an additional £150 off their Council Tax bill. Eligible households will receive this automatically. A revised Council Tax bill will be issued shortly.

     

    For further information or assistance on Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Second Adult Rebate and Discretionary Housing Payments, or to make a claim for these benefits, please visit www.winchester.gov.uk/benefits or phone 01962 848 539.

    If your financial circumstances have not changed and you are able to pay your Council Tax then you will help the council to help those that are struggling by not asking to amend your payment plan – thank you.


Homelessness

  • What additional support is being provided to people who are homeless or rough sleepers?

    We have services in place to check on rough sleepers on a daily basis which ensure people are well, provided with up to date public health information and critically, not displaying symptoms of COVID-19. We are sourcing a variety of accommodation options to ensure rough sleepers can self-isolate for a minimum of seven days. Alongside key partners, we are monitoring this situation extremely carefully taking account all relevant guidance as it is published, to ensure that the needs of vulnerable homeless people are met.

    For a detailed view on Coronavirus (COVID-19) and rough sleeping visit www.winchester.gov.uk/covid19/service-changes

 

Public transport

  • Are the Park & Ride services still running?

    From Monday 23 March a reduced Park & Ride bus service will be in operation. Due to a reduction in the number of available bus drivers to run the service. The hours of operation will remain the same, but the bus frequency will be reduced to run every 10 minutes at peak times and every 15 minutes at off-peak times.  Amended timetables will be displayed at all bus stops.  We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause, but we are planning to run the best service we can, for as long as possible. See here for more information on revised timetables. 

  • Will the car parks remain open?

    Car parks remain open at this time.

 

Leisure centres

  • Is my leisure centre staying open?

    River Park Leisure Centre & Meadowside Leisure Centre closure

    Following the government directive to close all leisure centres to help stop the transmission of COVID-19,  River Park Leisure Centre, Winchester and Meadowside Leisure Centre, Whiteley will be closed from 10pm tonight (Friday 20 March) until further notice.

    The operator of both sites has reassured us that direct debit payments for memberships and lessons/courses have now been automatically suspended until the facilities are able to reopen, so you do not have to do anything.

    We’ll continue to update you as we know more.

    To find out more visit https://www.placesleisure.org/centres/river-park-leisure-centre and https://www.placesleisure.org/centres/meadowside-leisure-centre/

  • Ways to stay active

    We understand that, at times like these, it can be difficult to keep motivated and remain active. During this period of enforced restriction on your movement we would like to offer our support. That’s why we are encouraging you to ‘Join the Movement’

    Sport England have recently launched their new campaign; ‘Join the Movement’ which promotes physical activity with lots of fun ideas on how to keep active at home, with exclusive offers and workouts from a number of well recognised fitness providers as well as ideas get active outside. By using the hashtag #StayInWorkOut you can share your experiences and encourage others to do the same using the hashtag. For further information please visit https://www.sportengland.org/stayinworkout

    To keep up to date with new content you can also sign up to Sport England’s newsletter - https://www.sportengland.org/news/join-movement or follow their social media @Sport_England

    Our Active Partnership, Energise Me have also produced a list of ideas and advice for getting active at home. Please visit https://www.energiseme.org/getting-active/getting-active-at-home/ for more information.

    If you have any questions please feel free to contact our Sport & Physical Activity team on sport@winchester.gov.uk


Cultural venues

  • Will the museums/art galleries remain open?

    Following government guidance issued on 16 March regarding minimising the spread of coronavirus, The Hampshire Cultural Trust has made the decision to close its venues to the public. This includes Winchester Discovery Centre, Hampshire Wardrobe, Westgate Museum and Winchester City Museum.

  • Libraries

    The libraries are run by Hampshire County Council, however, in line with government guidelines all libraries are now closed. Click here for more information.


Play areas and open spaces

  • Why are playgrounds closed?

    All city council play areas are now closed from 23 March for a minimum of three weeks in line with government guidance.

  • Are open spaces still open?

    The government is advising that open spaces can remain in use for one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with a member of your household.

    Even when doing these activities, public health guidance is that people should be minimising time spent outside of the home, and ensuring they are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household. 

 

Car boot sales 


Public toilets

 

Public meetings

  • Will public meetings continue?

    There are no scheduled meetings of the council until 30 April. THe planning committee of 8 April will be rescheduled.

    We are reviewing public meetings on a case by case basis. Where meetings are continuing, we are putting in place sensible precautions to help people follow public health advice on COVID-19, such as placing seating further apart. Where appropriate we are also making arrangements for people to provide submissions remotely which can be read out on their behalf. This is a fast moving situation with new advice being issued daily, and we continue to monitor activities in line with public health guidance.

    • Most public meetings are live streamed with a playback option.
    • Guidance will be issued in advance to request that people who are unwell do not attend meetings.

    Any changes to meetings will be publicised on our website and/or direct to attendees as appropriate.

 

Council Services online