Covid-19 Update

The following restrictions for all households in Northern Ireland were introduced from 6.00 pm on 22 September 2020:

no mixing of households in private dwellings, with exemptions for:
– bubbling with one other household
– caring responsibilities, including childcare
– building or maintenance work, or the services of any trade or profession
– supported living arrangements
– visits required for legal or medical purposes
– a business operating from a person’s home
– a funeral
– a house move, and to undertake associated activities for that purpose, including viewing properties and making arrangements for removals
– marriage or civil partnership ceremony in a private dwelling where one partner is terminally ill
– no more than six people to gather in a private garden from no more than two households -children aged 12 and under from those two households are not counted in this total

Households are no longer allowed to mix indoors in private homes. This is because meeting friends and family indoors carries a higher risk than meeting outdoors.

You can form a bubble with one other household. These two households can be any size, however gatherings indoors should be no more than six people. Children aged 12 and under from those two households are not counted in this total.

Exemptions apply for those with caring responsibilities and you can continue to provide support for elderly relatives or dependents.

It is important that people who were previously shielding are particularly careful at this time.

Children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes as normal.


More information can be found via the following link: www.nidirect.gov.uk





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Working together to promote mental wellbeing in Northern Ireland

Today (Monday 7th September), marks the launch of a regional mental health and emotional wellbeing campaign – ‘Working Together To Promote Mental Wellbeing”.

The campaign is being launched by the Public Health Agency (PHA) along with five Health and Social Care Trusts, the NI Ambulance Service and the Health and Social Care Board, who with the community and voluntary sectors will work together to promote ways to support our mental wellbeing, with co-ordinated messages and links to support on social media including to the updated resources website www.mindingyourhead.info

Over the next five weeks the campaign will focus on the ‘Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing’, which offers practical ideas to help support people with protecting and improving their own mental wellbeing and those around them.

The Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing are evidence based, easy to follow steps to help maintain and improve your wellbeing. The steps are-Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give.

Olive MacLeod, Chief Executive, PHA, said: “The PHA has been working closely with the five Health and Social Care Trusts and NI Ambulance Service and the Health and Social Care Board on this campaign. In the current climate it is even more important we work together with a united voice with our local communities to encourage everyone to look after their own mental and emotional wellbeing and that of others. We want to promote each of the Take 5 messages and the range of resources and support available. We should think of these as our ‘five-a-day’ for wellbeing and build these into our daily lives.

“This week also sees World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September. It is vitally important to remind people that if they or someone they know is experiencing a crisis, that the 24/7crisis helpline Lifeline (0808 808 8000) is available at all times.

“We hope that encouraging people to Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing will help prevent people reaching crisis point. We encourage people to recognise the signs in themselves and others and know where they can get help as early as possible.”

Week one of the campaign focuses on ‘Connect’ and is being led by the recently appointed Interim Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, Professor Siobhan O’Neill.

Commenting ahead of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, Professor O’Neill said:  “Across the world, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds. On Thursday people will come together in solidarity and spread awareness of how suicide can be prevented. In Northern Ireland we continue to have rates of suicide that are higher than any other UK region, and this remains very concerning.  As Mental Health Champion, I will drive forward the actions within the ‘Protect Life 2’ Suicide Prevention Strategy and ensure suicide prevention is considered in all key policies. 

I am passionate that we encourage everyone to look after their mental health and become our mental health champions, and in doing so look after ourselves and support others. ‘Take 5 steps to wellbeing’ is a set of tools we can all use daily, to help care for ourselves. As someone who uses these for my own wellbeing, I know they make a difference,” Professor O’Neill added.

Marie Roulston Director of Social Care and Children, Health and Social Care Board said: “The campaign is an excellent opportunity for the five Health and Social Care Trusts the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service and the Health and Social Care Board to work together over the next five weeks to build momentum around awareness  of local services and  the community and voluntary organisations working tirelessly to support people in their communities. They will also work together amplify the Take 5 message and links to support online and in their local areas.

“It is important to remember that mental health services continue to operate across Northern Ireland at this time. If you are concerned about your physical or emotional wellbeing, you should contact your GP.”


Happy 25th Birthday Ferry FM

On this day 25 years ago (15th July 1995) Ferry FM took to the airwaves across Portaferry and Strangford. Broadcasting on 105.4FM from the Market House, the station entertained people with Gala News and Great Music.

Over the years the station has broadcast from a few different places, but mainly the Market House. The frequency also changed a few times before settling on 107.2 for many broadcasts. The station broadcast for 8 days each year covering Portaferry Gala Week.

From 2019, the station began broadcasting online all year round from its new studio base in the Rec Hub and regularly receives messages from “Ex-Ports” around the world who tune in to hear what’s happening back home.

This year, 2020, the station undertook it’s longest FM broadcast – a 70 day Covid-19 RSL from May to July; featuring great music along with Covid-19 and community information as well as mental health and caring messages.

Paul Buckle on launch day 1995
Producer Dave on launch day 1995
One of the promotional signs outside Portaferry
The Ferry FM studio today. How technology has changed in 25 years!
The view across Strangford Lough from the Ferry FM studio. Very few stations can claim to have a better view.

When ferry fm launched it was a commercial radio station, funded by advertising only – how many of these commercials do you remember from the 1990’s?

Coronavirus – Face Coverings

Face Coverings On Public Transport

From 10 July 2020 it’s the law that passengers and staff on public transport in Northern Ireland must wear a face covering:

– on bus, coach and train services
– in public transport stations
– in indoor areas of a ferry and outdoor areas where you can’t keep two metres social distance

This law does not apply to tour coaches and taxis or private hire vehicles but some operators may have their own rules you should follow.

Although face coverings may not prevent you from becoming infected with the virus, they help prevent people who don’t know they have the virus spreading it to others.

By wearing a face covering you are are showing your support and consideration for other passengers and staff and playing your part to prevent transmission of the virus.

You don’t have to wear a face covering:

– on school transport
– if you are under the age of 13
– if you are a member of staff and are behind a protective screen
– if you are a passenger or a member of staff and have a reasonable excuse

For further information visit:
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-face-coverings



TV Licencing Scam

The following has been received from TV Licensing:-

We are very aware that TVL is high on the scammers hit list. In May, Action Fraud received over 260 reports of coronavirus related TV Licensing emails. There has been a TVL email scam specifically about coronavirus going around which says that the customer is eligible for a personalised offer of six months free because of COVID.

We want to protect our customers, so have been working on developing more detailed advice and also working with National Cyber Security Centre – people are asked to send scam emails to report@phishing.gov.uk as a way of NCSC building a better picture of what’s out there.

As mentioned, the attached checklist is a good guide to help service users become aware of TVL scams and begin to take action against them via the following steps:

STOP Scammers will attempt to trick you into giving away your personal or bank details. So always be wary of letters, emails, texts or phone calls that promise you money or a refund 

CHECK Sender, spelling and grammar, your licence number, your name

ASK If you’re ever unsure about a communication you’ve received, it’s always best to ask someone – perhaps a friend or trusted advisor. Or you can contact us via www.tvl.co.uk/scams or call us.

Portaferry Recycling Centre

Re-Opening Thursday 2 July

Times:
Thursday to Friday: 9am to 4pm (last entry 3.50pm)
Saturday 9am to 4.30pm (last entry 4.20pm)

Access arrangements: Due to the size and location of the site, you must pre book your visit 48 hours in advance. Bookings will be in slots of 10 minutes. To book an appointment please phone 07747 131 913 between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday. The booking line will be live at 10am on Monday 29 June.

Vehicles must attend strictly on time for entry. Late comers will not be admitted and will have to re book their appointment. We are expecting a large number of bookings so please attend only at the time given and keep your time on site to a maximum of ten minutes to help others gain access.

At this time only cars will be allowed onto the site – no vans permitted (vans can use the Comber, Balloo and Ards sites with a permit).

NB: only two people per vehicle will be allowed access.

For further information:-
https://www.ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/resident/bins-and-recycling/recycling-centres/hrcs-during-covid19-important-information