The Community and Countryside Research Unit at the University of Gloucestershire want to hear from residents in rural communities about their use of services since the start of the Covid-19 restrictions in March 2020 and how they expect to use those services in future.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced that a £2.7 million Local Authority Treescapes Fund has now opened for applications.

The Government’s latest support for businesses (and village & community halls) has now been launched and replaces the lockdown grants paid to businesses in 2020/21. Restart Grants are available to village and community halls with a business rates account and are again administered by local authorities.

Warwickshire County Council is the lead authority for the £220m Community Renewal Fund and will receive and assess bids to submit to Government for consideration.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a consultation into improving broadband connectivity to very hard to reach places which closes mid-June. The government wants to ensure that long-term, long lasting gigabit solutions are made widely available across the UK.

NALC will be responding to this consultation and seeks County Associations' and member Councils' views to help form its response. Download the policy consultation briefing PC3-21 Rural broadband from NALC.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a consultation into electronic communications infrastructure, to support the deployment of 5G and extend mobile coverage.

NALC will be responding to this consultation and seeks County Associations' and member Councils' views to help form its response. Download the policy consultation briefing PC4-21 Electronic communications infrastructure from NALC.

Campaign To Protect Rural England Warwickshire are seeking two new trustees to help govern and manage the charity.

CPRE Warwickshire are looking for people with a strong interest in the countryside and a desire to protect for the present and the future of all the best characteristics of our county.

Campaign To Protect Rural England Warwickshire are seeking volunteers to help monitor planning applications.

CPRE Warwickshire are looking for people with a strong interest in the countryside and a desire to protect for the present and the future of all the best characteristics of our county.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced on Saturday 24th April the launch of two new key neighbourhood planning funds.

The first fund is valued at £2.1 million and called the Bidding fund for local planning authorities in under-represented areas. The aim of this fund is for local planning authorities covering partly deprived or urban areas to apply for funding to kick-start neighbourhood planning groups (where they are currently under-represented).

Luddington is in Stratford-on-Avon District

This temporary role would suit an existing Clerk/RFO. It has a flexible schedule but will be required for 5 to 7 hours per week. The role is home-based and will include attending evening meetings. Currently there is one full parish council meeting a month and up to 4 working group meetings.

NALC is calling on local (parish and town) councils to complete its new survey on young people. The survey will explore what local councils are currently doing to support young people in their communities.

For the next issue, NALC's Local Council Review would like you to answer three questions about your working relationships with sector and non-sector bodies.

Please respond to the survey by 7 May 2021.

If you aren't currently receiving LCR magazine and would like to find out more and subscribe visit NALC's website.

NALC has issued the following advice.

"There is an official period of mourning up to and including next Saturday 17 April (see Government Guidance). We understand that the period started last Friday 9th April. The period of mourning triggers the provisions of s243 of the 1972 Act.  As a result, these days should be excluded for calculation of time and any timescales that end in this period should be postponed until the first day after the period in accordance with section 243 of the 1972 Act."

It is with great sadness that the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and Warwickshire and West Midlands  Association of Local Councils (WALC) has learned of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Cllr Sue Baxter, NALC chairman, said

I know that those in the local (parish and town) council sector would join me in extending their condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family.

As we emerge from COVID-19 and hopefully move back into a more “normal” calendar year structure for meetings, we would encourage Councils to review their existing policies and procedures and consider when they require review and approval by full council.

Further to the announcement by Robert Jenrick, MP, regarding the end to powers to hold remote meetings, a Government consultation seeking views on the use of the current arrangements which have allowed local authorities to hold meetings remotely or in a hybrid format has been opened.

>The government’s one-off COVID Winter Grant was launched in December to help vulnerable residents who are struggling to afford food and utility bills (heating, cooking, lighting) and water for household purposes (including drinking, washing, cooking, central heating, sewerage and sanitary purposes), or other related essentials. It recently announced that as part of its COVID roadmap, the grant will be extended to the 16 April 2021, providing an additional £59.1 million of targeted financial...

The Government have published its national bus strategy Bus Back Better, which sets out the vision and opportunity to deliver better bus services for passengers across England through reform of how services are planned and delivered.

A Community Speedwatch newsletter is being circulated to Warwickshire Councils. No CSW activity has been able to place place due to the pandemic; however, it is hoped that it will be reactivated as of 29th March, if the roadmap remains on track. No anouncement will be made until the date for the "rule of 6" is confirmed.

 A new pattern of wards is being developed for Stratford-on-Avon District Council by the Local Government Boundary Commission, the independent body that draws these boundaries. It is reviewing Stratford-on-Avon District Council to make sure councillors represent about the same number of electors, and that ward arrangements help the council work effectively.