Category Archives: DISTRICT News


  • The overall outlook is very positive. All SCC services that are open are working well and other services are starting to move towards recovery with phased openings taking place, including the registration service, using Perspex screens where necessary, and libraries (Ilminster is not in the first phase). One area of concern in relation to libraries is how to manage physical contact with books etc., and how to support a ‘click and collect’ service safely. This cautious approach is to ensure public safety.
  • Weddings and civil partnership services will be able to take place from 4th July.
  • There remains a backlog of birth registrations at present.
  • From this weekend all waste re-cycling centres will be accepting all waste as usual and permit holders with trailers will be able to access sites as normal. For the time being staff will not be able to offer assistance with unloading and nothing will be accepted for re-use.
  • Adapting work practices to include online access and training continues to be developed; an ongoing survey has shown that a significant number of staff feel that their work-life balance has improved, although those with children have been finding some aspects of lockdown a challenge, including the inability to socialise by visiting local pubs etc. Consideration is being given to how future working practices future might be adapted, also taking into account tax implications for those who may be affected by working from home.
  • The government has issued Covid-19 secure standards, based on 5 key principles, which SCC has adopted and adapted to the different settings involved. 
  • The COVID -19 – Local Outbreak Management Plan has now been produced. It is an extensive document 61 pages in length, covering all aspects of how the county, going forward, is planning to manage the virus, as it is expected that clusters of outbreaks will still occur. The Somerset plans are considered to be such that this approach is being adopted nationally.
  • It is hoped that local lockdowns will not be necessary, particularly as tracking and tracing
  • As the national alert level is reduced and lockdown measures relaxed, it is likely there will be more localised outbreaks, which will require greater capacity across the system. It is for this reason that appropriate measures are now being put into place.
  • The message continues to be social distancing (still 2m. where at all possible) washing hands and working from home where possible.
  • Somerset continues to be in a good place, with the total number of deaths related to Covid-19 at 195 and the total number of cases across the county at 795 (there have been just 3 new cases in the community this week, but there has also been a significant outbreak in one care home in Chard).
  • The ‘R’ number provided by SAGE (the SW was unable to accurately use this data before) is now the lowest in the country at 0.6 – 0.9.
  • SCHOOLS – 348 laptops have now been allocated to schools, plus an additional 70 former SCC ones to other educational units.
  • Locally, re-payment by the NHS for PPE equipment provided by SCC is being pursued and requires an application by the NHS for central government funding.


DG’s Blog 29 June 2020.

We have reached the end of my three-and-a-half-year journey as DG. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve the District.

RI President Mark Maloney’s theme for the year was “Rotary Connects the World” and this has been even more evident now that we all connect via Zoom!

My theme for the year was FUN, Fellowship, Updating Rotary and New Clubs. . The Fellowship has been great and I have been inspired by the works that our clubs do. We have Updated Rotary – who would have thought that almost everyone would be using online tools to meet and carry on the service to the communities. We even achieved a New Club – St John’s Primary Midsomer Norton Rotakids.

One of my aspirations was to educate members about the wider family of Rotary and I think that my weekly blog has gone some way to do this – at least the numbers of subscribers to Circa1200 has increased by 300 and there has been a 12% increase in the number of members with a MyRotary account. I have tried during the year to keep my weekly Blog to one page but I hope you will forgive me for giving a more comprehensive “end of term” report.

The year started with a Midsummer Madness / Handover party that raised £1,000 pounds split between School in a Bag and the YDH Breast Care Unit appeal. The District Conference in Southampton attracted 200 people and, as a side-line, raised £1,300 for Rainbow Trust.
I am proud of the innovative ways that members and clubs have responded to the challenges posed by Coronavirus and pleased that District allocated £10,000 to match fund many of the projects.


At the 1 July the membership totalled 1368, and we have had 100 new members this year. Membership retention is over 90%. Gender distribution is improving, with now over 18% female membership. There has been a 12% increase in members having a MyRotray Account.

We have approved 15 Membership Development grants to assist Clubs with recruitment and some of these are yet to take place. We have one satellite and at least one Rotaract club in course.

We chartered a Rotakids club at St John’s Primary School in Midsomer Norton and were close to starting two Rotaract Clubs when the virus struck.

Sadly, we have lost two clubs this year Avalon and Calne. Both of these failed to find incoming officers and people to run their projects – unfortunately not an uncommon situation.

The pandemic has brought forth a host of volunteers and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to invite them into the Rotary family and to start new forms of Rotary for these people.


I have been amazed at the work the clubs do to support local, national and international communities. In particular, clubs supported the West Indies following Hurricane Dorian, the Bush Fires in Australia and floods here in the UK. David Perkins has provided the following summary:

“District donated $10,000 of its DDF to Polio Plus to help continue the fight to eradicate this terrible disease and made two grants of $2,500 to coronavirus projects in India and in Dominican Republic.

The Foundation team have been working throughout the year to promote Rotary’s only charity.

Over £18,000 of our District Dedicated Fund (DDF) allocation of £24,000 was given in 27 matching grants for various club projects, varying from community and disabled schemes within the District, to clean water and health needs abroad. The Grants Sub Committee has also cultivated a plethora of Global Grants, which need international involvement to draw down matched funding of at least $15,000, ranging from the Dorset Hospital Chemo unit to major clean water and hygiene facilities in Kerala and Kenya.

The PolioPlus campaign continued to fight against the objections of religion and politics in the Khyber Pass area where the last remaining cases of infection were on the increase, and has developed a new Polio vaccine which is expected to do away with the Vaccine Derived strain of the virus. The annual planting of purple crocus corms to raise awareness of the Purple Pinkie campaign was well taken up, although the resulting flowers were a bit insipid. The supplier has promised that the corms provided this years will be more robust.

Then the world went into lockdown! Meetings were cancelled, fund raising events abandoned and everything came to a halt. But The Rotary Foundation went into overdrive! D1200 clubs drew down the remaining DDF to help with local food banks and related schemes. When that was exhausted, District stepped in by allocating surplus funds to COVID19 related grants. The remnants of our Global Grant allocation has also been used in reciprocal arrangements with Districts in India and The Dominican Republic to provide ventilators and basic family hygiene kits respectively. Unlike most districts in RFUK, D1200 has utilised its entire allocation of grant funding in Doing Good, both locally and internationally.

The Rotary Foundation headquarters in Evanston has also risen to the challenge. Although working from home, the staff have pulled out all the stops to help. Applications that usually expect to take months to authorise have been completed in less than 10 days! It is worthy of note that, since April, Foundation has given over $20million in grants to help with the worldwide fight against COVID19. A Disaster Relief Fund set up with a budget of $2 million donated $5 million in only 6 weeks!

Whilst the vaccination programme of the End Polio Now campaign is obviously in abeyance, the resources of the organisation – laboratories for sample testing, contact tracing, vaccine development, etc- are being well used in the Coronavirus battle. Unfortunately the instances of polio cases is on the increase, which proves that it will rapidly re-establish itself if we relinquish the task before it is complete. And we are now well aware that the spread of a virus is only a plane ride away.

The District Foundation Team has been trying to improve the awareness of what The Rotary Foundation is all about and how it operates. In some ways, the lockdown has actually helped as it is easier to give a Foundation talk to a club on Zoom than having to travel across the district. It also saves on travelling expenses and meal costs, which could be donated to TRF or PolioPlus.”

Humanitarian Service.

We started the year with plans to help the environment by hoping to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as well as trying help fight loneliness and mental health. Our District Project for the year was to support the Yeovil District Hospital Breast Care Unit. Sarah Folland has sent the following report.

“It has certainly been a challenging year in which Connectivity and Humanitarian support has indeed been very meaningful with efforts and support shown locally and across the globe.

At the start of last year Rotary in GBI took steps to commit to tackling poor mental health by signing up to the Concordat for ‘Better mental Health’ with Public health England. The commitment from Rotary clubs has been demonstrated with many of our district clubs supporting local initiatives or starting up ‘drop in’ cafes and local support groups or activities to improve health and reduce isolation. Others have continued to raise awareness of mental health issues through poster campaigns or the dedicated ‘Rotarians 4 Mental Health’ website.

Disaster response and support has this year focused on 2 main areas. Six months ago world attention was focused on the Australian forest and bush Fires that devastated large parts of the country. Since January with the help of much needed rain the fires have been controlled but the recovery and rebuilding efforts will take years. In November last year following consistent and heavy rainfall the District responded to the flood relief efforts in NE. England. The resources and expertise of the EVAG group were mobilised to provide practical help and clubs and again Rotarians have given financial support through the RGBI Disaster and Recovery fund.

We were not expecting the rapid spread of the Covid 19 pandemic through the world and many of our normal activities and events came to a sudden halt in March. Our thoughts are with all those who have been directly affected by the disease and its consequences. However, there could not perhaps be a better example of ‘Rotary in Action’! This has been demonstrated in many different ways. Most of our clubs have kept in close touch with members and Rotarians been a huge support, actively contributing where possible, but also by providing funds and equipment, advice and encouragement to many local and some international projects These include support networks, foodbanks, hospital teams, hospices, PPE providers, also enabling home education and play for isolating families. Support to those colleagues who are isolated and vulnerable including those with health and welfare issues has been very evident. District 1200 allocated £10.000 pounds to match fund individual club projects and it has been moving to see the efforts and support from so many clubs. The pandemic will continue to place pressure on many health and social care providers as well as charities and I am sure our continued support will be needed in the months to come.

Many continue to support the Polio projects. Bears and Bulbs are available as Rotary its efforts to help rid the World of this disease.

RIBI has recently signed up to a 12 month partnership with Carers UK- This gives encouragement for us all to support young and unpaid carers.

Let us not forget too, the efforts made to take action in caring for our environment and Rotarians providing leadership and examples of good practice and we thank Penny Underwood for efforts to encourage this at district level.”


We have some brilliant Youth Projects and we started the year with a Youth Showcase, reviving a pet projects of the late Roger Andrews. The new Rotakids club were the stars of the District Conference. RYLA was again a delight to visit. I was also delighted to visit the Technology tournament held jointly by Crewkerne, Chard and Ilminster.

I send Rory and his team my very best wishes for the new year.

So long and thanks for all the fish (Douglas Adams). Very best wishes.- Dennis




To all Rotarians in District 1200

We need your help!
Just 1 Rotary meal!

Coronavirus has understandably meant that the foot has come off the peddle of
Polio giving, although the infrastructure has still been used in dealing with the
Pandemic and polio vaccines are continuing to be purchased.

If every Rotarian in the district donated the cost of

Just One Meal
End Polio Now

We could raise approximately £14,000
Which the Bill Gates |Foundation would turn into


Please send your donations to
The Rotary Foundation of UK,
Kinwarton Road, Alcester, B49 6PB.
Endorsing your cheque POLIO

pay on line to RFUK CAF account
Sort Code 40-52-40 Acc No. 00018558
Using your Rotary ID Number as the refence e.g. 1234567POLIO
And send an email to
To add Gift Aid


DG’s Blog 22 June 2020

Virtual Convention.

Over 54,000 people registered for the 2020 Virtual Convention which started on Saturday and continues this week with various breakout groups. Further breakout groups will continue into July. To register visit There is also a link to register for Taipei in 2021 at a discounted price.

Brit Valley Tea Party.

Who says that fund raising is difficult in the current circumstances? Yesterday, Lindsey Luxton and Brit Valley proved that it is possible by running a Zoom Blooming Tea Party for Marie Curie. Attendee and the club aimed to get 100 people online to share a cup of tea and piece of cake.

Dissolution of Calne.

It is with sadness that I report the dissolution of Calne Rotary Club. Calne was a daughter club of Chippenham and was formed on 30 September 1980 so would have celebrated 40 years later in this calendar year. Declining membership and age had caught up with the club and it was finding difficulty in finding officers and people to run its projects. I am pleased to say that a majority of the remaining members and the club projects have been welcomed to the Chippenham club which has undertaken to support the projects and the Calne community.


Best wishes – Dennis


There are no operational concerns in relation to SCC.
Multi-agency work is continuing, with numbers using the call service decreasing significantly.


  • The situation in Somerset remains calm and stable, with the number of cases continuing to decline, with just one new case reported this week, in a care home.
  • As of 17th June, there have been a total of 791 confirmed cases in Somerset.
  • Weston-Super-Mare hospital has re-opened.
  • The total number of deaths in Somerset to date is 193 (including 104 in hospitals)
  • The ‘R’ number is hovering at 0.8 – 1.1.
  • The CEO of Yeovil Hospital has reported zero cases this week.
  • It is hoped that a new testing centre will shortly be opened in Minehead.
  • Testing sites for the Yeovil and Ilminster areas are being considered by the military for accessibility.
  • There have been some issues in purchasing PPE in order to be able to re-open registration service centres, but this is in hand.
  • Work is being done with the CCG to consider the long-term view (total spend on PPE is now up to £6m., with 15m. items purchased/on order) – the cost of face masks has been reduced from £1.80 to 63p.
  • Much of the equipment is being purchased from China and Malaysia and 1,200 flights to/from Beijing were cancelled this week. The situation is being monitored, amid concerns raised over the issue of labour exploitation in some countries.

    LIBRARIES – no decision on re-opening libraries has been made yet.

  • Hinton St. George School has been closed, and is due to re-open next Tuesday, as one member of staff has been tested positive, but this is an isolated case.
  • Laptop provision for vulnerable children– government laptops have now arrived, along with 4G dongles, which are being checked before being issued. 1,100 children and care leavers were initially identified as requiring this support; after eligibility checks through schools and social workers were made, this was reduced to 348 children but it is expected that additional children will continue to be identified as requiring support.
  • All laptops have been gifted to those needing them and will be distributed to schools by next week.
  • Redundant SCC laptops have been sold, and the money re-invested into providing laptops to local education providers e.g. colleges.
    Years 10 and 12 have returned to school this week.
  • Secondary schools, and all primary schools, continue to provide support for vulnerable children in other years.
  • As of 15th June 45% of Year 6 cohorts were attending school and primary schools are at capacity in terms of the conditions required for social distancing and staffing.
  • Government advice is not to use other local provision because of the risk factor.
  • Home to school transport remains a challenge and parents are being asked to try to make their own arrangements for Sept.
  • Free school meals – clarification is still awaited, with some children being in receipt of vouchers.
  • An additional £1bn. catch up money has been provided by central government, largely to be used to enable pupils to access additional tuition and 1-to-1 support to be able to catch up.
  • As yet no central government provision has been made for critical worker support during the school holidays, which is as expected.
  • Vulnerable children – teams have been set up on a rota basis to provide intensive support for those families that need it, and additional resources provided for safeguarding.
  • 10 additional children have come into care, mainly teenagers (compared with a total of 500 across the county). It is expected that this will increase as a result of concerns over domestic abuse, with acknowledgement that we have been in a crisis situation.
  • Unlike other areas there has been no notable increase in child suicides.
  • There is a particular challenge around supporting teenagers, especially where their peers may not be in school, along with concern about the possibility of criminal exploitation e.g. county lines, where the police have been very active.
  • School ‘Bubble’ – this can consist of a maximum of 15 pupils = half the usual class size.
  • Unless guidance changes significantly, it is unlikely that schools will be able to be fully operational by Sept.

    TOWN CENTRES – concern has been raised about the lack of disabled parking facilities, particularly in Taunton, and this under review.
    All pedestrianisation schemes in town centres, to enable social distancing, are now up and running.

DG’s Blog 15 June 2020

Response to Covid-19.

As at 3 June The Rotary Foundation had provided funding of almost $20 million to help with the pandemic. Thirty clubs have now applied for and received our District matched grants of £250 per club. There are still funds available so please apply before the end of the month.

Giving to Foundation by country.

I attach the table of the Top giving countries to Foundation. Please remember to send off your club’s donations as soon as possible to register them for this year to increase the amount of District Designated Funds available to us in 2022-23.

Crocus Corms.

Orders for purple crocus corms to plant in Autumn 2020 are now open! How are you going to use them, with your community, in your district and club? Corms can be ordered via the website
Final deadline for orders is 31st August 2020.

Your Big Day.

Your Big Day offers videos tailored to a specific date in history, drawing on the extensive film and television archives of ITN and Reuters. These videos cost £19.50 and of this £6 will be donated to Polio +. Website is

Rotary GB&I announce 12 month partnership with Carers UK

Last week Rotary GB&I announced a 12 month partnership with Carers UK, the national membership charity for carers.  The announcement was made as part of Carers Week, which shines a light on the challenges faced by the 6.5 million unpaid carers nationwide.  The partnership will see us work together to make life better for unpaid carers by raising awareness and offering support, with Carers UK in turn promoting the difference that Rotary volunteers make in their communities across the country, while also offering training to become Rotary Carers UK Ambassadors.  A programme of activities and selection of resources for Rotary clubs and members is currently being produced.

Are you missing your regular Club meetings?

Ric Canham is setting up a series of Zoom meetings for any members who have not been able to take part in online meetings or would like to meet with members from other clubs. The first of these is at 7pm tonight (Monday). Please contact Ric if you would like to attend.

District Handover.

District Handover will take place via Zoom on 3 July at 7pm look out for the invitation.

Best wishes – Dennis



Most recent statistics show that there has been a total of 789 confirmed cases to date in Somerset, which remains the lowest region in the UK.

The total number of deaths due to Covid-19 in Somerset to date is 181, although there is usually a delay of up to three weeks for the data to be updated.

An update to the ‘R’ rate, which is a ‘modelled’ number, for Somerset is awaited. However, the Public Health England ‘R’ rate for Somerset is currently ‘1’, which is considered acceptable due to the low numbers of people infected with Covid-19 overall.

A permanent testing site has now been established at Taunton racecourse, with a good uptake. Those wishing to be tested are permitted to attend the nearest centre. Pro-active testing in care homes is being carried out, and also for the wider care sector and hospitals.

The epidemic curve for Somerset has recently had a little bit of an upturn, then a reduction.

The upturn was identified in the last 10 days, and despite investigation there appeared to be no logical trend or reason for this. However, a few days ago, the local laboratory in Taunton noticed that there were far more positive testing results being produced (78), which turned out be false positives. After a number of swabs were able to be retrieved and re-tested on a different machine, it was found that of those re-tested 27 of these cases were in fact negative. All those patients affected have been contacted. As a result of this action the number of recorded positive cases has now reduced to expected levels, to just a handful of positive cases.

Outbreak management plan – all local authorities are required to have one in order to accurately track any return of the epidemic, which is considered to be highly likely. The health and social care ‘GOLD’ is in place to rapidly mobilise appropriate teams should this be necessary.

The public message is still to continue social distancing and regular hand washing.

Visiting relatives in care homes – some have already opened up and are allowing relatives to meet in the gardens with social distancing, but at present the decision is entirely up to individual homes.

Track and Trace – although this is in general a nationally led initiative at a local level it continues to develop, and Somerset is already benefiting from it. Updates are received 3-4 times daily.

National infection control funding – receipt of this is dependent on capacity tracking. In Somerset 100% of all 250 care homes have been participating and so far 68% have requested funding and have received it, largely for staffing. The criteria for receiving funds has been strict, for example it is not available for the provision of PPE. 25% of the fund remains available and will be used for smaller local providers, domiciliary care providers, supported living etc.

Only 1 care home currently has a Covid-19 infection.

Vicarage House in Hambridge has gone into liquidation and is now closed. All residents have been re-homed.

NHS – has been providing support for ‘discharge to assess’ into people’s own homes, and also in preventing admissions initially. The ‘intermediate care system’, supporting people in their own homes, through GPs etc. have been working closely with the NHS to ensure appropriate community support.

Hospitals are now able to provide improved advice and support to families to enable the discharge of people into their own homes.

Care Act Easement Powers are in force but in Somerset, the decision has been taken not to use these at present.

Intended to be used to help to open up town centres – a series of schemes is being put in place in conjunction with district councils. The measures are intended to be temporary at present and include lines, signs, cones, plastic barriers etc. to enable social distancing. Work is due to start this week, resulting in some noise disturbance, and will include Yeovil and Chard. It is expected that once up and running some schemes will need tweaking and depending on effectiveness and response some may be considered for permanent installation. There has been considerable discussion with bus companies to consider the impact of any scheme on access to public transport.

This is unlikely to re-open in the near future as social distancing is not felt to be feasible at present.

Some funding has been provided for approx. 50 laptops so far. It is accepted that this needs to have progressed more quickly than has been the case so far.

DG’s Blog 8 June 2020

Rotary magazine.

The June/July edition has two items reflecting our District. There is an article about Michael and Katalin Fernando’s work at Yeovil District Hospital and Mendip get a mention about the Cheddar Vale Community Hub. Read the magazine online at If you would like to publicise what you or your club are doing why not send details to the editor Dave King

Covid Grants.

Well done everyone with the help given to your local communities, there have now been 27 District matched Covid grants approved.

Virtual convention.

Convention Registration is now open, and it is FREE! If you go to the 2020 Rotary Virtual Convention website – you can now register as “Now More Than Ever, Rotary Connects the World” – I already have and it would be wonderful if you and your fellow Rotarians join me and many others.


Rotarians Against Malaria – Rotary Action Group AGM.
Time: Jun 9, 2020 09:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 847 8902 4532
Password: 448869

Prepare for 30 June

This is a friendly reminder to update your club membership and officer information in the Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland database by 1 July 2020. This information will be used to generate your July 2020 club invoice.

Best wishes – Dennis



700+ tests have been carried out in Somerset to date.

Somerset had a much later and lower peak of Covid-19 cases than many other regions in the country.

Deaths in Somerset Hospitals, which includes patients who are not Somerset residents, show ONS figures of a total of 159 Covid-19 deaths in total (40% of which were in care homes).

There is some confusion of differences in the data provided by ONS and CQC…. this is likely to be due to a difference in reporting periods for both.

18 care homes deaths in the last four weeks.

There were 11 Covid-19 deaths (5 hospital, 6 care home) in the last week.

Given the age of our population , the age standardised death rate for Somerset is the lowest in the country

Recent data ONS shows that Covid-19 deaths amount to 40% of all deaths in the county.

The total number of deaths for the period are 22% below the expected average

Although we have a higher proportion of residents in care homes than in other parts of the country, as a % our Covid-19 death rates are lower.

It has been reported that learning disability care homes have significantly higher rates of infection, but there is a lack of individual data available to identify this.


Key outcomes

The care and health support letter has been published in support of care providers, and SCC has received national praise for their approach.

Many of the areas where there remain challenges have not been in the control of SCC e.g. Track and Tracing.

There has been significant collaboration with acute trusts in relation to staffing, with an acknowledgement that if someone in a care home setting is shown to be positive this will involve all those in that setting having to self-isolate for 14 days.

There have been a number of temporary and interim care placements put in place, with costs implications that have been acknowledged and understood to be necessary.

Quality Assurance review activity is continuing, largely being carried out by phone at present, which has shown to be very effective in clearing a previous backlog.

Adult social care continues to operate 24/7, with some relaxation for certain teams in order to ensure that if there is to be a further spike that everyone is on alert for immediate action.

Discharge arrangements – changes that have been brought as a result of the pandemic are likely to continue afterwards, where new ways of working have been shown to be more effective. Discharge funding is at present being funded by the NHS (£4.3m.)

A central government Infection Control Grant of £8.3m has been received – 75% of this is ring-fenced, with strict criteria, and is expected to go directly to the 240 care homes in the county, and based on numbers of beds, as soon as it is received. In order to access this money, they need to have signed up the to the Care Home Tracker, which over 90% have done so far. Some care homes may not choose to accept the money offered due to the conditions and reporting procedures required, but this is being challenged. The funds are mainly being used on PPE provision. At present SCC is still providing PPE without charge to care homes, because it is more cost effective to purchase in bulk, although this situation may change in future. Assurance has been received that a clear focus has been put on the quality of PPE provided.

A survey has been completed to begin to look at options post-Covid-19.


During the last 2-3 months

One of the challenges discharges from acute hospitals has been those with complex needs, and such conditions as dementia, either with or without Covid-19. It was felt that initially the right support was not available, resulting in some delays due to capacity issues.

As a result, a new model, jointly working together with other agencies, was introduced to enable some patients to be segregated where necessary. This trial, using multi-disciplinary working, appears to be have successful, but now needs to be assessed to shape future ways of working.

Effort has been made to ensure that only those testing negative for Covid-19 are placed in settings where others may be at risk. With this in mind, Hendford is been used primarily to allow those testing positive with Covid-19 to be placed there.

For those on mental health wards the aim has been to have them spend as little time as possible in hospital mental health acute wards. Two properties, used as ‘step-down’ houses, have been made available for initial discharge, one in Wells, another in Yeovil, for patients who no longer need to receive medical treatment but who still require support and a more home like environment in which to recover from their mental health crisis. The average stay is 2-6 weeks, until they feel ready to move on; under the Care Act no charge is made for this intermediate care.

STEP-UP HOUSES – One is due to be opened in Yeovil from 25th June and set up to support those in the community undergoing a mental health crisis, but who may not need medical intervention. It is intended for those who would benefit from secure short-term support during a crisis, with time spent away from their home.

It is a joint pilot venture with ENABLE to allow professional teams across the service to engage with people and access the help they need.

The intention going forward is to reduce mental health re-admission rates, with fast-track assessments being carried out.

Total costs per year for this service are in the region of £400k.

Results have been very positive so far and it is intended that eventually this will become a district wide model.


Nationally it is recognised that there has been a gap in the early implementation of secondary mental health services. Somerset had submitted a bid to provide this service, which was successful in Oct. 2019, one of 12 sites across the country.  

Part of the new model has been to increase access to a range of primary mental health support in service users’ own community locations.

The intention is to remove ‘gatekeepers’ that have been preventing easy access to services, and to break down barriers between primary and secondary care. In a survey carried out, service users were emphatic that they did NOT want a signposting service.

Locality teams have been set up to provide an integrated approach between health and social care.

MINDLINE helpline was introduced 24/7, along with a range of remote access support, including community rooms.


Safequarding children – prioritised activity on identifying vulnerable children, and in working with agencies for CAMHS and mental health support.

Schools have been very pro-active in supporting children’s services and the police.

There has been some increase in domestic abuse issues.

Recruitment continues, using virtual interviewing processes.

The challenge will be in the next phase in terms of ensuring that all primary children will be able to access education before the end of the summer term. This is unlikely to be achieved due to the logistics of some schools.

At present whether or not children return to school at present is down to parental choice.

It has been difficult to engage with secondary school children to ensure that they return to school.

There is a supply chain problem for PPE as more businesses and services start to re-open.

Funding support has been provided for the Early Years sector.

Children’s care placements, especially for teenagers, remains a problem, reflected in the national position.

There is also concern that teenagers are often unwilling to continue to observe social distancing.

National emergency planning meetings are being held daily with central government.

At present around 50% of those able to return to school have done so.

There has been no update on whether or not some schools will be asked to return early after the summer break. This is unlikely, as the majority of schools have been open throughout the pandemic and is felt that staff will need the break.

No additional money has been provided for schools to manage their resources in terms of how they manage the physical aspects of their sites, and also staffing, where the majority of staff are over 50.

To help to manage the difficulties of this, schools have been sharing resources.

There is as yet no timescale for school life to return to normal.

There is particular concern over those children deemed to be vulnerable, and those who have may have suffered anxiety or trauma during Covid-19, and a resulting increase in possible behavioural challenges. It is acknowledged that remote support is not suitable for all.

Primary Head Teachers are meeting regularly, and so far feel that SCC support has been positive in terms of the challenges posed by re-opening.

School transport – there is a lack of clarity of how this will be managed, in terms of social distancing, particularly once secondary school children return to school, where it is seen as a major challenge.

Key impacts and concerns as a result of Covid-19

  • Increase in demand for services as we come out of Lockdown
  • Increase in poverty levels
  • Concern over Young Carers
  • How the education system will cope, especially for smaller rural schools
  • Availability of monetary and staffing resources


A more consistent and coordinated approach is required to ensure the best outcomes for children with SEND. Education Health Care Plans remain a key issue, in addition to the high number of school exclusions of those children with SEND. One of the reasons for this is seen to be connected to the high increase in the number of children requiring EHCP in Somerset, above the national average, and that current levels of funding are insufficient.

Educational outcomes for these pupils is below the national average and there is concern that a high proportion of those schools seen to be failing in this area are Academies, over which the local authority has no control.

It is accepted that the right services, whether related to education of healthcare, have until now not been available in the right place at the right time.

The identification and impact on health needs of Children Looked After has improved.

Special schools have received very positive reports; the main area of concern is how children with SEND are supported in a mainstream setting.

Rotary fight for a polio free world

Spring each year sees a beautiful purple carpet of crocus blooming in many communities across Great Britain and Ireland thanks to the Purple Crocus Corm planting to raise awareness of the Rotary fight for a polio free world.

If your club would like to contribute to this carpet of purple, orders for purple crocus corms to plant in autumn 2020 are now open! Final deadline for orders is 31st August 2020.

Two million corms are available this year, on a first come first served basis at the special price of £135 for a box of 4,000.

Head to the website  to download the order forms and access all other information for this year’s planting activities.

All activities relating to crocus corm activities must comply with government guidelines on COVID-19.

The collection/distribution of the corms in D1200 in September will be coordinated by the DRFC, David Perkins who can be contacted by subitting this form.

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