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NEWS | Thousands stuck in online queues as Aldi launches Black Friday deals

Tens of thousands of people have been stuck in online queues after discount supermarket Aldi launched Black Friday deals for the first time.

A note at the top of the Aldi website reads:

We’re very sorry, but there are currently lots of people trying to access the Aldi website. We’ve automatically placed you in a queue. Don’t worry about refreshing – this page will update automatically as soon as you can enter the site.

NEWS | Appeal to locate 23-year-old man reported missing from Gloucester

A 23-year-old man has been reported missing from Gloucester and police are appealing for information while officers continue the search for him.

There are concerns for the welfare of Aiden Meadows after he left an address in Brockworth around 1.30pm today, Thursday 26 November.

He was seen to get on a bus which was heading to Gloucester city centre.

When last seen Aiden was in black jeans, a black puffa jacket possibly with a black hooded top underneath, white trainers and a red face mask.

Aiden also wears glasses and is described as being a white man, around 5ft 11ins to 6ft tall, of a slim build, has short black curly hair, a short beard and has a sleeve tattoo on his right arm.

The search to try and find him has been taking place throughout the day and it is thought Aiden may have been at Gloucester Docks this evening.

Police are concerned for his welfare and are urging anyone who has seen Aiden today or has any information on his whereabouts to call them on 101, referencing incident 204 of 26 November.

You can also call the Missing People charity helpline on 116 000 or via their website https://www.missingpeople.org.uk/about-the-charity/contact-us 

NEWS | Kington firefighters support 16 days of action against domestic abuse

Kington firefighters are supporting #16DaysOfAction to continue to help those at risk of domestic abuse and to provide specialist support and advice to help put a stop to it.

16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence is aimed at businesses that lack an infrastructure to deal with the large-scale problem that is domestic violence. As it stands, companies can do more to aid their employees who endure domestic violence, train those who witness it, and to protect staff as a whole, with the goal of securing safety and mitigating financial loss.

NEWS | Drugs seized as police in Herefordshire crackdown on drugs

A quantity of drugs have been seized after police from Herefordshire worked together with colleagues from the British Transport Police Newport to target the County Lines drug issue.

Officers patrolled trains between Hereford and Leominster and completed a number of checks before arresting one individual for drug offences.

NEWS | Chief Medical Officer: Avoid hugging elderly relatives this Christmas

England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has urged people to avoid physical contact with grandparents or other elderly relatives. He made the comments during this after Coronavirus briefing.

He said: “Would I encourage someone to hug and kiss their elderly relatives? No I would not.

“It’s not against the law – and that’s the whole point – you can do it within the rules that are there, but it does not make sense because you could be carrying the virus.

“And, if you’ve got an elderly relative, that would not be the thing you would want to do in a period where we’re running up to a point where, actually, we might be able to protect older people.”

NEWS | COVID-19 infection rate in Herefordshire falls again – CHECK YOUR AREA NOW

The COVID-19 infection rate in Herefordshire is showing continued signs of falling, after a significant rise earlier this month. One area (Hereford South West) remains above 400 cases per 100,000 population but infection rates here aren’t rising as fast as they were, with levels in Hereford South falling below 400 cases per 100,000 population for the first time in over a week.

Today’s data (seven days ending 21st November) shows an infection rate in Herefordshire of 124 cases per 100,000 population. This is DOWN on data recorded yesterday (seven days ending 20th November) that showed an infection rate of 145.2 cases per 100,000 population.

LATEST COVID-19 INFECTION RATES FROM ACROSS HEREFORDSHIRE:

HEREFORD SOUTH – 33 new cases (Infection rate of 337.5 cases per 100,000 population. This is DOWN from 388.6 yesterday)

HEREFORD SOUTH WEST – 34 new cases (Infection rate of 411.1 cases per 100,000 population. This is DOWN from 447.4 yesterday)

ROSS-ON-WYE – 6 new cases (Infection rate of 53.1 cases per 100,000 population)

PENYARD, LLANGARRON & GOODRICH – 9 new cases (Infection rate of 74.6 cases per 100,000 population)

GOLDEN VALLEY – 4 new cases (Infection rate of 64 cases per 100,000 population)

FOWNHOPE, TARRINGTON & MARCLE – 6 new cases (Infection rate of 87.5 cases per 100,000 population)

LEDBURY – 3 new cases (Infection rate of 29.8 cases per 100,000 population)

COLWALL, CRADLEY & WELLINGTON HEATH – 5 new cases (Infection rate of 85.8 cases per 100,000 population)

BROMYARD & BISHOPS FROME – 6 new cases (Infection rate of 55.7 cases per 100,000 population)

LUGWARDINE, WITHINGTON & MORETON-ON-LUGG – 6 new cases (Infection rate of 78.2 cases per 100,000 population)

HEREFORD EAST – 8 new cases (Infection rate of 133.5 cases per 100,000 population)

HEREFORD CENTRAL – 14 new cases (Infection rate of 139.1 cases per 100,000 population)

BELMONT, MADLEY & CLEHONGER – 10 new cases (Infection rate of 147.5 cases per 100,000 population)

HEREFORD WEST – 8 new cases (Infection rate of 111.5 cases per 100,000 population)

HEREFORD NORTH WEST – 11 new cases (Infection rate of 118.4 cases per 100,000 population)

HEREFORD NORTH EAST – 8 new cases (Infection rate of 103.2 cases per 100,000 population)

CREDENHILL, WEOBLEY & WELLINGTON – 16 new cases (Infection rate of 166.5 cases per 100,000 population)

KINGTON, EARDISLEY & STAUNTON – 16 new cases (Infection rate of 194.5 cases per 100,000 population)

SHOBDON, LUSTON & BODENHAM – 7 new cases (Infection rate of 78.4 cases per 100,000 population)

LEOMINSTER SOUTH – 7 new cases (Infection rate of 111.2 cases per 100,000 population)

LEOMINSTER NORTH – 4 new cases (Infection rate of 65.5 cases per 100,000 population)

WIGMORE, ORLETON & BRIMFIELD – – new cases (Infection rate of – cases per 100,000 population) ** Data supressed to protect privacy of individuals

To view current data and old data for your specific area, please visit – https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/interactive-map

NEWS | Whole year group self-isolating after positive COVID-19 case at school in Hereford

A whole year group is self-isolating after a positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed at the Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoat School.

A letter to parents confirmed that a positive case had been identified within the Year 8 bubble and that the whole year group would have to self-isolate, as the school couldn’t identify whether those that had been in close contact with the individual had mixed with other students from the year group prior to and after school and also at lunchtimes.

NEWS | It’s Carers Rights Day and the campaign is as important as ever

By Clara Hickman

Since the start of the first lockdown in March this year the pressure and exhaustion that frontline workers have felt due to the Coronavirus pandemic has been overwhelming.

Recognising their battle in helping people with Covid-19, chancellor and finance minister Rishi Sunak granted doctors an increase of 2.8% in the summer of this year while nurses who were still moving up their pay structures would see an average 4.4% rise in 2020.

However, Carers UK, a charity dedicated to fighting for carers rights have drawn attention to how carers have seemingly fallen under the radar during the pandemic. For many years they have campaigned for an increase in financial support for carers and have not stopped doing so throughout the pandemic, the need for it at its most vital.

It is Carers Rights Day today and the carers allowance remains one of the lowest benefits of its’ kind at £67.25 for 35 hours per week.

Recently, nearly 5,000 unpaid carers admitted they are often working an extra 10 hours a week caring for their loved ones who have underlying and complex health problems and not getting paid.

Carers UK chief executive, Helen Walker said “unpaid carers are fighting the same battle as care staff and many of our NHS workers; yet they do it behind closed doors and with far less recognition.”

A survey conducted by the charity showed over 55% of unpaid carers constantly feel overwhelmed with caring for their loved ones amidst the rise of Coronavirus cases. Statistics also showed 87% of carers reported major stress in not knowing what would  happen to the people they care for if they test positive for the virus or have to self-isolate and could no longer care for them.

There is also the worry of the psychological impact on carers and the mental health problems it could cause.

According to mental health charity, Mind, the rise in sick days within the NHS because of mental health has risen dramatically since the virus hit. It has seen approximately 1.5 million sick days within a period of two months earlier this year. According to NHS Digital Data, it was up from 1.1 million in 2019.

Why would it be any different for carers?

As well as the stress of caring for their loved ones in a time where many care and support services are reduced, a high number of carers are experiencing financial stress too. 1 in 10 are spending more on specialist equipment for the person they care for and installing specialist adaptations in their home  while 81% have found they are having to spend more money on food now due to the lack of supermarket delivery slots and also on specialist foods.

Walker stressed “unpaid carers are just as vital in the national effort to keep vulnerable people safe, yet many fear that continuing to care round the clock will lead to them burning out.”  

Addressing the nation during the Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday, Sunak announced the government will pause public sector pay except for those in the NHS who will see a pay rise.

In response to Sunak’s announcement shadow chancellor of the exchequer,  Anneliese Dodds expressed her disapproval of this move and said “the chancellor has gone from clapping for carers to giving them a pay freeze.”

There is hope for those whose incomes are less than £24,000 and they will expect to see a pay rise of at least £250.

Sunak announced an extra £1billion for social care will be available.  

Walker said “this crisis needs to be a turning point in how we as a society treat carers.”

NEWS | Number of COVID-19 patients at hospital in Herefordshire rises but fewer are on mechanical ventilation

Every Thursday, NHS England releases COVID-19 Hospital Admission statistics for hospitals in England. Below is the latest data released for Wye Valley NHS Trust.

Data up until 24th November 2020

Number of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients: 27 (+6 compared to 17th November 2020)

Number of Mechanical Ventilation beds occupied by COVID-19 patients: (-2 compared to 17th November 2020)

Data up until 17th November 2020

Number of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients: 21 (-3 compared to 10th November 2020)

Number of Mechanical Ventilation beds occupied by COVID-19 patients: (-1 compared to 10th November 2020)

Data up until 10th November 2020

Number of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients: 24 (-2 compared to 3rd November 2020)

Number of Mechanical Ventilation beds occupied by COVID-19 patients: (+2 compared to 3rd November 2020)

Data up until 3rd November 2020

Number of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients: 26 (+23 compared to 3rd October 2020)

Number of Mechanical Ventilation beds occupied by COVID-19 patients: 2 (+1 compared to 3rd October 2020)

Heineken Hereford staff ‘preparing to battle’ huge ‘sack and sign’ contract cuts says Unite the Union

Workers at Heineken’s cider brewery in Hereford, Herefordshire, are ‘preparing to battle’ ‘sack and sign’ (SAS) ultimatum by the company that will see staff lose thousands of pounds in pay and benefits, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Thursday 26 November). 

Last week, Heineken announced that it intends to fire and rehire staff at the brewery, which makes Strongbow and Bulmers and where Unite has more than 200 members, on contracts that would result in huge pay reductions for many workers.

The staff who stand to lose the most would be those affected by changes to retirement rundown benefits, while the company also plans to cancel Sunday shift premiums, cut holiday pay and change the terms and conditions for flexible working. 

Unite national officer Joe Clarke said: “Heineken’s SAS ultimatum to its Hereford staff has shocked the workforce, who have worked hard throughout the pandemic ensuring the company kept bringing money in. 

“Many staff stand to lose a massive amount of their wage packets and fear that they will be unable to pay the bills if these plans go through. 

“Staff are preparing to battle these changes with everything they’ve got. What else are they supposed to do when faced with losing their financial security after years of dedicated service? 

“Unite and Heineken have had a good relationship for many years, but the company should be in no doubt that the union will do everything in its power to stop these attacks on our members’ contracts. 

“A consultative ballot for strike action has been launched and Unite will continue to mobilise against these changes through legal channels and the industrial action process until the company’s retracts this outrageous sack and sign ultimatum.”   

Unite regional coordinating officer Simon Powell, who has been leading the negotiations on behalf of the union, said: “Throughout the negotiations, which have taken place over a long period of time, Heineken’s management have adopted an aggressive approach and tried to ride roughshod over many of the workforce’s employment terms. 

“Instead of offering conditions that are completely unacceptable to our members, we urge Heineken to get back around the table and seek agreement on this for the good of all concerned.”

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