Stage three of the government road map went ahead as planned at midnight, with up to six people or two different households now allowed to meet indoors. Hugs and other physical contact between ‘close friends and family’ are now permitted for the first time since Covid-19 restrictions began.
Pubs and restaurants can now welcome customers back indoors, although anyone visiting a pub must remain seated to order, eat and drink. The one-metre (3ft) rule remains in place in public settings such as pubs, shops and restaurants. You should wear a face mask when walking around these places.
Groups of up to 30 people outside are allowed, but bigger groups are illegal.
The response to Census 2021 has exceeded all expectations, with 97 per cent of households across England and Wales making sure they count when it comes to local services like school places, GP surgeries and hospital beds.
This is above the pre-census target of 94 per cent, while all local authorities have seen over 90 per cent of households respond, exceeding an 80 per cent target.
For those who haven’t yet completed the simple online form, time is running out. The online questionnaire will close on 17 May.
Now the main field operation has ended, as in 2011, around 350,000 households across England and Wales will be invited to take part in the Census Coverage Survey (CCS). This short, separate, interviewer-led survey will enable the ONS to get a final view of the response rates.
“We’ve had an amazing response to Census 2021. Our information shows 97 per cent of households have responded so far – exceeding our pre-census target of 94 per cent,” the ONS’s Deputy National Statistician Iain Bell said.
“Those who have taken part have done so to ensure they are represented for their local area. I’d like to thank everyone who has filled out their form so far as well as all the community groups, organisations and local authorities who have helped us make this census a success.
“We’re in a great place as we begin our Census Coverage Survey. This is an important part of making sure the census produces the most accurate population statistics. It asks similar questions to the main census, just fewer of them, at addresses in a selection of postcodes across England and Wales. An interviewer will carry out the survey on your doorstep and it will only take around 15 minutes.
“The CCS is a voluntary survey, but by taking part, you will improve the quality of the information the census gathers. This, in turn, helps to plan and fund local services in your community.”
Although Census Day – Sunday 21 March 2021 – has been and gone it is not too late to respond online. It only takes around 10 minutes per person.
If you have lost the letter or have a second address you have not visited, go to www.census.gov.uk to request an online completion code for your address via SMS text message.
After 17 May, only paper questionnaires will be available.
If people refuse to take part, they could be taken to court and issued with a £1,000 fine and criminal record. The census non-compliance operation will begin on May 25.
Extensive community engagement is continuing to make sure all groups of the population are represented in the census. Students, for example, need to make sure they have completed a questionnaire for their term-time address to help get the services they need in their university town now and in the future. Students should complete a form even if they were included on their family form at home.
People with second addresses also need to fill out a short form for their properties whether it is a caravan, holiday home or commuter flat.
From May 4, a sample of households will receive a card through the post asking them to take part in the CCS. After that, an interviewer, following the government’s COVID-19 guidelines, will visit the address and fill in the questionnaire with you on your doorstep. The interviewer will be able to show an ID badge on a Census 2021 branded lanyard.
Election Day is Thursday 6th May. Polling Hours 7:00 to 22:00
On Thursday this week everyone registered to vote will have at least three votes.
Local Elections Vote to elect your local councillor, who will represent your views for the ward area where you live.
Governance Referendum Vote about how you want Sheffield City Council to be run and how decisions are made about local services in the future.
Police and Crime Commissioner Vote to elect the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
To help keep everyone safe – remember hands, face, and space. Take your own pen or pencil to vote. To help with social distancing in polling stations you may have to queue outside. Remember to keep a safe space apart and dress for the weather.
Details about where you should vote will be on your poll card. You don’t need to take your poll card, but this may make your visit quicker. Polling staff won’t touch your card and you’ll need to take it back home with you.
Pen or pencil
If you have Covid-19 symptoms, have had a positive test, or are self-isolating, you must stay at home and must not go to a polling station. You can still vote by applying for an emergency proxy.
Visitors flock to see the new ‘Hen House’ refurb at Whirlow Hall Farm Trust.
Whirlow Hall Farm was delighted to announce the opening of their newly refurbished Hen House this weekend. The project funded by local online educational publishing house, Twinkl enhances the immersive experience for visitors and the students the Trust supports. With a new 80-seater café opening in June, the Hen House refurb marks the next phase of growth for the charity, encouraging more visitors to the much-loved local spot.
The refurbished Hen House will enhance the learning delivery for the many vulnerable youngsters the charity works with but will provide the local community with opportunities to meet farm animals up close and personal, such as Horacio, the farms hand reared orphaned calf.
On Saturday 24th April, in line with all current Covid restrictions, the Hen House was officially opened by Jonathan and Susie Seaton, Co-founders of Twinkl
Jonathan Seaton, Co-founder and CEO of Twinkl said: “It is really exciting to see the new Hen House at Whirlow Hall Farm Trust open to visitors. It’s a real honour to be involved in a project that will further support the educational work the Trust does with children and young people, and it’s fantastic that we were able to assist with the refurbishment.
I look forward to visiting regularly in the future and continuing to witness the great work done by the Trust in the community.”
Whirlow Hall Farm Trust plays a vital role in the city’s alternative provision network supporting children and young people facing a complex combination of difficulties which can include a range of mental health conditions.
The new Hen House together with our playground and upcoming new café will, without a doubt, help us to keep moving forward and allow us to share more magical moments with everyone at our beautiful location.”
Sarah Kerrigan, Head of Fundraising and Events said: “We are extremely grateful to Twinkl for supporting this project. Visitors to the café and shop help support the vital work we do so being able to meet a gentle calf, groom a rabbit, and check to see if the hens have laid eggs during their visit are not only fun and informative activities for local families, but crucial to encourage them to visit.