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In line with Government advice to help stop the spread of Coronavirus, there are changes to some of our services, facilities and events.

Customer Service Centre

If you need to contact Customer Services please stay at home and use:

The Customer Service Centre (CSC) is open on a strict triage/intercom basis.

If you must visit the Customer Service Centre, please ring the intercom and we will ask you the purpose of your visit. You will be granted access if your enquiry cannot be dealt with via a different method – such as by phone, email or online.

There is computer access for residents at our Customer Services Centre on Horne Lane, Bedford but please only visit us in person if you really can’t access a computer from your home. Strict social distancing measures are in place at the Customer Services Centre.

Safer buildings 

We have put in place a number of safety measures for people attending our buildings, to ensure that as an organisation, we continue to follow the national guidance on social distancing and help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Council Tax

If you are finding it hard to pay your Council Tax please go to our dedicated Council Tax – advice for residents page.

Housing Benefit

If you do not have access to a computer and need to make an urgent benefit claim, please call us on 01234 267422.

You can find Council Tax support and housing benefit information on our website or for all other benefits including Universal Credit go to the Department of Work and Pensions website.

Planning 

There are a number of changes to our Planning Service during the Coronavirus outbreak including how to contact us, electronic submissions, commenting on planning applications, archaeological fieldwork and the Planning Committee.

Family information service - childcare 

A number of our early years settings across Bedford Borough are temporarily closed. Some remain open and are working hard to look after those children deemed vulnerable, and those of keyworkers.

With the picture across the Borough changing on a daily basis, we understand It can be difficult to keep track of what provision is available, but we can signpost you to available options, including different types of childcare such as nurseries, preschools and childminders.

If you are a key worker and in need of childcare support, please contact the Family Information Service directly on 0800 023 2057

Bedford Borough libraries

We are beginning the phased reopening of library services. We have been closely monitoring the local rate of infections and are confident that it is safe to begin a cautious and phased reopening of leisure and culture services, with stringent infection prevention measures in place.

Bedford Central and Kempston libraries are now open for a new ‘Select and Collect’ service, as well as for customers to return books they have had on loan during lockdown.

Visit the Virtual Library website for more information about how the service works, including opening times. You can also phone the Select and Collect Line on 01234 718178 (open Monday to Saturday between 11am and 4pm).

Bedford Corn Exchange

The Bedford Corn Exchange is closed until further notice. Where performances are rescheduled for a later date, tickets already purchased will be valid for the new date, or refunds will be issued for customers unable to attend the rescheduled date. For any cancelled performances, customers will be issued with a refund.

The Higgins Bedford  

The Higgins Bedford is now open to the public. New measures will are in place for the safety of visitors, volunteers and staff, and to help ensure an enjoyable experience for all. This includes reducing the capacity of the museum to ensure that people can socially distance. Everyone visiting The Higgins Bedford must wear a face covering, except for children under 11 or for the legitimate reasons set out in Government guidance.

Visitors will need to book a free timed entry ticket online before their visit via The Higgins Bedford or by phoning 01234 718044. Phone lines are open 11am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

Bedfordshire Archives Service

The Bedfordshire Archives online catalogue remains available, but the building is closed to the public. Please bear with us as there may be delay in responding to enquiries and reproduction orders.

Sports and volunteer activities

Sports sessions run by Sports Development have been suspended. Instead, we have a range of live online fitness classes for you to keep moving and promote wellbeing at home. Go to Bedford Sport Live for the full timetable of free classes.

Litter picks including Rivercare and the Great British Spring Clean organised by Keep Britain Tidy have been postponed.

Fusion Lifestyle leisure services

All leisure sites provided by Fusion Lifestyle are closed until further notice. Please visit Fusion Lifestyle for further information.

Council car parks

All our multi-storey car parks are open as normal, with the exception of Allhallows.

Alternative parking is available with over 1,000 spaces at surface car parks including Riverside Car Park, St Mary's, St Peter's, Duckmill Lane, Ashburnham Road, Prebend Street and Melbourne Street, and on-street parking will be available as normal.

Births, deaths, marriages, civil partnerships and citizenship ceremonies

New government measures have imposed restrictions on weddings and civil partnerships which resume from the 4 July. Funerals can be attended by immediate family only. See more information on how this affects the following:

Citizenship ceremonies should normally be booked within three months of the invitation sent from the Home Office. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, this period has been extended to six months. No adverse decisions will be made on applications because of delays due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

Markets 

Following the government’s advice, Bedford Markets will be running a reduced service to make essential goods available for local residents who need them.

Safety precautions will continue to be in place for traders and customers; please adhere to the two-metre social distancing rule at all times.

Hours of operation may be subject to change. The markets will open at 8am.

  • St Paul’s Square on Wednesday and Saturday. Only fresh produce and essential household items. Traders attending the market will be shared on the day via the Markets' Facebook and Twitter channels.
  • Kempston at the Saxon Centre on Thursday. A very limited service will be available.

Early morning travel for bus pass holders

We have arranged with bus companies to give concessionary bus pass holders free travel during peak time (this would normally be £1 to travel before 9.30am).

Waste collections

We are working hard to keep waste collection services running. Find out more on our waste collections page about:

  • bulky waste, green garden waste, suspensions to rural bulky waste
  • how to store your rubbish

Household Waste Recycling Centre (Barkers Lane ‘tidy tip’)

Due to social distancing measures there have been major changes to how the HWRC operates - including a mandatory appointment system for all. Read about what you need to do before you visit on our HWRC page.

Play areas

All our play areas and outdoor gym equipment have reopened. Please familiarise yourself with the new play area rules before visiting.

Multi-use games areas and skate parks are open but you must continue to social distance and not be in groups larger than 6.

Community centres 

We are taking a cautious approach to the reopening of community centres, due to the relatively high COVID-19 infection rate in Bedford Borough. Therefore, it has been decided that community centres will not be allowed to reopen before 1 September 2020.

Three criteria will need to be met by community centres before they are able to reopen:

  1. A risk assessment has been prepared by the Management Committee, which has been reviewed and approved by the Council.
  2. The Management Committee have demonstrated that they have put in place everything needed to comply with the guidance. There will need to be an on-site check to make sure that guidance has been followed. The guidance can be accessed on the GOV.UK webpage on safe use of multi-purpose community facilities.
  3. The Council’s Building Services have confirmed the building is safe to open from a building compliance perspective (covering matters such as fire safety and legionella).

Once the three criteria are met, the Council will make a final decision on whether the community centre can reopen.

Day centres

We recognise the value of day services to many local residents and their families. These have been suspended because of Covid-19 in order to protect staff and those who access the service. Recently we have been receiving an increasing number of enquires asking when we will be reopening our day centres.

The risk of infection in the Borough remains high compared to other areas in the South of England and at present and government guidelines on social distancing and shielding mean we’re unable to announce dates for re-opening. We have been developing plans to adapt services and carry out risk assessments to address the risk of infection so that when we are able to do reopen when it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, we will continue to provide as much support as possible to people who previously benefited from these service. If you wish to discuss your support needs, please contact Kempston Centre on 01234 718326, Gadsby Street on 01234 718030 or Goldington Centre on 01234 228866.

For any other social care advice and information you may need please call 01234 267422.

As soon as we have more news, the Council will share this and discuss plans with service users and their families.

Day centre adult transport

Because day centres are now closed, our adult transport service for day centres is therefore not running. If you need help in relation to this, email client.transport@bedford.gov.uk or in an emergency call 01234 228443.

Public transport

There are changes to bus services in the borough. Passengers are advised to go the bus operator’s website before they travel. There is more information about bus timetables here

We will also continue to update our public transport page.

Live bus departure information can be found on our RTPI information page.

The Park & Ride building is closed until further notice. The site will remain open during operational hours and the number 2 service will continue to run.

The Bedford River Festival

The Bedford River Festival will return on 17 and 18 July 2021. More information about the entertainment will be released over the next few months via the River Festival website.

We would like to thank our sponsors and supporters for their understanding and support. Please contact events@bedford.gov.uk for further information.

The Bedford Kite and Motoring Festival

The Bedford Kite and Motoring Festival has been postponed until 2021. We will keep traders, exhibitors, local residents and businesses informed. Please contact events@bedford.gov.uk for further information.




 

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