Discussion starts on future of leisure centre 'hospitals'
Political reporter, BBC Cumbria
Talks are taking place on whether people in parts of Cumbria will be able to use their local leisure centres, which have been partly adapted to care for recovering Covid-19 patients should the county's hospitals overflow.
The NHS says none of the centres have been used yet, because local hospitals have always been able to care for everyone who needs it.
But with the virus now showing signs of declining, there’s a question over whether the venues in Whitehaven, Kendal and Carlisle, as well as Furness Academy in Barrow, could at least partly reopen.
The Kendal facility, which has 60 beds, was discussed yesterday at a virtual meeting of South Lakeland Council's cabinet of senior councillors.
We are in discussions with the NHS about what the implications of that might be for the centre particularly in the light of the government's plan to rebuild and its three steps, one of its steps is potentially looking at leisure centres from 4 July."
Plan mooted to reopen Kendal leisure centre
Negotiations are taking place about whether Kendal Leisure Centre can be reopened for some of its usual activities from early July as the lockdown is eased.
At the moment it's set up to be a recovery centre for Covid-19 patients who've been in hospital but are not ready to return home.
South Lakeland Council says the NHS would like it to remain a recovery centre for now, but under the government's plans to ease the lockdown, leisure centres could reopen on 4 July.
Boat owners are being asked to launch their own vessels if possible, the toilets are still not open, and although many of the larger boats can be used for sleeping, the latest Covid-19 regulations forbid overnight stays.
Small firms leave £28m grants unclaimed in South Lakeland
Officials at South Lakeland council say £28m in money for grants to help small firms in the Covid-19 crisis remains unclaimed in the area.
The authority has paid out £46m in grants of £10,000 or £25,000 for small businesses or those in the retail, tourism or leisure industries.
But the council says it believes around 2,000 eligible businesses have still to apply.
You can find details of which businesses are eligible here.
Councils share £30m to help deal with Covid-19
Cumbria's county council and six district councils are getting more than £30m to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to government figures.
The Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick announced an extra £1.6bn for councils in England, bringing the total to £3.2bn.
Cumbria County Council should get £25m, and £5m is being split between the districts.
South Lakeland council restores garden waste collections
South Lakeland council has announced it is restoring green waste recycling collections from 4 May, although they will only be every four weeks, rather than every two.
Council urges businesses not to miss grants
South Lakeland Council says around one third of the eligible businesses in its area have still to claim grants of £10,000 to £25,000, which are available to small firms or those in retail, leisure and tourism.
The authority has so far passed on £38m in the scheme, which is funded by central government.
Robin Ashcroft, the councillor in charge of economy, said any business that was registered for business rates, even if it was exempt from paying them, simply had apply online.
We desperately want to make sure that this money goes to those who need it at this difficult time."
£1m paid out in business grants in first three days
South Lakeland council says it has paid out £1m in grants in the first few days of administering the government's financial support for small firms and the tourism industry.
Officials say they put the application form online on Friday, and received 1,400 applications over the weekend.
The grants, of £10,000 and £25,000, are for small businesses of firms in retail, leisure and tourism, and the council now says that the first £1m in payouts should land in bank accounts on Wednesday.
They believe around 6,000 businesses in the district may qualify for the help for businesses which will suffer from the way the economy has been brought largely to a halt, to try to reduce the human contacts which spread the coronavirus.
Councils set up grants system to help firms apply
Cumbrian district and borough councils are now setting up systems to help businesses apply for grants under a government scheme.
South Lakeland council said it expected money to arrive today to pay for grants of up to £25,000, and it would be processing applications from Monday.