Trained advisers in Wimborne and Ferndown, and indeed across Dorset, are to be on hand to help more people to complete the 2021 census online.
All households will receive a letter in early March with an access code.
In areas where fewer people have access to the internet, households will receive a paper copy. If anyone else prefers a paper copy they can telephone a free national helpline to request one. Details will be given with their letter.
Households can also access local support to complete their questionnaire online.
Census support advisers at Dorset Council’s libraries will be able to help people complete their census form over the telephone during lockdown, with face to face appointments available if and when COVID-19 rules allow.
The team can provide as little or as much support as required, from guiding the caller through completion of their form, to asking the caller the questions and completing the form on their behalf.
Appointments, which will be available from Monday 1 March, need to be booked in advance by calling 01305 221028 (local call charges apply) from today 22 February.
At the allotted appointment time, a trained adviser will call the customer. Appointments will be available Monday to Saturday morning (not including bank holidays). Visit www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/libraries.
Cllr Spencer Flower, leader of Dorset Council, said, “Everyone should have access to the support they need to fill in the census. If you, or anyone you know, needs help, please be assured there’s a wide range of support available.
“It’s important that you fill in your census questionnaire. Without the information you share, it would be more difficult to understand your community’s needs and to plan and fund public services.”
When the library buildings reopen, face-to-face appointments will be held at Ferndown, Dorchester, Gillingham and Weymouth. However, people can continue to have telephone appointments if they cannot get to one of these libraries.
When Dorset’s libraries re-open, customers will also be able to access the internet to complete the form using the library computers. Computer sessions must be booked in advance.
Dorset Community Action’s team in Wimborne can also provide support to residents.
Their team of trained advisors can provide support over the telephone at allocated times, or in person at the Community Learning and Resource Centre, 41-44 King St, Wimborne, BH21 1EA – lockdown rules permitting.
Appointments will be available from Monday 1 March. To book, telephone 01202 847600 (local call charges apply) from Monday 22 February.
It is a legal requirement to complete the census. Households that do not complete the census could be fined up to £1,000.
After census day on 21 March, a census field team will follow up households which have not completed their questionnaire. The field team will not need to enter homes. All contact with the public will be socially distanced and census staff will be equipped with PPE.
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