THE WORLD is changing before us, and not all for the worse.
While we continue our shared battle against this virus, nature is reminding us of its power and wonder. Wildlife is returning to our towns; the air is so much cleaner and an enforced release from the impositions of traffic and congestion is freeing us to walk and cycle more. Our daily exercise and essential trips provide opportunities to explore our neighbourhoods with ‘fresh eyes’; offering us a view of what life might be like without the dominance of the car and a frenetic commuter lifestyle.
So, while your district council is staying keenly focused on delivering the essential services our residents need, we’re also continuing our preparations to put the agreed Climate Emergency Action Plan into place. Having been forced to make changes to deal with the coronavirus, we’re reflecting on the benefits that we’re experiencing and how best to maintain them for the future. A cleaner, greener more accessible community shouldn’t just be possible when we’re all in lockdown!
Strengthening our community
On a personal level, this time is allowing us to develop some new and positive habits that we might choose to continue. Apparently, we’ve all been reading more which must be a plus, particularly for those of us who are at home with children. We’re also witnessing the extraordinary efforts being taken by neighbours to support each other, to provide practical care and personal support, to show kindness in the simplest of ways, all of which is helping us endure. Let’s hope that these bonds and connections are maintained and provide the basis for a renewed more connected community life in the future.
Our officers continue their work with other authorities to not only to care and support the district’s most vulnerable and isolated people, but to extend these services to a wider group; including those of us who are self-isolating, suffering from financial or food poverty, domestic abuse, or at risk of becoming homeless. Help is at hand – it might be financial advice, food or medical supplies or support with your health and wellbeing, regardless just call 01926 456 1111 Monday to Friday – 9am to 5pm, or 0800 408 1447 Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm Friday 9am to 4.30pm Saturday and Sunday – 9am to 3pm
Backing our businesses
We were especially pleased that this week our ‘superstar’ team of finance officers were ranked highest in the region for paying £23,3million in grants to 1,950 business across the district in just two weeks. 25 per cent of eligible business are still to apply, so If you are in any doubt if this help is right for your business, or need assistance with the application, please get in touch. We’re keen to ensure this vital grant support is delivered.
Again and again, our local businesses are stepping up in so many generous and practical ways to help us all. For example, Tecman Advanced Material Engineering, a local company has responded positively to the national call, increasing production of PPE masks to nearly one million a week and creating 30 welcome new jobs.
We want to take this opportunity to thank you for keeping to the social distancing guidance – it’s not easy and many are making considerable sacrifices, but it is so encouraging to see that these measures are beginning to work.
We hope these weekly updates are helpful to you, but we’re also mindful that some of our vulnerable residents don’t use social media or have access to the internet. To ensure vital information reaches every resident, we’ve taken the unusual decision to post a printed newsletter to every home this week.
As we look ahead, the Government has said that the lockdown will be lifted when these five tests are met:
1. Making sure the NHS can cope.
2. A ‘sustained and consistent’ fall in the daily death rate.
3. Rate of infection decreasing to ‘manageable levels’.
4. Ensuring supply of tests and PPE can meet future demand.
5. Being confident any adjustments would not risk a second peak.
So, let’s continue on our journey together, not undo our good work and stay safe.
Coun Andrew Day
Leader, Warwick District Council
Chief Executive, Warwick District Council