One in four of us under 40 years of age who are eligible, haven’t received even one dose of Covid vaccine. As we approach winter, with local hospitals already experiencing higher-than-average admission levels for the time of year, this low vaccination rate presents a significant risk to our NHS.
Vaccination remains the best defence against serious illness or hospitalisation and with Covid infections back on the rise, increasing from 250.5 cases to 313.3 cases per 100,000 in the past seven days, please don’t delay in getting fully vaccinated. Details of local walk-in centres can be found, here.
The start of the new academic year is an exciting time. We're pleased to welcome new students to our community, as well as send off those starting their studies elsewhere in the country. With farewell parties, freshers’ week events and various activities organised that were postponed from earlier in the year, let’s take the covid safe precautions we know work:- wearing a face covering, washing our hands regularly and taking regular lateral flow tests, available from a local test centre or by collection from a participating pharmacy. Also if we have Covid symptoms let’s get a PCR test and self-isolate, remembering too that there are still Test & Trace support payments available for those eligible.
Giving a real boost to the recovery plan for the Council, our Apprenticeship Scheme which has been running since 2018, has now taken on 24 apprentices aged 18 and above. We’re delighted that one third of our apprentices stayed on and joined our team of Officers, with a number now progressing towards degrees and career graded managerial roles. The broad range of opportunities we’re able to offer young people from Business Administration, Digital Marketing, Community Arts, Accounting, Construction and Surveying to Project Management and Technical Theatre (Sound, lighting and stage) makes this an apprenticeship scheme like few others.
And whilst on the subject of local work and training opportunities, it’s encouraging to see that PET-Xi has just set up a new office at Royal Leamington Spa College to deliver the government’s Restart Scheme on behalf of Jobs 22 for unemployed people in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth.
If you’ve ever wondered what’s behind the doors of our beautiful, listed buildings, now’s your chance to find out. The annual Heritage Open Days Festival is underway with 40 local buildings, gardens and places of historic interest opening their doors for free access over the next 10 days. A guide listing the venues and opening times is available from public venues, including the Leamington and Warwick visitor information centres, with online information here.
Last Monday saw the launch of a six-week public consultation on the possible merger with Stratford on Avon Council. We’d really appreciate hearing your views on the future shape of our local government, so please visit www.southwarwickshire.org.uk to see what’s involved and to make your comments on the various proposals.
And finally, we have a further opportunity to access tickets to next year’s Commonwealth Games with the main ticket ballot now open. Applications close at 8pm on Thursday 30 September, so don’t delay in booking your tickets for what promises to be a spectacular and historic event.
Keep smiling and stay safe.
Andrew Day, Leader
Chris Elliott, Chief Executive