Signs of spring abound wherever you look this week, giving hope that warmer and brighter days lie ahead. So too do the steadily improving covid statistics, which at last offer us a welcome opportunity to dust off the recovery plans we’ve prepared for the local economy and our community life. The Prime Minister’s update is anticipated to layout the Roadmap for the weeks ahead, to take us safely and steadily out of lockdown.
Across South Warwickshire the NHS have now vaccinated 98.52% of our family, friends and neighbours who are 70+ years old – what an amazing achievement! This week the programme moves on to cohorts 5 and 6 who are next in line to get the jab, with those over 65 years old, or over 16 years old with underlying health conditions, being contacted to book appointments.
Any 70-year-old who hasn’t had their first vaccination is encouraged to book-in by making an appointment at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination; telephone 119 between 7am and 11pm, or contact your GP directly. If you’ve questions about the vaccine, we’ve drawn together advice and guidance which you might find helpful, here.
Local infection rates continue their downward trend this this week from 138 to 97 cases per 100,000 residents. Vaccinated or not, we must continue our shared efforts and guard against becoming complacent, so please continue to stay at home and to follow the guidance.
Support to our local businesses is ongoing with 1,109 of our most Covid impacted businesses so far receiving £1,960,000 in vital grant funding. More details are available on our website.
We also received news this week that a joint venture partnership is bringing forward an historic planning application to build at Coventry airport a Gigafactory to manufacture batteries for the automotive sector. This ambitious plan would create £billions of inward investment and thousands of new jobs, boosting the national effort to reduce carbon emissions. The proposals are anticipated to have a big impact on local communities, so our planning team will be working with our ward councillors and residents to ensure that this major application receives our usual rigorous assessment.
Our collaboration with Racing Club Warwick and the Football Foundation has paid off, with a 3G, artificial pitch now installed which is durable and weather-resistant. These fantastic new facilities offer the club the opportunity to develop the football academy, as well as for the benefit of other teams and organisations in the local community. Congratulations to all who have persevered to make this vision a reality. There will be even more smiles when the season gets underway, and just goes to show what can be achieved when we work together.
In another great team effort, we’re delighted that AC Lloyd have won the LABC Regional Building Excellence Awards for the Best Social or Affordable New Housing. The prestigious award was made in recognition of the outstanding £22 million project near Leamington Spa Station, which created two-and-three-bedroom homes and apartments. This landmark development is prominent being viewed by visitors arriving by train and will no doubt create a positive first impression for everyone coming to watch the Bowls and Para Bowls. (Only 524 days until the 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony!)
Local Elections are going head on 6 May to select our Warwickshire County Councillors, the Police & Crime Commissioner as well as to complete referendums for various Neighbourhood Plans. Preparations have been ongoing for months now, with our teams working closely with the Electoral Commission and Public Health Authorities. Rest assured you will be able to safely exercise your democratic rights either by postal votes or in Covid-safe polling stations. Find out more about the local elections, here.
Next week, Spark Ignite offers a series of free events including networking, workshops and performances that aim to turn creative talk into creative action. We’re coming together online to galvanise our creative business community around a common purpose; recovery, promotion, and growth of the sector.