On Tuesday this week, we’ll mark a year since our first Covid lockdown with a minute’s silence at noon. Then that evening at 8pm, we’re invited to gather on our doorsteps to create a ‘beacon of remembrance’, using the lights from torches and phones to collectively acknowledge the lives lost during this long and challenging year. We hope too, that this might be a moment for us to pause and express our enduring hope for better days ahead.
Thanks to all the volunteers and NHS teams who this week increased the number of jabs given to adults in Warwick District from 54,467 to 58,981 – that’s 45.5% of our local over 50’s population, and well on track to achieve the goal of 85% by 15 April. In the following weeks attention will then return to providing the correct second jabs to cohorts 1-9, as the 12-week interval is reached. This week, the over 50-year-old cohort are being contacted to book their jabs, as well as:
- Those who are receiving support following a carer’s assessment by their local council or who are known to a local carer’s organisation.
- Those who are sole or primary carers, who provide support for an elderly or disabled person who is clinically vulnerable to Covid-19.
If you qualify, then please now book a coronavirus vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk) or by calling 119.
The vaccines are certified safe and thoroughly tested, so please don’t be put-off by inaccurate reports and media commentary. If you are at all concerned, check out the facts by visiting the Gov.uk website. Everyone will benefit from getting their jab and it is important that we have the information needed to make an informed decision. Helpfully, a series of illustrated books about getting vaccinated is now available for those with learning disabilities or autism, here.
The combination of lockdown measures, continued testing and vaccinating continues to impact our local infection rates, which have declined this week from 58.4 to 48.7 cases per 100,000 residents. The Government’s guidance is regularly updated, also providing details of the next steps on the Roadmap.
Supporting our brilliant community in every way we can has been a key role for us this year. Our Community Economic Recovery Fund is still available for financial assistance to charitable and voluntary organisations that deliver essential services to the most vulnerable. This funding helps organisations that have had to adapt, increase, or cease services as a result of the pandemic. Applications can be made here by the 31 March closing date.
In a concerted effort to boost local businesses to survive and thrive throughout this pandemic, our colleagues at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce are running a new Digital Skills for Retailers, Hospitality and Tourism programme. Places are available for local businesses to help move their products on-line and you can find out more about these amazing courses, which run right through to March 2022, on their website here.
Looking ahead, we have some good news for our health and fitness regimes, with plans announced with partners at Everyone Active, to reopen indoor pools and gyms from 12 April. The teams at each of our Centres are working hard to provide you with a warm and covid-secure welcome back! You can find out more about what is available, on the Everyone Active website.
Further down the line, the Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum is set to reopen from 17 May, showcasing work from its collections. Preparations are also well underway for an exciting new exhibition “Modern Mercia”, which will be a special treat, offering fresh rain after the drought we’ve all experienced of live cultural experiences.
More immediately, on Monday the new mascot for next year’s Commonwealth Games will be unveiled, which was developed as part of a ‘mascot makers’ competition last summer. Over the next 495 days until the opening ceremony, we’ll no doubt be welcoming the new Games mascot to Warwick District so we can all help promote this exciting competition.
Also, don’t forget that this Sunday 21 March is National Census day, when the information we submit will provide a vital insight into how we are living now and inform the services that your council will deliver in the future. If you have any questions about the form, or need help completing it, then our Brunswick Hub in Leamington is a Census Support Centre – just call 01926 422123 for help.