The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral proved to be a poignant and powerful moment for us to pause as a nation to mourn, and to reflect personally on the losses so many have had across our community this year. Our thoughts remain with Her Majesty, the members of the Royal Family and all those who have recently lost loved ones.
Having met His Royal Highness on several occasions, we’re confident that Prince Philip would commend our efforts to ‘get on with the job’, safely reopening our shops, businesses and market stalls. Many of us have not been deterred by the cold weather this week making outside visits to pubs, cafés and restaurants. It’s also been great to finally be able to get a proper haircut, as well as to make a welcome trip to our leisure centres and indoor pools, all of which are reporting brisk business.
We’re much encouraged by the low number of new local Covid-19 cases, which is being sustained thanks to the testing programme and focus on safe practices. The vaccination programme has also been well supported with NHS data indicating that in Warwick District remarkably 99.4% of over 50’s have had at least one dose of the vaccine - the seventh best rate in the country. It is important that we continue to encourage this high uptake level with those in their 40’s, who are now being offered their first jabs.
Let’s remember too that even if we’ve been vaccinated, we can still catch and spread Covid-19. This week as lockdown restrictions are eased and we’re increasing our social contact, all our staff are being encouraged to get into the habit of testing for Covid-19 twice a week. This is particularly important for those who are working in one of our offices or carrying out site visits. There are a number of options for free testing in our community; you can order tests to be delivered to your home, make an appointment at your local test centre or collect a test from a participating pharmacy.
With the Local and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections fast approaching our team is going the extra mile to ensure the polling stations are covid safe when they open on 6 May. Don’t forget the deadline to register to vote is midnight today 19 April, so if you’ve recently moved house, please make sure you’re properly registered. If you’d prefer to vote by post rather than in person, you’ll need to be quick as the deadline is 5pm tomorrow 20 April.
In further step towards our closer working with Stratford District Council, we held our first joint committee meeting last week when a new South Warwickshire Local Plan was approved for consultation. This Plan will set-out the policies that both Councils will use to assess applications for development, plus help identify sites to meet our future needs, such as housing, jobs, infrastructure and open spaces. This is a critical moment for us to work together to address the important issues of climate change, wellbeing, connectivity and biodiversity.
Finally, next Saturday 24 April at 6.30pm, please join us and log onto our YouTube Channel for ‘BandStand Together’. This special online concert will be given by local musicians performing a selection of songs personally dedicated by local people to someone who has made a difference during the pandemic. Musician and song writer, Andy Mort, who opens the gig commented:
“It was wonderful to be able to take part in this celebration of local creativity and community. Being able to dedicate a song to someone who has had to dig really deep and shown amazing strength during the past year is an absolute honour. It would have been great to do this gig live on the Bandstand, but it's a powerful reminder, that in times of adversity, creativity flourishes! Thanks to all who made it happen. I can't wait to get out and perform in person locally again...hopefully soon!"