British summertime ends this Sunday putting our clocks back one hour, reminding us too that we’ve been learning to live with the coronavirus for seven months now. Yes, it’s been a challenging time which has redefined so much of our day-to-day lives, nonetheless we can take satisfaction in the positive community response that has done so much good.
Not only are the daylight hours getting shorter, but the second wave of this pandemic is drawing closer to home. Nearby Coventry and Solihull have increased to High Level alerts, while local coronavirus infections are rising quickly, primarily being spread in our homes rather than in public places. Thankfully, this week we remain at the Medium Level on the Covid Alert tier system explained, here.
Each and every one of us can do our bit to stop Coronavirus in its tracks by:
Fatigue and headache are being reported as early Covid symptoms, especially in our younger residents. So, if we’re feeling out of sorts, let’s use our common sense, take extra precautions just in case we then go on to develop the more usually recognised Covid symptoms of a cough, fever, loss of taste or smell.
There is now plenty of local testing capacity thanks to a new centre which opened earlier this week on our Court Street carpark in South Leamington. If we show any Covid symptoms we can get our test booked quickly by visiting the NHS website or calling 119. This local centre is part of the national test and trace initiative and is a welcome asset to help us manage the rising number of coronavirus cases in our area.
This week too we’ve made positive progress improving our services. Rubbish may not be on everyone’s mind, but during this pandemic it has certainly been on ours! We’ve been busy collecting plenty of it from our households - with more of us working from home, domestic waste collection has been stretched. We’re especially grateful to all the crews who cheerfully provide this vital service; however, the time has come for us to revisit our waste management contracts, which are funded through a large share of our council tax.
Joining with neighbours at Stratford-on-Avon District Council we’re seeking to combine our waste collection under one contract, which presents an opportunity to improve our service across the whole of South Warwickshire, serving 126,000 households.
A new contract would focus on achieving both environmental and financial benefits; encouraging us all to increase our household recycling, reduce residual waste as well as the cost of treating and disposing of our rubbish. In addition, the new service would support the ambition of both councils to achieve carbon-neutral status for South Warwickshire by 2030.
Special members of our local sporting community are being encouraged to become part of a billboard campaign for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The ‘Hometown Heroes’ campaign aims to spotlight volunteers and local people who have dedicated their lives to grassroots sport. Please visit the website here to nominate those wonderful volunteers who give so much to make our local sporting clubs and activities such a success. It would be great to see some familiar faces on the billboards in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games in just a couple of years.
On a personal note, we both have benefitted during these stressful few months from the company of our dogs, who are much loved companions. At this time of year, we’d encourage you to please spare a thought if you’re planning to hold a firework display at home, with friends or family. While we understand that fireworks can bring much enjoyment, they can also cause significant injury, problems and fear for other people and animals. In particular the sudden, loud noises that many fireworks make can cause death, with a recent RSPCA poll finding that 21% of UK pet owners reported that an animal they owned died because of fireworks. So please let your neighbours know about your plans and use quieter fireworks in your display, so we all can have safe fun, including our furry friends.
Keep smiling and stay safe.
Andrew Day Chris Elliott
Leader, Warwick District Council Chief Executive, Warwick District Council