Community Matters – Feb 2021

From: Cllr. Bob Welch, Town Mayor

Pandemic Marathon not a Sprint

To date, our community has been both fortunate and disciplined in ensuring that the local level of infection has been kept low. However, now is the most testing time when the maintenance of that discipline will be all the more important. 

Vaccination Programme

After months of taking tedious precautions, we are all now impatient for the pandemic to end but it will still be some months before the mass vaccination programme will have been completed, however well the logistics are handled.  Furthermore, because we are safe only when everyone is safe, it will be vital that residents of all ages respond positively when called for vaccination so as to maximise the immunity of the whole community.

Suffer After-effects

Mass vaccination promises to end the threat to our physical health, but, whether through bereavement, physical or mental illness as a result of the pandemic, some members of our community will continue to suffer the after-effects for some considerable time to come. 

Look Out for Each Other

We will all have a continuing responsibility to look out for each other.  That has been one of the most heartening features of this last depressing year in that residents of all ages have come together to help each other and formed lasting bonds of mutual support.

Excellence of Local Shops

As our local shops seek to recover from the pandemic, it is a good time to report that a second local shop has received a regional award for excellence.  Joanne Bickerton and her dedicated staff at Entertaining Elephants have been awarded the Lifestyle Trader of the Year Award for the Central Region. 

Lifestyle Trader of the Year Award

This is in recognition of their “service excellence, quality of service provided, innovative practices, value, ethical or sustainable methods of working, as well as consistency of performance.” Customers described it as “a treasure trove of …. eco-friendly, ethically sourced, ever-changing, interesting and unusual quality goods, which are locally produced (wherever possible)…… the best wholefood shop I have ever visited”.  The friendly personal delivery service, booked shopping times and interesting newsletter are all very much appreciated.  Independent, adaptable and high quality shops, like Entertaining Elephants, are a great asset to the town, richly deserving of support from both residents and visitors.

Making Memories for Christmas,

The Council would also like to commend Charlotte Griffin-Jones of Heather and Batch Coffee House. She launched the initiative, Making Memories for Christmas, that, from the autumn half-term break through Christmas and New Year, has provided food and gift parcels to local families in need. This was a collaborative effort with Simmons market trader and St. Laurence Food Bank, aided by a £500 grant from the local Rotary Club.

Stretton Climate Care

Stretton Climate Care has for many years been helping local residents to adapt their homes to be warmer at less cost.  The Town Council will be working closely with Stretton Climate Care to explore how much more we, as a community, can be doing to address this agenda, so that we are as compliant as possible with the government’s targets for reducing carbon emissions.

Dispense with Gas-fired Appliances

This will require as many homes as possible not only to improve their insulation but also to dispense, at some point with gas-fired central heating and cooking in favour of such alternatives as Ground Source Heat Pumps. It is encouraging to learn that several local residents have recently been successful with applications to the government’s latest Green Homes Voucher scheme, now extended to March 2022.  This provides grants of up to £5,000 for energy improvements to homes, rising to £10,000 for those on benefits.  Simultaneous application to the Renewable Heat Incentive will, Stretton Climate Care advise, almost certainly cover the total cost of an Air Source Heat Pump.

Government Schemes

All residents are encouraged to take full advantage of these government schemes, especially as so many local homes have poor energy efficiency. For further information, see Stretton Climate Care are very willing to give advice and assistance with applications – 

Streetlight Review

The Town Council owns the majority of streetlights on the town’s residential streets.  A large number of the concrete lamp-posts were installed over twenty-five years ago and are now in need of replacement. Accordingly, the Council is launching a programme of replacing the concrete posts with aluminium ones. At the same time, the streetlights will be converted to more efficient, less costly LED lighting, as part of the Council’s carbon reduction programme. With many households in the town not having garages, the Council is factoring into this exercise the options for the future in terms of the on-street charging of electric vehicles.

Christmas Lights

The Council would like to apologise for the poor quality of the Christmas Lights on Sandford Avenue this year, with several strings not functioning properly.  As a result, the Council will be conducting an extensive review of the set-up. Future options and recommendations will be discussed with local traders, whose contributions to the seasonal display with their own Christmas Trees and Lights are very much appreciated.                                                                                       

1 thought on “Community Matters – Feb 2021”

  1. Some positive news here for going forward, I am glad to hear that infection of the local population has been kept low , discouraging visitors (temporarily ) from other areas has no doubt helped but we must keep up our guard at all times and each local needs to ask themselves as they exit their front doors , ” is my journey really essential” ?
    I have heard nothing but praise for the Sterling efforts of the vaccination team from the medical staff to the volunteer stewards , well done and a big thank you to all concerned. This thanks is extended , quite rightly to the local shops and staff for dedicated service.
    I did a little research on converting to a Ground Source Heat pump for my pre 1930 house . Seems I would get little change from £18,000, after a sharp intake of breath to stifle an expletive, I realised that in early stages , prices for new technology eventually falls , a grant would help somewhat . However , installing underfloor heating would be a challenge . Several years ago , I would have taken on this on as a project but advancing years and a total knee replacement have put paid to this .
    Good news about the streetlamp replacement initiative, a friend of mine in Sheffield, has sung the praises of just such a replacement there , it illuminates the street and footpaths not outer space and the Milky Way. I’m looking forward to seeing the night sky again.
    I believe there needs to be a town wide discussion about the towns ‘temporary’ one way system . Originally, I was against a one way system but must admit , after seeing it in action and using it , (albeit just a couple of times as I don’t venture out often during the pandemic) , the system is working well for pedestrians and the one time when i drove on it .I have observed vehicles and cyclists disobeying the road signs and I have also read mixed reviews on online social sites from frequent road users who obviously are not keen on change , and also residents affected by increased traffic volumes, I’m assuming the system is here for the long term ?

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