South Somerset District Council supports day of reflection on the anniversary of the first national COVID-19 lockdown
South Somerset District Council will be observing a minute’s silence on Tuesday 23 March to remember all those who have sadly lost their lives during the pandemic and to show support for anyone who has been bereaved.
Initiated by charity Marie Curie on the anniversary of the first UK lockdown, the silence will take place at noon.
South Somerset District Council Leader Val Keitch said: “On this day of reflection, we will take time to think about the lives that have been lost to COVID-19 and those who have survived but continue to need our support and love.
“We think about all the workers across the NHS who have given so much to fighting this pandemic and the workforces across organisations and businesses across the country, including my own council, who have done so much to support our communities through this most difficult of years.
“While there is light at the end of the tunnel, we must continue to support one another. We must also take advantage of the renewed sense of community that the pandemic has helped foster.
“My council will continue to do all it can to bring hope and provide the vital services you need and I thank everyone across South Somerset for their patience and their determination to do whatever they can to help us get through this crisis. I also want to thank all of the officers at the council for their incredible work over the past year.”
South Somerset District Council has undertaken a wide range of work to not only support residents and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic but also to ensure that the vital services we provide at all times could be maintained.
Over the past 12 months, the council has:
- Ensured that £55M in Government Covid-19 grant funding reached businesses across South Somerset alongside a wide range of other work to support employers and businesses
- Launched the county’s first Wellbeing Hub at Westlands which ran from March to August 2020, which provided hundreds of food and emergency supply parcels to those facing financial hardship, those facing homelessness, and provided free school meals as well as linking people to other support
- Ensured that anyone facing homelessness had somewhere Covid-safe to stay, supported a vaccination programme for those who are homeless and continued to invest in services to support the most vulnerable or those facing financial hardship
- Carried out more than 1,000 visits to local businesses to help them stay Covid-safe in addition to the high visibility patrols carried out by Covid wardens
- Safely maintained Streetscene and Locality services while keeping our popular greenspaces open and safe for the public to use alongside increased digital events and seasonal activities online to help with home learning
- Further invested in digital technology to support our staff to maintain service levels while the majority of our buildings were closed for public safety and ensured that sites which were open, such as Yeovil Crematorium, were Covid-safe
- Redeployed more than 200 staff to vaccination and testing centres to support this vital work while also ensuring we invested in our own staff’s wellbeing to ensure services could be maintained
- Provided grants to support people required to self-isolate who were facing hardship
- Put measures in place to support our town centres operating safely
And much more. In addition to this, we have been working on supporting our existing services and preparing for the district’s recovery. Examples of this include:
- Developing a comprehensive strategy to lead the economic and social recovery of South Somerset alongside the continued development of our broader economic development strategy
- Securing a wide range of investment which will help fund the regeneration of our high streets and town centres; fund a redevelopment of the Octagon Theatre to attract larger audiences and boost the local economy; fund increased staffing at Ham Hill Country Park to boost land management at the site ready for the summer; secure pavilion enhancements at Yeovil Recreation Centre and much more.
- Continued the great work of our Commercial Strategy which provides the income we need to help fund services and regeneration projects including supporting local businesses through carefully managing our current investments and seeking new opportunities; keeping the Yeovil Innovation Centre open and Covid-safe while attracting new tenants
- Building on the work of our Environment strategy which, in the past 12 months, has seen SSDC support the planting of more than 5,000 trees, work alongside the Department of Transport and Zwings to deliver an e-scooter trial in Yeovil (which is about to be expanded to Chard and Crewkerne), and secure a £4M grant to help make our buildings greener from upgrading our heating systems with local carbon heat pumps, solar panels and LED lighting.
- Completing a procurement process which will see Freedom Leisure take over the running of the Goldenstones Leisure Centre and the Westlands Sports and Fitness Centre in Yeovil, as well as the Wincanton Community Sports Centre, and the new Chard Leisure Centre.
- Created an annual plan which will focus on our Covid-19 recovery, supporting the most vulnerable, delivering new housing, delivering our regeneration programmes (with work already having safely begun on creating a new leisure centre with a swimming pool in Chard) and more.
We are also supporting the county-wide online ‘Covid reflection’ page that has been made available for members of the public to share their own personal reflection messages – which will remain as a permanent reminder of the last year.