Warwick District Council chairman reflects on 12 months since first UK lockdown was announced and asks people to take part in minute's silence and vigil for those who have died of Coronavirus
Tomorrow (Tuesday March 23) marks one year since the UK was placed into its first lockdown and Warwick District Council's chairman Martyn Ashford is reflecting on the past 12 months and asking residents to join in a minute’s silence at noon followed by a doorstep vigil at 8pm.
Shops, pubs, cafés, theatres, museums, cinemas and offices closed as the nation was told to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
The scale and impact of the pandemic became real at that time, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that many would “lose loved ones before their time.”
Cllr Ashford said: "“First and foremost I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends who have lost loved ones to this virus and during the pandemic both in Warwick district, across the country and the world.
“One year on since the country was first placed in to lockdown, we find ourselves reflecting on and remembering not only those we have lost, but how we responded to ensure that the loss of life was minimised and that those vulnerable to this virus were supported; we’ve all changed the way we live to protect those we love.
“One thing that is clear now is that when the situation became real and our communities needed us, I was proud to see that local government worked with their partners and organisations to help and support them.
"In April 2020 a ‘Shielding Hub’ was established with Councils, charities and volunteers across the County coming together to provide food and medicine to the clinically extremely vulnerable members of our community who were shielding and unable to leave their homes.
“At the height of its operation, over 5,000 food parcels and prescriptions were delivered with over 3,000 people provided with mental health and financial support. I would like to thank all of the officers and volunteers involved in this operation for representing the very best of local government.
“I would also like to give thanks to the many community voluntary organisations, including the Warwick and Leamington Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group and the Covid-19 Kenilworth Support Group for their outstanding care and support to the local community; it makes me proud to live in Warwick district.
“Teams from across the Council have been providing support and advice to businesses to help them to open safely, along with distributing business grants to support them during the restrictions they have faced.
Over £48 million has been paid to businesses so far, with the restart grants set to begin from April 2021.
“I know that the restrictions and various changes to how we live have been challenging for people, but I would like to thank everyone who has followed the rules to keep their family, friends and everyone safe. With the successful rollout of the vaccine across Coventry & Warwickshire, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
"As long as we all continue to do what we must to protect ourselves and each other – wash our hands, cover our face, make space and get the vaccine when it’s our time - then we will hopefully see a return to some kind of normal.
“I hope you will join me in observing a minute’s silence today to honour and remember more than 140,000 people that have lost their lives this past year and to light up your doorsteps at 8pm for a national vigil.
“Over the next few weeks and months as we progress through the Government’s roadmap, we will be there to support and guide businesses and residents to ensure they feel safe as the restrictions are eased.”
For information, advice, support and guidance on Coronavirus in Warwick District, visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk/coronavirus