I recently heard a great term to describe the days between Christmas and New Year – Chrimbo Limbo. If you’re struggling to know what day it is, this will probably resonate with you! I hope you had a good Christmas and managed to see loved ones, even if it was at a distance.
As we approach another new year, it’s a good time to reflect on the past, and consider the 12 months ahead. Certainly 2020 has been like no other. At Mendip we’ve done our utmost to keep services running whilst also pulling together with our neighbouring district councils and county council, to support our residents through turbulent times.
We supported all businesses eligible for grants and gave advice to these local firms; on our high streets, in our industrial parks, throughout our towns and villages, making sure payments were made in a timely fashion.
We offered guidance to support them back to running in a COVID-secure way and helped food businesses and licensed premises to adapt to the ever-changing legal requirements. More recently, COVID wardens were introduced to continue this work. Market stallholders had their rental payments paused to help them through tough trading times.
Roads were re-configured and pop-up cycle paths introduced. Free parking was offered to keyworkers throughout the pandemic, and to residents and visitors at key calendar points, such as in the Summer and the run up to Christmas.
The most vulnerable people in our district were protected. We offered help to homeless people, rough sleepers and those in dire housing need. Help with council tax and business rates payments are being offered to those facing hardship.
The staff at Mendip have been at the centre of the response. Some were deployed to help the community resilience effort, liaising with the parishes, towns and city council.
Live streaming of meetings was introduced so the public could become more involved than ever before. And our communications team spread the word throughout, distributing government and NHS messaging, and promoting the Coronavirus helpline to our communities.
All the while we’ve maintained the ‘business as usual’ of the local authority, such as processing planning applications, grass cutting and land management, addressing climate commitments (we planted hundreds of trees), and playing our part in increasing recycling rates.
On behalf of the council, I would like to thank our partners, keyworkers and staff – and of course all of you, for your patience and great spirit.
Looking forward to 2021, I hope, like everyone else, for quieter waters and that we can continue to work closely with the parish councils as work moves forward in preparation for local government reorganisation.
Keep sending me your thoughts, either through my Facebook page, @Ros.Wyke, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council
Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: email@example.com.