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West Berkshire Council Weeknotes #75

In this week's blog read about our plans for the Booster vaccination, Shop Local and Christmas message

Posted by: Council Leader Lynne Doherty and Chief Executive Nigel Lynn on 17 December 2021 14:14

We begin this week's update in the context of a huge national push to administer booster vaccinations amid fears of the potential impact of the new Omicron variant. Two weeks ago, when we last wrote to you, little detail was known about this variant or how we might respond to it. Now, we are aware that it is much more transmissible than previous variants and that it is spreading rapidly in all areas of the country, which is worrying for us all.

Since the Prime Minister's announcement regarding booster jabs over the weekend, we have been working closely with our NHS colleagues to support them by offering communications, highways and administrative support. We've also supported efforts by providing free parking for volunteers at the Kennet Centre vaccination hub in our new multi storey station car park.

We were disappointed to see reports in the local media about this issue, as was the hub's St John's Ambulance volunteer coordinator, who reached out to us to discuss how we could work together to address this. It appears that the information reported was not accurate and we have been thanked for the way in which we quickly offered support following our discussion. As it has been throughout the pandemic, our response to Covid is very much a joint effort with partners and we are doing all we can to ensure local people can access vaccinations.

If we are going to achieve the Government's goal of administering a booster to all eligible adults by the New Year, we all need to make sure that we take the time to book an appointment or attend a walk in vaccination centre. Details of how to do this can be found here.

We also know that the NHS is still looking for volunteers to support the rollout and would encourage anyone who has some time to spare to consider offering their help. This is an opportunity to make a real difference to our local efforts, so please volunteer if you can. 

Although many of you will have already completed your Christmas shopping, we would urge you to consider supporting local independent businesses when doing so if you have not done so. A rise in Covid cases has meant that many hospitality businesses are seeing multiple cancellations at what would usually be their busiest time, so why not consider gift vouchers as a way to support them, for instance. Our Environment and Economy teams have put together this Icon for pdf useful guide [12.27MB] to some of the great small businesses we have here in West Berkshire, which may provide some inspiration.

The festive period is likely, once again, to be different to other years, and we know that many will find this difficult. This time last year, the district was placed into Tier 4, and all of our plans had to be cancelled, with businesses closed and restrictions on social interaction. Although this isn't the case this year, we would encourage residents to think carefully before mixing with others to minimise the virus's spread. If you find that your mental health is being affected and you need help, please reach out to local services that can help you. You can find details in our directory.

We can also confirm that following the sad death of long-serving councillor, Peter Argyle, a by-election took place yesterday in the Tilehurst South and Holybrook ward. This was Nigel's first election as Returning Officer after joining us in October and we would both like to offer our thanks to officers for a well-run operation. In the early hours of this morning, Biyi Oloko of the Conservative Party was confirmed as the newly elected member for the ward and will now work closely with his fellow ward member, Councillor Richard Somner. We look forward to welcoming him to the Council.

In spite of Covid, we have continued to deliver good services and have seen a number of successes and positive feedback from local people. It has been an honour to serve the community this year and to have worked with our residents, town and parish councils and businesses to make West Berkshire the best possible place to live, work and learn.

We wish you all a happy, healthy and restful festive break and a hopeful New Year.

Yours sincerely,

Lynne Doherty
Leader of the Council

Nigel Lynn
Chief Executive

Last modified: 07 April 2022 10:15

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