The Prime Minister has announced we have passed the peak of coronavirus infections, and we all hope this is the case.
Later this week we will be hearing how the government plans to manage the end of lockdown.
Despite this glimmer of hope we must follow current advice and stay home and stay safe, limiting when we go out shopping for necessities, exercise, for a medical need or to provide care and travelling to and from work where you cannot work from home.
At the Council we are trying to take some steps to return the services we provide back to normal where we can.
We have reinstated the green waste collections, albeit monthly to start with. We are also looking at how, and when, we reopen the Household Waste Recycling Centre (also known as the Tidy Tip) on Barkers Lane – we are taking advice from the Police, the team that manage the tip and other public sector partners about how this can happen safely and we hope to make an announcement soon.
We continue to provide our Community Hub support for vulnerable residents. You can find out more about our Ccoronavirus response and how to ask for help if you need it at https://www.bedford.gov.uk/social-care-health-and-community/public-health/coronavirus/
We have also recently launched an Active Minds campaign where residents can donate unwanted books, DVDs, jigsaws, board games or craft items to help others stay busy and keep their minds active as lockdown continues. You can find out more and donate by using the link above.
One of main issues we have to contend with is that we are rarely given notice of government announcements before they happen. We, however, are trying to get our services back to normal as soon as possible.
Of course, as a result of coronavirus the Council finances are being stretched even more than usual.
Estimates predict a gap in our budget of up to £30million in the next few years. We will be taking a revised Budget for this year to a meeting of the Executive in June, which will discuss the financial impact of coronavirus as we know it so far.
Finally I would like to thank everyone who is helping to keep people safe; across social care, in our care homes, ensuring no one need sleep rough, and providing vital support to isolated individuals through the Community Hub.
This is a monthly guest column provided by
Mayor Dave Hodgson and published unedited.