Stay alert, control the virus, save lives – and keep social distancing
This week has seen the cautious lifting, by government, of some aspects of the nationwide lockdown introduced to reduce and halt the spread of Covid-19.
To help us better understand the recent changes, and how they apply to us all, the government has produced a detailed set of frequently asked questions which can be found here. This page sets out some of the things you can now do – that you weren’t previously able to – and addresses some more specific questions that many of us may have.
Staying safe outside your home guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home) has also been published, which outlines the principles we should all be following to ensure that time spent outside your home is as safe as possible. The recent relaxations mean you can now see more friends and family. The changes also mean that certain businesses, like car showrooms and outdoor markets, can reopen, providing it is safe for them to do so.
I think we all recognise the huge sacrifices that have been made to get to this point and I couldn’t be prouder of the way Solihull residents have responded over the last ten, long weeks. However, we are not out of this crisis yet, and do not want a second spike – the message from my public health colleagues couldn’t be clearer – keep doing the basics, wash your hands regularly and stay two metres apart when leaving the house.
Last week I mentioned the work of our community development team and the many community groups set up by our residents on a voluntary basis. Well, this week is Volunteers Week so I would like to shine a light on all the good work that has taken place across the borough on a voluntary basis over the last year – before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, both the groups that have had to temporarily stop and the groups that have sprung up.
It has been heartening to see just how much people in Solihull have taken it upon themselves to help and support others through these very difficult times. Whether you’re keeping a watchful eye on an elderly neighbour, or have decided to join an established voluntary organisation – thank you. You can find out more at: https://volunteersweek.org/.
And on that theme, next week is Carers’ Week, an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, to highlight the challenges unpaid carers face, and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.
There are at least 25,000 unpaid or family carers in Solihull, including our young and young adult carers. Across the borough, they are continuing to face new challenges, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Many are taking on more caring responsibilities for their relatives, and friends who are older, disabled or ill.
I want to give my thanks for the vital role you play in supporting our most vulnerable residents. And please remember that help and support is available through the Carers Trust Solihull (https://www.solihullcarers.org/).
Finally, in these uncertain times, I just wanted to reflect on how deeply proud I am of the inclusive, welcoming and tolerant communities we have built together here in Solihull. This pandemic has really shown me how strong our communities are – Pride Month seems a particularly poignant time to celebrate everyone who makes up those communities, from all walks of life, race, religion and sexuality.
As some restrictions start to ease we can’t afford to forget the basics! – wash your hands regularly and keep two metres away from others when leaving the house.
Stay alert, help control the virus, save lives
Please take care