Everyone is having to come to terms with the fast-moving nature of the Coronavirus crisis. It is extremely challenging for all of us.
Every day, it seems, there are new restrictions: on travel, gathering, going into work and businesses forced to close.
These restrictions are absolutely necessary and designed to keep us as safe as possible. I am pleased to see that the vast majority of Ipswich residents are heeding national guidelines.
There is positive news too, such as the huge number of people volunteering to help in the community and the amazing support our bin crews have been receiving – I know they really appreciate this.
Ipswich Borough Council is working hard to meet the social and economic challenges caused by the virus. We are doing all we can to maintain key services – collecting bins, looking after our older and vulnerable residents with HEARS and sheltered housing schemes as well as easing the concerns of others, whether it is about parking in busy streets or assisting our residential and commercial tenants.
Businesses are facing an uncertain future. We are working as quickly as possible to implement the Government’s scheme to provide hundreds of Ipswich businesses with grants and business rate holidays. We are also helping council tax-payers facing hardship through loss of work or a fall in earnings.
As the crisis deepens the calls on the Council from the Government are increasing daily. Our staff are determined to help us all to get through this. Councillors, whatever their party, are united in support of our staff and the vital work they are undertaking.
Like many thousands of people, I am working from home – both as Council leader and in my “9 to 5” job as a software developer. As I take my one permitted daily exercise walk through my local park, I am aware how fortunate we are to have such beautiful open spaces on our doorstep. Being stuck inside for hours on end makes me appreciate them even more and I know many other people feel the same.
So, this week I want to include a special thank you to Ipswich’s parks teams who are keeping our parks open and safe for us to use in these difficult times.