David Ellesmere Outside Ipswich Borough Council offices- Grafton House
David Ellesmere Outside Ipswich Borough Council offices- Grafton House

The large rise in coronavirus cases over recent days should leave no one in any doubt about why it was necessary for Suffolk to go into Tier Four on Boxing Day.

We will see over the next couple of weeks whether the relaxation of rules on Christmas Day has made things even worse.

It sometimes feels like we haven’t made any progress since March. We’re starting the New Year as we started the pandemic: in lockdown with cases dramatically rising. The main thing that is different – and the real beacon of hope – is that we now have a vaccine.

But it will be many months before the vaccine is fully rolled out so, in the meantime, it is down to all of us to keep following the rules: wash our hands regularly and often; wear a mask indoors when outside our homes; keep our distance from people we don’t live with.

This is the only way we can slow the spread of the virus before the vaccine manages to do its work.

This sense of déjà vu about the start of the new lockdown made me reflect on the year Ipswich Borough Council has had.

It has been a year unlike any other with the Council having to respond to very difficult challenges.

I have been hugely impressed by the way our staff have adapted to new ways of working. This has enabled us to not only keep existing services going but to implement new ones, often at very short notice.

I think many people have gained a new appreciation of the vital services the Council provides for our town.

Those services have carried on over the festive period, including Christmas Day.

Vulnerable residents were kept safe by 24/7 monitoring of HEARS community alarms and CCTV cameras. Staff were on hand to provide safe and secure temporary accommodation for homeless families. Maintenance staff were on call-out to make emergency repairs. Parks were opened so we could build up an appetite for Christmas Dinner – or to walk it off.

I want to thank every single person who works for Ipswich Borough Council for all they do, day in day out, but especially in this most difficult of years.

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