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  • Fylde Council reflects and remembers 12 months of Covid-19

Fylde is encouraging people to participate in a National Day of Reflection on March 23 – a year after the UK went into the first lockdown.

The reflections will include a national minute silence at 12 noon, lighting up Lytham Windmill in yellow and flying the flag at half-mast over the town hall.

The National Day of Reflection is being led by cancer charity Marie Curie and has been supported by the Prime Minister.

The first national stay at home orders began on March 23rd 2020 and since then more than 250 people have sadly died from coronavirus in Fylde and there have been more 4,500 confirmed cases.

During the last 12 months many events have been cancelled across the borough including the Mayor’s Ball, Lytham Proms, the 1940s Wartime Weekend, the St Annes International Kite Festival and Fylde Remembrance Day.

Much loved facilities, attractions and businesses enjoyed by residents and visitors have closed, reopened and closed again in response to the continuing wave of lockdowns and tiered restrictions.

Council staff, volunteers and members of the public have all played a vital role in getting through 12 months of Covid-19.

Councillor Karen Buckley, Leader of Fylde Borough Council, paid tribute to everyone’s commitment and dedication.

She said: “It is difficult to believe that we are now 12 months on since the first lockdown.

“It’s been a tough time for everyone and it’s important to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to this awful virus.

“We must also remember the incredible sacrifices that have been made and everyone’s commitment to beating the virus.”

Despite the personal losses and hardships of the last 12 months, there have been some positive experiences.

The council has worked alongside people, businesses and organisations to provide vital support during the succession of lockdowns and tiered restrictions.

More than £29m in grants and support have been distributed and invested since April last year.

Vital funds have been spent supporting vulnerable people across the borough as well as providing financial support for the Covid Tackling Inequalities Project, Community Champion Fund, the homeless, the Fylde Community Hub as well as self-isolation payments.

The Fylde Community Hub was launched in March 2020 to provide help for those in need and it has received more than 5000 telephone calls requesting support.

Providing food parcels, shopping assistance, medication supplies, a befriending service and a dog walking service are just some of the ways it has helped local people.

It could not have been achieved without the help of a number of local community organisations, including the Council for Voluntary Services and Fylde Citizens Advice Bureau, Fylde Foodbanks and a dedicated band of hard-working volunteers.

The Fylde Community Hub was delighted to receive a much welcome donation of Easter eggs from confectioner, Mars last Easter!

Meanwhile, to keep essential services going in the early days of the pandemic, Fylde Council staff were redeployed to deliver essential services and bolster front line capacity with volunteer support and the people of the borough thanked them by displaying and sending beautiful pieces of artwork and heartfelt messages.

In response to all the volunteer support, the Mayor of Fylde launched its Covid-19 Hero Campaign – nominating individuals who have been going above and beyond during the difficult times.

With the approaching summer and easing of lockdown restrictions, the council was busy helping businesses reopen and welcome everyone back to the High Street. Wider walkways to facilitate social distancing and pop-up cycle lanes were set up to allow people to enjoy the town centres safely.

In June 2020 it was announced that Lytham, St Annes and Kirkham would receive grants from Fylde Council to help businesses in the recovery period.  Councillors voted to give £5,000 to each of the town’s business groups – Lytham Business Partnership, Kirkham Business Group and St Annes Enterprise Partnership.

The council was also able to fast track pavement licences to facilitate alfresco dining for the hospitality sector and help local businesses get back to work.

Meanwhile, the Well Church introduced a pop-up version of the much-needed Well Café thanks to funding from the Lancashire Community Foundation’s Covid-19 community support. Longstanding community café Wesley’s also introduced ‘Wesley’s Larder’ which sits alongside the pop-up café to give away food donated by local supermarkets.

In response to new restrictions introduced in September 2020, Fylde Council recruited Covid Support Marshals who were tasked with visiting community settings to ensure that regulations were being observed and provide reassurance.

In October, Lancashire moved to the Government’s Tier 3 alert level and at the end of the month, the Prime Minister announced a second national lockdown. A testing site was set up on Fairhaven Road car park in November and later that month, Fylde was placed in the “very high alert” tier.

Meanwhile plans for a memorial Statue, celebrating the life of Bobby Ball in Lowther Gardens, Lytham were announced in November. Bobby, who was proud to call Fylde his home, sadly passed away after contracting Covid-19 leaving fans from across the UK and beyond devastated.

In December, additional support for those businesses hit hardest at Christmas was provided by the council by exercising local discretion through the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG).

In the new year, key workers were encouraged to get a regular, free test at one of four new SMART testing centres and a new mobile SMART testing van is set to hit the road in the coming weeks.

On February 22nd 2021, the Government published its roadmap for a phased approach to reopening all parts of society and Fylde Council is currently working with residents, businesses and organisations as well as council partners to help everyone navigate the coming months.

Allan Oldfield, Chief Executive of Fylde Borough Council, concluded: “The post pandemic recovery is a top priority for the council, every initiative will be geared towards support to the community and the local economy to ensure Fylde remains a great place to live, work and visit.”

 


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