Posted: 15.04.20 at 12:51 by Nick Hudson
I AM sure the subject matter of this week’s column is of no surprise to anyone.
Coronavirus continues to dominate our everyday lives – as it did in my last article at the beginning of the month – and I’d like to first off thank you all for overwhelmingly following the guidelines laid out by the Government.
It is not easy and causes real disruption for us all, however, it is in the very best interests of public health.
As I have mentioned on many occasions, a great source of pride for myself is seeing the people of Atherstone and North Warwickshire more widely come together to help each other.
After the Prime Minister urged individuals to sign up to help with NHS, I have heard from countless constituents who have signed up to as NHS volunteer responders.
In total, more than 750,000 individuals from around the country, including myself, have signed up to aid the workings of the NHS and to provide simple, non-medical tasks to support those with more severe underlying health conditions in England who have been asked to ‘shield’ themselves for 12 weeks.
The initial target of 250,000 volunteers was smashed within 24 hours of the original call for help from the Prime Minister and serves as a clear example of the commitment of the people of North Warwickshire, and the country more widely, to come together and collectively overcome this terrible disease.
Aside from concerns about their health, I know from speaking with constituents that many are hugely concerned about the economic risk posed by the virus.
While these social distancing guidelines are imposed to protect lives, there is no doubt that they continue to have a seismic impact on our local economy.
From my experience, one of the most helpful support schemes has been the Small Business Grant Scheme – this provides a grant of £10,000 for businesses who currently don’t pay any business rates.
From speaking with the North Warwickshire Borough Council leader David Wright over the last few days I know that £4.5 million has already been distributed by the local authority and it is continuing to issue the funding to those eligible.
It is incredibly important to support businesses through this time and to ensure that Atherstone returns to the bustling town we all are so proud of – after we defeat this most challenging opponent.
As we move into warmer weather, I recognise how tempting it might be to momentarily ignore the regulations and meet with friends and family and spend more time out of our homes.
However, it is vitally important that despite any temptations, that we continue to be patient and follow the guidelines as closely as possible.
Please do keep in touch with our loved ones virtually, rather than in person. The advice remains clear – Stay Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.
On the subject of the NHS and staying at home, I was able to pass on thanks from Boris Johnson to George Eliot hospital for its ‘Get Well Soon’ message from the nurses and doctors of Nason ward when he was in intensive care at St Thomas’s hospital in central London.
The Prime Minister said it “meant a great deal” to get the message from the caring NHS staff at the Nuneaton hospital.
So to end: Please do all stay at home, stay well and continue to look out for our neighbours and friends.
Should you need any advice or support, as ever, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me [email protected]
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