Hastings Council leader Kim Forward reflects on a very difficult year for the town – and what we all need to do now
Last week (23 March) we marked a year since we went into the first lockdown and it has been a very difficult year, with many sad times. My thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones. I would like to thank everyone, whether as part of an organisation or not, who has helped and supported others at their time of greatest need. All the kindness, cooperation and compassion shown is really helping us through.
As we continue our journey through the pandemic, the rules now say that we can meet outside, including in our gardens, with up to six people or two households in a group of any size. You can find details of the restrictions through a link on the council’s website.
Thank you to everyone who has been following the guidelines to stop the spread of the virus and keep others safe. Let’s continue to keep our distance from others not in our households or support bubbles, wear a mask and wash our hands regularly. It’s important to book a test if we have any symptoms even if they are mild.
The vaccine programme continues but take up is currently lower in Hastings than in other local areas and this issue is being taken seriously. The local NHS and GP-led services are looking at ways of ensuring people are helped to get their jab.
Free transport is now available to take you to and from your vaccination if you are having difficulty arranging this. You can call the East Sussex travel coordinator on 07871 603 235 and you can find more details on our website including those of the local HEART volunteer transport service.
Have your jab to protect yourself and others
If you are over 50, a health or social care worker or in the at-risk group with other health conditions you don’t need to wait for an invitation you can either book online on the national booking service or call freephone 119 for an appointment at one of the vaccination centres or pharmacies.
You can use the GP vaccination service at the Hastings Centre by booking through the link on the text message you receive or if you can’t manage that by contacting your GP surgery to book an appointment. Let’s work together to ensure we are all vaccinated to help end this pandemic.
Grant support for our businesses continues
The deadline for applications for the Additional Restrictions Grant has been extended until the end of April and applications for the new Restart Grants will be open soon. Details about all the funding available can be found by clicking on this link.
East Hill lift has reopened
We are pleased that our East Hill lift, which is the steepest funicular railway in the country, is open again (except Wednesdays.) It provides easy access to the East Hill with its wonderful views and our lovely country park wand it’s a fun ride too.
Local elections attract more women candidates
With local elections on the horizon you can find out which candidates are standing for Labour and more about them on this website.
I am pleased that we have so many women who have made the commitment to put themselves forward to serve their communities. Together our candidates bring a wealth of life experience, skills and different perspectives and I believe they will be a great team dedicated to our town and its people.
The elections are on May 6 and whilst the polling stations will be COVID-secure you can have a postal vote if you prefer. To apply, just go to the postal vote section of the council website.
Finally, as we continue to address the issue of male abuse and violence towards women, I am pleased that the council has become White Ribbon accredited again.
This is a clear statement of our continued commitment to working to help change the behaviour and culture that leads to this abuse and violence. The White Ribbon pledge is to never to commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women. We need everyone to commit to this.