This week, Warrington along with the rest of the country moved, as planned, to the next stage of the roadmap out of lockdown. With Covid cases in The UK now the lowest in Europe and having now delivered more than 40 million first doses we appear to be heading on the right track for all restrictions to be lifted in June. Outdoor hospitality, all shops, gyms and outdoor attractions have now reopened, and I’m sure like many readers I’ve finally managed to get my haircut!
All this has been achieved due to the brilliant work of all those contributing to delivering the vaccine, testing, the public following the Covid-19 guidance, getting tested and vaccinated and all our key workers for protecting and supporting us all this past year. Locally, huge strides are being made in the Covid-19 vaccination programme this month, with over 65 per cent of our population (130,000 people) having received their first dose in Warrington. From this week the over 45 age group can also make a booking to get their COVID vaccination after the UK completed the first 9 groups ahead of schedule.
During parliamentary recess I visited the vaccine and testing centre at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. If you haven’t been yet to get an asymptomatic test, I’d suggest you do as you can also collect a home testing kit.
A focus for me currently is also on ensuring businesses have the support they need for reopening in line with the roadmap. Restart Grants are now available to provide businesses in a number of sectors including non-essential retail, hospitality, accommodation, leisure and personal care with a one-off payment to support local businesses and help them reopen safely. Businesses in the hospitality, leisure, personal care, and gym sectors could be eligible to between £8,000 and £18,000 in grant funding. Meanwhile non-essential retail can access funding between £2,667 and £6,000. Please contact my office if you need support applying.
Moreover, I’m really pleased to see further grants being made available today to support Arts and Heritage projects in Warrington South which include £78,302 to Culture Warrington who run the Pyramid Arts, Warrington Museum and Parr Hall in the town centre. As a keen supporter of the arts in our communities, I have been working hard to ensure that this fund is targeted at organisations who provide benefit to the widest community. I particularly enjoyed meeting with Rev Jane at St Wildrid’s Church in Grappenhall to congratulate them on their award of £75,000 and to see what they’re doing with the funds raised, creating a new annexe to the beautiful church for the community to use.
Finally, in Parliament this week I paid tribute on behalf of constituents of Warrington South to Prince Philip, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. I was able to sit in the Chamber and listen to colleagues tell their stories of moments they had met the Duke, or the contributions he had made to so many charities and organisations across the country. In particular, I praised the work he did for Warrington in the aftermath of the bombing in 1993. Having experienced the death of his own uncle as a result of terrorism, the Duke spoke movingly with the families of Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry at the rectory after the service, eager to comfort them following the loss of their two children. We can be rightly proud of the part that the town played in generating the peace process in Northern Ireland, and The Duke of Edinburgh was very much involved from the start, striving for reconciliation in difficult times.
I have written to Her Majesty the Queen to express the deepest sympathies on behalf of everyone in Warrington South.
If my team or I can assist you in anyway please do not hesitate to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org. For the latest guidance and updates, you can also visit my website at www.andycarter.org.uk.