Observer column: 23 July 2021
After the final of the European Championships we received a stark reminder that racism is a feature of everyday life for some people in our country. We must continue to do all we can to stand up to racism and prejudice and support each other in this fight.
We are now at Step 4 of the government's roadmap out of coronavirus restrictions, but cases of the virus remain high in our town. We are clear that the risk is very real, and many people are still vulnerable including those who have serious health conditions and those who have not been fully vaccinated.
We should continue to be considerate towards each other and respect social distancing. For the safety and protection of others including our key workers let's keep wearing our masks when we are in public places indoors. This virus has not disappeared so please show you care and wear a mask. Face coverings and social distancing are still required in council buildings which includes Muriel Matters House, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, the cliff railway, and the newly opened visitor centre at Hastings Country Park.
Working with our partners we have arranged for extra vaccine pop-up clinics in our town to increase the number of people getting their jabs. So, you can get your vaccination at the clinic outside Debenhams from Monday July 26 to Saturday July 31. Just turn up and get your jab, no appointment is necessary. In the early evening the clinic will move to different places across Hastings and St Leonards. Please encourage all those you know to get their vaccinations and you'll find full details on our website.
We are so lucky to live beside the sea and many of us have been enjoying the beaches and the sea during the past week. This Sunday (July 25) is World Drowning Prevention Day and our RNLI lifeguards will be working, as usual, on three of our beaches - Pelham, Pier and Marina St Leonards. Please use their flags for guidance because although the sea is fun, it is also dangerous, and we need to keep a close eye on our children on the beach. You can find more advice and tips for water safety online at the council website. Call 999 if you need help.
There are lots of activities and events running for children during the school holidays and many of them are free for those on free school meals. You can find details of activity programmes on the East Sussex County Council website and Visit 1066 has some suggestions on their latest blog. The Bale House (a unique building, made of straw bales) in Hastings Country Park has some activities as well and the café at the centre is now open.
July is Disability Pride Month, a global event working to shine a light on physical, learning, hidden disabilities, and mental health conditions. It is a chance to spotlight what needs to be done to make the world accessible for the disabled community. In the UK there are around 14.1 million people living with a disability. I am pleased that we have recently finished refurbishment of the disabled access path at Pelham to make it easier to access the beach. There is a lot to do to make our town as accessible as possible for everyone.
Finally thank you to all those who are helping us to keep our town tidy, our cleaning team are working hard and appreciate your help. Please remember to keep our beaches safe and clean and take your litter with you when you leave.
Council Leader's column