Mayor's Column: We all need to play our part with infection levels on the rise
For weeks, Mansfield has been listed as one of the most infectious places in England for Covid-19, with further coronavirus-related admissions to King’s Mill Hospital along with, sadly, more deaths, writes Mansfield Mayor Andy Abrahams.
Despite having all-day ‘no appointment needed’ vaccination centres at the hospital and the old Wickes site on Chesterfield Road, and bringing the vaccination bus to hard-to-reach communities, more than one third of adults under 30 in Mansfield have yet to have their first coronavirus jab.
With infection rates expected to rise as children head back to school, I fear for this area’s residents unless we all play our part. The advice is simple: get vaccinated. We should also all continue to wash our hands regularly and wear a mask when inside public places.
Many have endured terrible times during this pandemic, but there have been positives. We’re particularly proud of how we’ve cut the number of people living on the streets. Through various initiatives, including securing government funding for our First Steps project, we reduced the number of street homeless from 22 in 2019, to just two earlier this year.
This fantastic humanitarian work is far from over. Together with our wonderful volunteer organisations, who operate collectively under our new Homeless Charter, we’ll continue to support remaining rough sleepers, many of whom have multiple complex physical and emotional needs, to help break any cycles of criminality.
Helping our residents feel safe is a priority for us and we’re pleased to have secured £432,000 from the Government’s Safer Streets initiative. This concentrates on four crimes: robbery, vehicle crime, burglary and theft from the person. Among its objectives are to increase patrols by front-line staff in hotspot areas and encourage more Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
We are particularly pleased that this funding will enable the recruitment of an additional youth worker for our district to help tackle anti-social behaviour problems among young people. There has been a 50% cut in youth services over the past five years so this investment in Switch Up - a mentoring service for young people and their families – is very welcome.
Did you know the Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking for views on changes to district council wards in Mansfield? It wants to know if the proposed changes reflect local communities. The consultation closes on 8 November. Find out more at www.consultation.lgbce.org.uk.
Also, don’t forget our fabulous Palace Theatre has reopened and can’t wait to wait to welcome you back. See what’s on at https://www.mansfieldpalace.co.uk.
Finally, Recycling Week starts on 20 September so remember to reduce, reuse and recycle to help make Mansfield greener and cleaner.