From the Leader – December 3, 2021

The emergence of a new strain of Covid is a stark reminder to us all that this virus has not gone away, and it is more important than ever that we are socially responsible and take every precaution to slow the spread.

We are not in the position we found ourselves in last Christmas where we had to celebrate the festive season under the severest of restrictions, but we all need to take steps now to avoid returning to those times.

As we creep into December, it’s important that we begin to embrace the Christmas spirit that was lacking last year, but we will have to do so sensibly and with caution.

Volunteers have worked tirelessly all year to transform Bexhill town centre and give shoppers that festive boost, and the official Light Up Bexhill “switch on” is due to take place today (Friday 3).

I continue to encourage people to come along and support the efforts of this group, but please do so carefully.  Keep your distance from others and wear a face covering in crowded public areas.

Restrictions last year were devastating for many businesses in the district, and while some measures will have to be re-introduced in response to the new Omicron strain, we can all do our bit to make this Christmas better for local business by shopping and eating local.

We, as a district council, have worked hard to ease the burden on businesses as much as possible over the past 20 months and have recently launched a Business Interruption Grant to support those businesses forced to temporarily cease trading due to staff self-isolating.

We are extremely grateful to central Government for making just over half a million pounds available to us to ensure that we can help as many as possible.  I would encourage businesses to find out how we can help by visiting www.rother.gov.uk/business/information-for-businesses/discretionary-business-grants-making-a-difference

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention that the recent mild weather has given way to cold and frosty days.  With temperatures plummeting, I’d like to make a plea for people to take extra care when travelling around the district and to keep an eye on their vulnerable neighbours.

Those residents who need support with food and utility bills this winter can now apply for help from the district council.

We are fortunately to have received a share of the Department for Work and Pensions’ Household Support Fund and, while the funding is limited, we want to try and help as many of our residents as possible.

If you need support, or know someone who could use a helping hand this winter, you can find out more information about the funding available at https://www.rother.gov.uk/benefits-grants-and-funding/financial-support-for-residents/

Ends.

Published: 6th December 2021