At last the summer sunshine has returned making it even cheerier for us to visit our favourite high street retailers, coffee shops, bars and restaurants – who’d have thought that the simple pleasure of getting a hair cut would be so welcome? As we enjoy these liberties, please remember that until this virus is beaten, we must stay alert to stay safe. Restrictions are changing, so double-check the latest safety guidance.
Play areas & buildings update
And for our children, the Council’s play areas have now re-opened, at last. When the closed signs were being removed, one of our young people commented that “It was the best day ever”, clearly delighted to be able to once again enjoy a favourite pastime. Soon we’ll also be able to announce details of the safe reopening of the district’s leisure centres and swimming pools. A revised programme is being prepared for the three indoor pools and gyms across the district, so we can all look forward to restarting our fitness regimes very soon.
On Monday the Pump Rooms, which houses the art gallery and museum, and sits at the heart of our vibrant cultural life, will be re-opening its doors. Signage has been put in place to ensure safe social distancing and movement around the building. The shop will be re-open too; accepting card payments only and online bookings for tickets. Find out more about what to expect from your visit.
Countdown to the 2022 Commonwealth Games
Time marches on with just two years until the 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on 28 July. To mark this countdown, the second of four annual celebrations in each of the District’s towns will be held in Kenilworth this year. Rest assured that we’re working hard on a range of Commonwealth Games projects and initiatives, to enhance the enjoyment of the thousands of expected visitors and to ensure we can proudly showcase the district to a worldwide audience.
Our Recovery Plan
The Recovery Plan took another important step forward this week with a call for creatives to unite around an ambitious new creative strategy. This bold, new vision aims to establish Warwick district as a creative ‘cluster’ of national significance, known for a distinctive blend of rich cultural heritage and cutting-edge creative companies, which will hopefully inspire us all through an array of shared cultural experiences. This important initiative is designed to foster the positive economic and social benefits of creative regeneration.
For our hard working Third Sector, this week the Community Economic Recovery Fund is being launched to help support local organisations to deliver essential services to vulnerable people and those most impacted by coronavirus. Applications are open for grants of up to £3,000 and we encourage all not-for profit groups, local registered charities, foodbanks, Town and Parish Councils needing funding for this vital work to apply now.
Ongoing efforts to support our businesses have also been ramped-up. In addition to the 2,375 business grants worth just under £31m that have now been paid, this week we’ve made a further £275k in grants to 68 small businesses as part of the Government’s Discretionary Grant Scheme. We’re pleased to hear from the local Chambers and Leamington BID confirmation that this direct financial support is making a real difference as local businesses enter the next phase of their recovery. We’ve therefore extended the closing date for this scheme to 12 noon on Monday 13 July, enabling eligible businesses every opportunity to complete the application.
Looking to the future
We’re excited by news this week that our direct support for Racing Club Warwick has enabled plans for much-improved facilities to come forward, including an all-weather pitch. Thanks to significant funding from the Football Foundation, we’re delighted that this exciting project can now be built for the benefit of the hundreds of children and young people in the area.
Thank you too for the innovative and interesting suggestions that have been made on the proposals for Newbold Comyn and Tach Brook Country parks. It was good to receive so many thoughtful contributions as part of the public consultations, which closed recently. Detailed planning has begun on final proposals for these cherished green spaces, which we look forward to sharing over the coming weeks.
This is clearly a great place to live, work and visit thanks to what we’re doing together. While we’ve come a long way over these past few months, we’re confident that as we face future challenges the strength of our partnerships across the district will ensure that we not only prevail, but flourish.
Keep smiling and stay safe.
Cllr Andrew Day
Leader, Warwick District Council
Chief Executive, Warwick District Council