Looking forward to the return of some normality.

The twists and turns in the Covid story continue with yet another vaccine – Novavax – coming on stream shortly. This is very good news as it will speed delivery of jabs into all the priority groups. Leeks vaccine program is led by Park Medical Centre and the combined teams there are doing a brilliant job.

“We are all in this together” is a familiar message and in terms of the current Covid crisis it is true. The pandemic has demonstrated the ways we are reliant on each other. Our workplaces have adapted and some of us have adapted well to home working. These changes could be permanent for many, as evidence shows an improved work life balance and better productivity.

However, this does assume there are suitable facilities in our homes and good internet connectivity. The fundamental need for fast internet service is now part of modern life and a national program in reaching all households should be a priority.  In some cases, it must be extremely difficult to manage working at home especially with childcare and home schooling being added to the equation.  I’m sure most would be much happier to be back in the workplace amongst friends and workmates. Students of all ages are eager to be back in schools & colleges as soon as this lock down is eased. The disruption to our children’s education cannot be overstated.   

The journey we are on has been a difficult one and the toll on some will be evident for many years to come. Long Covid and mental health issues will be key areas to be addressed in a post Covid world by our NHS.

Many personal actions we have been asked to adhere to will become routine. Social distancing and hygiene awareness will be part of an improved way of life. I wouldn’t be surprised to see hand gels and masks being used routinely for years to come.

The pandemic has also exposed the fragility of many of our institutions and accelerated the demand for a fairer society. The growth of food banks is a stark reminder of the need for a helping hand to families affected by loss of income and changing circumstances.  We all are now looking at the world around us with greater awareness and compassion. Hopefully our families will be able to come together once again and this dark winter of discontent will give way to a brighter spring and a return to some normality.

 We are nearly there, so for now please just follow the rules and lets all get to the summer safely.

Stephen Wales

Leek Town Mayor