As we may have expected, we are entering the New Year with a new national Lockdown to control the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). After Somerset climbing through Tiers 2, 3 then 4, since Boxing Day, the new national restrictions announced on Monday evening, return the Government instruction from last Spring to “Stay at Home”, including school closures for all apart from the most vulnerable children, and children of key workers, until at least the February half-term.
We are all seeking to adjust to these new greater restrictions on our daily lives. The biggest positive change from last Spring is that two vaccines have now been approved. Let us hope that these will soon be rolled out across Somerset very soon, so that this Lockdown can be safely relaxed.
For now, it seems timely to remind ourselves of Bruton’s exemplary response to, and since, the first Lockdown, and update on some of the local responses that remain in place…
- A regularly updated list of Coronavirus (COVID-19) local resources on our website, including health contacts, latest opening hours of shops, contact details of those delivering food and other supplies to those in self-quarantine. This list has been assembled by One Planet Bruton, and is maintained by volunteers.
- “Bruton Telephone Buddies” telephone support (01749 321742) for those who are feeling isolated, lonely or worried; organised by volunteers from St Mary’s Church, Bruton.
- A volunteer-led Food Drop Service for people in Bruton who have lost their jobs, or otherwise been severely affected financially. Please follow the links on our website if you and/or your family would like to request assistance, or donate either cash or in kind to support this service.
- Neighbours’ Support Pods to provide a resilient means of mutual aid, covering the nearest 20-or so homes, building upon Bruton’s strong community spirit. These Support ‘Pods’ complement local services, and are co-ordinated by volunteers, following One Planet principles.
- A Bruton Coronavirus Local Resource line (01749 717002) to support people without internet access, or anyone you know who you think needs help.
- Open Mental Health 24 hour Supportline 01823 276892 (firstname.lastname@example.org) for residents of Somerset get the support they need, whatever is worrying you – anxiety, debt, employment, housing, low mood or addiction.
Over 100 Brutonians responded to our Call for Volunteers last Spring – Thank you all!
The above local initiatives would all welcome more support. We can also anticipate new needs, such as helping Bruton’s Schools to administer the regular Coronavirus Testing that will be required when they are allowed to fully re-open, possibly after half-term. Please do get in touch if you can spare some time and skills to help fellow Brutonians in any way.
In addition to the many challenges that Bruton residents have faced over the past year, our local Businesses have suffered from ever-changing restrictions on their trade. The Town Council has resolved to support our local Businesses in any way that we can, and wrote to David Warburton MP at the end of November to call upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer to recognise that locally owned businesses are the root and trunk of our Somerset economy, and hence for the Government to provide…
- A level playing field of Regulations so that Local Businesses are not disadvantaged relative to national and international competitors;
- Fair economic compensation for those Businesses that are required not to trade by Regulations to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus;
- Protection from the Banks and other Regulatory bodies discriminating against Local Businesses that have had to participate in Government economic compensation schemes.
I would like to personally thank all of the members of our Bruton community, and fellow Town Councillors, who have worked so hard throughout 2020. Let us hope that 2021 will prove a much happier year for all!
Ewan Jones, Chair of Bruton Town Council.