Latest message from Cllr John Lodge, Leader of Uttlesford District Council - 19 June

Non-essential shops started to re-open from Monday, and I was delighted to see Saffron Walden featured on both the regional and national news.

Businesses across the district have worked incredibly hard, in such as short space of time, to make retail spaces as covid safe and secure as possible. The systems put in place to keep customers safe seem to be working, and the initial feedback from traders has been generally positive. I would like to thank residents for supporting local businesses and would urge them to continue to do so as much as they can. However, as lockdown restrictions start to be lifted, it is also important to remember that the virus hasn't gone away and we must continue to follow the guidance on frequent handwashing and maintaining social distancing wherever possible. 

The first of our volunteer ambassadors took to the streets in Great Dunmow, on Tuesday, to provide support and a friendly face to shoppers. It is always heart-warming to see local people giving up their time to help others. The scheme will be extended to Saffron Walden and Stansted Mountfitchet, hopefully from next week. We are hoping to continue the ambassador scheme for the next few months - so if you can give some time to help, please send your contact details to volunteer@volunteeruttlesford.org.uk or call 01799 510525/510524.

On a sobering note, the latest unemployment figures were published this week. Given the circumstances, it was not surprising to see that unemployment is on the rise. Uttlesford is not immune from this and steps may need to be taken to ensure sufficient help is available to those who need it. We will be monitoring the situation closely to see what additional help is required. In the meantime, I would urge any resident affected by unemployment to contact the Citizens Advice who have excellent resources at hand to help, or the Community Response Hub who will be able to signpost to the most appropriate service - call 03333 408 218 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm) or email communityresponse@uttlesford.gov.uk.

Finally, the lockdown has made all of us realise how important good access to the internet is. Throughout this time work has been continuing to bring superfast broadband to the district.  As more people become connected it is essential they have good digital skills. Whether they are a digital novice trying to log on to talk to family or do some shopping, working from home for the first time or they just want to expand your knowledge, there are lots of online resources being offered for free including sites such as The Skills Toolkit and Make It Click. Again, if you need any further advice, please get in touch with the Community Response Hub.

19 June 2020