The past 12 months have been the most challenging that many of us will have encountered and so it is understandable that people are looking forward to some much-needed respite during the festive period.
Christmas is usually the time of year when we all look forward to spending time with family and friends, but with rates of the virus rising in our city and remaining high, we all need to think carefully about with who we choose to spend Christmas with this year.
You’ll be aware that the government has confirmed that people from three different households can spend time together between December 23 and 27 – that’s the same three households across the five days, not three different ones each day.
But I urge you to see this not as a requirement, but a permission if you can make it as safe as possible for everyone involved.
Whilst I’m sure that everyone can’t wait to see their loved ones, please remember that the safest way to spend time with family and friends is either online, on the phone or outside. This advice is particularly important if you or your relatives are elderly or vulnerable.
So instead, you could organise a walk or get together at the local park, or have a family get together online. Remember, if you do meet outdoors, you must be socially distanced at all times.
If you do meet indoors, try to give each other space and stay two metres apart, wash your hands regularly and open windows for 10-15 minutes every hour or so, to allow good ventilation. You’re more likely to catch Covid in poorly ventilated places.
Clean all your surfaces, handles and objects that people might touch and have hand sanitiser available too. Try and reduce the number of people in one room, meet in the largest space possible and rearrange furniture to make more space.
If you’re going out Christmas shopping, remember your face mask and hand sanitiser. Keep your distance from others who are shopping, avoid peak times of the day when stores get busy and try not to queue close together for shops.
I know we continue to ask a lot of our residents, who have already made great sacrifices. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but for now, let’s keep on working together to stop Covid in its tracks.
And please don’t forget that help is at hand if you’re struggling right now. The council’s coordination hub is continuing to support families in need of help and everyday essentials. You can contact the hub by visiting the council’s coronavirus webpage or by calling 01733 747474.
Westcombe Engineering awarded two new contracts
One of many sources of personal pride in recent years has been the success of city-based social enterprise Westcombe Engineering.
Westcombe, which was established in 1970 and is partnered with the council, provides permanent employment and work experience for disabled people and all profits are reinvested back into the organisation and local economy.
They’ve achieved notable success in recent years and I was delighted to hear that they’ve just been awarded two major contracts.
One is to provide high precision components for the electrification of American school buses and a second to supply parts for bike and bulk storage units for Hitachi trains.
Both contracts were won through Westcombe’s partnership with Peterborough-based TRB Lightweight Structures.
Westcombe has gone from strength to strength due to its ability to diversify beyond its traditional diesel engine components market to win new contracts in other industry sectors, while staying loyal to its partnership with global giant Caterpillar.
So a big well done to everyone involved for all your endeavours and here’s to many more successes.
Changes to council services over Christmas
Finally, we’re reminding residents of changes to the council’s opening hours and operating times for key services over the Christmas and new year period.
If you need to contact our customer call centre, please bear in mind that it will be closed from noon on Christmas Eve until 9am on December 29.
Refuse and recycling collection dates will also alter and the Household Recycling Centre will be shut from noon on Christmas Eve until December 27.
For a full list of opening times visit the Peterborough City Council website, where you can also find contact information for out of hours emergencies.
As ever, you can rest assured that we will continue to work hard to keep you safe and to keep the city moving forward.