December Newsletter by Andrea Jenkyns MP
I hope you are all safe and well.
As the year draws to a close, it is often a good time to pause and reflect on the past 12 months. This year, we might be forgiven for wanting to put these past months behind us and focus on the future.
2020 has been an unpredictable, difficult year, with each and every one of us experiencing the same difficulties in a collective way that has probably not occurred since the Second World War.
I wanted once again to send my sincere thanks to every key worker around our area and the country. From our NHS and social care workers, to the police and fire services and those in our supermarkets and shops; they have kept us safe and kept us going through these incredibly challenging times. My thoughts are also with those who lost loved ones this year, it has been especially difficult during 2020 where the instinct of a supportive hug has had to be carefully considered.
Recent news has been difficult for many, and below I have shared information on the brilliant progress of the vaccine programme, and the updated Christmas rules. I hope this brings clarity to residents. I have also included updates, including on the Carr Gate Petition.
I am hopeful as I look towards the future, I trust it will be a good year for Britain: one where we protect our people from the pandemic, where we are able to remove restrictions in order to once again live our lives as we choose, and a year where finally we are able to allow the British entrepreneurial spirit to roar with its typical ingenuity and brilliance once again.
2020 was a year to forget, let us all hope and indeed strive to make 2021 a year to remember. I wish you all a happy and safe Christmas period, and a fantastic New Year.
Reasons For Hope
The Vaccine is being rolled out
More than 500,000 people in the UK have received their first dose of vaccine, protecting those most at risk from coronavirus.
Two doses are required for over 90% effectiveness, these are taken a few weeks apart. The UK is leading the world in protecting its people from this virus.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is still being rigorously assessed by regulators, but is expected to be approved shortly- expanding our capacity to save lives.
The UK government has pre-ordered 100m doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and if authorised, AstraZeneca is set to have up to 4m doses ready for the UK by the end of the year and 40m by the end of March 2021.
I am genuinely hopeful that in the coming months, significant parts of the vulnerable people in our communities will have received a vaccination, and we will be soon able to remove the restrictions and embrace normality once again.
Some residents have asked if the new COVID strain, first discovered by our UK scientists, will work with the vaccines. I am encouraged there is no evidence to suggest that this particular variant causes more severe illness or higher mortality, or that the vaccine would be any less effective against it.
Carr Gate Travellers Petition Update
I was recently contacted by residents in Carr Gate, raising their opposition to the establishment of a permanent travellers site in the Carr Gate area, which would mean the removal of greenbelt land in order to set up such a site.
I share many of the concerns expressed by local people on this matter, and set up a petition on my website to see the strength of feeling. I can now report that over 1,100 people have signed the petition and I have submitted this to Wakefield District Council.
For more information on Wakefield Council's plans and how to submit comments, or sign this petition, please follow:
Welcoming Local NHS Trust Funding Increase
[Photograph taken before COVID-19]
I welcome the great news that our local trusts are to receive hundreds of thousands of pounds as part of a £600Million package to upgrade and refurbish NHS hospitals.
This will see refurbished wards, brand-new electrics and upgraded ventilation systems!
For more details, please see the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/build-back-better-600-million-to-upgrade-and-refurbish-nhs-hospitals?fbclid=IwAR1mlmGVA4FPI_FvNGfY_6d9AZ3hR0wE9NI7iflN4yIGJBYikf4I3lqxp6w
Meeting with Local Tourism Sector Representatives
This month, I met with representatives from the coach & tourism sector in Morley to hear their concerns during this difficult time. As with many leisure industries, they have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and I hope they found our meeting as useful and informative as I did.
Shops are open once again!
Following the period of tighter restrictions in November, it was a joy to once again see shops open once again in our local area. As many residents will know, I frequently can be found on Morley high street chatting with business owners and picking up essentials. On re-opening day, I popped into Boomerang Deli for some breakfast, a great selection of veggie stuff for me- and lots of tempting treats!
I also visited the White Rose Centre. Despite a tough year, it's great to hear from the White Rose Management team about the new stores & cafes opening there, the upgrades to existing stores, and to see the Paddington Trail!
On December 25th only, restrictions will be modified but you will still need to be mindful of social distancing to reduce the spread of the virus.
You will be able to form a Christmas bubble with people from no more than 2 households. You can only be in one Christmas bubble and you cannot change the bubble you are in.
You may visit those in your Christmas bubble at each other’s homes and you may also go to a place of worship together.
More details: Here
This will be a difficult time for many, myself included. I hope that the vaccine news will bring hope to us all that next Christmas will be much better for everyone.
If you are unable to see family and friends in person, due to distance or COVID symptoms, please remember that thanks to the wonders of technology we are able to chat and stay connected. As our community has done in such a fantastic way this year, I know we will all continue to reach out - safely - to those who may feel lonely during the festive period.
The Government’s main advice hub is here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:
- Recent onset of a new continuous, dry cough
- A high temperature.