Nottingham commemorates one year of Covid-19 pandemic with a thank you and plea to keep going

Next week Nottingham will pause to reflect, say thank you to the people of Nottingham and hope for a better future, as the city approaches one year since the Covid-19 pandemic began to radically change our lives.

Nottingham has come through a year of Covid-19 and has sadly lost over 600 of its citizens. The whole of Nottingham stands with the families mourning loved ones.

On 23 March 2021 – a year on from the start of with the first national lockdown -Nottingham will pause to reflect on the last year and remember those who have died. The flag on the Council House will be lowered to half-mast and the city will observe a one-minute silence from 12noon – 12.01pm. On the evening of 23 March, the Council House and Wollaton Hall will be lit up in a colourful rainbow to mark the anniversary and look to a more hopeful future, with everyone encouraged to join in from home by lighting a candle in their window or doorstep.

And throughout the day, on My Nottingham’s social media channels, the council will ask residents to share their local ‘Covid heroes’ – those people who have made a positive difference in their lives over the last year.

Once it is safe to do so, the City Council hopes to plan an event to thank nominated Covid heroes for their contributions during the pandemic.

Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “The last year has been the most difficult in our recent history. I’d like to thank the people of Nottingham for everything they’ve done to keep each other safe – everyone who stayed home, washed their hands, wore masks and got their vaccination when their turn came, all this has made and continues to make a difference in bringing infection rates down.

“I’m incredibly proud of the way Nottingham people have pulled together through a really challenging time – and we need to keep going. We must clear this final hurdle of the next few weeks and months to ensure we keep cases low enough to complete the Government’s planned roadmap and begin to reopen our city.

“The falling infection rates give us real hope a year on from the first lockdown. I’m confident that the city has many strengths which will allow us to adapt and thrive post-Covid.”

Over the past year, Nottingham City Council teams have:

  • Recruited hundreds of new care workers to support vulnerable people in their own homes
  • Carried out over 5,000 welfare visits to vulnerable people
  • Supported over 4,000 residents with food, prescriptions and advice
  • Opened three asymptomatic testing centres and supported the NHS to open nine vaccination centres
  • Set up a helpline for our citizens to call for help with food, medication and much more –receiving 171,566 calls so far
  • Made sure at-risk children and families still had a source of support and help through lockdown
  • Made over 8,500 calls to those eligible for vaccinations to encourage them to make their appointment
  • Distributed over 1,200 laptops to school children and those leaving care
  • Moved key services online, like those helping people to find jobs, and to deal with debt and other money problems
  • Had over 90,000 visits to our dedicated coronavirus webpage at www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/coronavirus
  • Kept refuges for women escaping domestic violence and abuse open and fully staffed
  • Deployed our Community Protection Officers to patrol public spaces, ensure everyone is following the rules and to check on our extremely vulnerable residents
  • Approved an extra 46 licences for outdoor seating and advised businesses on operating safely and carried out over 2,000 visits to check businesses were operating in accordance with the rules
  • Introduced the Robin Hood Ticketing app, meaning no one needs a physical ticket and can pay online – supporting Nottingham’s public transport operators to keep services running for key workers, with extra Covid safety measures despite staff shortages
  • Kept bin and recycling collections and street cleaning going, despite crews being stretched through staff absence and redeployment
  • Kept city parks open and maintained as more people than ever found the value of green open spaces during lockdown
  • Established the Nottingham Economic Recovery Unit, a one-stop shop for business queries, support and grant applications to provide dedicated Covid support to businesses across the city.

The council has also worked with partners in the NHS, universities and police, as well as faith leaders, other nearby councils and more, to ensure a joined-up approach to Covid-19. A plan has also been developed with partners on how the city will recover and thrive after Covid.

Councillor Sally Longford, Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “One year on, I’m in awe of the way our city has come together, from neighbours helping neighbours, our amazing NHS and care workers, to our hard-working frontline workers keeping vital services running and stepping up for the most vulnerable in our communities.

“Our city has suffered a huge loss – over 600 people, who we will continue to remember as we look to the future. For those experiencing additional challenges, such as grief or mental health challenges, abuse at home, unemployment, home schooling or isolation, these continue to be extremely trying times.

“Yet we’ve also seen a huge amount of kindness, volunteering and community spirit – things I hope we keep as we hopefully leave Covid behind.”

Nottingham City Council is continuing to support citizens who need help:

  • Anyone who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable can get help from the Council, including for food, advice or just a chat.
  • Struggling with debt or benefits – Nottingham City Council’s Welfare Rights team are continuing to give practical free advice on managing money, dealing with debt and other problems – call the team on 0115 915 1355 (8:30am – 4:50pm) or email welfarerights@nottinghamcity.gov.uk 

Support is also available in Nottingham with:

  • Mental health -Local people in mental health crisis who need immediate help can receive support 24/7 by calling the Nottinghamshire Foundation Trust Mental Health Helpline 0300 303 0165. Alternatively, non-crisis support can be accessed via NHS Every Mind Matters https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters
  • Domestic abuse or violence – Women Experiencing Domestic Abuse can contact the Juno Women’s Aid helpline 24 hours a day on: 0808 800 0340. Men experiencing Domestic Abuse can contact the Equations Men’s support service during office hours on: 0115 9605556 or www.equation.org.uk/need-help/
  • Drugs and alcohol addiction- Nottingham Recovery Network provide a point of help for anyone using drugs or alcohol in a problematic way www.nottinghamrecoverynetwork.com/

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