I would like to begin my fourteenth weekly message by thanking all those who continue to help keep our local green spaces clean and tidy. Litter continues to be a problem in many areas because of the intensive use of community areas.
I am extremely grateful to all those who are lending a helping hand. I want to see more bins in our parks and a more frequent uplift service. On Wednesday evening I popped over to Newhall Valley Country Park with some of our local Town Councillors including the Council Leader Simon Ward, our newly elected Deputy Mayor Terry Wood and Ewan Mackey. Thanks particularly to Cllr Keith Ward and Sarah who brought their four-legged friend along.
We also inspected the fire damage to the New Hall board walk from last year which the Town Council is now generously but of necessity repairing. This sort of mindless vandalism is deeply irritating to virtually everyone who lives in the Royal Town.
On which subject, I was concerned to hear that a park ranger was attacked earlier this week in Sutton Park and police are increasing patrolling.
I was also deeply dismayed to see that vandals have graffitied signs belonging to the Sutton Coldfield Sea Cadets including their new sign which had been installed to promote the start of their new Royal Marines Detachment. As well as defacing the Sea Cadets property the vandals also targeted Sutton Park signs and one for Miller & Carter. The police are now on the hunt for the vandals who did this and I very much hope that they will be caught, prosecuted and punished
Our local sea cadets (of which I am the President) do a wonderful job and are an inspirational organisation within the town.
This week the Prime Minister has set out further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and allow more people to get back to work.
The Health Secretary has announced plans to ease restrictions for people that have been shielding, so they can spend more time outside their homes and with loved ones from next month. From August, the guidance will be relaxed so clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield. Support for this group will remain, including from NHS volunteers and local councils, and people who have shielded will still be able to access priority supermarket delivery slots locally.
This week is Armed Forces Week which will culminate with Armed Forces Day tomorrow. Armed Forces Day is an important opportunity to show our appreciation for all those who are in the regular service as well as the reserves, cadets and veterans. We owe a huge debt to our brave service personnel who work to keep our country safe.
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