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This Saturday is not a return to normal

Posted: Friday 3rd July 2020
Blog: July

It is important to remember that the further lifting of restrictions this weekend is not a return to normal. We are still in the middle of a global health emergency; our pubs and restaurants are going to look very different to what we are used to and local businesses will be taking careful steps to minimise the risk of the transmission of covid-19.

I know a lot of people have been counting down the days until they can have a drink in their local pub, go out to eat on a weekend or get that much needed haircut. From Saturday this will all be possible across Avon and Somerset but please think carefully and take precautions. Make sure you know how you are going to travel and check that where you are going has the capacity and facilities to accommodate you.

I have been reassured by the Chief Constable that Avon and Somerset Police are prepared for this weekend. Public disorder, anti-social behaviour and illegal, unlicensed street parties will not be tolerated just because the pubs have re-opened and I am confident that officers will be taking a robust approach if such issues arise.

The last thing we want is a localised outbreak that means we have to return to restrictions when other parts of the country are lifting theirs – we’ve seen how difficult this has been for people living and working in Leicester.

Let’s all be cautious, act with common sense and ensure that the sacrifices of the last four months do not go to waste.

As we emerge into the recovery phase of lockdown, I want to ensure that support and help is available to the local people and communities who have been disproportionality affected by the global health emergency. I have relaunched the Commissioner’s Community Action Fund (CCAF) and I will be offering an additional £200,000 to support local charities, voluntary organisations and community groups who are helping to deal with the consequences of coronavirus. Such initiatives across Avon and Somerset can apply for grants of up to £5,000.

The extra funding will allow us to continue to strengthen those hard-working and courageous local organisations who have been a lifeline to local people during these challenging times. By working together we can continue to make improvements in our communities. The CCAF application process is easy and straightforward, and I encourage local groups to apply. More information can be found on my website.

As I’ve discussed in previous blogs and columns, local people living in domestic abuse environments have been increasingly more vulnerable and at risk due to lockdown. There are many stereotypes surrounding domestic abuse that still need to be broken including men only being perpetrators, women only being victims and domestic violence only taking place in spousal relationships. This is not the case and one type of domestic abuse that is not spoken about enough is child-to-parent abuse (CPA).

Since 2010, there has been an increase in CPA reports across the country and it is likely we will see a spike in such abuse as a result of lockdown. I know many victims are fearful and ashamed to come forward and seek help. I cannot stress enough that help is out there and being in your own home shouldn’t mean being at risk. You do not need to report to the police to access help and local support services will work with you to reach the best outcome for you and your family. You are not alone and you do not need to suffer in silence. For more information about help available, please visit www.thisisnotanexcuse.org

Until next time, remember to have compassion, look out for one another and stay safe.

 
 
 
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