The Mayor made thanks to those who had continued to work through the pandemic to ensure vital services were maintained where possible and thanked the voluntary sector who had played an important role in keeping in contact and supporting the vulnerable in Thurrock.
The Mayor stated as he was not able to attend functions due to the pandemic he had continued to make small donations to local voluntary groups to enable them to carry on the support for local residents.
The Mayor hoped by the end of his time as mayor he would be able to visit some of the voluntary groups to express his gratitude on all the work they had carried out over the last year.
Councillor Hebb, Deputy Leader of the Council, echoed the tributes made this evening and sent best wishes to Councillor Fletcher and his family.
Councillor Hebb then made the following announcements:
In regards to COVID-19 the rate of infection in Thurrock was moving in the right direction in all age groups but were by no means out of the woods yet. We were in fact still very much in the grip of the more infectious variant which had led to the huge spike in local infections that we were still experiencing despite the drop in positive tests we have seen in the past weeks. That it was now more important than ever we keep on doing all we can to stop the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. The simple truth was we all needed to act like we had COVID and anyone we meet had it as well. By following hands, face, space advice, practising social distancing and taking extra care to look out for one another we would be playing an active role in defeating the virus. Those who seek to bend or break the rules not only pose a risk to themselves, their loved ones and our communities, they hindered our chances of leaving national lockdown and being able to get back to more relaxed restrictions.
In regards to vaccinations, these were being given to the groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation as being most at risk. This included those living and working in the borough’s care homes, those aged 80 and over and then the over 70s and those who were clinically extremely vulnerable. That residents and staff in our care homes were being given vaccines right now while vaccines were also being delivered to the other priority groups across the borough’s two vaccine centres at Chadwell Medical Centre and Stifford Clays Health Centre. That plans were also being put in place to ensure all housebound residents would be visited and given their vaccine at home. The key message here was there was no need for anyone to call their doctor, you would be notified directly by the NHS. There was no charge for a vaccine and the NHS would never ask you to share bank details to confirm your identity or pay for a vaccine. It was important for those who had received the vaccination to remember it could take up to three weeks after the first injection for the body to develop some protection from the first dose and during this three week period and indeed after it as well, you must to continue to take the same precautions to avoid either infecting yourself or passing on the virus to others.
In regards to the Tilbury and Grays Town Fund Bids, Councillor Hebb was pleased to inform members that bids for the Towns Fund programme, which could potentially bring over £50 million in Government funding to improve Grays and Tilbury, had now been submitted by their Towns Boards. These Towns Boards, led by local business community partners and community leaders, had developed the bids to address issues which had the potential to significantly enhance these two towns and we await their outcome with interest. That Grays had already been awarded £750,000 to kick start works including a new outdoor play and sports area at Grays beach while in Tilbury being awarded £500,000 had been unlocked from the Towns Fund.