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Latest update from the council Leader

Time Square building

Cllr Paul Bettison, OBE, Leader of Bracknell Forest Council, said:

Last week marked Volunteers’ Week and throughout this unique time, the support of volunteers has been vital. The council has been continuing to fund and support the local volunteer centre, Involve Community Services, which promotes opportunities and connects volunteers. Through Involve, we have also provided support to local charities that have faced increased pressure during the pandemic.

Since mid-March, more than 1,800 people have signed up to volunteer in Bracknell Forest through Healthwatch Bracknell Forest and Involve. Thousands of hours have been given to support the community. As we look ahead to Bracknell Forest’s recovery from the pandemic, the role of the voluntary and community sector and our army of volunteers will be more important than ever. You can browse local opportunities on the Bracknell Forest Involve website.

I’m sure, like me, you have been horrified by the terribly sad death of George Floyd in America. My thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends at this terrible time. Racism, like all forms of discrimination, is completely unacceptable and abhorrent. In Bracknell Forest we work very hard to make sure our community is cohesive and tolerant of all races, religions and beliefs. Indeed, our last residents’ survey showed that 96% of residents get on well with people of different backgrounds. Despite this, we cannot be complacent, so we will keep working to stamp out unacceptable prejudice in our community.

Since the 1 June, our primary schools have been more widely open for key worker children, vulnerable pupils and eligible groups and there will be further changes when secondary schools extend their offer from 15 June. To get ready for this, our teachers and leaders have put in place extensive arrangements to keep pupils and staff as safe as possible.

Schools will look and feel very different and pupils will need to adjust to a whole new routine again. So, many of our schools have found innovative ways to reassure returning pupils like creating videos of the new school layout and what to expect.

The council’s education and learning team has been working closely with schools including sourcing PPE and social distancing signage. They are continuing to support school leaders throughout this time, to reassure parents about their child safely returning, when the time is right.