Update from the council leader - 21 July

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

This week is my first column post since step four of the government’s roadmap out of COVID-19 lockdown came into effect. As we navigate this new challenge, we all still have our part to play in safely returning the borough to a sense of normality.

Nevertheless, Bracknell Forest residents may now be enjoying life with increased flexibility around social distancing. The final weekend of restrictions was aided by exemplary weather and the sunshine has continued well into this week. To many, I hope it feels like some freedom has been regained.

However, we must continue to look out for one another. Everybody will have different comfort levels and businesses in the borough will choose a variety of ways to keep their customers and staff safe. As we move beyond legal restrictions, it’s important that we continue to show respect to our friends, family, and colleagues, as we weather this storm together.

Our priority remains keeping our residents safe. That’s why the vaccination pop-up unit at The Lexicon, after vaccinating hundreds of people two weeks ago, returned last week to offer more first doses to those aged 18 and over. You may have seen the video filmed where young people talked about their reasons behind getting the jab, almost all saying they felt an obligation to protect their family members. This communal need for safety is why we continue to prioritise making the vaccine as accessible as possible, whether it’s your first or second dose.

You can find more information about where to get your vaccination on our vaccination page. If you do not have internet access or cannot go online, you also have the option to call the service on 119 to book your jab.

However, beyond the world of vaccines, a new giant community picnic table was officially opened last week at Lily Hill Park.

The table, which is made from the timber of a chestnut tree, is a whopping 19.8 metres (65 feet) long. This makes it 1.4 metres longer than the original table, previously considered to be the longest picnic table in England carved from a single piece of wood. We are planning to register the new table length for a Guinness World Record in due course. So, watch this space for a potential record breaker.

I’d also like to wish Eid ul-Adha Mubarak to all our residents who are celebrating this week. I hope that, in thinking of the sacrifices made during a tough year, there have been some blessings too.

Wherever you are, stay safe and have a lovely week.