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Update from council leader - 8 September

Time Square

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

I hope that everybody has had a lovely weekend and enjoyed the sunshine, which I’m told is set to last for a little while yet.

Hopefully everyone is now fully recovered from a weekend that included The Lexicon Bracknell Half Marathon, my thanks to everyone who helped organise such a wonderful event and my congratulations to everybody who took part.

Over 650 runners were involved, a fabulous number, and the town atmosphere was, as ever, buzzing with excitement. Following on from the success of the Bracknell Forest Giants, the half marathon is another sign of the town centre returning to something like normal. It’s not to say that we shouldn’t continue to be courteous to one another in order to keep safe, but, after 2020 passed with few events of this magnitude, it felt better than ever to be at The Lexicon.

Speaking of returning to normality, parents were both excited and relieved, I suspect, as children returned to school after the summer break. This is always a time of a lot of emotions but, no doubt, the pictures shared on social media were positive and upbeat. It has been said that school aged children have felt the consequences of fighting this pandemic more than any other age group – having had their schooling so severely disrupted – and a lot continues to be done behind the scenes, and in public, to make sure that disruption is kept to a minimum.

Ultimately though, it’s all about keeping pupils safe. Our schools have worked hard to ensure that children have a safe return to education and there are some key changes from last year, as rules have been relaxed, including the removal of strict classroom bubbles.

However, this does not mean that the danger has gone away and there is still a need for schools, pupils, and parents to follow basic measures to avoid the spread of the virus. This will include keeping public spaces well-ventilated, testing regularly, and following public health advice on testing, self-isolation, and managing confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Through this, we can help ensure minimal disruption to the school year and, most importantly, help keep the next generation safe. You can find out all you need to know on the specialist government website for education.

Speaking of education, it’s a pleasure to report that Bracknell Library turned 50 this week and they are celebrating in style. On Friday, they will be open for drinks and refreshments between 11am and 1pm, and will be joined by bestselling author Peter James, who will be chatting about his work, which includes the long-running Roy Grace series.

They will also be hosting a craft session on Thursday, 9 September, where children can learn how to transform old books into a work of art. This is in preparation for a recycle a book art competition running on Friday. So, there’s something for everyone, both parents and children, to enjoy. Keep in mind that, in the interests of safety, Bracknell Library will ask visitors to respect social distancing measures and wear a mask if at all possible.

That only leaves me to say happy birthday to Bracknell Library. To celebrate 50 years is a wonderful achievement but it’s a reminder that, even in these fast-moving times, good things last.

I hope that you all enjoy the week ahead.