With the recent easing of Covid restrictions, the Mayor of Hailsham, Councillor Paul Holbrook  has addressed the town’s residents, urging caution and for people to take a sense of personal responsibility when it comes to their newly regained freedoms:

“There are many positives which have come about recently, including the reopening of businesses with a new and more optimistic outlook for us – and a recovery that continues to put us back on track both socially and economically. Add to that, the lifting of most social distancing and other restrictions on 19th July, this itself a major step forward in the return to ‘normality’ in our lives!

But, as we move forward now, we still have some way to go in terms of combating the spread of the virus for good. Infection numbers are rising nationally at an exponential rate, and we should all take personal responsibility in the coming months when it comes to protecting and having concern for others around you.

The government has advised us all to be cautious: wearing a face mask, social distancing and sanitising hands regularly are still sensible things to do, despite the recent removal of restrictions.

Now that most adults in Hailsham have been vaccinated, it would be all too easy to become complacent and place less importance on maintaining some degree of social distancing and following other COVID-protection guidelines, such as wearing face masks in public indoor spaces. Given the facts that the third wave hasn’t yet reached its peak, that would be a serious mistake to make.

Whilst it is good news that restrictions have been lifted, it is essential that we all continue to practice some degree of caution. A good example of this is the wearing of face masks. If you feel more comfortable wearing them in supermarkets, on public transport and in busy public places, then you should of course still wear them. Also, continue to use hand sanitiser as often as you can when out and about.

We can take great pride in the way we have adapted our lives to deal with the situation and protect our local community since March of last year and, from the onset of the pandemic, Hailsham Town Council has worked with community partners and helped fund projects which provide essential support to those at risk, as well as maintain those essential services that we all depend on.

Whilst most services and facilities run by the Town Council are up and running, some remain accessible but with restrictions in place. We will, of course, endeavour to keep residents updated as soon as any further changes are made.

Another item worth mentioning is the Town Council reception located in Market Street, which is currently open at slightly reduced hours from Monday to Friday. The changes we implemented for the reception area – the wearing of face masks, installation of perspex screens and use of hand sanitiser by visitors – remain in place as, for the time being anyway, we want to ensure the safety of visitors as well as staff.

Also, I’m delighted to hear that our youth project team, Hailsham Youth Service, have organised a range of free and fun activities for young people throughout the summer break, designed to liven up their holidays and hopefully encourage even more people through the doors of the Square Youth Cafe, Hellingly Youth Hub and Monday Youth Hub centres.

Parents can be confident that Hailsham Youth Service-run centres provide a safe environment for our local young people, giving them a place to socialise and take part in various activities during the school holidays. Our youth worker team has established a successful and ongoing service for young people in Hailsham and there’s no reason for young people to find themselves bored during the summer break!

On a final note, I’m glad to see Hailsham’s local business activity strengthening and it’s great to see enterprising people continue to set up businesses in our town, despite the pandemic which has affected the local economy considerably. We have an increasingly vibrant town centre – and the opening of the new businesses during the past year is a great addition.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say that what we must all remember that local independent businesses are an asset to our community, and it is important that we support our local economy by purchasing goods and services from them whenever possible rather than relying on just the larger out-of-town stores and service providers.

Thank you and stay safe everyone.”