Over the past few months a huge amount has been achieved as we have responded, together with you, to the COVID-19 crisis in Northamptonshire. It really is astounding and the energy, passion and commitment of everyone involved is incredible. Residents, volunteers, County Council teams and staff across our partner organisations have come together and a sterling effort is being made to make this crisis situation more bearable. That’s been wonderful to see, and I know there is more brilliant work to come.

With so much now established, the facts and figures clearly show the huge commitment everyone is making to do their bit to deal with the pandemic. Over £100million worth of business grants has been awarded to almost 10,000 local businesses, there’s been over 5,000 calls to the Community Resilience Service, 325,000 leaflets have been delivered to Northamptonshire households by our 13,761 strong volunteer army, 1,669 urgent food deliveries have been made and over 1,000 prescriptions collected – plus much more!

We couldn’t have done this without your support and I am eternally grateful for all you have done, and continue to do as we navigate our way through the days, weeks and months.

Despite the recent easing of restrictions, lockdown continues to be a major feature of the pandemic, and as further restrictions are lifted step by step, it is evident that social distancing will be part of our lives for the near future.

Easing lockdown restrictions does of course present risks, and I must stress how important it is that we all please continue to stay alert as the pandemic is by no means over. We all must work together as we have done so far, in the mission to control the spread of Coronavirus, and carry on staying at least two metres apart from anyone we come into contact with from outside our own household. It’s a simple action to take, and one that will go a long way in protecting ourselves and each other, and those who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of this dreadful virus.

After an unprecedented period of closure, many retailers have reopened this week as the lockdown has been adjusted, and are looking forward to welcoming customers back. Our campaign to help everyone enjoy towns across the county safely together as we adjust to a new normal is getting underway, do look out for the rainbow signs and messages for customers that will be appearing in your high street very soon, and please follow the instructions given.

Despite the impact the pandemic is having, there is still a lot happening in Northamptonshire. You’ll find lots of news and information in this edition of In Northamptonshire including an update about the establishment and progress of the Children’s Trust, how to get involved in this year’s virtual Summer Reading Challenge, how to be part of the COVID-19 Diaries, and we’re encouraging you to have your say and share your ideas on how cycle and walking routes can be improved across the county.

Councillor Matt Golby

Leader of Northamptonshire County Council