Rossendale Free Press

Alyson Barnes Council leader

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COVID has clearly dominated everyone’s lives over the last 12 months.

Whilst it has been incredibly difficult and challengin­g for many people and businesses right across our borough, I have been impressed and taken heart from how our community has come together to support one another.

Council officers, with friends and colleagues at the Leisure Trust, have again stepped up to help residents and businesses across a wide range of different service areas.

Environmen­tal health officers have supplement­ed the national track and trace service, and in reality, have done a better job of things! They have also been involved in enforcemen­t and guidelines and have provided important informatio­n to residents and businesses to help understand the everchangi­ng Covid rules.

Our finance teams have distribute­d over £22m worth of grants and our Communitie­s team, along with the Leisure Trust, set up Rossendale Connected to offer ongoing support to our most vulnerable residents. We have also worked very closely with local food groups and other volunteers to make sure our children do not go hungry at what is a very difficult time for many Rossendale families.

Government have spent the last 10 years cutting council resources and pushing them into a position where they can do less and less for residents but when the chips are down it is local people and local councils that are there for our people.

There is no doubt that we will face a huge challenge to rebuild our local economy after the ravages of Covid and the numerous lockdowns are over, and no one yet knows the disruption that Brexit will cause. What is clear is that we will stand a better chance if we work together. Support our local businesses, shop local, spend your money within Rossendale where you are able to and I can promise that I and the council will continue to do our very best and fight for Rossendale wherever we can.

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