As we head further into cold and flu season, it’s important that we all do all we can to ensure we and our loved ones, stay safe and well through the winter months.
Seasonal flu is a serious illness that kills 11,000 people in our country every year and hospitalises many more – there is no ‘just’ about it; flu can be devastating for our most vulnerable residents. A vaccination can help to protect you from the flu, and this year the government is extending the eligibility criteria for free flu jabs to include more at-risk groups.
Getting your flu jab is a simple step you can take to stay well this winter – find out here if you or someone you care for is eligible for a free flu jab here or ask your GP or pharmacist for details.
The government’s new national Covid-19 restrictions came into force last week and with cases continuing to rise across London including in our borough, it’s vital everyone stays up to date with the latest rules.
The restrictions include a ban on meeting in groups of more than six people indoors or outdoors (unless they are all part of your household or support bubble); a 10pm curfew for the hospitality sector; and wearing a face covering in enclosed public spaces. And if you have any of the Covid-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate and get a test. You can find all the latest information here.
It is vital now that we all follow these rules, not only because the government has now introduced hefty fines for those who do not, but because doing so helps to keep Croydon safe – our own friends, family, colleagues and the rest of our communities.
And please all do keep following the public health guidance on good hygiene – wash your hands thoroughly and often; keep your distance from others; and cover your face. If you have relaxed on these things since the peak of the pandemic, now is the time to step them up again as they can and will help to prevent the virus from spreading.
While cases in our borough are rising, the number of people seriously ill in our hospital remains – thankfully – very low and we all have a duty to do all we can to keep it that way. I know many of you may be feeling fatigued after many months of this pandemic, but we must continue to pull together if we want to beat this virus.
In honour of Sgt Matt Ratana
I was honoured to join the Mayor of Croydon, councillors from across the borough’s political parties and council staff in observing a minute’s silence organised by our partners at Croydon police today, in memory of Sgt Matt Ratana.
Sgt Ratana was a veteran police officer, clearly much loved and respected by all who knew him. He touched many lives and it has been inspirational and humbling to hear about his years of dedicated service to local communities, as a police officer here in Croydon and before that, New Zealand, as well as in the rugby world.
His death last Friday, in the most tragic of circumstances, is an indescribable loss for his family, friends, colleagues and for Croydon. I know I speak for our borough when I say that Matt and those he has left behind remain very much in our thoughts.
Black History Month
Yesterday marked the start of Black History Month 2020 which as always is a highlight of our borough’s calendar. It is a chance to celebrate the rich contribution that people of African and Caribbean descent have made to Croydon’s identity and to recognise their achievements past and present.
And as we look back, it is also a time for us all to reflect and learn from the past so that together we can create a better, more equal future.
We have a fantastic programme of community events delivered by Croydon BME Forum so please do get involved – and a great programme at The Museum of Croydon and Croydon libraries. Find out more here
Croydon announces first Poet Laureate
As we also marked National Poetry Day this week, I was delighted to welcome the appointment of the hugely talented Shaniqua Benjamin as Croydon’s first Poet Laureate.
Spoken word poet and local resident Shaniqua has made an outstanding contribution to our culture in recent years, exploring and celebrating Croydon’s identity through her art. She has inspired and empowered others across the borough to discover their creativity, find their voices and tell their stories – something that is more important than ever in these unprecedented times.
She will be working with community groups over the next three years to do just that and I very much look forward to hearing from her and them.
Have a good weekend,
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council