When you read this month’s column a group of nervous individuals will be watching bundles of paper unfolded and stacked into neat piles. They are awaiting their fate at the hands of electors across the Great Yarmouth area, who have decided whether they will represent their neighbourhood as councillors.
Whatever your view of politicians, whatever your party-political preferences spare a thought for these community activists. They’ve put themselves forward because they want to make a difference.
If successful they will spend many hours in meetings, they will respond to numerous requests for assistance, they will struggle with decisions over which of our council services are prioritised. Often all of this dedicated work will go on behind the scenes unrecognised. I look forward to working with our new councillors as there are enormous opportunities for Great Yarmouth ahead.
A key priority is providing support for businesses as we open our local economy and begin to recover from the pandemic. That’s not just allowing us to visit non-essential shops, going to the hairdressers or barbers, or enjoying a drink outside the village pub. It’s also about ending the social isolation that has affected so many, that‘s why reopening gyms, libraries and community centres is an equally important part of the strategy.
And of course, it means that we can once again welcome holidaymakers and visitors to the town. In recent weeks, I’ve visited many businesses who are preparing to welcome back customers. I’m hugely impressed at the measures they are putting in place to make sure that both their customers and staff remain safe. Whilst the massive numbers of people vaccinated across the United Kingdom gives government confidence to ease restrictions, the virus is still their so we shouldn’t be complacent.
We all know how important tourism is for Great Yarmouth. Visitors spend millions in the area. I’m looking forward to seeing visitors enjoying all that Great Yarmouth has to offer. It won’t be business as usual, as we continue to take careful precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. But it will be back to business!