Although the summer holidays have inevitably been impacted by Covid, it’s been fantastic to see the constituency busy with holiday makers enjoying all that the Great Yarmouth area has to offer. This week I met with tourism leaders and businesses to discuss how they are recovering from the pandemic and what support the government can provide. Some have experienced difficulties with insurance companies reluctant to provide renewals for tourism businesses. And there was a widespread view that Visit England must continue to encourage staycations to Norfolk, rather than revert to international marketing pushing visitors to London and other honey-pot destinations.
Now summer is drawing to an end, families will be preparing for the new school term. I was delighted that five schools across Great Yarmouth used additional government funding to offer summer schools. These allowed children to not only take part in catch-up sessions but participate in social activities. We know the impact of lockdown was particularly acute for our young people and opportunities like this will help with our education recovery plan.
Likewise, there was good news for East Coast College securing government support to develop new qualifications in network engineering, software development and the construction industries. Alongside, this they are developing their T-levels, collaborating with employers and businesses to provide students with the skills needed for the workplace. Both these initiatives will begin to address the skill shortage many businesses tell me about in Great Yarmouth.
Getting our schools and colleges open; allowing young people and staff to get back to normal in a safe and secure manner, was vital. These measures will continue next term but with important changes. In-school bubbles and facemask requirements are removed with increased hygiene and ventilation maintained, so our young people can safely enjoy a full return. I would encourage 16–17-year-olds and those eligible 12–15-year-olds (those living with people at high risk of infection) to take up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Our schools provide excellent information, but I know all the different information can be confusing or overwhelming. That’s why the government has a one-stop shop online that will help answer all your questions – www.gov/backtoschool