Mansfield Mayor's blog

Keep up to date with what the Executive Mayor of Mansfield, Andy Abrahams, is focusing on.

Latest blog post

Mayor urges residents to stay home to save lives

I feel the need to emphasise the facts which are challenging the whole country but more specifically the current situation in our district. We are in such a perilous position with the pandemic and everyone has a responsibility to obey lockdown rules to the absolute letter.

The infection rate in Mansfield has doubled to more than 500 cases per 100,000 in the last two weeks, resulting in our local hospital having double the number of coronavirus patients than in the first wave. There are over 500 people in Nottinghamshire hospitals with COVID-19.

These rates need to come down to ease the situation in the local health and care system, which is now under enormous strain. I realise that you are receiving the same messages repeatedly but we all must do everything within our power. The Government is urging people to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save lives and this is what we must do. The safest place for us all is at home.

On a positive note, I am pleased to report that Mansfield will be one of the first locations in the county to introduce targeted community testing using rapid testing kits known as lateral flow tests.

The communities that we have identified to benefit first are Bellamy Road, Ladybrook and Oak Tree because they have a high proportion of working age residents and those who are unable to work from home. It will involve people being tested once a week. We want to make sure that they have easy access to testing and support if they need to self-isolate.

It takes a matter of seconds for someone to do the test themselves by swabbing their throat and nose. The result is confirmed in about 30 minutes and anyone who tests positive must self-isolate.

We hope that all the necessary arrangements are in place for this pilot to start week beginning 25 January for three months. Further details will be publicised soon.

So ‘this light at the end of the tunnel’ is starting to emerge but we must obey all the rules now to enable our hospitals to survive in the present. 

Date: 13 January 2021

 


Previous blog posts

Mayor looks towards year ahead

The spotlight will be shining on district-wide regeneration this year following one of Mansfield’s most challenging years.

Although we are disappointed not to have been successful in receiving up to £25m from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, we remain confident and optimistic about the future.

We are hopeful for a successful outcome of our Town’s Fund application to support economic regeneration and the levelling up of the area. We are in the process of developing a town centre masterplan, which sets out ambitions for the future of Mansfield and we are determined that we will see investment in the area.

With the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme rolling out more widely, the other main focus will be helping to prevent the district from suffering any further surges of the virus, continuing to keep people safe, and helping the district through its recovery from the pandemic.

I am sure everyone is pleased to see the back of 2020 and is looking forward to the year ahead with a sense of hope and optimism.

While it is important to say we are not out of the virus danger zone yet, with the vaccination programme now happening, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The vaccines offer the best chance for the fastest return to normality and I sincerely hope as many people as possible will have the vaccine when their turn comes. I will certainly have it without any qualms.

Normal council business goes on and in 2021 we have some crucially important and ambitious projects in the pipeline to help improve town centres, skills and growth, and raise the bar on aspiration and health outcomes for the people who live and work here.

The environment will be a key consideration in the projects, which all aspire to have low-carbon solutions in line with Mansfield’s green agenda.

Among the council’s priority projects for 2021 are progressing plans for projects, subject to funding from the Governement’s Towns Fund. These include the creation of a community leisure hub in Warsop, a destination park by linking Berry Hill and King George V parks, a West Nottinghamshire College and Nottingham Trent University Future Tech Skills and Knowledge Exchange, and re-purposing vacant or under-utilised units.

Other significant projects include:

  • Introduction of kerbside glass recycling collection scheme from April 2021.
  • Building work to start on hotel and restaurant development by ARBA on the old bus station site.
  • Publishing the town centre masterplan.
  • Implementing the scheme for pocket parks in Mansfield town centre.
  • Reopening Walkden Street car park with its new and improved cladding. 
  • Building much-needed affordable homes and helping to progress private sector plans for new housing.
  • Creating additional FOOD Clubs to tackle food insecurity and fuel banks to tackle fuel poverty.
  • Safe reopening of Mansfield Museum and Palace Theatre along with a programme of cultural events.
  • Upgrades to the running track and facilities at Berry Hill Park.
  • Shopfront improvements in Mansfield Town Centre under the Townscape Heritage project.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

Date: 4 January 2021


Mayor reflects on highs and lows of 2020

For me the highlight of the year has been how Mansfield people have come together to help those most in need during this pandemic. Whether it has been setting up food clubs to help people access good quality food at low cost, or befriending an elderly person with weekly phone calls to help them feel less isolated, Mansfield has demonstrated one thing clearly: it cares. 

I am also extremely proud of how the council has stepped up to meet the many welfare and humanitarian needs and challenges thrown up by COVID-19.

Since April, the council has:

  • Called 596 vulnerable council tenants and received over 75,000 calls to our Contact Centre.
  • Delivered more than 200 food parcels and 137 prescriptions.
  • Carried out 353 safety and wellbeing checks.
  • Helped 17 rough sleepers off the streets.
  • Set up three new FOOD (Food On Our Doorstep) Clubs.
  • Had more than a million page views on the council’s website.
  • Distributed more than £21m in COVID-19-related grants and payments to businesses.

The pandemic has shown that the council is resilient, flexible, adaptable, and can react rapidly to an ever-changing situation with expertise, focus and good humour. Who can forget the joy our bin crews bought to people, both children and adults, by dressing up as super heroes during the first lockdown?

The biggest downsides to 2020 have been the human and financial impacts of this virus. It has knocked us all for six. So many families have lost loved ones, many people are still on the road to recovery, while others have lost their livelihoods. Everyone has had to make huge sacrifices to their normal lives and forgo important occasions and milestones.

There are the huge losses of income to both the council and the local economy. It will be some time before we know and understand the full impact of that. But we will continue to work with our partners and look for innovative solutions through the creation of a Masterplan and via our Future High Streets and Towns Fund bids.

We have also successfully demonstrated just how much can be achieved online. We’re live streaming council meetings and decisions and our ever popular events programme – including Christmas in Mansfield – went online. The council has shown that where there’s a will, there is always a way.

One thing is for sure, if we face whatever the future may bring with the same spirit we have tackled the pandemic, Mansfield is destined for success.

I wish you all a very safe and restful Christmas, and a healthy and more prosperous New Year.

Date: 18 December 2020