Mansfield Mayor's blog

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

Latest blog post

Reasons for being positive

January was a really tough month. Lockdown, short days, cold weather, and the emotional stress of increasing infection and death rates made it difficult to remain positive.

What motivates me to ‘get up and go’ are the actions of the people around us who make so many personal sacrifices to help others.

There have been the heroic efforts of doctors, nurses, care workers, police, teachers and all the key workers that have kept going in the face of enormous challenges. Today I want to give a shout out to the council.

Besides keeping our statutory services going, helping vulnerable people has been a major part of the council’s work over the past year and the way our officers have regularly gone above and beyond has been amazing.

The statistics behind the council’s humanitarian response since April 2020 are staggering and I am extremely proud to be associated with an organisation that cares so much.

The council has completed 27,000 safe and well checks by phone, assisting with issues such as emergencies, practical advice, emotional support and shopping for people who are shielding or self-isolating. The Emergency Control Room has taken 66,824 calls - 2,841 of which required emergency service assistance; and called more than 600 vulnerable council and private tenants, to identify potential support needs.

The Housing department has dealt with 1,500 enquiries from people at risk of homelessness; prevented 616 households from homelessness; fitted 345 Lifeline systems and key safes in homes; took 479 actions to enable the earlier discharge of patients from King’s Mill Hospital, supporting 190 patients returning home with medication deliveries. 

The council has also distributed more than £30,000 of supermarket vouchers to local organisations to help vulnerable people experiencing hardship as a result of the pandemic. All these deeds make the staff heroes in my eyes.

More good news is that the over 65s are being called forward for vaccinations at sites across the county, including the Mansfield Vaccination Centre (former Wickes store) on Chesterfield Road South.

I want to appeal to everyone who goes out to work to have a rapid test at the One Call Stadium or Oak Tree Leisure Centre. A big thank you those who have already attended, many have cited being good citizens and protecting their family as the reasons for being tested.

Unfortunately, I have to finish on a cautionary note: although infection rates in the district have fallen, they remain too high. Even after you have had your vaccine, please keep following all the rules including Hands, Face, Space – Keep Mansfield Safe. We still have some way to go before we can celebrate victory.

Date: 17 February 2021

 


Previous blog posts

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


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