I hope that many of you were able to have a good break at Easter given the very difficult circumstances we find ourselves in. It was especially strange to have church services cancelled as well as other traditional celebrations at what is usually such a happy time of optimism and renewal. Even for those of us able to spend time with family members there will often have been others who we could not see and I know it will have been a sad time for many.
We return to the news that things will not be getting back to normal for some weeks yet. I think the hope that they might was somewhat inflated given the devastating numbers still succumbing to the disease. I am though very keen that we do start lifting aspects of the restrictions as soon as possible because we do need to think about the wider wellbeing of our country, obviously in terms of the economy but also our physical and mental health and our children’s educations.
As I have written before, the response here in Somerset has been overwhelming with businesses and individuals making a big impact both locally and on the national scene. A special mention goes to Chard this week where Numatic and Oscar Mayer are both making huge contributions. Numatic is now using its engineering skill that brought the world beating Henry vacuum cleaners to make thousands of face masks and shields which are being used all over the country, as well as lending cleaning equipment to the NHS. Oscar Mayer has supported people at risk of becoming homeless locally by donating over 6,000 ready meals through South Somerset District Council.
Such has been the generosity of companies here and across the country that the Government website and helplines have been somewhat overwhelmed at times. If you are able to contribute but are unsure who to approach do get in touch and I will see what I can do to help.
I would also like to thank the amazing volunteers at Yeovil Freewheelers Blood Bikes who are doing an amazing job transporting blood samples for coronavirus testing. The bikers are brilliant and love doing what they do but the social distancing has really dented their fundraising and they need help with fuel, tyres and other running costs. If you can help please do go to their website and make a donation: www.yfwbloodbikes.org.
Finally, we should all be grateful to everyone involved in the distribution of PPE across the county. There have been some problems nationwide with getting the right protective kit to where it is needed but here, with help from the military, things are approaching where they need to be and we can be proud to have Numatic as such a key part of the manufacturing effort.
As always, if I can be of any help please do get in touch by emailing email@example.com. It looks as if we may have the first virtual Parliament sessions next week but whatever shape that takes I will make sure I am standing up for Somerset.