My first thoughts in compiling my forward to this year’s annual report was how to express the deep sadness felt by so many people in our Township to those of you who lost loved ones far too early because of this horrible pandemic, Covid 19. Our hearts go out to everyone who has lost someone either as a direct result of this virus, or indirectly because fighting coronavirus affected so many other lifesaving services.
I offer the heartfelt condolences from myself, fellow Councillors and Council Staff to all bereaved families and wish them well for the future.
A wealth of volunteers from community groups and individuals came forward in the Township’s hour of need, sometimes putting their own lives at risk to safeguard the most vulnerable people and doing what they could to save other people’s lives. We owe them a great debt of thanks and the Council looks forward to playing its part in recognising this valour in coming months.
I was particularly proud that the Council played an active part in supporting people through this pandemic, from signposting people to obtain the support they needed through to operational and financial support in providing necessities to people who could not leave their households. Council Staff working alongside volunteers and fellow Councillors deserve special credit for the work they have done and are still doing to keep the community safe. I thank them all.
I was particularly sorry that the pandemic also curtailed the amount of activities and engagements that a Mayor traditionally performs in a Municipal Year. I have however, along with fellow councillors been able to progress the initial setup of the Neighbourhood Plan, and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is looking forward to quickening the plan’s development in the coming months, (the removal of lock-down restrictions allowing). This plan will help safeguard our public open spaces from adverse development and help improve transport infrastructure. The Council is also seeking to establish one or more of our public open space/s as a “Town Green” and will presently be asking the Borough Council to transfer the public-owned land that Town Council presently leases from Knowsley MBC. This would then go into the township’s ownership via the Town Council and ensure that future development only takes place with the wishes and the aspirations of the Halewood people.
The Council has taken the opportunity that the lock-down presented to reassess our buildings for wear and tear and future sustainability. We have conducted a staffing review and made some changes to best improve the services that we currently provide, and we are presently reviewing our sports and leisure strategies with the aim of increasing the scope of services that we can offer to our community in future years.
As ever, the Council will only be too pleased to have your ideas and observations of the services that we provide and hope that you are able to help build a strong, healthy, clean and green township for all our children and grandchildren to enjoy.
2020/21 was a strange time to be Mayor given the context. But I am proud of the Town Council and wider township’s responses to the pandemic. It is a year none of us will ever forget.
Cllr Bob Swann
Chair of the Town Council & Mayor of Halewood 2020-2021
Cllr Bob Swann