A Word From Your Mayor

Welcome to my first article of 2021. Despite the restrictions, I hope you were able to have a safe and healthy Christmas. Like anyone writing these articles some weeks ahead of their publication, it is difficult to comment on events as they stand today, not knowing what might have changed by the time Spotlight arrives on your desk!

As you will appreciate, most of the mayoral events were cancelled over Christmas, including the Carol Service, the Christmas Day dip and visiting the Salvation Army and Care Homes. The Mayoress and I did help deliver meals cooked by the Salvation Army on Christmas Day, ably supported by several volunteers, again re-enforcing what great community spirit there is in Felixstowe.

The next few months will remain challenging for our businesses and the time we spend in Tier 2 will have a significant impact on our pubs. I had been very impressed with how they were managing customers before the November lockdown and have no doubt they will be maintaining those standards to keep the pubs safe. They will need your custom – please support them.

In November 2020 businesses voted to approve the Business Improvement District proposal. Although the turnout was relatively low, it received the green light. While the BID does not officially start until April 2021, I know Helen Greengrass, along with businesses and East Suffolk DC, will be establishing the board, primarily made up of the business owners, along with the necessary processes.

Visit Felixstowe has really come to the fore during the pandemic, pro-actively promoting the business in the town centre and along the seafront. The feedback I have received has been both positive and appreciative. If we build on the work of Visit Felixstowe, the BID should prove to be a positive step to slowly recovering from this very challenging period. Anything that attracts more people into the town must be welcomed. Thank you, Clare and Stephen from Visit Felixstowe, for your hard work and dedication during the pandemic.

I am the chairperson of Felixstowe Peninsular Community Partnership. We recently allocated grants to Felixstowe Library to refurbish the children’s section and helped Felixstowe School in re-introducing a library. Encouraging our children to read is so important to their overall development. I recently spoke to the chair of The Friends of Felixstowe Library who informed me the Library now offers a Click and Collect service which is likely to remain in place until about March. It again shows how businesses are adapting; please have a look at their website, it is very easy to navigate.

We all know how challenging January can normally be and this year will be no exception. Perhaps this year we can try and keep our New Year’s resolution until at least the end of January! As the vaccines slowly start to be distributed, we are, hopefully, going to return to some form of normality and may be able to plan something to look forward to! Thank you for the way you have been complying with the restrictions. Hopefully, we will emerge stronger and more resilient. My experiences over the last few months suggest Felixstowe

should be proud of how we have responded and particularly supported each other. Thank you.

Mark Jepson

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