Tuesday 23 March 2021
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One year on – a chance to reflect and say thank you
On 23 March 2020, England was placed into a National Lockdown for the first time and the way that live our lives, do our jobs and interact with family and friends changed overnight.
Tragically, over the last year, coronavirus has claimed the lives of 796 Rotherham residents and many more have been seriously ill and hospitalised.
Measures introduced to keep us safe and reduce the spread of the deadly virus remain in place and continue to impact us all, but the roll-out of the vaccination programme is providing a positive glimmer of hope that better times are to come.
And the last 12 months has also seen some uplifting displays of kindness and inspirational community spirit. It has seen a deeper appreciation for our NHS staff, who are dealing with the impact of virus day-to-day, and for all front line workers and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to keep our borough going during an unprecedented year.
We are grateful to every single one of them.
Hope Fields Covid Memorial to have virtual unveiling
A living memorial at Thrybergh Country Park, to honour both the victims of COVID-19 and those who are fighting the virus, is to be unveiled online this week, on Saturday 27 March 2021.
Hope Fields, which overlooks the lake at Thrybergh Country Park, has been created in consultation with communities from across the borough as a tribute not only to people who lost their lives, but also to those who were part of the emergency response and recovery effort – from key workers to volunteers and communities.
With social distancing and wide-ranging restrictions still in place, the ceremony to unveil Hope Fields this weekend has been pre-recorded and will be broadcast on Facebook, allowing residents to take part from the safety of their own homes.
The online event will include performances by the Sangeet Choir and Rotherham Symphony Orchestra, prayers from faith leaders, and films showing the sympathetic transformation of the site – which has been designed to ensure the existing biodiversity is protected and enhanced.
The site will include a pond and wetland, community orchard, interactive play activities and a new bird hide.
One of the main aims of Hope Fields is for it to be inclusive for all, and feedback from bereaved families, counselling services and faith leaders has been used to ensure it will be a place that meets peoples different needs.
Hope Fields is the culmination of Rotherham Together – a programme of activities exploring the themes of Joy, Gratitude and Hope. Rotherham Council commissioned the programme in July 2020 to provide opportunities for communities to come together safely to support one another, and to thank its residents, communities, volunteers and key workers.
Hope Fields has been created through the generous support of partners including Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust (funded by Natural England), South Yorkshire Community Rehabilitation Company, Thrybergh and Dalton Parish Council, Ravenfield Parish Council, Bramley Parish Council and the hard work of volunteers from organisations including Rotherham Metro Ramblers, Engie, Mears and Rotherham Council. Art Works, Dan Jones, Coralie Turpin and Jason Thomson have all created installations for Hope Fields.
Council’s Covid response in stats
Over the last year, Rotherham Council has been at the forefront of the response to the pandemic in our borough. This has included:
- Providing food to over 5,300 people through the foodbank at our Covid Community Hub
- More than 1,200 new homeless applications processed and emergency accommodation provided for 900 households.
- Paying over £69m in Covid support grants paid to 5,000 businesses and £35.3m in rates relief to 1,100 firms in the borough.
- Our enforcement team has issued over 540 formal warnings, 71 prohibition notices and 28 fixed penalty notices issued to people and businesses for breaching Covid rules.
- Our social care and early help staff have carried out over 42,000 home visits to support children and families during the pandemic.
- Organising the Rotherham Together creative programme, which has seen over 120,000 people taking part in online events.
- Over 400,000 items of PPE have been distributed to external organisations, such as care homes, refuges and schools.
- More than 88,000 eBooks and other digital resources have been issued by Rotherham Libraries during the pandemic.
Getting in touch…
During this challenging time please, where possible and appropriate, use our online services rather than calling via telephone. We’re receiving a high level of calls daily and want to ensure we’re able to answer urgent calls regarding vulnerable residents and our front line services.