• Recently, the Cycle to Work Alliance got in touch with me to highlight the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme. I would certainly encourage people in Corby & East Northamptonshire to sign-up to the scheme and take advantage of the benefits of regularly cycling to work, avoiding congested traffic and staying away from public transport where practical. You can find out more, here: https://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/employers/employer-updates/cycle-to-work-alliance-welcomes-chancellora-s-s.
• The National Cyber Security Centre runs a programme which offers opportunities for young people aged 11-17 to explore their passion for tech and the course introduces them to the fast-paced world of cyber security. A highlight of the CyberFirst programme is the annual summer courses that are run for 14-17 year olds. All of the courses are free and aimed at introducing students to the cyber threat landscape and helping pupils develop their digital and problem-solving skills. Courses are running at three levels, and you can find out more information on Twitter and online.
• Northamptonshire Sport is supporting local families over the summer holidays by making it easier to search and find out more about a wide range of local clubs and activities near you. The ‘Find a Club’ function on the Northamptonshire Sport website acts as a directory of local activities, clubs, and team sports that you can search according to where you are, making it easier for parents to consider every option, all in one place. More: https://www.northamptonshiresport.org/summer2020. A very handy guide for the summer!
• The ‘Best Small Shops Competition’ is back for 2020 and is looking to once again promote the vital role small shops play in their communities - perhaps even more important now than ever. So if you believe you know, or indeed run, the best small shop in Corby & East Northamptonshire - and I can think of so many potential winners locally - then please do enter this fantastic competition. Entries must be a non-corporate business selling goods or services for consumption rather than resale, and submissions will be judged based on a shop's entrepreneurial activities, their impact within our community, and innovation within the business. Do enter today! More: https://www.indieretail.uk/best-small-shops/.
• I recently held one of my regular catch-up meetings to discuss the issue of flooding on Brick Kiln Road in Raunds. This has been a long-standing problem over many winters, causing great inconvenience for so many residents, and I was really pleased to hear of the latest progress towards agreeing a solution. We’re seemingly not far off now and I hope the problem will be resolved once and for all very soon.
• Recently, the ongoing issue of speeding motorbikes in and around Hargrave was brought to my attention, and so I was pleased to attend an open air meeting in the village, alongside parish, district and county councillors, to discuss a plan of action to address this dangerous problem. In light of this, I have raised the issue with Northamptonshire Police to see what can be done and I will continue to work collaboratively to press for solutions to be found and implemented, including more regular enforcement.
• I was pleased to hear about Anglian Water’s ‘Positive Difference Fund’, which is dedicating £1 million to help communities combat the impact of Coronavirus. Local community groups in our area will be able to apply for project funding through the local ‘Community Foundation’ and more information can be found, here: https://www.anglianwater.co.uk/in-the-community/charity-work/positive-difference-fund/. A terrific opportunity to help make a positive difference!
• I recently pulled together a collection of ideas and activities to hopefully help keep us busy, learn something new and have fun, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly if you’re looking for something to do over a damp weekend, do take a look! You can find it, here: https://tinyurl.com/yc6fyrcn.
• A notice from ‘The Online School’ - The Online School is delivering free, online, quality lessons every week, Monday to Friday throughout ‘lockdown’ and beyond. Lessons in English, maths, science, ESOL and yoga are all free and are available right now. More information, here: https://www.3-lance.co.uk/theonlineschool/.
• Spending time outdoors and taking regular exercise is proven to have a positive impact on people’s physical and mental health, which is particularly important at this unique time. The latest information from Northamptonshire County Council regarding country parks can be found on their website at: https://www.northamptonshireparks.co.uk/Pages/country-park-updates---coronavirus.aspx.
• A particularly concerning aspect around our collective national effort to fight Coronavirus is the impact it is understandably having on people’s mental health. In response, I am pleased that our local councils and the NHS have launched a mental health support line, and whether you are feeling lonely, anxious, frightened, or struggling with other issues, there is friendly, professional support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 0300 330 1011.
• In addition to the above notices regarding mental health, Action for Happiness has launched a new programme to boost your wellbeing in these crazy times. ‘10 Days of Happiness’ is a free 10-day online coaching programme which guides you through daily actions for happier living. You can sign up at: https://10daysofhappiness.org/.
• Applications for the 2021 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are open until the 9th September 2020. These prestigious awards are designed to recognise and encourage outstanding achievements in the fields of innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity. I can think of so many brilliant examples of businesses locally succeeding in these various fields, so please do get involved and apply today! More information, here: www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise.
• A project that aims to remember all those who have very sadly lost their lives in the UK as a result of COVID-19 is being led by St Paul’s Cathedral in London, supported by community and faith leaders from across the country and HRH the Prince of Wales. Family, friends, or carers of those who have died can submit, free of charge, the name, photograph and a short message in honour of a lost loved one, via the ‘Remember Me’ website (www.rememberme2020.uk). Like us all, my thoughts are with all those who have sadly lost someone at this very difficult time, and this is a fitting tribute to remember them all.
• Around all the wonderful work going on in our community and the national effort to fight Coronavirus, I am really saddened to hear of the small minority of people who, disgracefully, are trying to take advantage of vulnerable people at this hugely challenging time. I am aware of several scams, and urge you to stay extra vigilant. Be suspicious around phone calls, texts and emails you weren't expecting, or people claiming to be from the Government, HMRC, or the local council. More information and advice, here: https://bit.ly/2HtMqE9.
• There is a new and free online service, backed by British Gas, that brings together volunteers and people who need help with essential household tasks in their local area. @LocalHeroesUK, which you can find on Twitter, offers a free, easy and flexible way to ask for help with the essentials, or to give some time to support your local community during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you need assistance or want to volunteer you can sign up, here: https://communities.localheroes.com.
If you have anything you would like to be featured next week, please email all the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you have taken any photos of constituency landscapes or landmarks, which could be featured in my ‘Community Notices’ headers, please send them in and I will try to use as many of them as possible (and credit them accordingly!), as a celebration of the fantastic place we live and work in. I know we have many budding photographers in our community and it would be great to showcase their work, particularly as so many of us are going about our now unlimited daily exercise by walking in our stunning local countryside!