Celebrating our volunteers, emergency services and welcoming The Attic to St Nicholas Centre

Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council

Published Friday, 17th September 2021

What a relief to be able to get out and about more now after so many months of lockdown.

We still need to be careful and take sensible precautions but thanks to the vaccination programme and the heroic efforts of the NHS, most of us are better protected now and can start to meet up again.

It was lovely to attend an event at Mencap over the summer and hear from people about their experiences during lockdown. And it was a huge honour to attend a Volunteer Centre event and thank our local volunteers for the amazing work they’ve done – and continue to do – to help the NHS and the Council keep us safe during this terrible pandemic. So many people in our borough went over and above to help those needing support, practical and emotional, and our GPs have told me over and over again that they couldn’t have delivered the vaccination programme so effectively without the support of our wonderful volunteers. Thank you to everyone who gives up their time voluntarily to help others.

Last week to celebrate Emergency Services Day I visited Sutton and Wallington Fire stations to thank them for their work. We talked about the lessons learned from the terrible tragedies at Grenfell and nearer to home at the Hamptons in Worcester Park and how we can ensure that people living in medium and high rise buildings are better protected. There was a call out while I was there and it was extraordinary to see how they leapt into action – thankfully it wasn’t anything too serious. And yes – they do still have a pole to slide down if they’re upstairs! Sometimes the traditional ways are still the best.

I also attended the opening event of The Attic on the top floor of the St Nicholas Centre. Footfall in the High Street is still not as high as it was before the pandemic hit but it’s beginning to pick up again and it was good to see the revamp of the upstairs Food Hall and their exciting plans for the future. There’s a wide variety of food on offer with Italian, American and Persian, amongst others. I can particularly recommend the pizza and arancini. Try out an arancino (Italian rice ball) if you’ve never had one – they’re delicious!

Covid is still amongst us and we need to be aware of the danger, particularly for more vulnerable people. We have one of the highest vaccination rates in London but if you are one of those few people who haven’t taken it yet, please do contact me and I can put you in touch with people working in the NHS who will listen to your concerns and hopefully be able to give you the answers you are looking for. The vaccination is our only way back to the lives we used to lead and as we head towards the Autumn and Winter months, it’s more important than ever that we do all we can to ensure we keep ourselves, our loved ones and our whole community safe and well.

Please do get in touch if you’d like me to visit your community group or organisation to hear about your experience of the last year or so and what more we can be doing to help those people needing extra support to ensure that everyone living and working in our borough continues to thrive and enjoy everything that Sutton has to offer.

Cllr Ruth Dombey

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