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News & Features from Harborough District Council - Christmas 2020
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Councillor Phil King
Leader of Harborough District Council
Raise your glasses to the heroes of 2020 at Christmas
As I look back over the past 12 months, there are many things which give me immense pride. Not just the magnificent response of our staff to the coronavirus crisis throughout the year but, across the district, the community response when the first national lockdown was announced.

Within hours, a plethora of voluntary support hubs and groups had been set up via social media, with dozens of volunteers ready, willing and able to support their local communities.

Whilst it's true that everyone working in the NHS, both medical and non-medical, along with all of our emergency services, have been at the frontline of the crisis, many others have also played a critical role. From care workers, lorry and delivery drivers, warehouse staff, bus and train staff, taxi drivers, shop staff, market traders, post men and woman, to small business owners, IT and tech suppliers, broadband suppliers, mobile phone companies, and more. Without these people or companies, much of what we have managed to do would not have been possible.

Our Christmas celebrations may look and seem very different this year, but I urge you to join with me and charge your glasses to all of these 'unsung heroes'.

Thanks to each and every one of them, for all that they have done, and all that they have yet to do.

I wish everyone in the Harborough district a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

Cllr Phil King
Great support for toys charity appeal
There are just a few days left to bring your toys along the Harborough Market and brighten the festive season for disadvantaged local children.

More than 1,700 toys have so far been donated to the Toys on the Table appeal, which has been relocated to Harborough Market from HFM.
The campaign has been boosted by large donations from Market Harborough Police, Waitrose and Little Bowden Primary School.
Toys for babies to children aged up to 16 must be new and unwrapped and can be dropped off from Tuesday to Saturday 8am to 3pm. Any age appropriate gifts are also acceptable – not just toys – so books, toiletry sets, hats/gloves etc are all accepted (they specifically struggle for presents in the 14-16 boys age group).
The last day for toys to be dropped off at the market is Christmas Eve before 3pm.
Christmas web page to keep people informed during festive period
Photo courtesy of Lutterworth Town Council
All our festive information – including Christmas bin collections, recycling advice, Council and market opening hours, severe weather guidance, business support, coronavirus updates, and community safety advice, etc – is available via our dedicated webpage.

Find it at  
Harborough District Council will be open until 4pm on Thursday 24 December 2020, and will re-open again on Monday 4 January 2021.
The Council's normal out-of-hours service will be operating for emergencies only between these dates: 01858 82 82 82.
People requiring very urgent support from the community hub may call the number for help or advice: 01858 82 82 82.
Residents can continue to access a range of Council information, during this period, via our website.
Whilst not the usual public-attended events, the Christmas lights switch on in Market Harborough in November, organised by Market Harborough Building Society and the Council, and the Christmas switch on event in Lutterworth run by the town council signalled the start to the festive season.
Since then, throughout December, we have had free parking in Council owned car parks on all Saturdays in run up to Christmas to encourage people to shop in the district. 
There has also been Christmas markets on The Square in Market Harborough providing a boost for local traders. 

Residents can see their bin collection calendars for 2020/21 here.
Only households in the district with a FRIDAY collection are affected by a change in bin collection date this festive season. These households have received a bin tag which details the date changes. Calendar tags have not been distributed to households whose collections are not affected.
There will be an extra green bin collection week commencing 11 and 18 January 2021, for current garden waste collection subscribers, when real Christmas trees can be recycled. Please ensure your real Christmas is sawn / cut down, if required, and placed in your green bin with the lid closed.
Leicestershire remains in top coronavirus tier in run up to new year
Last week, the Government confirmed that Leicestershire would remain in TIER 3 of coronavirus restrictions.
The county council's director of public health Mike Sandys said an increase in Covid-19 infection rates earlier this month had been the major factor in Leicestershire's tier position remaining unchanged.
Last week, Leicester's hospitals said they were treating more people with Covid-19 than during the first wave of the pandemic, and that is coupled with the usual winter pressures.
There will be a further review of the tiers system by the Government at the end of December.
Remaining in Tier 3 means people in the county still won't be able to meet indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble.
Pubs, cafes and restaurants will stay closed.
Non-essential shops can remain open along with gyms and leisure centres.
Being in Tier 3 means:
  • you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, including private gardens or at most outdoor venues
  • rule of six applies to some outdoor public spaces, including parks, countryside accessible to the public and public gardens
  • essential and non-essential shops will be open
  • gyms and leisure centres will be open
  • pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed unless they are offering takeaway, click-and-collect or delivery services
Please read the Government guidance on making a Christmas bubble with friends and family and enjoying the festive period safely. 

View the latest updates on coronavirus on the Council's website

If you have symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense or taste – book a test at or call 119.
Feedback from Council survey helping Covid response and recovery
Valuable feedback from residents and businesses is helping shape the ongoing district-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic and the steps to recovery.

More than 230 people shared their views, in October 2020, when Harborough District Council asked residents and local businesses about their experiences during the first coronavirus lockdown from March 2020 to June 2020 and the period following this.

The aim was to develop a good understanding of how people have been accessing Council information and services during this time, what they thought of the Council's response to the crisis, and how communication and support could be improved across the district.

People told the Council that their biggest concern during lockdown was family health and welfare.
Shoppers said that they did generally feel safe returning to the high streets, but nearly 75 per cent of people said their biggest concern was that people would not maintain 2m social distance.

Earlier this year, the Council put measures in place to create a safer environment for shoppers for the reopening of town centres including suspended parking charges, street stenciling to help people queue safely, hand sanitizer stations, High street helpers to offer guidance and support to shoppers, and some temporary road changes in Lutterworth, Market Harborough, Kibworth and Broughton Astley.

At the start of lockdown, the Council created dedicated coronavirus web pages to provide up-to-date support and guidance and information about any changes to Council services as a result of the pandemic. A letter was also sent to every household in the district with support information.

A community hub was set up which has dealt with 1,700 requests for support from residents across the district, with many more requests handled directly by community groups.

More than £21m in Government grants were also distributed to local businesses in need by a special Council team.

The coronavirus response survey found that more than half (55 per cent) of respondents said they were happy the Council did enough to protect and support them during lockdown, with 30 per cent of people saying they felt the Council could have done more. The other 15 per cent of respondents mostly said they had not required support from the Council, had been helped by local volunteers, or were not aware of what support was available.

Cllr Phil King, Leader of Harborough District Council, said: "I'd like to give thanks to the hundreds of residents and business for their valuable feedback which is helping shape our continuing work to recover from the impact of this devastating pandemic. Whilst I am hugely proud of the Council and the way colleagues worked in partnership with volunteer and community groups across the district to help those residents and businesses in urgent need of support; we wanted to seek the views of our communities to identify opportunities to bolster our efforts."

Going forward, 60 per cent of respondents want to hear more information via the Council's Facebook page, with 45 per cent wanting to have information via our online residents' newsletter and 43 per cent wanting news via the Council's website. Other ways residents wanted updates were via direct email, local publications, and Instagram.

The survey asked if people knew that the Council continued to run key services during the lockdown period. Bin collections, customer services, and environmental health were well-known to be running, but other services such as safeguarding protection, Lifeline, Active Harborough, and licensing processing and support were not.

Following the survey feedback, the Council has already started putting in place a number of suggestions made by residents and businesses.
View the latest updates on coronavirus at
Quizzing goes 'virtual' as Chairman hosts online event to boost charity
The Chairman of the Council, Councillor Stephen Bilbie, became 'quizmaster' for the evening to help raise money for his chosen charity. 

During these very unprecedented times, the Chairman has been unable to hold or attend the usual Civic and Charity event's that would normally take place. However, earlier this month he welcomed Civic representatives from the county, councillors from Harborough District Council and representatives from his Charity, remotely to his Virtual Quiz Night.

During the evening, participants tested their knowledge on subjects that included entertainment, sport, geography, TV and Film, as well as a picture round of celebrities from our county.  A surprise bonus music round was also included.

The evening ended with a prize draw and all funds raised will be donated to the charity Vista.

Cllr Bilbie thanked all for their time and support, and for contributing to a very enjoyable evening. 
Give your loved ones a lotto gift voucher
A gift voucher from Harborough Lotto gives your loved ones the chance to win a cash prize whilst also helping to raise money for local good causes.

Our gift vouchers start from just £5 and include your choice of colour and a personal message. Get a gift voucher at

There is also the added bonus of an entertainment bundle with a chance to win extra prizes, on 19 December 2020, including an Amazon Echo Show8, Echo Dot and Fire7 Tablet. 

60p from every £1 lottery ticket sold will go direct to local charities, voluntary organisations and other good causes.

Players can nominate which good cause they would like to support.

Buy tickets, or register a good cause, at

Not online? Call 01858 405050 to get tickets or register a cause.

Players must be 16 years old or over. 
Sign up to green bin collections in Feb
You will be able to re-subscribe to our garden waste collection service from 1 February 2021 onwards via 

The 2021/22 subscription will cost £55 per bin per year for nine months of collections.

This year, there will be an option to set up a re-occurring card payment for the service allowing subscribers to pay automatically at the start of each subscription year.

There is an additional collection in January 2021 for existing subscribers. If you would like to dispose of a real Christmas Tree, please ensure this is inside the bin with the lid closed.

Collections will be on your normal recycling collection day; Blue Calendar collections will be w/c 11th January and Yellow Calendar collections will be w/c 18th January 2021.

For more information visit
New videos launched to boost town centres
We are delighted to launch two specially-commissioned films to highlight how shops in Lutterworth and Market Harborough have responded positively to the coronavirus pandemic.
The two videos, featuring retailers and traders from town centre shops, show how shopping locally can make a huge difference. 

The videos - which can be viewed on the Visit Harborough website - complement a range of promotion we are doing, with businesses, to highlight town centre shops and boost the local economy. 

Other initiatives included the free parking in our car parks on Saturdays in the run up to Christmas, our 25 Days of Christmas social media campaign promoting one local business a day in an advent calendar style. 

We also hosted Christmas fairs on The Square in Market Harborough and switched on the festive lights in the town centre, with a Christmas tree once again donated by Market Harborough Building Society, as well as provided training to help businesses boost their online presence.  
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