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News and Features from Harborough District Council - July 2021
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Councillor Phil King
Leader of Harborough District Council 
We all owe huge debt of gratitude for support 
This month, we all have an opportunity to show our appreciation and gratitude to all the healthcare staff, key workers, volunteers and businesses who have reached out to help others during the coronavirus pandemic. 

There have been so many people who have gone above and beyond to ensure that others were cared for, kept safe, or got the essential food and medical supplies they needed during this extremely challenging time.

The selfless actions of these individuals or community groups must not go unrecognised. Their efforts have helped us on the long road to recovery and along our road map out of the current restrictions. 

I encourage people to share their 'thanks' in any way they can.

We must all continue to do our bit and look out for each other with cases of the virus rising both locally and nationally.

This newsletter highlights the importance of regular rapid home-tests to help us protect our loved ones, friends and colleagues from the virus, so we can get through this together.

I would like to add my own thank you to everyone who has made a positive difference during the last year or more. 

We could not have got through it without you.

Cllr Phil King 
Get involved as fair heads back to town
The popular Community and Volunteers Fair returns in September when voluntary groups, charities and not-for-profit organisations will once again be showcasing the work they do.

People will have the chance to get involved and find out more about how they can volunteer or help as the event returns to The Square on Saturday 18 September 2021, from 10am to 4pm.

The event is once again being organised by Harborough District Council, in partnership with Neil O'Brien MP for Harborough.

Many groups such as LOROS, Spectrum, U3A and VAL will be offering information regarding their services, the resources available to the public, as well as detailing how to get involved with the work that they do as members or volunteers.

Any charities or organisations interested in taking part in the fair can contact for more information.
Join together to say 'thank you' to those making positive difference
We are asking residents and businesses to join us in saying 'thank you' to those who have helped our communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

'Thank You Day' is a national event, taking place on Sunday 4 July 2021, which aims to get as many people as possible involved, so everyone who deserves it gets a 'thank you'.

It is hoped, with local support and wider involvement, it could be the UK's biggest ever 'thank you party'.

Harborough District Council is calling on residents and businesses to show their appreciation to the hundreds of local volunteers and key workers who have selflessly supported communities throughout the huge challenges of the past year.

The Council will be highlighting the fantastic efforts of volunteers, its staff and partners – who helped provide frontline services, assisted vulnerable residents and supported local businesses as the pandemic hit. It will also be sharing 'thank yous' from the community.

A special 'thank you' message has been commissioned by the Council which will be seen across the district on the side of some of its recycling collection vehicles.

Harborough Market is also getting involved with the occasion and will be asking customers to nominate market staff or traders who they think have been most helpful during the pandemic.

Cllr Phil King, Leader of Harborough District Council, said: "For more than a year now we have lived in the grips of a pandemic which has had an immeasurable impact on all our lives. But during that time, some people have shown incredible spirit and selfless dedication by helping others in their communities either as key workers, by volunteering, or by simply being there for vulnerable neighbours when they need it most. There are so many people that deserve our thanks; I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to show their appreciation in their own special and creative way – and share it online."

On social media, people can use the hashtag #ThankYouDay to share their posts thanking those who they feel deserve it and those who have made a lasting impact over during these challenging times.
Find out more about how to get involved at 

The following day, on Monday 5 July 2021, NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day will be encouraging people to thank the healthcare workers who have supported them during the pandemic.
It will be a chance to show gratitude to all NHS and frontline staff, with an annual day of thanks, and remembrance of those who lost their lives due to Covid-19.

The day of thanks will take place on 5 July – the date the nation's pioneering National Health Service (NHS) was born, bringing free healthcare to everyone, 73 years ago in 1948.

The occasion will also be an opportunity to help raise funds for national healthcare charities.
Find out more about NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day at
Self-testing for Covid-19 using home kits is best way to protect others
Rapid (lateral flow) Covid-19 tests show results in just 30 minutes - and by testing yourself regularly you're doing what you can to protect family, friends, workmates or business customers. 

Harborough District has seen a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, mainly due to localised outbreaks, and currently has highest infection rate in the county.  

Rapid home-testing kits are FREE and available from chemists, Covid-19 testing sites, or you can order them online at

It is recommended that people take a rapid test about twice a week, even if they don't have symptoms of coronavirus, to provide reassurance for themselves and those around them that they are not spreading the virus. 

Around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms. Rapid lateral flow tests help to find cases in people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can give the virus to others.
The test usually involves taking a sample from your tonsils (or where they would have been) and from your nose, using a swab - with results in 30 minutes.

Lateral flow testing sites are now closed in the Harborough district, due to the availability of home-testing kits, although symptomatic testing sites remain open at Harborough Leisure Centre and Lutterworth Sports Centre 
New campaign aims to tackle layby litter blighting verges in district 
A new campaign to help reduce the amount of litter left in laybys, along major roads in the Harborough district, has been launched this week with a number of action days taking place.
Harborough District Council is teaming up with Magna Park owners GLP, Lutterworth Town Council, and other Councils, to crackdown on roadside litter with new signage going up this week in local hotspots and at Magna Park.
The first action day took place on Monday 28 June 2021 along the A5, A426 and the A4303 roads in the district, which saw enviro-crime officers speaking to drivers and new signage, written in a number of languages, installed.
A further action day was held on Wednesday along the A47, A6 and the A4304 roads - with more to follow.
Extra patrols – using vehicles fitted with cameras – will also be carried out. The campaign will also involve local authorities from across the district boundary, including Blaby District Council and Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council.
Following the success of the Council's Tip Off campaign in tackling fly-tipping in the district, it is hoped this latest campaign will reap similar positive results.
Cllr Jonathan Bateman, Harborough District Council's Cabinet lead on environment and waste, said: "We want a cleaner, greener countryside, it's as simple as that. We know we can't stop all littering but we are working hard with the right people to hopefully make a difference. It is totally unacceptable to drop litter anywhere, especially by verges where it can harm wildlife and impact on biodiversity; it is important drivers dispose of litter appropriately."
Gwyn Stubbings, Planning Director at GLP, said: "We are very pleased to be working in partnership with Harborough District Council on this important initiative, to ensure that Magna Park is playing it's part in keeping the roads and countryside in the district clean and attractive. Over 10,000 people work at Magna Park and we will be actively spreading the message that we all have a responsibility to prevent littering and any associated anti-social activities."
By law, it is an offence to drop litter in any open public place, including cigarette butts and chewing gum, with a possible £150 fine for anyone caught. Failure to pay could result in legal proceedings and a fine in court of up to £2,500.
Anyone with footage (eg. from a dashcam) of somebody dropping litter from a vehicle can submit this to the Council as evidence.
To report litter, or if anyone would like the action team to focus on a particular area in the district, contact the Enviro-crime team at
Major milestone for district reached on grassroots planning power
Residents in the Harborough district have been praised for their commitment to helping shape their communities after a major milestone was reached.
25 neighbourhood plans have now been adopted – or 'made' – across the Harborough district.

Neighbourhood planning is a way for communities to help decide the future of the places where they live and work.

The Council works with communities to bring neighbourhood plans to fruition through a formal process involving public consultation and independent examination.
In 2014, Broughton Astley became the first village in the East Midlands to adopt a neighbourhood plan. Since then, 24 more villages in the district have agreed to adopt theirs by voting at referendums – and more are being developed.

Cllr Phil King, Leader of Harborough District Council and Cabinet lead on strategic planning, said: "I am delighted that we have now reached the incredible milestone of 25 'made' neighbourhood plans in the Harborough district, with Misterton with Walcote, and Hallaton becoming the latest parishes to adopt one.

"As Leader of the Council, it's always been clear to me that our residents are highly interested and deeply committed to shaping their locality. Creating a neighbourhood plan enables that to happen and hands real power to local people, via the referendum process for adoption. The contribution of motivated volunteers within each community has been crucial in delivering each and every one of these 25 Neighbourhood Plans.

"Each plan, typically involves 10-12 volunteers, assisted by paid consultants to carry out the majority of the work and engagement within their communities. They then bring the different policy strands together into their final neighbourhood plan, which is then approved or not, by a public referendum. Overall this process takes on average approximately two and a half years, but some have taken much longer.

"To find that Harborough is now one of the top districts nationally for the number of adopted neighbourhood plans, may surprise some, but not me. We're extremely proud of this and our ongoing commitment to work with our communities."

Communities can use a Neighbourhood Plan to:
  • Choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built
  • Have their say on what those new buildings should look like
  • Grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead
A neighbourhood plan cannot prevent otherwise sustainable or appropriate development. If a neighbourhood plan includes allocations for housing, it cannot limit housing growth to less than is set out in the Council's planning policy or regional and national guidance.

Further information about the stages of neighbourhood planning at
Local projects served much-needed funding - including Padel Tennis!
Pictured: Cllr Simon Whelband hands a plaque to Alison Avil at the new Padel Tennis courts in Fairfield Road, Market Harborough.
It's game on at Market Harborough Cricket and Squash Club where the new Padel Tennis courts are proving extremely popular.

The introduction of Padel Tennis at the club has been possible thanks to £50,000 section 106 funding allocated by the Council, and funding from Market Harborough and the Bowdens Charity.

Padel Tennis can be described as a cross between tennis and squash and is played on smaller courts with a smaller racquets without strings. You can also utilise the walls when playing as in squash.

Last month, the Council allocated more than £925,000 from section 106 funding to projects across the district - including £892,938.13 to replace the existing youth centre and village hall in Great Glen with a new community facility. 

Section 106 funds are paid by developers to improve community facilities in areas where houses have been built.
Visits to gain insight on how Kickstart jobs scheme in reaping benefits
Pictured above (l-r): Cllr Phil King, MB Performance Golf owner Michael Bent, Jake Buytenhuys, and Neil O'Brien MP at Kibworth Golf Club.
Pictured (l-r): Brooke Smith, Calvin Campbell, Neil O'Brien MP, warehouse manager Matt Coyne, business manager Penny Wallace, and Cllr Phil King at the Battery Service Hub.
Council Leader Cllr Phil King and Neil O'Brien MP took time to visit young people and employers who are benefitting from the national Kickstart Scheme.

They visited the Battery Service Hub in Riverside End, Market Harborough to meet Brooke Smith, office assistant, and Calvin Campbell, warehouse operative, who have been taken on through the Kickstart scheme. They also visited Jake Buytenhuys who has been taken on as a retail assistant by golf shop MB Performance Golf, based at Kibworth Golf Club.

Jake said: "Golf is my passion, it runs in my family, so this is such a nice environment to work in. I am working on the website so this allows me to build on my IT degree; it's really helping set me up for the future."

In November 2020, Harborough District Council invited businesses to apply for the Kickstart scheme which provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit. Placements are funded by the Government scheme, giving businesses the chance to take on staff and grow during this difficult time.

So far, 13 young people have started a Kickstart role through the Council's 'gateway' to the scheme and are already gaining valuable work skills and experience with local employers. And more are set to follow over the coming months.

The Council and Harborough Innovation Centre are playing a key role in helping local young people and employers benefit from the opportunity.

If you are a young person interested in a Kickstart placement, speak to your work coach at the job centre and apply.

Employers are still able to apply to create placements through the scheme. Get in touch with us for more information and support
Reminder to speak out on how we can reduce our impact on climate 
A reminder that our eight-week consultation asking for your feedback on our climate change action plan closes on Friday 30 July 2021.

We've already had responses coming in with some very interesting views on what can be done as we look to create a cleaner, greener environment.

The Council has committed to reducing its own emissions to net zero, as far as practically possible, by 2030 and has produced a draft Action Plan which identifies six key commitments.

But we need the views of people, of all ages, to help us reduce carbon emissions further in the Harborough district over the coming years. 

We will also be doing targeted consultation with key groups and organisations later this month.  
Take part in the survey at  

Paper copies, for those without the internet, are available at Broughton Astley, Lutterworth and Market Harborough libraries.

Alternatively, people can complete the survey, via telephone, with a customer service advisor, by making an appointment on 01858 828282.
Boost for river work in district thanks to donation from local business
Work to enhance the River Welland, which runs through the Harborough district, has received a boost thanks to funding from a local business.

The Welland Rivers Trust has received funding from the Market Harborough Building Society Charitable Foundation to provide new equipment such as nets, buckets and identification guides for volunteer 'River Wardens' to take water samples and record biodiversity in their local stretch of river. In Harborough district, these include the River Welland, Langton Brook, Eye Brook and River Jordan.

The donation will help the Welland Rivers Trust, and its partners, to get a better understanding of the condition of the local water environment and give volunteers new skills through structured activities that encourage participants to spend more time outside.

Harborough District Council continues to support the work of the Welland Rivers Trust through the Welland Valley Partnership – a collaboration of local authorities, government organisations, private businesses and charities, to identify the pressures on the River Welland catchment and take steps to address them together.

The Welland Rivers Trust is currently working to assess the effectiveness of its habitat restoration programmes and identify the best locations for future action.
Chris French, Welland Rivers Trust Project Manager said that, as a small organisation, the work of volunteers is vital to the Welland Rivers Trust in building capacity and awareness of water related issues.

He said: "We are delighted to receive funding from Market Harborough Building Society Charitable Foundation to continue our popular River Wardens citizen science programme. The funding will go towards the purchase of equipment for volunteers, allowing them to discover their local water courses and collect valuable data that supports the delivery of projects that enhance the water environment. If you're interested in taking part, please get in touch with us through our website or social media."

Karen Davies, Secretary of Market Harborough Building Society's Charitable Foundation, said "The Foundation supports many great organisations in the local area and we were delighted to help with River Wardens' Kits to support this important environmental project."
Young people asked to share their views
Young people have a unique opportunity to share their views and experiences of living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
The Young People's Safety Survey will be used to gather insights which will help us to shape our work around improving safety in communities across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

It is being run by Leicestershire Police, the Police and Crime Commissioner and Violence Reduction Network. 
If you know of any young people aged between 11 and 24 that may want to take part and have their voices heard, please forward this newsletter to them.

The survey is anonymous so participants do not need to give their name and details. 

Take part in the Young People's Safety survey here.
Improving local bus services - have a say
You are being encouraged to have a say on how to improve local public transport.
The Government has pledged £3 billion to help progress plans across the country – and Leicestershire is aiming to secure a fair share of the funding.
To do so, the County Council must develop a Bus Service Improvement Plan and is asking for your views. 

The Council wants to find out what people think would improve local bus services - and what would encourage them to use local buses more.
It would like to hear from people who already use buses, those who currently don't as well as from public, private and voluntary organisations.
Have your say at before Friday, 30 July 2021.
How have surgeries coped with pandemic 
Has your experience at your local doctors' surgeries been positive or negative during the pandemic?

The local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group wants to hear your views and has launched a survey to gather feedback. 

They want your views and experiences of GP-led (primary care) services during the Covid-19 pandemic to help build on the things that you like about the service and to identify areas of care that could be improved.

Over the last year, Coronavirus has placed enormous strain on all areas of the NHS, including your General Practice. Despite that, General Practice has remained 'open' providing more than six million appointments over the last 12 months, with the majority still provided face-to-face - with some changes in place.
Share your views before 12 July 2021.
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