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News and Features from Harborough District Council - January 2022
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Councillor Phil King 
Leader of Harborough District Council 
Looking forward with hope
With just a few days to go until Christmas, it is important to reflect and look back on the successes and challenges of the past year.

There are many people both locally, and nationally, who I invite you to raise a glass to, over the festive period, to thank them for their amazing efforts to help others. I offer my personal thanks to all the health staff, volunteers, key workers, and others, who have made a positive difference.  

We've all seen the news about increasing rates of coronavirus and it is important we do all we can to stay safe during these challenging times. 

Please, over the festive period and beyond, keep an eye on neighbours who may be isolated and lonely at this time of year; this is particularly important as the weather gets colder over the weeks ahead. 

Remember, also, to continue to 'shop local' and support your local independent traders throughout the year ahead. 

As we look forward to 2022 with hope and  optimism, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy, and safe, new year, from myself, and everyone at Harborough District Council. 

Cllr Phil King 
Still time for survey
We've had more than 140 responses to our survey asking people to tell us their aspirations and priorities for the Harborough district.

You have until 31 January 2022 to complete the survey, which takes about 20 minutes to complete, and is completely anonymous. 

The survey asks residents to rank how they feel about community safety, sport, recreation, and parks, as well as job opportunities, sustainability, health and wellbeing, and more. Residents can use free text boxes within the survey to comment further or make other suggestions.

We're also seeking direct feedback from directly with youth and community groups, parishes, and disability groups.
Feedback will help the Council focus its priorities over the next few years.

Take part in the survey here 
Get boosted and do everything you can to protect yourself and others 
All the latest Government information is at
As you will be aware, England has moved to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.
The Government's key messages are:
  • Wear a face covering in most indoor public places and on public transport
  • Get tested and self-isolate if required
  • Work from home, if you can
  • Get vaccinated
  • Let fresh air in if you meet indoors. Meeting outdoors is safer
Tens of thousands of people across the district have now had their Covid-9 booster vaccine - book yours here
Chancellor announces £1bn fund for UK businesses
You may have read in the national media that Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has set out a £1bn fund to help businesses hit by the rise in Covid cases, including the leisure and hospitality sector.
Hospitality businesses like pubs and restaurants will be able to apply for cash grants of up to £6,000 per premises. The Government has said it would also help some firms with the cost of sick pay for Covid-related absences.
Around 200,000 businesses nationally will be eligible for business grants which will be administered by local authorities. We are currently awaiting regulations and guidelines, and these are not expected until the new year. 
District honour granted to stars of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics
Pictured top: Laura Sugar, gold medal-winning Paralympian canoeist. Photo courtesy of ParalympicsGB

Pictured: Olympic gold medal winner Dylan Fletcher (left) with sailing partner Stuart Bithell. Photo credit David Pearce/Team GB
Gold medallists Dylan Fletcher and Laura Sugar are set to be granted the Freedom of the District at a ceremony next year.

Olympian sailor Dylan Fletcher, a former Robert Smyth student from Market Harborough, who won a gold medal for Team GB in the Men's 49er at Tokyo in 2020, and Paralympian canoeist Laura Sugar, from Billesdon, who also won Gold for Team GB in the women's KL3 Paracanoe at Tokyo in 2020, will each receive the honour.

At an Extraordinary meeting of Harborough District Council on Monday 13 December 2021, councillors unanimously agreed that the authority would confer the titles of honorary freeman and honorary freewoman respectively to the hugely successful pair.
The Freedom of the District is granted to "persons of distinction" who have "rendered eminent services" and have a strong association with the Harborough district.

Dylan (33) and Laura (30) will be invited to a special presentation at Annual Council in May 2022.

Dylan, who went to Market Harborough C of E School and later Kibworth High School and Robert Smyth School, said: "It's super exciting. This is a great honour and I didn't expect it. I grew up learning to sail around Market Harborough, and winning gold felt like giving something back to the people who had supported me there over the years."

Laura said: "It's a huge honour to be recognised for my sporting achievements in Tokyo and to be made Honorary Freewoman of the District of Harborough. The local community is very important to me, especially after Covid, when our community had to all come together in testing times. Thank you to the council for giving me this honour."

Cllr King said: "It's the least we can do, to show our support to Dylan and Laura after their outstanding achievements."

These are the first honours of their kind in the district since 2011, when the Royal Anglian Regiment were awarded Freedom of the District.
How the Crisis Café is reaching out to help people in need of support
Gerard and Martin from the Crisis Cafe 
"Just walk in, share what's worrying you, and, if we can, we'll help."

That's the simple message from the district's Crisis Café which launched in September 2021 to provide support to anyone who might be feeling anxious, lonely, or struggling with depression or dependence on alcohol, or other substances.

This month, we spoke to Martin Packer (pictured far right), enhanced recovery worker for Turning Point Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Substance Misuse service which co-delivers the café in conjunction with Turning Point Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Crisis House and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.

Read the full interview here
Meet our new officer who is creating opportunities for young people  
James O'Connell is Harborough District Council's new Young Person's Officer
I'm James O'Connell, Young Persons Officer for Harborough District Council.
I aim to understand the key issues facing 15-34 year olds from all backgrounds within the district, especially as we continue in learning to live with Covid, when it comes to skills development, training, employment and housing opportunities.
Do you feel well placed to seek and access further education, skills training or employment within Harborough? Or perhaps access to suitable affordable housing – whether rented or owned – is proving difficult to achieve?
These are areas I hope to develop improved understanding of within Harborough District Council so that you have better awareness of and access to such opportunities for your futures.
In order to improve your representation, I invite as many 15-34 year olds as possible to complete the Council's Resident Engagement Survey before 31 January 2022 so that your voice can be heard in shaping future Council priorities. It can be found by clicking this link: Survey 22 November 2021 - 31 January 2022 | Engaging with our Community | Harborough District Council
In the meantime, if you have any other initial thoughts, feel under-represented or want information around any of these topics, please contact me at J.O'  
Remember to recycle cards, wrapping paper and real Christmas trees
A reminder that all our festive information – including Christmas and new year bin collections, recycling advice, Council and market opening hours, severe weather guidance, business support and lots more is available via our dedicated webpage
Harborough District Council will be open until 4pm on Friday 24 December 2021 and will re-open again on Tuesday 4 January 2022. 

The Council's normal out-of-hours service will be operating for emergencies only between these dates - find out about how to contact us
Residents can continue to access a range of Council information via our website
Careers support for those looking for new role or to develop skills  
Job Club continues at the Wycliffe Rooms in Lutterworth on the first Friday in January, from 12.30pm to 4pm, to help people seeking employment or new opportunities.

Harborough District Council and the National Careers Service will be offering a range of support, including CV and interview skills, job searching and applying techniques, access to training and qualifications, careers advice, and support with benefit claims.

To find out more information about the new Lutterworth Jobs Club, visit or email
 Vital support for start-up businesses thanks to initiative - and it's free! 
Have you recently started a business?
Was your trading interrupted due to Covid-19 and lockdowns? If so, a new initiative can help you get back on track. Businesses which started in, or after, 2018 can access the new Start up Business Programme.

This free support has been specifically designed to help early-stage businesses like yours to restart and grow.

There's a range of support to match the needs of your business and individual availability.

You could even benefit from grant funding!
Email to find out more.

New year, new you - improve your fitness in 2022 and boost well-being
If you're ready to become more active in the new year, after the excesses and indulgences of the festive season, there are lots of opportunities locally.

Just head to the website where you'll find loads of activities to choose from. There is something for anyone who wants to be that little bit more active.

Also, the JUST South Leicestershire initiative which gives women the chance to try out new activities in a fun, social environment, runs from January to March.

It's important to find a regular activity that suits you - whether it's walking the dog, hoovering, or joining a sports or exercise class - short bursts of exercise can improve health and significantly reduce the risk of serious health conditions.
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