Businesses reopening is a big step towards normality

Queen Street reopening

Walking through the town centre last week, you couldn’t help but have a warm feeling – and I’m not just referring to the April sunshine that Suffolk has enjoyed recently.

The return of so many businesses reopening really was a momentous moment. The next step on the roadmap and a big step towards normality.

There were also some noticeable differences. For instance, a cosmopolitan feel in our town was being embraced.

Of course, the bright Suffolk skies helped – in fact, it is essential, as pointed out by the owners of Deja Vu.

Some good weather and smart thinking brought business out to our historic streets and created a much-needed positive atmosphere.

It was wonderful to see people enjoying food and drink – and a much-needed catch-up – outside the front of many of our businesses and I hope this will be a feature of this summer.

With the market never busier or better, it simply added to the enjoyment and enticement of Haverhill as a place to visit and enjoy. Long may that continue!

Enhancing our town and supporting our businesses is just one aspect of the work of ONE Haverhill Partnership.

Education, health and wellbeing, policing and volunteering also remain big priorities for OHP and our relevant task groups.

We are discussing ways to get involved in the plans for a new West Suffolk Hospital, and associated healthcare provision in the community and we look forward to working closely with Insp Matt Paisley, the new police inspector for Haverhill and Sudbury.

Education remains a key part of our work – whether with schools, in higher education or giving adults work and life skills to improve their employment opportunities, or wellbeing.

I was delighted to announce to our board meeting last month that Andy Hunter, headteacher at Samuel Ward Academy, has agreed to take over as chairman of ONE Haverhill Partnership.

The move, which was ratified by our board, will see a three-month ‘handover’ before Andy begins in earnest in June.

Since starting at Samuel Ward two years ago, I know he has been impressed with our work and the importance of partnership-working for the good of our local community.

Given the events of the last year, education will have an even greater role to play across all aspects of our community – and indeed our society – and I am delighted Andy will be leading ONE Haverhill Partnership into an exciting future.

I look forward to supporting Andy and watching the many successes under his chairmanship while remaining on the board, where I will be representing Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.