For some people, Monday 19th July was the day they had been waiting for. ‘Freedom Day’ to some, the lifting of all national Covid restrictions for us all.
But for many people across the country and I am sure across our town, Monday 19th July was anything but ‘freedom’.
For some, it would raise the anxiety that so many have felt during this incredibly tough last 16 months. The end of face coverings and social distancing will divide conversations up and down the country – even if much of the guidance actually remains.
Then there is almost the hidden impact of the pandemic. Those struggling with ‘long Covid’ or other critical health issues that have seen treatment or even appointments pushed back through no fault of an under-pressure health system.
Our incredible NHS teams will need all our support going forward while many people are struggling with serious mental health problems, potentially through the loss of loved ones, employment or a home.
The list goes on and is heart wrenching to contemplate. But contemplate it we must if we are going to start addressing the fallout of the pandemic, unseen or otherwise.
Even after the toughest time imaginable, hope remains. That hope comes from within our town whose voluntary and community spirit has come to the fore since last March.
It has often been felt that Haverhill can be lost, sitting as it does in Suffolk but also adjacent to the neighbouring counties of Essex and Cambridgeshire.
But since I have been in the town, the level of partnership-working and the will to make changes and improvements has always been something to behold.
So it was with great pleasure that I sat down to watch the BBC Look East cameras not only feature our town – but also host the entire show from the Arts Centre.
They spoke to some great groups and great individuals about the challenges they face, but also highlighted the hard work of so many to overcome these obstacles.
Not only that, but BBC Radio Suffolk also spent the afternoon in the town talking to the likes of Julie Clark, the new town centre manager, and Nick Keeble from the Arts Centre about his fantastic Summer Saturday programme of events.
These are challenging times for our economy, our health, our young people and so much more.
But you don’t have to look far in Haverhill to find someone or some organisation striving to make a real difference.
It is why I am so proud to be heading up ONE Haverhill Partnership. As part of our 10th anniversary year, we will be revisiting and revising our Business Plan and looking at our priorities going forward.
I look forward to meeting and working with as many of our unsung community heroes as possible.