Myriad of support available for those who are suffering as we continue to be Covid aware - column by Councillor Richard Wright, county councillor for North Kesteven

It can be really hard to stay positive at this time of the year. We battle the icy mornings and short days that are typical of January.

It's important to keep regularly testing for Covid.
It's important to keep regularly testing for Covid.

The cold weather makes it less pleasant to be outside. Everything seems frozen in time and held in the final throes of winter, while we still juggle all the demands of daily life.

On top of this, still hanging over us in 2022 is a global pandemic that has changed our lives immeasurably over the past two years.

If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone and there is help available. There’s a 24/7 phone line in Lincolnshire you can call on 0800 001 4331 intended for anyone who’s feeling anxious, low or stressed.

There are also a myriad of good causes that offer support, including the Samaritans helpline open all year round on 116 123 and Mind which offers guidance on small actions to help you feel better at mind.org.uk

You can also get a personalised plan which takes just five minutes online at nhs.uk/every-mind-matters

We supported Samaritans recently by donating £1 from our own wellbeing fund for every colleague who on Monday, January 17, could pause briefly with a cuppa to check-in with colleagues virtually in one of four sessions, using that small action to help turn a day usually billed as Blue Monday into Brew Monday.

The next few weeks and months also look more positive than before thanks to the small but vital actions we’ve each taken throughout the pandemic, including getting vaccinated.

North Kesteven continues to appear in the top 10 and even some number one spots among local authority areas for first and second dose uptake in particular age groups, and I’m pleased to say that booster rates are looking positive too.

It’s vaccinations which have helped manage over winter the risk of severe illness from Covid and made possible now the relaxation of Plan B restrictions, with face masks for example no longer mandated from January 27. I’d urge us all to remember though that some actions are still required to keep us all safe.

We must all keep regularly testing. You can order test kits online at gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests to be delivered to your home, or visit nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/ to look up where they can be collected from in person.

Make sure to register your test result, as this information helps inform the response to the pandemic at both a national and local level.

It’s absolutely vital too that you self-isolate if you’ve a positive lateral flow test result or you develop Covid symptoms.

If you’ve not had the booster, or indeed the first or second jab, there’s still time to do so and our NHS colleagues will be very happy to see you.

You can find out your options locally at lincolnshire

ccg.nhs.uk/grab-a-jab

It’s also still advised that from January 27, we still wear face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces and when meeting strangers, and we must remember that many people may want to keep taking further precautions to continue feeling safe.

By practising tolerance and kindness, and recognising when someone is taking extra precautions, we can help each other stay well.

Those two words – tolerance and kindness – resonate with me in another way this month as we mark international Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27.

The theme this year is one day, in the hope that one day there will no longer be any genocide in the world.

Please do take a moment to join us in remembering, however you can.