October 2020

Things at the Village Hall are starting to open up following a longer hibernation than any of us were expecting – Covid-19 risk assessments and procedures have been put in place following lots of hard work from the committee and our regular groups. Most of the fitness classes have returned with reduced attendees to ensure social distancing can be maintained and a successful, trial bar night was held in August. The bar night was only held once and advertising was limited to keep numbers under control (if you want to be informed when the next one is being held then please email us at swindonvillagehall@gmail.com with “Bar Night” as the title). Other groups are starting to return too, each with their own risk assessments but broadly all maintaining their separations and cleaning all equipment before and after use.

The recent “Rule of 6” doesn’t apply to organised groups in a Covid-safe location so hopefully we can start to open up more whilst we still can. Until a vaccine is in widespread use, this is the way of the world and, unless we want to hibernate for months on end, then we must find ways to mitigate the risks as best we can, when we can (ie when there is no lockdown in force). Speaking of vaccines, the Oxford trials are showing promising results and in the final stages of testing (there’s an episode with the lead professor on The Life Scientific on BBC Sounds for those interested in the science [just me?!]). In a nutshell, whilst developing a malaria vaccine and once the Chinese scientists had sequenced the Covid-19 RNA, the clever folks at Oxford inserted the genes that produce the Covid-19 protein spikes into the vaccine virus which should trigger our immune system to be primed and ready to swiftly deal with a proper Covid-19 infection. The virus doesn’t appear to mutate very quickly so a large uptake of vaccinations should bring a swift end to this pandemic.

Whilst things have been quiet, the team at the hall have been coming up with ideas for the future so we’ll be canvassing your opinion on what you’d like our hall to offer and if you’d like to be involved then we’re grateful for any help you can give. We do have a project in hand for the outside of the hall that should be revealed soon but otherwise, nothing is planned imminently as our income has taken a hit lately. That hopefully won’t be the case forever and there is always light on the horizon (however faint it may sometimes appear).

Speaking of which, there are many of us going through stresses and strains that nobody could have predicted a year ago and having someone to confide in is essential for everyone at some point.
Sometimes it’s good to talk to someone outside of your friends and family and for those that need it now:
Samaritan’s, https://www.samaritans.org/branches/cheltenham (116123 from any phone)
Step Change offer debt management advice, StepChange.org (0800 138 1111)
Citizens Advice can let you know your rights and options, https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk (03444 111 444)

I hope everyone’s taking time to look after themselves and check in on any neighbours that you’ve not seen for a while. It’s a worrying time for most of us but together we will get through this.

Stay safe,

Ben

October 2020

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