Number of positive COVID tests in Leicester on the rise ahead of July 19th Freedom Day

By Adam Dutton

Boris Johnson is set to free England from its Covid restrictions on July 19th, with many labelling the date ‘Freedom Day’.

Restrictions such as the two-meter rule, face masks and track and trace are all set to be removed, with the government now declaring that it is safe to do so.

However, Leicester has seen a sharp rise in positive Covid cases in the last 14 days.

For many, this will be of a great concern as the ease of restrictions leaves people open to the elements.

From the graph above, we can see that in the last 14 days, Covid cases have doubled. Positive cases have jumped from 480 on June 26, to 912 on July 10.

But it is not just Leicester. The whole of the UK has seen a sharp increase in positive cases in the last 14 days.

From June 26 to July 10, UK cases have jumped from 17,943 to 31,800.

Both are sharp increases.

Boris Johnson has said in a Downing Press Conference: “We cannot simply revert instantly from Monday July 19 to life as it was before Covid.”

As ‘Freedom Day’ looms, it is sensible to practice many of the social distancing guidelines, such as mask wearing, when in public spaces.

New Leicestershire County Councillor ready to serve the Melton community

By Luke Williamson

Mark Frisby said he will be “fighting the corner of everyone” after he was elected to the Leicestershire County Council for the Melton West Ward.

Conservative Mr Frisby claimed victory with 53.3 percent of the vote, which was 30 percent more than the closest challenger, Labour’s Phillip Allnatt, and was one of 42 victories in the County last Thursday [MAY06].

He said: “I haven’t always had the life ambition of getting into politics, but I have always wanted to serve my community.

The new Melton West representative on the Leicestershire County Council, Mark Frisby. PICTURE: Mark Frisby.

“I don’t have ambitions of getting to Westminster, I am just giving a voice to the people of Melton and making sure we do not get overlooked like most market towns do.

Mr Frisby is a careers guidance specialist, providing training to young people and adults in Melton and decided to enter the world of local politics in 2019, standing as an independent in the Melton Borough Council elections.

“I lost in the Melton Borough Council election by just three votes last time as an independent, but this time was very different,” he said.

“I am not from the typical Tory privilege, I am just a boy from the estate and I want people to come and have a chat with me.

“No issue is too small for me to say ‘I don’t care about that’ and no issue is too big for me to disregard without doing my best at it first.

“Come and speak to me, the kettle is always on – not just as a councillor but as a friend too.”

Several of Mr Frisby’s policies stem from his line of work, including a desire to create more opportunities for young people to remain in the town.

He said: “Melton is a sleeping giant of a town and we need to get the people support that the bigger cities in the area are getting.

“I want us to bring some bigger businesses to Melton and Leicestershire, to make sure our talented young people don’t just leave to go off to university and don’t come back.

“I want people to want to continue their family lines in the town and they need the opportunities here for them to stay.

Mr Frisby wants to see another one or two doctors’ surgeries opening in the town, as there is only one to cover the whole of Melton at the minute.

A large part of the Conservative manifesto for the Leicestershire County Council elections was ‘building a greener future’ and that is something Mr Frisby would also like to achieve in the town.

He added: “Melton has a rich rural food heritage but we wrap it in so much plastic.

“I want Melton to be a trailblazer in plastic-free local produce, which hopefully will also create more jobs in our area.

“Tree planting and additional green space is also really high on my agenda and I have spoken to our Member of Parliament already about that.”

One challenge facing Mr Frisby is proving to the people he is representing that he is the best man for the job, and he says he will not stop trying his hardest for the people of Melton over the next four years.

He said: “If I am taking even a penny of their council tax, I want to give them a pound of value in return.

“People went out on a miserable Thursday and gave me their vote, which meant a lot.

“People tend to feel that they don’t have access to their councillors, but I am 100 per cent committed to bridging the gap between the council and the constituent,” he said.

‘Nuisance’ Braunstone Town councillor Amanda Hack re-elected to county council

By Kira Gibson

A councillor who proudly admits to being a bit of a nuisance has been re-elected to represent Braunstone Town on the county council.

Amanda Hack had already been a county councillor for a term and has now begun her second term within the council.

The Labour representative is only one of a small amount of Labour councillors on the mainly Conservative council.

She said: “There’s only four of us out of 55 councillors. Whilst we poll about 20-23 per cent, actually in terms of percentage of councillors we return less than 10 per cent.”

Although Cllr Hack is located in Thorpe Astley, she said she spends a lot of her time building relations within the community of Braunstone as she is also on the Braunstone Town Council.

Councillor Amanda Hack (Labour) for Braunstone Town

When she is in Braunstone, Cllr Hack said she spends her time getting to know her constituents and talking to them whilst doing other things, such as litter picking.

She said: “I will collect litter off the streets in the division I serve, I have a bit of an area that I will do quite regularly. We have a primary and a secondary school that are right next door to each other, and there’s a walkway between the two so I will probably litter pick that every two or three weeks.

“It’s more than just being a volunteer. I am people’s county councillor and I’m a bit of a nuisance and I will talk to people that I see. When I’m doing these kinds of things I will always chat to individuals within the community.

“I find it really important for people to feel that if they know my face, they know that I’m around.”

Alongside her conversations with others during her volunteering, Cllr Hack said she also talks to people during her time doing door knocks. Although this is mostly done during an election campaign, Councillor Hack said she plans to see people regularly in the time prior to the next election.

“Not everybody would do regular door knocks, and that’s not always a feature of all politicians but it’s something that I will try and get out, and at least knock on everybody’s door in a two-year cycle. Being visible is really important to me.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the way that she works, but that hasn’t stopped the door knocking for the election campaign. However, it did mean there was an increase in the amount of people inviting Councillor Hack in for a cup of tea – something that was caused by the loneliness of isolation and being unable to go out and see friends.

In a way to fix this problem, Cllr Hack has requested to the town council that a bench is installed outside the library in Braunstone, specifically for others to meet up and talk, and potentially make friends.

She says: “One of the things I really really wanted after seeing it was a ‘friendly bench’. That’s where you’ve got a bench that sits either side of each other and it encourages people to meet and make friends. I’m really pleased that we’re looking to install a ‘friendly bench’ outside our library.”

The Labour councillor said she aims to spend the next year bringing people together, to try and alleviate the difficulties that the pandemic has left, and the loneliness that people suffer.

Market Harborough East getting ready for election

By Joshua Solomon

Market Harborough East is set to elect a councillor for the ward in the Leicestershire County Council election today (May 6).

Market Harborough is home to 24,818 residents (latest figures since 2019).

The Harborough district has seven county divisional electoral areas which are; Market Harborough West & Foxton, Market Harborough East, Lutterworth, Broughton Astley, Gartree, Bruntingthorpe and Launde.

The four candidates in the council of Market Harborough East are:

Conservative Party Barry Champion.

Liberal Democrat Sarah Hill.

Green Party candidate Mary Scott Morgan

Labour Party Maria Elizabeth Panter.

Due to Covid there are some restrictions and different ways to vote. To vote you must wear your face covering and bring your own pencil and pen.

There are three ways to vote either the polling stations where voters should wear masks and social distancing should be maintained.

There is also the postal vote, anyone can apply for a postal vote and voters have the option of requesting a permanent postal vote for all future elections or one for a particular period.

Another way to vote is as a proxy vote where if you are unable to vote you may nominate someone on your behalf to vote. The circumstances that you can apply for a proxy vote are;

Being away on polling day, medical or disability issue and not being able to vote in person due to work or military service.

Syston Fosse to appoint councillor in upcoming local elections

by Abigail Beresford

Syston Fosse is set to elect a councillor to represent the ward in the upcoming Leicestershire County Council election this week (May 6), with current councillor, James Poland, facing competition for the position.

With election day rapidly approaching, in a fight for the title of the county councillor for the Syston Fosse ward, candidates in the ward have been actively campaigning

Councillor James Poland was elected as the ward representative in May 2017, and hopes to maintain this position, despite facing competition from Labour Party representative Samanta Zubrute, and the Green Party representative, Laurie Needham.

Cllr Poland won by a majority for 67.6% in the previous election, with 1,716 votes supporting him, awarding him with the seat on the county council.

Cllr Poland has pledged to make Leicestershire more sustainable environmentally and financially, to ensure stability for jobs, and help the environment.

In alignment with the current issues that community currently face in regard to the pandemic, candidates have continued to show their support to residents, assuring them of the work they will be able to achieve to ensure stability.

Labour Party representative, Samanta Zubrute, has actively helped local communities throughout the course of the pandemic in alignment with her work with the GMB Union, providing support for young workers.

The GMB Union represents workers across the UK. Activist, Ms Zubrute continues to work alongside the union, working towards her pledges of supporting families that lack funding, and campaigning against social injustices.

The Green Party representative, Laurie Needham, is no stranger to the local electoral process.

Ms Needham participated in the previous local elections but was unsuccessful receiving 5.2% Ms Needham was elected to Charnwood Borough Council in May 2019, becoming an active community campaigner for Charnwood.

She also stood for the Charnwood seat in the 2019 General Election, but was unsuccessful.

After working on grass root campaigns to protect public services in the area, Ms Needham plans to continue her support for the community, pledging that she wants to see people get real representation in Parliament.

In hopes of being elected Ms Needham has stated that she would prioritise a Green New Deal, ensuring investment in the community, whilst also providing secure, well-paid jobs for residents, following the increase of unemployment throughout the duration of the pandemic.

Syston town fact file

Syston, located in Charnwood, in the North-East of Leicester, is an Anglo-Saxon originated town, with the name of the town deriving from Viking descent.

The town is believed to have come into existence during the nineth century, and still holds on to parts of its history, with many houses retaining their thatched roofs.

The Church of St Peter and St Paul is a landmark within Syston, with it being the most ancient building in the town, with remains of it that date 200 years after the Norman invasion.

The Syston Parish Council was established in 1894, later adopting the status of ‘Town’ council in 1987, due to its growing population.

During the twentieth century, the industry of boots and shoe production brought many people to Syston, looking for employment, alongside its easily accessible transport links.

Syston is also the location of the headquarters for Pukka Pies, employing the most people in the town, with 250 employees.