One year on

Wednesday 17th March 2021

The Mayor of Ards and North Down reflects on the past 12 months in Ards and North Down.

The Mayor packs food in to a food box at Bangor Foodbank. He wears a mask and gloves.

On 19 March 2021, it will be 12 months since Ards and North Down Borough Council initiated its emergency response plan as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. During this time, I have seen people band together and support each other in an almost wartime-like response. It has been heart-warming to see so many people going out of their way to help others, particularly when each and every one of us has had to face our own unique set of issues in these difficult circumstances. 

As a Council, our staff have gone above and beyond to ensure essential services have continued to be delivered throughout the Borough. Our household waste and recycling collection services have continued unabated, and we launched a food distribution service to make sure that especially vulnerable residents who were required to self-isolate had a weekly delivery of food direct to their door. 

This would not have been possible without the support of a large contingent of local volunteers, community and voluntary organisations, and food banks. People pulled together from different corners of our Borough to make sure those most in need were not forgotten. 

We also owe a huge amount of gratitude to all essential workers. The doctors, nurses and all other hospital and medical centre staff. The police officers and firefighters, social care workers, and others. 

Of course, despite these valiant efforts, many people still succumbed to Covid-19. To their family and friends, I would like to offer my sincere condolences. Ards and North Down Borough Council will light up a number of Council buildings on 23 March in memory of all those who lost their lives. 

As we start to look towards some brighter days ahead, I would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who has selflessly risked their own health for the benefit of others, and to everyone who has managed to make someone else’s life that little bit easier. Your valiant efforts during the last 12 months have made a massive difference to so many people. 

With the news that all primary school students will be back to school next week, and the possibility that older students will follow in their footsteps after Easter, it should give us all some hope that we are well on the road back to normality. I am sure there will be some challenging days ahead but by continuing to support each other, we will get there. 

In the meantime, please continue to adhere to the public health guidelines. Our combined efforts have helped us take massive steps forward from the position that we were in 12 months ago. That continued determination and resilience will ensure we can get back to normal sooner rather than later. 

Stay safe. 

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings