Adversity ‘bringing the best out of Peterborough residents’

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
On Thursday I should have been drawing to a close a career in politics that has spanned more than 40 years, writes leader of Peterborough City Council Cllr John Holdich.

In January I reluctantly announced I would be retiring from the council at the local elections, for health reasons and to spend more time with my family.

Those elections should have taken place on Thursday, but because of the pandemic have been postponed. I’m pleased that I can continue to serve the city for a further year, using my experience to lead the council through this particularly challenging time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It gives me great pleasure to do so when I see the fantastic efforts being made by people and organisations across the city to help others.

Jamie MacFarlane collecting the donations from Ashton and Bainton residentsJamie MacFarlane collecting the donations from Ashton and Bainton residents
Jamie MacFarlane collecting the donations from Ashton and Bainton residents

They say that adversity can often bring the best out in people and that is certainly what we are seeing once again in Peterborough.

In my own village of Glinton we have a bank of volunteers helping people to access food and medicine and with other needs. The Friendship Club, which my wife Barbara runs, is also supporting people who are isolating, running a buddy scheme which see members regularly ringing villagers to check they are okay.

In Castor and Ailsworth there is a team of more than 70 volunteers supporting those who need help, posting mail, collecting food and organising online quiz nights. Villagers in Ashton and Bainton have been donating non-perishable food items by placing them on their doorsteps in shopping bags tied with brightly-coloured ribbon. This is then delivered to Peterborough Foodbank for sharing with those in need. But it’s not just the villages – these acts of kindness are taking place across the whole city.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Members of the Husaini Islamic Centre have been helping those who need support and producing online sermons, lectures and prayers to be streamed into people’s homes. Atif Iqbal, a secondary school teacher, has co-ordinated and prepared Ramadan gift bags for prisoners at HMP Peterborough. Items such as prayer mats and the holy Quran were donated by the Muslim community, businesses and organisations. Secondary school teachers have also been making protective visors for health services.

Peterborough Foodbank has recruited more than 60 new volunteers to help those self-isolating. Since 23 March, it has fed more than 1,300 people and given away 6,021 kilogrammes of food, enough to make 14,335 meals.

City College Peterborough has a small army of staff making and delivering 100 packed lunches to the homeless each day. About 150 hot meals are also cooked and delivered to students and Cross Keys residents who are self-isolating and don’t have other support.

These are just a few of the many examples which show how people are helping others to stay safe and well in these difficult times.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Of course, I should also mention the council staff who are working hard to keep the city moving and supporting those who need it – our social workers, refuse and recycling crews, school staff and many more.

Only this week I heard that our passenger transport team that usually takes children to and from school has been transporting a man undergoing cancer treatment to his hospital appointments. He was unable to access his usual public transport and it was taking him two hours to make the journey.

Our passenger transport team is now taking him to his appointments, which is making the experience much easier for him. Please, continue to think of the people who live around you and check they are ok. Just a phone call once a week may be all it takes for that person to feel supported.

I’m pleased to tell you that the household recycling centre in Fengate will reopen from Monday.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Plans are being put in place which will make sure that visits to the HRC are safe for residents and employees.

Journeys to the HRC should only be undertaken if waste or recycling cannot be stored at home.

Next week will see the first virtual council meeting take place in Peterborough. At 2pm on Monday the Cabinet meeting will be live-streamed on the council’s YouTube channel for people to watch.

It will be a very new way of working for us all, but we are looking forward to it.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.