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One year on – Thank you for your support patience and understanding

Published: 22 March 2021

One Year On Thank you for your support patience and understanding

People in Exeter have been thanked for their “unswerving support, patience and understanding” through what has been a difficult year.

The words come from Exeter City Council Leader Phil Bialyk, on the first anniversary of Covid-19 ‘lockdown’, as the Council is set to unveil a tree to commemorate those in the city who have died from the virus.

“My thoughts are with everyone who has lost family or friends during the last 12 months,” said Cllr Bialyk.

“It has been a horrendous year for everyone and if there is a positive, it has to be how Exeter pulled together to get us through this difficult period.

“The community spirit within this city is phenomenal and I must thank everyone for their unswerving support, patience and understanding in dealing with ‘lockdown’ and the restrictions associated with the pandemic.”

Cllr Bialyk said Exeter now looked forward to better times and some form of normality returning.

“With the vaccine kicking in, everyone is hoping that better times are around the corner. But we must be cautious, indeed patient as the city starts to build back better.”

Cllr Bialyk said he was proud of the way the city had pulled together. He praised the NHS – at the Royal Devon & Exeter hospital and surgeries across the city – for putting themselves in the firing line on a day-by-day basis to treat people fighting the virus.

He also praised the efforts going on to test and vaccinate the population but also the emergency and support services to keep the city going.

“Staff at the Council have been fantastic, rising to challenges they’ve never had to face previously. They’ve kept the city going,” he said. “To maintain things like bin collections through the height of the pandemic, when more people than ever were at home, generating more household rubbish and recycling is nothing short of heroic,” he added.

Just weeks into the pandemic, the City Council moved fast to set up Exeter Community Wellbeing – a support service to help people through the pandemic.

A helpline and website was set up to offer support and help to people in the city who needed it most. In addition, an Exeter Covid-19 Support Fund was launched thanks partly to a £100,000 grant from Exeter Chiefs Community Foundation.

In total, the Support Fund was able to help dozens of community groups with grants to enable them to continue offering valuable support during the toughest of times.

“These are the things we can look back with pride over,” said Cllr Bialyk, “and again I am so grateful for all those who have played their part in helping the city navigate through these difficult straits.”

Cllr Bialyk also praised staff at the Council for working around the clock to allow local businesses to access a variety of government support packages to help them get through the pandemic, as well as those who have offered critical support to the homeless and rough sleepers over the last 12 months.

“It is impossible to mention everyone so all I can do is thank everyone who has played their part. I am so grateful,” he added.

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