Wednesday 25 May 2021
We continue to see excellent progress in Kent in our efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Infection rates in Folkestone and Hythe remain at their lowest level since the start of the pandemic, as are hospital admissions for the East Kent Trust. Based on the latest available information, there is no evidence to show that new variants of coronavirus from elsewhere in the world have had an impact on local infection rates. We also heard from the Government this week that the existing coronavirus vaccines are effective against these new variants of COVID. Overall, sixty million vaccines have been administered in the UK, which is an incredible achievement. Credit is due to the NHS who have conducted the vaccination programme, and to the companies that have developed and supplied it, but we should also recognise the invaluable work of the many thousands of volunteers who have helped to make all of this possible.
Last week I visited Sellindge Sports and Social Club, to see the fantastic work being done at the local tennis club. The club has two outdoor floodlit hardcourts, which are being put to good use, with a substantial increase in membership since the return of outdoor grassroots sport. Many people who haven’t picked up a racket for years have decided to come back to tennis, as a way to keep fit and enjoy being out in the fresh air. The club is also running a programme with local primary schools to give more children their first proper introduction to the sport. You can find out more information on the club’s website about how to get involved, and what they offer. I’d like to congratulate them on everything they have achieved so far. Whilst there, I was also pleased to call in on the team at the adjacent bowls club, which was preparing to open for the new season. Again, they have also seen increased interest in participating in outdoor lawn bowls in the last few months.
Last Friday I also visited The Beacon school in Folkestone to meet with the Head, Neil Birch and members of his team. The Beacon is an all age school, with students aged from 3 to 19 years, for pupils with complex needs, profound and severe learning difficulties, and physical and sensory impairments. The school has been rated outstanding in all areas at its most recent Ofsted inspection, due to the ‘very effective’ teaching, ‘clear vision’ of the leadership team, and the ‘excellent progress’ made by the students. I was very impressed by all the work I saw and was interested to hear about the achievements of the students through their personalised learning programmes. The school itself has become a centre of excellence for its approach, and it’s great that we have such an excellent, and state of the art, facility in our community.