Mellor Brook Community Centre could reopen to its regular users as soon as 19th April:
On 22 February Prime Minister Boris Johnston announced his framework for the gradual easing of England’s lockdown restrictions starting on Monday 8 March. His aim is for all restrictions to be lifted by 21 June. Village and Community Halls will be able to re-open for certain Children’s activities on 12th April and for adults from 17 May contingent on:
the progress of vaccine roll-out
evidence of vaccine success
infection rates not risking a surge in hospitalisation
risk levels not changed by new variants of the virus
A stop-start year:
It has been nearly 12 months since we were instructed to stay at home and the Centre closed to all groups. Since then, the building has been used by St Leonard’s Primary School, Balderstone for overspill classes; in the autumn The Palatine Fiddlers, Cheryl’s Dance School and the Pilates group returned before new nationwide lockdown restrictions early in November required us to close the doors again. By the end of November the school had upgraded ventilation in its 2 central classrooms and were able to return to their Balderstone home. At this the committee decided this was a good time to effect improvements and I am pleased to report that both the main hall and the front (“Committee”) room have been redecorated.
Phased return of activities:
Taking our lead from Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), a national charity representing rural communities, we intend to structure a return to normal business around the “Roadmap” timeline recognising that dates for each stage of the Roadmap are subject to change if the specified indicators are not met:
29 March: OUTDOOR organised activities for children can take place e.g., Beavers, Brownies etc. OUTDOOR parent and child groups can meet with up to 15 attending, plus under-fives.
12 April: All usual activities (including sport) will be allowed for all children, regardless of circumstances. Toddlers Group, Cheryl’s Dance School, Beavers and Brownies can all return for INSIDE activities provided their numbers are restricted to a maximum of 6
17 May: All Centre activities will be permitted provided there are no more than 6 in a group. In the autumn, The Palatine Fiddlers split into 2 groups, meeting on separate nights, in order to comply with the “Rule of 6”. Activity organisers might consider this where they would otherwise have too many participants.
21 June: remaining restrictions will be lifted – subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme and a government review of social distancing measures. At this point we intend to start taking one-off bookings for parties and functions – before this date, numbers will be restricted to 6 maximum or to members of a maximum of 2 households.
We shall require all of our returning groups to sign a risk assessment document on their return if this is before June 21. The Centre management can assist group activity organisers in this.
Having been in lockdown for what feels like an eternity, it’s not surprising that many of us have lost motivation. Many of us feel distracted and lacklustre when it comes to work, leisure and the day-to-day. There’s no right way to feel or act at the moment as we’re all grappling with the loss of our everyday lives. If the best you can do is get out of bed then we salute you. If you feel you might like to pick up the threads again, please let us know. We would like to get a feel for what to expect and how best to make the Centre welcoming. If you don’t yet feel the time is right, please give us an indication of what it might take for your group to come back. We miss you!
Seamus Heffernan (Chair) volunteer management group,
read ACRE statement here
read government’s policy document on reopening here