I wanted to write and wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas. While there is no doubt 2021 has continued to present us all with similar challenges to the previous year, there are undoubtedly many things to be thankful for and huge improvements have been made.
We continue to live with the lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the new reality as we live to learn with the subsequent variants. As I enter my second year as your MP, my job has been made ever more gratifying by the way Montgomeryshire residents have responded to the extreme challenges which the pandemic has unleashed. We have been able to make remarkable progress in 2021 thanks to the sheer determination and resilience of residents and businesses across the constituency, alongside our vaccination programme – which is now on its third iteration.
I prefer to put this message together thinking of the reasons to be optimistic going into 2022. The vaccination rollout has been an incredible success across the UK and within Montgomeryshire, and the booster programme within Powys has so far had a brilliant take up. As of the time of writing, over 55% of the total adult population across the whole of Powys have received their booster and 63% of the population have therefore received their vaccination primary course. Since the booster programme was expanded this month to combat Omicron, an amazing 10,000 boosters were delivered across Powys last week. I am incredibly grateful to all immunisers, admin & facilities staff, booking hub staff, pharmacists, volunteers and Powys Teaching Health Board for their efforts over the past 12 months, and particularly for the dedication they have shown in responding to the challenge of ensuring every adult within Powys is offered a booster by the end of this year.
We know that it is vital that we all receive all courses of the vaccine - including the booster, which is estimated to give up to 80% protection against severe illness for the Omicron variant. Details of available booster appointments are on Powys Teaching Health Board’s website - pthb.nhs.wales/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccination/, and please do take up your invite to get the booster when you receive it!
2021 has also seen millions of pounds of UK Government funding allocated to Montgomeryshire, which will have a transformative effect on our economy for decades to come. Multi-million pound “Levelling-Up” funding has been approved for the restoration of a section of the Montgomery Canal, with the aim of reopening it to the national canal network and to open-up many new opportunities for Montgomeryshire’s economy. Just shy of three million pounds of Community Renewal Fund will also be allocated to various projects across Powys, which will focus on supporting skills and tackling climate change across the County. On top of this, further funding from the Mid Wales Growth Deal will be allocated in 2022. This funding isn’t just talk - this is real investment in our communities to bring tangible growth and investment to Montgomeryshire.
Finally, I would like to again wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. I look forward to working alongside you in 2022, and as ever please email email@example.com or call 01938 552315 if you want to discuss any issue.