During my election I said I wanted to put Frankley on the map. I certainly didn’t expect to be doing it like this! Last Wednesday it was announced that the South African Variant of Covid-19 had been found in our ward and urgent action was required to trace it’s origin, under the umbrella of ‘Operation Eagle.’
In the first 24 hours our community stepped up to the task with demand so high that the Longbridge testing site had to close an hour early due to running out of test kits. I think this is testament to just how brilliant people in this part of Birmingham are and I cannot tell you how incredibly proud I am of everyone. However, we must NOT get complacent and we need to keep the momentum going, as everyone has a responsibility to get tested as soon as possible.
On Friday 5th February I chaired the official operation briefing online, alongside Dr Justin Varney, Cllr Hamilton, Gary Sambrook MP and Councillors from the neighbouring Birmingham and Bromsgrove wards. The same day a mobile testing centre was setup at the Hollymoor Community Centre for collection (8am-6pm) and drop off (8am-5pm) and on Saturday a drive through / walk in site was setup at the Empire Cinema in Great Park (8am-4pm).
Cllr Simon Morrall (Frankley Great Park Ward) Said
“The feedback from residents has been really positive and everyone has said the process has been incredibly efficient with the staff being really helpful. We are now rolling out door to door testing this week but residents shouldn’t wait, they should visit a local testing site if they are able to and remember to follow government guidelines at all times (Hands, Face, Space).
Gary Sambrook MP (Birmingham Northfield) supported Cllr Morrall’s comments saying:
“I want to thank everyone who has stepped forward and got a test over the past week and a special thank you to all those involved in organising the response. From Birmingham City Council to local Cllrs and testing staff. If you live in the affected area and have not already got a test, please go and get one as soon as possible. It is vital to combat this new variant. This has been a huge effort, and will make a significant difference to breaking the chain of transmission.”
Last week we heard the sad news that Sir Cpt Tom Moore had passed away from Covid-19. I was absolutely gutted about this and like many of you, I hate to read about so much loss of life due to this virus! In an age where some (sadly) question what “patriotism” is, I feel Sir Capt. Tom encapsulated it beautifully. Because it doesn’t matter what your background was – seeing a 100 year old war veteran raise millions for the NHS by completing 100 laps, on a Zimmer frame, around his garden – made us all feel incredibly patriotic and proud of this country last year!
So I ask everyone in Frankley, Hollymoor, Great Park and Northfield to play your patriotic role this week! Please don’t delay, walk or drive to a local testing site ASAP to get yourself a test. Finally, please, please, check up on one other, make some phone calls, remain in good spirits and don’t panic! We will beat this virus and we can all look forward to an amazing Summer with the England Football team bringing back the UEFA European Championship Cup! Come on, England!”
You can watch the Full Operation Briefing here: