Column by the leader of Stroud District Council, Doina Cornell.

I studied history at university and was always fascinated by the big events of our past which shaped the world and mark people personally for ever. As well as the coronavirus, we will also remember these days for how the death of George Floyd inspired protests and debate around the world. Last week we heard a moving statement at our Strategy and Resources Committee meeting from a young woman about her personal experiences of racism in our district.

Coming from an immigrant background, I’ve experienced discrimination myself and know how it can creep into all sorts of settings. So beyond the street protests, now is the time for all of us to take a good look at ourselves and our council is no exception. How do we ensure we listen to the voices and concerns of our BAME community? A resident said to me in ten years time she doesn’t want her children to still be experiencing racism and having to protest again. It is up to all of us to make this sure this doesn’t happen.

On Thursday, June 25 the community services & licensing committee met and decided on a new street trading policy, which is timely considering this week government made announcements how cafes, restaurants and pubs can start to safely open. This may need extra space outside and we are waiting for new guidance on how to make this easier. The 25th was also the first formal meeting of Leadership Gloucestershire bringing together local councils, health, police and crime commissioner and the LEP – county and district leaders have held weekly teleconferences all through this crisis, and we’ve seen good collaboration on the shared issues we’ve faced.

Earlier in the day we also hosted a forum for the towns in our district.

Let’s hope this closer collaboration is another lasting legacy of the crisis.