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

As the government announces a new national lockdown, these next few weeks will be tough for all of us, so I hope you can access whatever help you need to get you through this.

As ever, we have a network of local community groups ready to help anyone is the district who needs support. We’ve updated our information pages on the council website so you can find information:

The new restrictions mean that the Pulse, Stratford Park Leisure Centre and the Museum in the Park will be closed from Thursday. Site visits, including visits to people’s homes, and working remotely will continue following Covid-secure rules. Outdoor playgrounds will remain open. Pyke Quarry Household Recycling Centre can remain open (this is operated by Gloucestershire County Council).

You’ll also see our new Community Protection officers out and about, who’ll be on hand with face coverings and hand gel to give away, offer tips on social distancing and work with retailers to help them be Covid secure.

Businesses forced to close due to restrictions will be eligible for a grant of up to £3,000 a month and there will also be some extra funding available for one-off payments to enable us to support businesses more broadly.

We would normally have Remembrance Sunday events this weekend but in view of the current restrictions gatherings of people will not be possible. I hope to be able to lay my wreath in Dursley.

Some have likened this current pandemic to a war, and I can see the parallels – people have lost loved ones, and we have seen in our communities great acts of generosity and courage. I will be remembering those who have served their country as key workers and on frontline services. To them we will be forever grateful.