Column by the deputy leader of Stroud District Council, Catherine Braun.

Plastic Free July is well underway – with lots of activities to raise awareness and promote a more sustainable use of resources. In my own ward, the Wotton Area Climate Action Network is hosting a Plastic Free Picnic at the weekend, and there are many other events right across the district. To find out more, visit Action on Plastic ( or Plastic Free July (

The change in Covid restrictions this week provides opportunities for further businesses to reopen and for summer events. We’re continuing to work with partners to promote the important public health messages - such as the advice to wear masks in crowded and enclosed spaces - and to encourage people to continue to meet outside where possible.

For businesses that have been affected by the restrictions, there was good news this week, with further grant funding of £1 million announced for Stroud District. This fourth round of Additional Restrictions Grant funding is expected to open very soon for applications - with hospitality and tourism, freelance and mobile businesses among the sectors encouraged to apply. (

Support for the high street was the main theme at the Market Towns Forum, which I attended last week to discuss ideas with the Town Councils for promoting tourism and projects to help local businesses. There are great ideas for visiting the district at

Finally, as we start the school summer holidays, it’s worth being aware that there is a funded programme of activities and support running during August to make sure children are entertained, active, educated, safe and fed. The Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) is open to families with children eligible for free school meals – for further details see