Councillors’ update: COVID-19 Enhanced Response Area

Local residents have been in touch with Whalley Range Labour councillors Aftab Razaq, Angeliki Stogia and Muqaddasah Bano, after the Government announced that the whole of Greater Manchester (including Whalley Range) is to be designated as an Enhanced Response Area (ERA). This has happened because COVID-19 cases are increasing locally, probably due to the Delta variant of concern which is thought to spread 40% more easily than previous strains.

You can find more information on the Council website here, and the Councillors encourage everyone in Whalley Range to follow some simple guidelines:

  • Take extra care and meet people outside, rather than inside, wherever possible.
  • Follow all the rules around social distancing, face coverings, washing hands, wiping surfaces, and keeping windows open.
  • Take the vaccination when offered (if you have any questions please talk to your GP, who will want to help).
  • Do the free twice-weekly testing sessions (these are the lateral flow kits that are for people who do not have Covid symptoms available free at pharmacies). This is because we know that 1 in 3 people can have the virus without ever showing any sign of it. Then, please record your results and if it is positive, please book a PCR test immediately to confirm the result.
  • Please take the help and support the Council can offer while you self-isolate. There is no stigma in catching the virus or being a contact. 

However the Councillors stress that this is not another lockdown. Manchester remains open for business with shops, hotels, bars and restaurants open to visitors in line with the Government’s easing of restrictions on 17 May.

Whalley Range – local vaccination centres update

Angeliki and Bano with some of the Everest team

As we reported two weeks ago, Whalley Range is lucky to have two neighbourhood centres administering the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme. On Monday, Whalley Range Labour candidate Muqaddasah Bano visited Everest Pharmacy on Withington Road along with Councillors Aftab Razaq and Angeliki Stogia, where they met Mr Waqqass Sheikh and his staff who are hard at work delivering the service, seven days a week.

As Waqqass pointed out, anyone who has received an NHS letter or a message from their GP to say that they are now eligible for the vaccine, can make an appointment at one of these local centres – it’s not necessary to travel across the city to another venue. He says that currently Everest have plenty of capacity, and it’s often possible to get an appointment at short notice.

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Vaccine rollout gets underway in Whalley Range

Two pharmacy-based community vaccination centres are opening shortly in Whalley Range ward and will soon start administering Covid-19 vaccines in partnership with the NHS rollout.

Kapoor Pharmacy Services have teamed up with Whalley Range Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club to create a bespoke temporary facility at the clubhouse at 135 Kingsbrook Road.

Councillors Aftab Razaq and Angeliki Stogia visited the centre this afternoon to check how the fitout work was progressing. Aftab says “It’s quite a transformation – the team here have managed to create a clean, safe medical environment inside the clubhouse in just a short period of time”. Angeliki adds “Whalley Range is lucky to have not one but two local centres opening in our ward – it will really help older residents who don’t have cars or have understandable concerns about using public transport, as there may well be a vaccination centre within a short walk of their home”.

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Clean Air Day – what’s the plan?

College Road near Manley Park Junior School this morning

Today (8 October) is International Clean Air Day, and local schools Manley Park Infants on York Avenue, Manley Park Juniors on College Road, and Our Lady’s Primary on Whalley Road are marking the occasion with temporary road closures at the start and end of the school day. They have three main aims:

  • raising awareness for pupils and parents of the value of active travel and physical exercise
  • involving pupils, teachers and parents in a symbolic day of action
  • measuring changes in air quality to demonstrate the health benefit of reducing traffic at drop-off and pick-up times

Assia Shah (Whalley Range Labour candidate in May 2021) says “86% of UK children breath toxic air – this problem shortens lives. We all have a duty to take action”. Meanwhile Clean Air Greater Manchester have drafted a Clean Air Plan for the region, and they want to know what you think – the details and a link to a short questionnaire are here.

Going walkabout in Whalley Range

Mary joins Whalley Range residents on the ‘benches walkabout’

Thursday (October 1st) was International Older People’s Day – to celebrate the occasion Age-Friendly Whalley Range organised a (socially distanced) walkabout, visiting some of the age-friendly benches in Whalley Range and providing an opportunity for some of our less mobile older residents to meet others at their nearest bench for a quick chat.

Councillor Mary Watson joined the walkers – she says “We had such a good time – so lovely to see each other, the first time we’ve been able to (other than on screens) since the lockdown started in March!”. She adds “From the calls that Aftab, Angeliki and I have received in the last few months we know that that the Covid risks and restrictions on movement and socialising have disproportionately affected older people in the area, especially those living on their own. We all need to carry on looking out for and supporting our neighbours”.

More information about Age-Friendly Whalley Range is here, or you can call 0161 881 3744 or email agefriendlywhalleyrange@gmail.com.