On Thursday millions of us across the country will celebrate the first of two bank holidays to mark the Platinum Jubilee celebrations – an event that we’ll never see again. The Queen’s seventy years of remarkable service must be recognised but as we enjoy our time away from the desk let’s not forget the efforts being put in by councils across the United Kingdom that are making the celebrations possible and the workers who are foregoing their bank holidays so that we can enjoy ours.
On past jubilee and royal wedding days, communities have come together to hold street parties and events but this week promises to bigger and better than anything we’ve seen before. To make that happen the Great British weather will have to play its part but at the time of writing the forecasts look to be on the side of event organisers. For the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 councils approved 9,500 street closures for parties and events. This week the LGA estimates that councils will have approved 16,000 street closures. Following the restrictions placed on society to combat Covid, it’s clear that people the length and breadth of the country are itching to get together again and celebrate in style.
Each one of those street closure permissions has been administered by a council somewhere and what’s more, the fees for processing have been waived. Frequently it’s local councillors who have been at the forefront of helping with the arrangements for the events to mark the occasion, working with their communities to put smiles on faces and create memories that will never be forgotten.
From Parish Councils through to Districts, Boroughs, Unitaries and Counties, all tiers of local government have been doing their bit to make this weekend’s celebrations possible. Most councils have set aside some funding for grants to community groups so that events and street parties can be held. Council officers have been on hand to offer advice to volunteer organisers so that events are run safely, and unforeseen circumstances can be planned for.
Cities, towns and villages from Lands’ End to John O’Groats are bedecked with red, white and blue bunting or indeed the jubilee purple. Much of this has been taken care of by local authorities who have been able to ensure that the decorations are funded and that they are hung safely and securely.
Over the four-day weekend teams of refuse collectors and street cleansing operatives will be hard at work making sure that and rubbish and debris is cleared away and that public spaces are spik and span the following morning. These teams can’t be thanked enough and yet all too often they are forgotten when these celebrations are taking place.
So while we’re enjoying our long bank holiday weekend and celebrating Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee let’s take a moment to think about all the work that our local council staff and councillors are putting into making all this happen. And if you’re one of those council workers digging in over the weekend to support your community, make sure you give yourself a moment to smile and celebrate. You’ve earned it!