This week was very exciting for me, as my daughter Margot turned one. The first year has flown by, and it has been amazing to watch her grow and develop. She he has brought so much happiness to our family, always so happy, funny & bright. We are so lucky to have Margot in our lives, and I look forward to watching her continue to grow.
As part of her birthday we enjoyed a delicious family lunch at the Jolly Tar in Hannington, taking advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
The scheme, which gives diners 50% off meals up to £10 per person, is open until the end of August. There is no sign-up or voucher required, the discount is automatically added to your bill – so it couldn’t be more simple! I really would encourage people to take advantage of this very generous offer and support their local pubs, restaurants and cafes as they work to meet the challenged posed by the COVID outbreak. 1.4m hospitality workers were furloughed, the highest proportion of any sector, so it’s important we support them as we reopen the economy.
I have been very pleased with how well the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been received, not just by the public who are enjoying the cheaper meals, but also by the restaurants, pubs, cafes who have signed up to the scheme. The feedback I have heard suggests there has been a real boom for those taking part in the scheme, and it is encouraging customer confidence, especially for those who have been shielding for so long.
Like many people, I was horrified to see the tragic events unfold in Beirut following a devastating explosion. It was yet another setback for a country that has faced many challenges in recent years, including a major economic crisis and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, as well as hosting over 1.5 million refugees from the war in neighbouring Syria.
The blast was so powerful it could be felt 150 miles away in Cyprus, leaving unimaginable damage to buildings and infrastructure - it is reported that 50% of buildings in Beirut have been damaged and 300,000 people have been made homeless.
It is times like this that the international community must come together and offer their support as Lebanon begins to rebuild. I was very pleased to see the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab act swiftly to offer the UK’s assistance.
UK search and rescue experts with specially trained dogs to find people who may still be trapped were immediately offered, as well as up to £5 million in emergency humanitarian funding to help people made homeless by the disaster.
The Lebanese Armed Forces, who are central to the Government of Lebanon’s response, have also been offered enhanced support from the UK, including tailored medical help, strategic air transport assistance, and engineering and communications support.
A UK Emergency Medical Team advance clinical advisory team has also been offered, who could provide initial assessment and coordination with search and rescue teams.
It will be a very long road to recovery for Beirut, and my thoughts are very much with those who have been affected.