Leader of the council, Cllr Stephen George, talks about changes to how we vote in elections, and the cold weather in this week’s blog.
We’ve recently launched our campaign to alert local people to the national changes to voting at elections, which will require you to provide photo ID when you go to the polls.
Although the elections are not until May, we have been very proactive in promoting this, as we want to make sure everyone has enough time to understand these national changes – we know how important it is that people can have their say at the ballot box.
If you do not bring along one of the accepted forms of photo ID (such as a passport, driving license or bus pass) on polling day you will not be allowed to vote in person at a polling station. If you do not have one of the forms of photo ID you will be able to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate. This will be an A4 paper document displaying your name, photograph, date of issue, issuing local authority, a unique reference number and a recommended renewal date.
Please read more about it in our press release which has a lot of detail and will answer any questions you may have.
Hopefully by the time the polls open in May, we will be enjoying slightly warmer weather than we are now. While the hoar frost is beautiful to look at, especially first thing in the morning, I hope everyone is being careful when travelling. Thank you to the gritting teams who have been out in the small hours, making sure the main roads are safe for drivers in the icy conditions. I also want to thank our snow wardens, who are volunteers who make sure community and residential pathways are gritted, and our parks team for keeping our public parks safe too.
If you are struggling to stay warm in this weather, please use our warm hubs. These are local public spaces where you can keep warm, access free wi-fi and take part in free activities. These spaces are open to everyone and you can view a map of the locations on the One Southend website.
Because of the freezing temperatures and risks to health and wellbeing, we have enacted the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol for people who are sleeping rough in Southend. If you see someone sleeping rough, please visit www.streetlink.org.uk and log a report with as much information about the person and their location as possible. This will help our outreach workers get to all those who need our help.
If you need help or see someone that needs help, do not be afraid to contact the council as that is what we are here for, to ensure that everyone has the ability to stay warm in these difficult times.