From teaching a 90-year-old woman how to use Skype and teaching total beginners through a screen, life has changed big time for one music teacher. Simon Probert, 45, lives in Tewkesbury but he teaches piano and keyboard all over Gloucestershire, including in Behall Infant School in Cheltenham for eight years. He started playing piano himself when he was just 8, but ended up reading political history at the Royal Holloway, University of London.
Almost a quarter of Gloucestershire's working age population have been furloughed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. According to GFirst LEP figures, the number of working 16 to 64-year-olds on the Government's Job Retention Scheme is 93,400 up to the end of July. That's 24.3 per cent of the county's Gloucestershire's working age population. Gloucestershire has a working age population of 384,356 people, and 93,400 of those were furloughed up to the end of July - an increase of 4,000 to the end of June and 17,000 to the end of May. Next week changes to the scheme will come into force meaning employers will have to pay 10 per cent of furloughed employees' salaries - rising to 20 per cent in October.
Throughout lockdown many families got a new addition to their family to help ride out the loneliness inflicted by the social exclusion. We were no different when we introduced Basil to our little family: a black kitten with a tuft of white under his chin, he's absolutely gorgeous. He joined our older cat, my first pet, Chewie who's four. But of course, new pets bring new responsibilities and getting him to the vet for his vaccinations and microchip was number one priority for us. Although we have Chewie, it's been a good while since we took him to the pet doctor, about this time last year for his boosters in fact.
Tewkesbury is one of England's favourite retirement hotspots, gaining an extra four pensioners a week in search of a new life. In the year ending in June 2019, Tewkesbury gained an extra 191 people aged 65 or older - one of the top 20 biggest net increases seen in England, according to the analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Over the same period, the pensioner population of Cheltenham grew by 177, the second highest net increase in the area. According to the ONS, the trend in migration for people of retirement age is away from major cities to rural and coastal areas.
Well into the 1960s the clip-clop of a horse drawn milk float followed by the rattle of bottles in the milkman, or milkwoman’s crate announced the arrival of a new day for many. When supermarkets came on the scene it seemed that the days of having your milk delivered were numbered. However, with present concerns about the environmental damage caused by plastics, along with the recent necessity of staying at home as much as possible, the future is looking decidedly bright for deliverers of our door-to-door full cream, semi-skimmed and skimmed pintas.