COVID-19: This Leave-voting town has bigger problems than Cummings’ departure

What’s happening behind the famous front door in Downing Street may be captivating Westminster, but behind the front doors of Bolsover people just don’t have time for it.

The former mining area in north Derbyshire backed Brexit in 2016 and then turned blue in the election last December – having previously been one of the safest Labour seats in the country.

Whether the architect of Brexit and that election win, Dominic Cummings, has a job or not matters very little when you are worried about putting food on the table or the health of your family.

The Freedom charity in the town runs a food bank and support services for people who find themselves in difficult situations.

Mark North who runs the charity told Sky News that dealing with the fallout from the pandemic is his overriding priority.

He said: “We have had a number of our clients who have taken their own lives, mental health is the biggest concern I have right now.

“The long term damage being done is real and it’s storing up big problems for a town like ours for the future.

“The only issue with Dominic Cummings that caused any interest around here is when he drove to Durham.

“In terms of priorities and people’s lists of priorities, Dominic Cummings and his job situation wouldn’t even make the list.

“The conversations we have with people are about surviving day to day, its certainly not about Brexit anymore.”

At Bolsover Boxing club, owner Gavin Downs told Sky News he is just desperate for his gym to be able to reopen when England’s latest lockdown is due to end in early December.

“That’s what people are bothered about now, we’re in a fight to keep the doors open,” he said.

“Westminster, what’s happening with Boris, and all that just isn’t something I take much notice of.”

He was sweeping the floor of his club and dusting away the first cobwebs that have now been spun around the metal frame above his boxing ring.

He added: “There’s only one thing that’s floored us and it’s the pandemic, I can’t remember the last time I had a conversation with someone and Brexit came up.”

Just outside Bolsover, Samantha Hill runs a tea room next to the garden centre in Glapwell. Currently she’s just operating as a takeaway and hoping just to break even each week.

She said: “Life at the minute is tough for a lot of people so I don’t think people are that bothered about what’s going off up there (Westminster) more how that filters through to their daily lives and how it effects them.”

The government’s much promised levelling up agenda for areas far from London needs to start delivering results for towns like Bolsover.

They are done with Brexit. That fight seems along time ago.

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