2020 has been one of the the most difficult years that I can remember. We have seen our communities and our lives changed in so many ways by the horrendous coronavirus pandemic.
I want to start by sending my sincere thanks to every key worker around our area and the country. From our NHS and social care workers, to the police and fire services and those in our supermarkets and shops; they have kept us safe and kept us going through these incredibly challenging times. In the face of an unprecedented global pandemic our key workers have overcome every challenge thrown their way and helped to keep us all as safe as possible. There are few words that would adequately express my gratitude.
This year has also brought many instances of moving and inspirational work in our communities. During the first lockdown, new and existing volunteering groups sprung up to provide help to neighbours and friends and co-ordinated on Facebook, WhatsApp and every other method they could find. We have seen the true meaning of community spirit, and I was proud to do my bit and get out delivering food parcels to people shielding at home. I’d like to pay particular tribute to the work of Southern Brooks Community Partnership, who have worked tirelessly to co-ordinate volunteer efforts across South Gloucestershire and I was pleased that I was able to do some work with them.
This Christmas will be very different to what we’re used to. When our instinct is to get together with family and friends, we are severely limited in our ability to do so. I had so wished that we wouldn’t be in this position but we have to bear down on this virus by adhering to the guidance to save lives and ultimately defeat it. Next year I hope that we will be able to have a normal Christmas, but this year we can’t let our guard down.
I express my deepest sympathies to the families of those who have lost loved ones this year. My heart goes out to them and they are in my thoughts and prayers.
With vaccines being rapidly rolled out across the country there is genuine cause for optimism that life can soon get back to something approaching normal. Let’s carry that optimism in this festive season, keep looking out for one another and have as merry and safe a Christmas as we can.
Image © UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor