Coun Peter Box’s Follow the Leader column: Giving thanks to those working at Christmas

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With Christmas almost here many people are probably looking forward to the festivities and a few days off.

However, across the district, hundreds of people will still be working or volunteering their time.

There are probably many more who will be continuing to care for loved ones this Christmas, just like they do all year round.

I would like to use my last column of 2017 to acknowledge those efforts, which make sure that essential services, as well as care and support, continue to be available to the people who need them.

Thankfully our emergency services never stop.

We owe thanks and gratitude to these people for the courage, commitment and dedication they show in carrying out their duties.

Police officers, fire and rescue teams and paramedics will all still be there if needed, and our hospitals will continue to care for those in need of medical attention.

As Leader and a local councillor, I get out and about in our communities and have seen first-hand the amazing work done by charities and volunteer organisations. They play such an important role in supporting people, particularly at times like Christmas.

Across the district we have a fantastic network, delivered mainly by amazing volunteers, who offer help to a wide range of people, including victims of domestic abuse, the homeless and the elderly.

You can find out more about the support available this Christmas at www.connectingcare.org

I’d also like to mention some of my council colleagues, who will be keeping essential council services open between Christmas and New Year. Our key priority will be to protect vulnerable people, which includes our home care, residential care and children’s social work services.

We also need to make sure you can still get in touch with us and that we can respond if there is an emergency or bad weather.

This means our contact centre and emergency response teams will be available, including our gritting teams who have already had a very busy December!

And so, to everyone working, volunteering or caring for others this Christmas your efforts are greatly appreciated and I am sure that many people reading this column will join me in saying a very big thank you!

If anyone does have some spare time to call in on a neighbour who may be on their own during the festive period, please try and do so – it might make a real difference to someone.

Finally, as 2017 draws to close I would like to wish you and your families a very merry and peaceful Christmas and a happy new year.