Follow the leader: Wakefield Council leader Denise Jeffery reflects on the year and sense Christmas wishes to district's families
In her latest column for the Express, Wakefield Council leader Denise Jeffery offers her thanks to the district's key workers and offers advice to people celebrating Christmas.
It has been the most challenging of years, as we have all felt the impact of COVID-19 on our lives.
Christmas will be different this year as large celebrations and gatherings that are normally part of the celebrations, can’t be held.
Cases of the virus have decreased from 161.1 to 153.9 positive cases per 1000,000, but the rate of decline has slowed, so it’s more important than ever that we continue to follow the latest rules to avoid the infection rate rising again, take some pressure of our local NHS services and keep ourselves and others safe.
As I look back over 2020, I am hugely impressed by how we have all come together to support people in our district. It has been the worst of years, but it’s brought out the best in so many people.
A big ‘thank you’ to everyone who has been amazing in providing support and delivering services.
Workers, whether from the NHS, the Council, private sector, or business organisations – both large and small – have given tremendous service to this district. Everyone’s efforts have contributed to managing through this incredibly difficult period and together you have all made a real difference to our residents. Thank you for all your hard work.
Many thanks to all the volunteers and neighbours who have provided support to others in many ways including through our community hubs, as well as the many individual acts of kindness to look out for older residents and those who are vulnerable.
My Council will always do what’s right to support you and our local businesses. We are continuing to support vulnerable people as we all deal with the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
We have been here to support you by putting money into food banks, investing in parks, providing funding to flood victims and support to businesses affected by the pandemic.
We have launched a scheme to gift donated IT equipment to children in the district who need support to learn from home – which I’m very proud of. Our nine community hubs are working well. We have also offered a range of advice including how to access financial support, and help with employment through our Step-Up programme.
I am also pleased that preparations are underway to delivery free meals to children through the school holidays – and thank you to the business and communities who supported children and their families during October half term.
Unfortunately, many families will be without loved ones this Christmas. That is why we must continue to follow latest guidance, to keep those close to us safe at Christmas.
It is essential that we all do our utmost to protect health services and save lives. So please stick to the government rules this Christmas.
The advice has recently changed so that people can meet in bubbles of up to three households only on 25 December. You can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces.
For all the details see: https://www.wakefield.gov.uk/about-the-council/coronavirus-information/staying-safe/staying-safe-at-christmasWe must also all continue to follow the latest Tier 3 government guidance for our district and remember the importance of regular hand washing, keeping our distance of others not in our household and getting tested if you have symptoms.
To find out more about Tier 3 restrictions visit www.wakefield.gov.uk/about-the-council/coronavirus-information We are still here to support people over Christmas.
Staff will be working throughout the holidays to ensure our residents, who need care at home, in residential care or children’s social work, continue to receive the support they need over the holiday season.
For details of our services over Christmas see: http://bit.ly/3npKXyZI wish everyone a Merry Christmas. And with vaccine rolling out in 2021, I hope we will all be able to look forward to a more normal life at some stage next year.