Christmas Greetings from Coun Susannah Barker-Milan, chairman of North Kesteven District Council

At this time, as chairman of North Kesteven District Council, I look to extend festive greetings and the gratitude and appreciation of everyone at the council to those who continue to work through the holidays in support of our communities.

NKDC chairman Coun Susannah Barker-Milan EMN-201224-122619001

With all that this year has thrown at us, my first thought is to thank everyone for all that they have done – and continue to do – in keeping us safe, secure and shielded, supported, protected and well provided-for.

From our healthcare workers, those working in food factories in shops and those delivering ongoing public services, through to those who have initiated and enabled pop-up community Covid support groups or just reached out individually to

neighbours in need, I thank you.

I do this on behalf of members, officers and partners of the council, but also on behalf of the entire community of North Kesteven.

This Christmas will undoubtedly be very different for families, those living alone, the elderly and the vulnerable; but I have every confidence that through the ongoing dedication of the council and those working in support of our resilient communities we will all be well served in these challenging circumstances.

As manager of a specialist dementia care home I know all too well the pain of loss and I see and value every day the sacrifices that are made in the care of others. I am always mindful – and ever grateful – of the emergency services and armed forces, those working in hospitals and other healthcare settings, prisons, the police and caring professions and in this last year my mind has especially turned to those who are supporting those who are living in abusive relationships.

It is for this reason that I have nominated EDAN Lincs, the county’s domestic abuse service, as my charity of choice. This stands for Ending Domestic Abuse Now. This Christmas, I hope that those of who have safe, secure and stable home lives are able to consider and support those men, women and children who need refuge and support at this time. If you can, please give generously at https://justgiving.com/fundraising/nkdc-edanlincs

However we find ourselves marking Christmas, I hope that you enjoy a sense of the love, joy and peace which marks of this season of light across so many faiths and cultures. It is also my hope that you can find some small, spontaneous and sincere way to share some neighbourliness and kindnesses within your community – maybe by dropping next door with some home-baking or a children’s crafted card; decorating a tree in your street or initiating a community sing along, festive scarecrow challenge or themed dressing up day .. all with social distancing and great care.

In this way, my hope is that we can all spread a smile, some warmth and a sprinkling of Christmas spirit close to home, to end the year on a highpoint that reflects the community gestures that have characterised 2020 just as much as the coronavirus has.

So many people give so generously of their time and comforts in support of others and we especially thank everyone who contributes to the welfare of others in their neighbourhoods and communities, undertaking supportive tasks whether it be collecting groceries, clearing snow from paths or just a few minutes of conversation.

Good old-fashioned neighbourliness is a strength of life locally and one of the many things that makes North Kesteven such a wonderful place.

This was apparent in our recent celebration of the NK Community Champion Awards which showcased the motivation that drives so many in our District to give so selflessly, tirelessly and quietly in support of others; quite literally changing and saving lives.

We are so proud of all our communities and individuals who have exceptional determination to bring community spirit together, forming a solid foundation to life in our towns, villages, neighbourhoods, businesses, schools and homes. This

outstanding characteristic makes North Kesteven a delightful place to live, and is, I know, the motivation for us all to do what we need to do in support of loved ones and strangers in anticipation of a happier, healthier and more hope-filled 2021.

It is so important this Christmas that we all take a moment to stop and think of anyone we know in our street or wider community who may need extra support. Let’s all embolden the spirit of Christmas by helping each other now and generate positivity when moving forward into 2021.

With warm wishes for a happy festive season. Please stay safe. If we collectively follow Government guidelines, together, through resilience, positivity and pride, we will recover and re-build our District of Flourishing Communities.

Coun Susannah Barker-Milan

NKDC Chairman and Ward Member for North Hykeham Mill