Christmas message by Coun Susannah Barker-Milan, chairman of North Kesteven District Council - Ensuring we look after each other
On top of the challenges of 2020, with all that this latest year has continued to throw 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.
This year we are especially grateful to the teams who continue to lead such a wonderful vaccination and booster programme and to the North Kesteven community for the exceptional level of take-up locally, which shows high levels of consideration and protection of those around us. At the latest reckoning North Kesteven ranked second of all 315 council areas in England for first dose uptake among the eligible population and nineth for second doses. For those aged 18 to 34 we are the nation’s best performing area across both doses and were in the top 20 per cent for booster jabs.
From our health and social care workers, those working in food factories, in shops and delivering ongoing public services, through to those who have initiated and enabled 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.
With the need to continue to exercise caution in the face of the new Omicron covid variant, this Christmas will again be impacted 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 a 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 can only encourage you to do everything you can to both protect those around you, but also to provide for their broader wellbeing – physical, mental, spiritual and social – in every way you can.
I am always mindful – and ever grateful – of the emergency services, those working in hospitals and other health and social care settings, prisons, the police, the armed forces 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 chosen to promote 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 (safely and with consideration) some neighbourliness and kindnesses within your community.
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 continued to characterize life.
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. With warm wishes for a happy festive season.
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. A sense of this can be found at www.NKawards.org where you can nominate your own champion for deserved recognition in 2022.
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 2022. If we collectively follow Government guidelines, together, through resilience, positivity and pride, we will recover and re-build our District of Flourishing Communities.
With warm wishes for a happy festive season. Please stay safe and follow government guidelines.