A festive message from Cllr Stephen George, leader of Southend-on-Sea City Council as he talks about some of the festivities he’s enjoyed over the past few weeks and the true meaning of Christmas.
While there is no doubt that Christmas is a religious Christian holiday, to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, it is also time to think about the happiness and welfare of others. I don’t know about you, but I feel the little things we did for one another during the pandemic, has fallen by the wayside slightly as life has returned to normal.
Welfare checks on elderly neighbours, calls to lonely relatives, making sure new parents are not too overwhelmed with their sudden parental responsibility, and just the simple question of; are you ok? Some struggle over the festive period for a variety of different and personal reasons and I think there is no better time than now for reaching out and making sure they are ok – the people you love, live near, or know are alone.
I’ve been very lucky in my role as leader to take part in several heartfelt community events and initiatives this past week or so. There’s been the mayor’s carol service, seeing the fantastic results of the Toy Drive, and hearing about how the council are working closely with charity partners to provide cost-of-living crisis support, I am always amazed at how well our community comes together to support one another and impressed by the dedication of council workers on the frontline to provide those services to our residents.
Over Christmas that hard work continues, albeit in a slightly different manner than during normal days, after all, our staff need a break too! There will be on-call emergency services in place for social care for example, but please make sure you know what our revised bin collection times are, and check the opening times of council-run amenities, including household waste and recycling centres and the Civic reception.
We hope that eligible families have managed to take advantage of the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) scheme which is taking place over Christmas and we truly hope that the free festive parking in council-owned car parks across the City on Sundays in December has inspired people to shop locally.
Thank you to all of the businesses who have taken part in the Best Festive Business competition – your window displays look truly amazing and brighten up the City.
Finally, thank you to all our staff for all their hard work throuh what has been a very challenging time, it is very much appreciate. And thank you to you, our residents. Your comments, your involvement in events, and engagement on social media, makes our work worthwhile. Have a very merry Christmas, enjoy the festive period and I’ll see you next week for a 2022 round-up.