It has been a lovely time for many of us over Christmas and at the beginning of 2022, particularly for those of us who were able to spend time with our family or friends. Of course, this is not an easy time for some of us and spending a lot of time with people can be a challenge in some settings and of course some of us find this time of year very hard. The impact of COVID has also made this a much more difficult time of year in a similar way to what took place last year, arguably much more challenging because we had anticipated a closure at about the 28th of December which then got absorbed by the Government. I am sure all of us will hope that next Christmas and New Year will be a meaningful return to normality for elements such as nightclubs, pubs, and restaurants and outdoor events such as football and sports. Tragically the deaths linked to COVID in the last two years is an impact that cannot be reversed and that feels very acute for many of us. It is vital that our communities will continue to respond to the calls from the health sector and credible calls from our government. At this time of year Councils are working extremely hard to provide links between the statements from the Government and the needs in our communities along with many other activities. These include the focus on keeping roads as safe as possible given the temperature and potential snow or extensive water sources and far more acute elements such as protecting children and indeed adults. Along with these important aspects the urban Councils are already dealing with the myriad of Christmas Trees that suddenly emerge between Christmas and New Year and will continue to emerge over the next few days. Along with the Councils that have been working hard there are many other public sector agencies that are kept very busy at this time of year and it is vital for us to find ways to applaud them for all they are doing that is very appreciative. The following are some examples I am aware of, it would be great if all of us can thank these and other agencies. Hopefully all of our local MPs will find ways to acknowledge the hard work that has happened over the last 10 days and perhaps some of them will be able to speak about it in Parliament after tomorrow so that the Government will also hear some of the themes.
A few days ago, I saw a tweet from Lynne Owens who was the leader of the Police in Surrey from 2012-2015 and she then became the Director-General of the National Crime Agency until October. She posted
In Christmas week just recognising this is my first festive period in 32 years not on duty or on call. It should feel more celebratory than it does – a mix of the implications of covid & a choice dictated by cancer I guess. Cancer free now though & thinking of those who aren’t
I had a conversation with a senior police officer in Sussex in the week before Christmas and it was clear that the experience of Police Officers is very similar at this time of year to the comments in twitter from Ms Owen. Indeed, one of my colleagues at work has a partner who is a police officer and their Christmas will have been very different to many of us for the same reason.
Another of my colleagues at work is married to someone who works in the care sector for vulnerable children and they have not had the same sort of Christmas period that many of us have enjoyed. Indeed, the care sector is another part of our communities that works very hard to enable their clients to celebrate Christmas and New Year. Sadly, when they return home, they are often so exhausted that it makes the Christmas or New Year celebrations very modest for them just as was the case expressed by Lynne Owens which in many cases happens every year. Along with the Police and Care agencies the Fire and Rescue Services and the Ambulance Services have been working incredibly hard and then the NHS which is vital for all of us. Our NHS is so important and over the last two years it has been facing so many additional challenges we clearly need to find ways of thanking them. I recall when we clapped for them on several Thursday evenings last year. We now need to find a much more significant way of endorsing the massive amount of work that they and the other public sector agencies have carried out on our behalf, both over Christmas and since COVID emerged.