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Leaders Christmas message

Christmas will be shortly upon us again. For many, it’s a busy but joyous and thankful time, filled with family, friends, fun and festive magic.

Whilst it might seem that councils across the country ‘shut up shop’ over Christmas, there will be many council staff alongside countless other public sector workers including the NHS, the police and the fire and ambulance services, volunteers, who won’t have that extended break.

There are too many of these tremendously devoted people to mention here, but I’m incredibly grateful to ALL of them. Together they ensure that the most important of the many services we provide, continue to support us during Christmas.

I’d especially like to recognise the people who work with our vulnerable older residents. Carers, social workers, meals on wheels staff, district and community nurses who all ensure that people continue to receive the care and support they need in their homes. And then there are the many foster carers across the borough. What a fantastic and invaluable job they do, too.

Christmas is a time for friends and family, but it’s also about remembering those who may not have people around them. Please be a good neighbour over the coming weeks. If you know someone in your street or in your block who you think might be alone this Christmas, knock on their door and see if they’re okay. Spend some time with them, talk with them, check they’re warm enough and eating well. Feelings of isolation and loneliness are more prevalent at this time of year than you may think.

And, whilst a lot of talk is as always about whether or not we will have a white Christmas, I’d also like to thank all the people who help keep our roads safe, especially in adverse weather. Despite the advances in forecasting technology, our weather can always surprise us, so it’s good to know that we have people ready to drive gritters at immediate notice during the break.

Please, do your bit to help keep the roads safe this Christmas and ensure whoever’s driving to your gatherings and parties keeps within safe levels of drinking alcohol. It’s not worth the risk.

My first seven months as Leader of Hounslow Council have been truly inspiring, I’m very proud of our borough. There is tremendous community spirit throughout Hounslow. It’s especially heartening to hear about schemes like the Christmas Give a Gift appeal that Police in the borough have launched to ensure children in care are not forgotten about this Christmas. To donate a present, simply pick up a tagged ribbon from the ‘Give a Gift’ Christmas tree in the Treaty Centre, or email hounslowchristmastree@met.police.uk or click on the Met’s virtual Christmas tree.

Donations to Food Banks always increase in the borough at this time too. If you can buy a little extra in the last shopping trip before Christmas and donate, someone in the borough will get a little bit extra this year.

Hounslow Community FoodBox provides emergency food to local people in need.The service is for anybody in the community who cannot afford to feed themselves or their family. People often come to Hounslow Community Foodbox because they’ve lost their job or because of a change in their benefits. Sometimes things just go wrong and people need a little help to get back up and running.

To donate food or other essential items to FoodBox, please contact them at info@hounslowfoodbox.org.uk or on 07718 263 614 or 07850 402 419 to arrange a suitable time to drop off your donation at: Hounslow Community FoodBox, Brickfield Community Centre, Brickfield Close, Brentford TW8 8JN

Which just leaves me, together with my deputy leader Cllr Amrit Mann, and fellow councillors, to wish you all a most enjoyable Christmas and peaceful new year.

I hope that wherever you are spending Christmas, and whoever you are with, you have a good time.

And I wish you a happy and healthy 2015.

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