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Christmas message from council leader

Nick Rushton praises day-to-day efforts of social care staff and key workers

Nick Rushton
What a year this has been. A truly awful time for our residents, communities and our neighbours - local and global.  It has been a shared crisis.
Even now - we're facing a Christmas of uncertainty and, for some, loneliness. Many have lost loved ones this year to COVID and other illnesses, and it is a season to remember all those who aren't around the table as usual.
But as I think about the past few months, I'm filled with gratitude and hope. I remember the day-to-day efforts of our social care staff and key workers.  I recall those who, while the country went into a swift and silent lockdown in March,  continued to run schools, learning programmes and childcare.

I thank our community and voluntary organisations who stepped up to coordinate the efforts of those willing to help. An army of volunteers who were quick to support and protect those shielding over those long months. Some charities struggled to stay afloat without their usual income streams, and we're pleased to have supported more than 160 voluntary groups to keep going.

And as the tills ring up the final Christmas shopping, we spare a thought for those whose doors must stay shut.

We know how important local businesses are to our communities and it's one of the reasons that last week we launched our grants for rural pubs - match funding the government's own funding of £1000.
As for a new year message - it's hard to look beyond the current situation. But we must.

We've been tested this year but it has shown us the value of communities, the importance of our local economy, the significance of our health and care workforce, and the resilience of our residents.
In 2021, we will support the NHS to roll out the COVID vaccine locally and we will rebuild the quality of life we enjoy in Leicestershire. We'll see families and neighbours reconnect. We'll see businesses bounce back and adapt - boosting jobs and skills for the future.
For now, I wish all those who are able to take a break over Christmas some peace and rest, and I look forward, with optimism, to the new year.


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