Christmas Message from Leader of South Gloucestershire Council Cllr Toby Savage

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I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone in South Gloucestershire a very happy Christmas and New Year.

Sadly, things aren’t back to normal as we’d wished due to the ongoing pandemic and the new Omicron variant. Whilst hopefully having a merrier Christmas than last year, we do need to be careful to limit social contact as much as we can, let in fresh air, test before visiting those who are most vulnerable to Covid, and of course get vaccinated as soon as possible.

I would like to thank everyone in South Gloucestershire for their fortitude and resilience, and especially for continuing to follow the guidance around Covid-19. Your efforts have helped control the disease, and in turn saved lives and protected the NHS and it’s now more important than ever that we keep it up.

I also thank South Gloucestershire Council staff for their hard work throughout the year keeping our services running and caring for the most vulnerable in our communities. Once again, Council employees have also been making personal donations and volunteering to help give our care leavers a special Christmas. We can’t hold an in-person Christmas dinner for the young people this year due to the restrictions, but thanks to the generosity of staff we have been able to put together superb Christmas Day packs including Christmas food, entertainment gift cards and cinema vouchers for them, so that they are able to enjoy the day and receive presents in a way that other people their age might do. Hopefully we’ll be back with an in-person event again next year.

The many excellent community and voluntary groups across South Gloucestershire also deserve praise for their invaluable work to support people in our area. Even during the most challenging times of the pandemic, we’ve witnessed such fantastic community spirit and it has been heart-warming to see how volunteers and organisations have worked together to meet the needs of residents.

I hope that everyone has a very happy festive period and I wish you all the very best for 2022. This is a time to enjoy being with family and friends, albeit as safely as you can, but please also spare a thought for those who are on their own or are struggling and may benefit from a quick call or kind gesture.