In her Christmas message, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Cathy Mason has thanked all those who devote their time to working with charitable, voluntary and community organisations across the district.
Acknowledging that their work had been more important than ever over the past 20 months, Councillor Mason said it had been a privilege to meet many of them as part of her work as Chairperson.
She said: “It has been a pleasure to meet with a number of local charities and community organisations, some of whom we work with in partnership as a Council. There are some truly inspirational individuals.
“Whether it’s supporting our young people, reducing isolation in our communities, or providing vital new facilities, there is a warm, generous and compassionate spirit evident in many of the people I meet across the district.
“Thank you to everyone who supported my foodbank appeal and other charity appeals across the district. I am aware there is a continuing need to support the many families and individuals facing hardship, not just at Christmas but, all year round.
“I have also had the honour of visiting many of our local businesses this year and recognise the true entrepreneurial spirit evident within the business community across our district. Throughout 2021 I have continued to promote the ‘Make it Local’ message to highlight the unique business offering the district boasts.
“The Council’s Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Plan continues to deliver financial support to a range of businesses, and I would encourage you all to continue to visit, to eat and to shop safely in our district.
“Christmas is a wonderful time of year, offering the chance to catch up with friends, loved ones and our families. For me, it is also a time of reflection. It is important to reflect upon those who are less fortunate around us — our neighbours, the elderly, the sick or vulnerable who perhaps are spending the festive period alone or in hardship.
“We remember those too with no home to go to, and consider the difficulties experienced by refugees living in our district who come here for the prospect of peace and a better life. I ask you to extend the spirit of Christmas beyond your own home and into the lives of those who may need assistance or kindness in the coming weeks.
“The past year has been another challenge for us all and it is more important than ever that we continue to follow the public health guidance and help keep our loved ones and communities safe. I would like to extend my gratitude to those who will be working over the Christmas holiday period, particularly those in our emergency services and hospitals, as well as to those who give their time to help the homeless over the festive season. Please continue to support them by making sure you follow all Public Health Agency guidelines and recommendations.
“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our social and personal wellbeing, and I will continue to work collaboratively with our partners to ensure our residents know there is help and support available to them if they need to talk to someone.
“As we all look forward to the start of a new year, on behalf of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council I would like to wish each and every one of you a joyful and peaceful Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year.”