Thursday, 21 December 2017

Christmas

This year, as in previous years, I enlisted the help of local primary schools in the area to design my Christmas card. As always, I was very impressed with the many talented artists we have in this part of Cornwall. The overall winner was 9 year old Harrison Jones, from St Meriadoc C of E Academy. His design features a festive take on Carn Brea castle.
 
At this time of year we should acknowledge the extra work we create for the Royal Mail with many millions of extra items of post to process in just a few short weeks in December and our postmen go out in the worst weather that a Cornish winter can throw at them in order to make sure that families and friends keep in touch and receive their Christmas cards on time.

 Last weekend, I attended Redruth Revival’s Old Tyme Christmas event. It was very well attended. The choir sang, and encouraged everyone to sing along. It was good to see so many market stalls as well, selling local produce.

I always find that the most striking thing about Christmas and Christmas spirit is the generosity of local people. Last week, I visited Don Gardner and his team of dedicated volunteers at the food bank. The food bank offers a range of services, and a representative from my office spends time there every week to help people with any issues that they may want to discuss, including housing, benefits and support getting back into work. Additionally, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Citizens Advice Bureau are both represented at the food bank.

Don and his team are working incredibly hard to ensure that local people who are struggling financially are able to enjoy a family Christmas dinner. Christmas brings our communities together, and demonstrates the strength and resilience of our society.

Elsewhere, I was interested to hear about Pool Academy’s project in which students started their own food bank to help the local community. A Year 9 citizenship group has been learning about local charities during the lead-up to Christmas, and how difficult the festive season can be for some people.
 
I have been concerned in the last few days to hear of proposed cuts to the Citizens Advice Bureau here in Cornwall. In Cornwall Council’s budget, it has proposed to cut funding to the Citizens Advice Bureau service by more than half. I oppose such a move, and agree with my conservative colleagues on the council that the decision should be revised and money should be re-allocated from less essential projects or indeed the reserves that the Council has put aside for a rainy day.

2017 has been a turbulent year in British politics. As Parliament prepares to close for Christmas, it is a chance to take stock.  I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year. 

 

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