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Council Leader delivers Christmas message

Date Published: 18 December 2020
Cllr Hemsley face covering

Council Leader Oliver Hemsley has shared the following message for Rutland residents as we head towards Christmas.

This has been a year unlike any other and, although it will be very different, I know everyone is looking forward to the Christmas break. 

Twelve months ago, no one could have imagined what 2020 would have in store and that we would all find ourselves sorely tested by the coronavirus pandemic. Even after living with the virus for almost a year, it can be hard to process what we’ve been through. 

Christmas is always a time for reflection. Looking back on 2020, the thing that sticks out in my mind is the resilience and genuine spirit of togetherness shown by our communities, big and small. Faced with a global pandemic, people in Rutland have shown a remarkable commitment to take the steps needed to keep the virus under control in our county for long periods of time.

Yes, people have made small, individual sacrifices like self-isolating and staying away from loved ones during lockdown. However, they’ve also volunteered and joined together to form groups and networks that have been instrumental in helping us support the vulnerable, isolated and those in need of assistance. 

Key Workers, including NHS staff and the Council’s own officers, have been rightly praised throughout the pandemic for their incredible hard work and dedication under severe pressure. Aided by local businesses and communities, they’ve delivered food, collected medicines and seen to it that no one has gone without help. In a difficult year full of struggles, this has been a much needed source of positivity and reassurance, and is something we should all be very proud of.

With a COVID-19 vaccine now being rolled out across the country and here in Rutland, there is a great deal of hope and optimism as we approach 2021. That being said, there is also a lot of hard work to do. We saw a promising drop in our COVID numbers during the second lockdown but our figures have crept back up in recent weeks. So much so that we remain a high risk, Tier 2 area and head into Christmas with some difficult choices to make.

The government has made a commitment to ease some of its COVID-19 restrictions over the Christmas period, allowing up to three households to form a bubble and spend time together. Christmas means many things to many people but it does not mean that coronavirus is any less dangerous.

After a difficult year spent apart from friends and family, we all want to be together but must continue to take care. The safest way to celebrate Christmas this year is still with your household or existing support bubble in your home. The more people you see, the higher the risk. One in three people with coronavirus do not show any symptoms, so please consider the risks carefully before gathering with others.

The next few months will continue to be tough but there are lots of reasons to be positive and hopeful. As a Council, we will carry on doing all we can to help and support you. While some of our services and buildings will be closed over Christmas and New Year bank holidays, we remain on standby to assist in a crisis and I would like to pay tribute to all those officers who will be working or on call for the Council over the festive period.

For anyone who may be struggling this Christmas, whether because of unemployment, reduced income, bereavement, stress or hardship of another kind, help is always available, with full details on our website.

Lastly and by no means least, I would like to say a sincere and heartfelt thank you to all the partners, key workers, businesses and volunteers who’ve helped us throughout this difficult year. I would also like to say a big thank you to our staff who have helped keep it all running as smoothly as possible under extreme circumstances. We could not have managed without all of you. A Great team effort.

I wish everyone in Rutland a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021.

Leader signature
Oliver Hemsley
Leader of Rutland County Council
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