This year has been incredibly difficult for most people but as we reflect on what 2020 has brought, I think we can all be proud of the way our borough has come together and looked out for one another. From delivering food to those who are shielding or calling on those who might feel isolated, through to supporting our local businesses which have had such a tough year – everyone has played their part.
We also owe a special thanks to all those who have continued to work during this very trying year. Key workers from healthcare professionals, teacher and the Police, through to those in retail, logistics and manufacturing. Their tireless efforts have ensured that we not only keep people safe, but also allowed people to keep working, ensuring our economy has been functioning and giving us the ability to deliver the enormous amount of support that has been put in place over the last 9 months.
Last week though brought some more difficult news, with the Prime Minister confirming that our world class scientists have identified a new, more infectious, variant of the Coronavirus. That’s necessitated some even tougher restrictions on those who live in the London, the East and the South East meaning that they, unlike families across Burnley and Padiham, will not be able to get together on Christmas Day this year.
It has also, sadly, meant that changes have had to be made to the Christmas bubbles in all tiers, meaning that these now only apply on Christmas Day. Whilst I know this will be disappointing, after all the sacrifices made this year it’s important that we keep our efforts up. That’s the only way we can turn the tide of rising cases once again and start bringing them down.
In the eye of the storm it can also be difficult to see the other side, but we are now getting those glimmers of sunlight. Everyone will have seen the videos, broadcast around the world, of people in the UK getting the vaccine and this is now progressing at pace. That includes people across Burnley and Padiham who have started to get their jabs and we have already surpassed the half a million mark for vaccinations with the first dose – showing what we can achieve. And this will only ramp up further in the new year.
We should not undersell this achievement – which we do have a tendency of doing in the UK. A graphic circulated on social media only a few days ago shaded the countries around the world where a clinically approved vaccine is being delivered and the UK was the only country highlighted. This is now progressing, with the USA also now underway with vaccinations and at the start of this week the EU added to this with its own approval for the Pfizer / BioNTech jab, allowing them to start rolling it out in the next week or two.
I hope that this week and next families across Burnley, Padiham and all the villages that make up our fantastic borough, can take a break.
My team will also be taking some well-deserved time off, having worked day and night this year – their first in this job as well as my own – to help residents in need and I want to thank them too. If anyone needs urgent help over the Christmas period please do contact me though, and I’ll do all I can to assist.
I hope you all have a very happy Christmas and together we can look forward to a brighter 2021.