It’s been a very, very long year, for all of us.

Brexit is once again in the news, adding to the terrible concerns that many already had about jobs and prices in the shops. I desperately hope that even at this late stage, a good deal is done, and we can begin the New Year in a spirit of optimism.

It is a huge relief that a vaccine is finally on the way.  I intend to get one as soon as it’s my turn. No vaccine can undo all the hurt and lives lost to this terrible virus, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

I have been working to support the local foodbank in West Ham. The demand has sadly never been higher, but the response has been truly heart-warming. The massive generosity of people in our community never ceases to amaze me.  We are just £2,500 from target.

Local Covid action groups have sprung up across the borough and we have tried to look out for each other.

I know that none of us expected, any of this at this time last year, but amidst all this hardship and anxiety, what I’ve seen in West Ham in recent months is a lot of kindness and a real coming together of communities.

As always I want to thank all those who have worked on to keep us going: NHS workers, care workers, posties, shop workers, bus and train drivers.

And an especial thank you to the Newham Recorder who continues to promote the Christmas Toy Appeal.  Sadly, all too many children go without at Christmas even in a normal year, believing that Father Christmas has forgotten them or worse that they were placed on the naughty list for some small imagined crime.  This pandemic has destroyed many more family finances.  We know so many more families are going without.

I have seen what a big difference each small donation makes, and I would encourage anyone who can to chip into the Toy Appeal or foodbank.  Lets support families if we are able , and help put smiles on the faces of some of our most deprived children.

For all its horror, this year has taught me how much love and care there is in our community for those who need it.  I am so proud and privileged to represent such a truly beautiful generous community.

Merry Christmas

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