Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 20th December 2017

So, Christmas is upon us. Such is the increasingly frantic pace of politics these days that it really doesn’t feel like a full year has passed since the decorations were last up around town. The presence of the ice rink in Queens Square has certainly added something to the Christmassy feel of the town centre this year, alongside the lights, giant Christmas Tree and wide range of seasonal activities the council has helped to put on.

December, with the exception of Full Council, is usually pretty quiet at the council and councillors typically find their time filled up with attending local community events and enjoying the odd glass of mulled wine.

Behind all the glitter and the excess, it is community which sits at the heart of Christmas, whether that’s our friends and family, the groups we belong to or the neighbourhoods we live in. So, it is little surprise people tend to think more about charity and the importance of giving at this time of year.

Local Charities Day took place last week, celebrating the work voluntary organisations selflessly undertake in communities up and down the UK. In Crawley, we have so many amazing local charities which play an important role in improving the life of our community, from the fundraising efforts of the League of Friends of Crawley Hospital and the youth work of Crawley Community Youth Service to the couples counselling provided by Relate and the charity capacity building work of Crawley Community and Voluntary Service, on whose board I served for a year.

While it is great that so many see this time of year as an opportunity to play a more active role in local charitable activities, particularly those for the homeless, the reality is that such support is needed year round and not only during the season of good will. For those who are willing and able to do their part, there will still be plenty of opportunities to play a role in our community come the New Year.

In the meantime, could I wish you all and your families a very Merry Christmas.

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