A Christmas message from Councillor Kay Cutts MBE, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council
As we reach the end of 2020, a very difficult year most of us will be keen to see the back of, we can look forward to a New Year bringing promise and offering new hope. This pandemic has not defined us, but it has driven us to reach out to those who need help most, bringing out all the best qualities within Nottinghamshire’s towns and villages
I reflect with pride on the £1 million COVID-19 Community Fund we established at the beginning of the pandemic in March, which has enabled voluntary groups and charities to support those most in need throughout our County.
The Community Hub we established with local partners has provided essential services in response to thousands of calls for help from local residents who were self-isolating due to their vulnerability or needed other types of assistance.
I offer my personal thanks to the many volunteers who stepped forward to offer their help and contributed to this community effort across the county. Their spirit is exemplary and demonstrates why Nottinghamshire is such a good place to live, with people caring for and supporting each other.
I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to our own workforce. Our social workers, teachers and many others, all of whom have adapted to working in different ways. I pay particular tribute to our care workers who have worked in very difficult circumstances to look after our most vulnerable residents, and those social workers who have worked to protect and care for vulnerable children and support families.
The news of several COVID-19 vaccines gives cause for great optimism and I am proud that this country was the first to approve one for use. Work is underway through the NHS to ensure that as many people as possible in sheltered groups are vaccinated. By this time next year many people will have received the vaccine and life in the County can hopefully get back closer to normal. This will take some time, so we must do all we can now to keep within the rules, which will mean a different festive holiday for many of us. I encourage everybody to contact friends and relatives who may be alone on Christmas day. A ‘virtual hug’ could make all the difference.
As we head past the Winter Solstice, we start to enjoy longer daylight hours and thoughts of Spring and renewed hope. l urge everyone who can to make the most of our wonderful County, with all its variety, by getting out and about and enjoying some exercise and fresh air. There are few better places to look out for the first signs of Spring than our country parks and open spaces, such as Rufford Abbey Country Park, Sherwood Forest and the Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont.
There are so many reasons to be positive here in Nottinghamshire.
In 2021 we will continue with our £27 million ‘Investing in Nottinghamshire’ programme, providing two further buildings for start-up enterprise that will bring new employment to the County, and transforming all County Council premises to become as carbon neutral as possible. We are also intending to plant three quarters of a million trees across the County.
We will continue with the biggest ever school building programme and our record spending on road improvements, as well as pressing for further investment in the County’s roads and railways, to provide more new jobs and skills for residents.
We will continue to support our youth programme, children’s centres and libraries.
The history of this county is rich. 2020 marked the 400-year anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims starting their remarkable journey from the village of Scrooby in Nottinghamshire and ending up on the shores of the ‘New World’ where they founded the modern America. It is said that more than 30 million people can trace their ancestry back to the sailing of the Mayflower. 400 oak trees are being planted in Nottinghamshire by the Sherwood Forest Trust to commemorate this anniversary.
There is much to look forward to in 2021, not least of which being together again and meeting our family and friends. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.