A Christmas message from the Chair of Mendip District Council, Cllr Helen Sprawson-White

Mendip District Council Chair, Cllr Helen Sprawson-White, looks back on her time in office and pays tribute to those who work tirelessly, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.

Here is her Christmas message:

"It's been an immense honour to serve as Chair for Mendip District Council these past few months. And I'm delighted to take this opportunity to reflect on all that's been achieved.

I've attended a number of engagements across the district, with voluntary organisations, businesses, local charities and community groups. Through these visits I've witnessed the tireless work done to support, help and encourage residents. We've lived through turbulent times recently, and I've been heartened and humbled to see how people continue to pull together, with huge determination, to make Mendip a better place to live, work and visit. I thank them for their positivity and the many wonderful welcomes I've received at their events.

The entrepreneurial spirit amongst our business community has certainly been on display in the district. Our annual Mendip Business Awards 2019 attracted more than 200 entries, and our Mendip Markets continue to thrive. I was thrilled to be asked to judge the southwest heat of the National Young Trader Awards in July where young stallholders were all aged under 25 - proving the next generation are there, ready to step-up and make things happen.

When I came into the office of Chair, I was keen to support the numerous health and wellbeing initiatives in our area. Being happy and healthy is fundamental to our wonderful communities and I have been heartened to witness the work of organisations tackling issues, such as rural isolation, loneliness and mental health.

I look forward to continuing my support for such organisations during 2020. And as for our nominated charity, CLIC Sargent, I am particularly proud to report our staff at Mendip raised an amazing £3,850 - and counting - for the good cause this year. Great work!

It's important to remember that the work our charities and community organisations carry out doesn't stop during the festive season. In fact, often Christmas is the most demanding of times, and I cannot emphasise enough the gratitude we owe to those who work out of the public eye, often with little recognition. Let us remember those who will be busy working throughout the Christmas holidays, giving up their time in our homeless shelters, at food banks, in our hospitals, care homes and our emergency service staff. To them we extend our upmost thanks and gratitude. To this end, I have made donations from my Chair's fund to each of our food banks and those who run our Zero Nights homeless emergency shelter schemes.

It's traditionally a time for happy gatherings with family and friends. But for some, Christmas is tough. There are those around us who are sick, suffering a bereavement or on their own. Do be mindful of those in our communities who may need some extra cheer.

I hope you find the time and opportunity to get out and about during the holidays and enjoy the breath-taking delights of our historic towns, villages and our stunning countryside. What a wonderful place we live in!

On behalf of Mendip District Council, and in the words of Ada V Hendricks, which sum up my sentiments beautifully:

May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope; the spirit of Christmas which is peace; and the heart of Christmas which is love."

Cllr Helen Sprawson-White
Mendip District Council
23rd December 2019