So here we are – 2019! I hope you’ve all had a Christmas full of love, joy and happiness and a wonderful New Year (with a little bit of over-indulgence for good measure, of course!).
I have to say how thankful I am to be in such a fortunate position where I can spend the holidays celebrating with family and friends. I know there are so many out there for whom the festive period can be incredibly difficult, and my heart goes out to them.
In the year ahead I’ll continue to do everything in my power to stand up for those who are facing hardship.
In an age of such plenty, no one should have to go without.
Luckily for Batley and Spen, there are lots of like-minded people who are determined to do all they can for the less fortunate among us.
Just before Christmas, I joined volunteers from Batley Food Bank at one of their regular collection sessions at Tesco.
It really was a humbling experience.
The levels of generosity on display were enough to reduce you to tears. We filled crate after crate with essentials and goodies – not to mention the kind financial donations – which together will help keep the food bank ticking over nicely for the next few weeks.
And while this gets plenty of press at Christmas, it’s important to remember that poverty exists all year round.
Every single week of the year those at Batley Food Bank are quietly working away, doing all they can to keep the shelves full. They see how desperate the need is each time they open their doors.
This demand, as donations invariably slow down once the season of goodwill has come to end, is felt particularly keenly in the New Year.
Please bear this in mind as January wears on and the food bank’s Christmas surplus diminishes.
I feel it’s the duty of those of us who are able to do what we can to help out.
That’s what being part of a community is all about.
And as long as we have a Government determined to plough ahead with austerity and cruel and punitive welfare reforms regardless of the dire consequences, we’ll need our community more than ever.
Mince pie moments
If you saw me in Cleckheaton or Birstall just before Christmas, clutching a tray of mince pies, allow me to explain why!
The More In Common initiative came up with the lovely idea of sharing a mince pie with a stranger over the festive period as a way of reaching out to people and making new connections.
And it works a treat! I met lots of lovely people who are very eager to chat when given the opportunity. A big shout out to the new bakery, Franklin Smiths in Birstall, for supplying the mince pies!
Staying in touch
As we go into the New Year, with many challenges ahead of us, I’d like to ensure you all know how you can get in touch with me.
Whether you need help with a specific issue, would like to invite me for a visit or simply want to express your opinion on a subject, I am at your disposal.
You can call my office on 01924 900036, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write at 286 Oxford Road, Gomersal, BD19 4PY.