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Council leaders Martin Hill and Kelham Cooke and Grantham Labour group leader Charmaine Morgan look to the New Year

Councillor Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council

2020 has been a quite unbelievable year.

Who would have thought that we would be denied the most basic freedoms and everyday activities that we previously took for granted?

Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council. (42943924)
Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council. (42943924)

Or that we would have had to stay away from our loved ones for months at a time in some cases.

I’m not sure I would have believed the extent of what has happened, in Lincolnshire, our country and the world, if you had told me this time last year.

But the New Year brings me hope of better times ahead. The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine gives me confidence that an end is in sight and that if we put up with the inconvenience for a little bit longer, we can reduce the spread and impact of this virus.

Despite the incredible challenges that 2020 has brought, I have been proud of the way we have kept our key services running, and how we have worked with our incredible communities to help those most in need.

During the mayhem caused by this global pandemic, our staff have been doing an amazing job in supporting businesses, schools and communities.

We have also been able to continue with our biggest development projects in the county, including making good progress under difficult circumstances on the Grantham southern relief road.

It is clear that we are still fighting against Covid, and we know the effects will be felt for a considerable time.

The impact on our leisure and tourism sector will be difficult to recover from and we are looking at doing more in 2021 to support those businesses and industries who have been hit the hardest.

We will all need to pull together in Lincolnshire to support our local areas in their recovery and show more of the community spirit and kindness that has been so evident this year.

2021 could also be an unbelievable year – but for all the right reasons.

Councillor Kelham Cooke, Leader of South Kesteven District Council

As this most extraordinary and unprecedented start to a new decade in recent times draws to a close, the holiday period has offered the opportunity for a period of reflection on times past and those still ahead of us.

Changes to coronavirus regulations have meant our usual celebrations could not be the same, but I am sure we have still found ways to safely see our family and friends using technology and to make sure, wherever possible, no one was alone this Christmas and New Year.

Kelham Cooke (43006000)
Kelham Cooke (43006000)

I have been struck by the resilience of residents and businesses throughout this persistently turbulent time – many of whom have seen significant challenges to both their lives and livelihoods.

I am also incredibly proud of our staff who have put their heart and soul into serving and supporting our community.

One of the most challenging aspects of this year has been a lack of certainty and confidence. In parts, this is expected when dealing with a new and unknown virus. But it is also true that this can feel unsettling and it’s why the council is focused on doing all it can to make 2021 a better year for everyone.

2020 may have provided many challenges, but it has also provided an insight into the powerful impact we each have when we support each other.

In 2021, I would like to see a continuation of all that has been a strength this year: neighbourliness, looking out for one another and kindness.

And hopefully, as we consign to history a virus that has caused so much misery, we can remain steadfast in our commitment to see one another thrive, and be a happy and healthy population.

I am proud to lead South Kesteven and, as the year draws to a close, it does so with hope and optimism that our best times are ahead of us.

I wish you all a safe and healthy New Year.

Coun Charmaine Morgan, SKDC Labour group leader

2020 brought uncertainty, tragedy and despair.

Covid-19 took its first grip on our nation and then slowly suffocated us. Physically, emotionally, culturally and economically.

Coun Charmaine Morgan. (5040482)
Coun Charmaine Morgan. (5040482)

Its dreadful impact hit close to home as our hospitals trust decided to all but shut down Grantham Hospital. Much of my year has been supporting the fight against that decision.

In the meanwhile, in Yeovil, my brother lay for weeks in a coma fighting for his life. Nothing can describe the gratitude I feel towards the brave NHS staff who ran to him in his many hours of need. Their dedication reflects all on the frontline in our public services and others who have done the same in this crisis. From carers to frontline uniform services, to teachers, delivery folk, shop workers, cleaners, volunteers and neighbours. It has also provided clear evidence of our dependency on a free-for-all, publicly funded NHS.

The Covid-19 vaccines became available thanks to the incredible work of scientists. An ethos embedded in our nation has meant it is not who can afford to use them, but rather who needs the vaccine most.

We face an uncertain 2021 but there is real hope. We learned a lot last year. Who is important in our lives. What is important in our lives. Who to listen to, who we can depend on and who to trust. We have realised the importance of those not previously recognised, many in low paid, wrongly perceived, low skilled jobs. The value of arts and our cultureand our own skills have been revealed to us. We are not helpless. We are remarkably resourceful. Each of us can make a difference. The action or inaction of a council, or a government, or group of nations can make a greater difference.

Lockdown proved the impact our lives have had on our world. There are enough resources, if focused properly, to ensure that as many of us as possible, along with the other species with which we share this unique and remarkable place, make it through.

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