The Leader of Monmouthshire County Council, Cllr. Richard John has expressed thanks for the kindness and community spirit of Monmouthshire’s residents in the run-up to Christmas, praising their support of measures to help tackle the pandemic and the work of all frontline workers.

“As we enter the final approach to Christmas we are all looking forward to making the most of time with our loved ones, and thinking of those we cannot be with. For some it will be their first Christmas without a loved one due to bereavement. It is a time to think of those who may be struggling at this time of year and also a time for letting those around us know how much we care. In Monmouthshire, we have a county of incredibly kind and giving people. Our Christmas Wishes appeal has yet again received a wonderful response from Monmouthshire’s residents, who have shown great generosity in helping to provide gifts for those children whose Christmas might otherwise not be what we would wish for them. 

“Our frontline teams, including recycling and waste and our care workers will be working throughout the holidays, making sure those who need support in the community receive it without break. My thoughts are with everyone, not least the emergency services and NHS staff, who are selflessly working through, on the frontline, continuing to make a difference.

“At the time of writing, concern is mounting across the UK and around the world about the new Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus. While we know for certain that this new variant is more transmissible than the previously dominant Delta variant, its severity is still unknown. The best thing any of us can do, for ourselves and for the community, is to keep wearing face masks when in public places, and to make sure we have our booster shots and follow the latest advice from Welsh Government and Public Health Wales. I would also ask that should gatherings be planned with friends or family, that we all remember to take a lateral flow test beforehand so that all we are bringing to such events is our company, not covid-19.

“Thankfully, Monmouthshire has one of the highest percentage take-up rates of the Coronavirus vaccines, but there are still some residents – mainly young men in their 20s and 30s as well as some pregnant women – who have yet to take their jab. We can all play our part by encouraging friends and family to take up their jab when offered it, because it will help protect them and those they care about this winter. It is our best route through this difficult time.

“I’d like to thank Monmouthshire residents for all they are doing to keep our communities safe. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers a safe and peaceful Christmas and let’s hope for better times ahead in 2022.”