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Christmas wishes

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The following was published in the Sheffield Star

I hope all readers of the Star have a happy and enjoyable Christmas.

Unfortunately too often the real meaning of Christmas can be lost in the materialistic madness - such as ’Black Friday’ with arrests and injuries, scuffles and stand offs between customers and shop workers. The focus is on shopping not where it should be. For those of us who are Christians it is a time to reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus, for others it is a time to spend with family and friends.

Many families are finding it very tough at the present time. We have almost a million families reliant on food banks, front line services are being cut and local authority budgets have shrunk in real terms by 37% since 2010. With winter beginning to get a hold the number of households in fuel poverty is set to increase to 2.3 million. Remembering those in need at Christmas and doing what we can to help is important.

I want to pay particular tribute to the many people, churches and charities who will be looking after those who are alone or homeless during the Christmas period. Of course many of them provide help all year round and are fundamental to the fabric of our society.

I have been privileged to work with such community organisations in my constituency and to see their dedication and hard work. Sheffield Young Carers, Double Six Youth Club, Heeley City Farm, Heeley Development Trust, Gleadless Valley Community Forum and the Grace and Gleadless Valley food banks and many others are dedicated organisations who will be doing that extra bit this Christmas.

We should also remember those who will be working, leaving friends and families, so that the rest of us can enjoy our break knowing our essential services will continue. Thank you particularly to our medical staff, our police and our armed forces.

Communities across the city are struggling, but the people of Sheffield continue to support charity and good causes throughout the year. I have no doubt this will continue in 2015. I hope the New Year will bring better things for us all. 


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