Renfrewshire Council

Festive message from Chief Executive, Sandra Black - 18 December 2020

With Christmas and a New Year almost on us, I would like to take this opportunity to mark the close of a year that will leave its mark on our lives for some time.

I also want to express my sincere thanks to each and every one of you, for your unfaltering support to help protect and guide the council and our communities through a health crisis that continues its grip across the world.

Your drive has enabled Renfrewshire Council to play its part in fighting this virus whatever the challenge, doing so with commitment and care. I am so immensely grateful to lead such a compassionate organisation, where the needs of others - especially those who are vulnerable, come first all the time. Every day I have been aware of acts of incredible dedication and thoughtfulness - towards each other and for the betterment of the local communities we support. We have shown public service at its very best at a time of considerable challenge and uncertainty.

I am very aware of the toll this year will have taken on your home life and on many of you personally. So many colleagues went the extra mile; volunteered for new roles; designed and delivered new services; and sacrificed personal time to work extended hours - day and night. Your dedication has provided a lifeline to many; keeping people safe, supporting children and young people at school, and making sure people are able to work and earn a living.

For colleagues who have been personally impacted by the virus and to those who have suffered loss, I want to pass on my deepest sympathies. I understand completely how hard it is to lose a loved one at this time and to be unable to come together properly as a family. I hope everyone can take some time to reflect and remember and to know you are not alone.

Even in the hardest of times, there have been moments of positivity and I am so proud of how we have innovated and adapted, and the way local people have responded - hailing public sector workers as heroes. Colleagues are working tirelessly to deliver services, protect older people and our most vulnerable communities and to keep the wheels of the council turning. So much of this happens quietly and without fanfare and will continue over Christmas to ensure we do everything possible to keep Renfrewshire safe through winter and to deliver the first wave of the Covid19 vaccination programme.

I know many of you will be weary and in need of a rest, others will be desperate to spend time with family and friends, but please, above all else, keep safe. It has never been more important to be here for our loved ones and communities and to look after each other.

While many of us will be able to take some time away from work to relax and reconnect, I would particularly like to thank our colleagues who will continue to work over the festive period to provide essential services and to prepare for 2021 so that we are ready for whatever the future will bring. For those of you who are not able to take a break just yet, please stay safe at work or at home, and remember you will not miss out on your annual leave.

And as we step into a new year, please remember we have reason to feel hopeful. We will emerge from this time and reclaim aspects of everyday life that mean so much to people. You have my assurance we will do everything possible to manage this virus in Renfrewshire and return to some degree of normality. Whatever your Christmas plans are this year, protect the people closest to you and do what you can to follow the guidance on staying safe and well.

Thank you for your service.

Wishing you peace, health and happiness,