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Christmas and New Year messages

The Leader of the Council, Councillor Tom Dawlings and the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells Councillor Chris Woodward send you their best wishes for Christmas and the New Year

Leader of the Council, Councillor Tom Dawlings

In December last year coronavirus succeeded in affecting our Christmas arrangements and regrettably this year the Omicron variant is threatening to do the same. The Leaders and Chief Executives of the county and borough/district councils are regularly meeting representatives of the NHS to consider how we can respond and where we can help in combating the virus. In Tunbridge Wells we have offered the Camden Centre for a vaccination centre. We continue to provide support to eligible residents who have to self-isolate. For businesses adversely affected by the pandemic (particularly now the hospitality sector), we are continuing to manage the grants schemes and readying ourselves to manage any future support schemes that the Government announces.

I would take this opportunity to encourage residents to follow all the Government guidance, book your booster jab if you have not already had one (already 75% of over 50s have had their booster), and exercise caution in socialising whilst infection levels and transmission rates remain so high. At this stage we know the Omicron variant is highly transmissible and can just hope it proves to be less virulent. I would extend my thanks to the GPs, pharmacists and NHS staff as well as the army of volunteers who are working so hard at delivering the booster vaccine programme.

As with all businesses, there is the potential for some disruption to Council services if staff are required to isolate, so please be patient and understanding. Whilst trying to avoid any disruption, we will report on any difficulties being experienced in service delivery in our weekly email which you can subscribe for at

At this time of year I would far prefer to be delivering a message to advise you of the good things the Council is achieving – there are many. Throughout the various waves of Covid, our staff have performed wonders, I would highlight the grants distributed to businesses in the borough, help provided to the homeless and rough sleepers, the completion of the construction phase of the Amelia Scott with the fit-out now well underway and the ice rink buzzing with a record numbers of visitors. All that is happening – and I thank our staff for everything they have done. Unfortunately, the year is ending as it began under the cloud of the pandemic. So I encourage you to stay safe, protect your friends and families and keep an eye on neighbours who may need help.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a healthier New Year for us all.

The Mayor, Councillor Chris Woodward 

Being strong in my Christian beliefs, this time of year is always a special reminder of a Heavenly Father’s gift of Jesus, and the gratitude and love especially shown by gift-giving between family members and friends, and between thoughtful people in general. I was especially moved by the gift-giving of primary-school children in response to the Mayor’s Christmas Toy Appeal, and the more distantly directed gifts for those in foreign lands gathered by Operation Christmas Child.

I am also impressed by the time given by so many in our community to serve others in need, for example, through food banks, soup kitchens, and participation in charitable agencies that try to lift others in difficult circumstances, such as local Domestic Abuse Volunteer Support Services and the Mayor’s charity Mental Health Resource; such volunteer effort reflects love for others. There are so many people in our community who give of their time to support others through other small charities such as the Number One Community Trust, which serves the community within my own political ward of Broadwater. These charities are also in need of financial support – and the many who provide that support are to be highly commended.

Visiting schools in the Borough has been a joy for me. It is wonderful to meet the children who are the future of our communities; their joy, spirit and mutual care are uplifting. I have visited most secondary schools in the Borough in order to establish a Borough Youth Forum – about 30 sixth formers are now involved. I much appreciate their concern for others and the giving of their time to try to address issues aimed at improving the welfare of their fellow young people.

May we fully appreciate the care and attention given to others by all, not only within families, but across our neighbourhoods. God bless you all.

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