Mayor of Bishop Auckland Councillor Joy Allen reflects on the year 2020 and shares her Christmas message with the Town.
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a very difficult year for everyone. Particularly those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19. My sympathy goes out to families and friends who have lost loves ones and those enduring long periods of separation.
Because of the Coronavirus we have seen vulnerable people shielding, families and friends kept apart and the devastating impact the lockdown restrictions have had on our local businesses.
The crisis has meant we have had to adapt and do things differently. I have been truly amazed at the kindness and generosity of those living and working within our town. From helping the most vulnerable amongst us with their shopping and prescriptions, to supporting local foodbanks and demonstrating our appreciation and gratitude to the NHS, Care workers and front-line staff. Where it was possible businesses adapted to comply with the ever changing restrictions. I am grateful to everyone who has and continues to support them by shopping locally, it not only helps them and our high street, it helps protect local jobs. I have been so proud of the people of Bishop Auckland whose response to this pandemic has been remarkable.
It was really disappointing to have had to cancel so many planned events this year such VE and VJ day, Food Festival and the Christmas light switch on. However, I was delighted when partners came together to ensure that Christmas still came to town and we now have an amazing light projection in our market place that people can come to see and enjoy.
As the year draws to a close and the roll out of the vaccine gathers pace, I am optimistic about the New Year ahead and hopeful for the future. 2021 is now looking very positive, with the opening of new attractions such as the Spanish Gallery and Auckland Castle’s Walled Garden, the return of KYNREN and journeys on the Weardale Line, the reopening of the Town Hall, Art Gallery and Theatre not to mention the much anticipated multi-million pound government funding from the Future High Street Fund and Stronger Towns Fund. All of these things combine to make Bishop Auckland economic prospects unlike any town in the area. The possibilities and opportunities are endless they will go a long way to cement the towns future as one of the premier visitor destinations in the region.
On behalf of Bishop Auckland Town Council, fellow Councillors and Town Council Officers, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and above all a healthy 2021.