This year has continued to be a challenge for so many people. Recovering from the worst of the pandemic to a time of hardship. The continued increase in prices of everyday essential food products and the rise in energy prices means the challenges we face are not yet over.
In Bishop Auckland a number of organisations have worked hard to help the people of the town manage these basic human needs. Warm hubs are situated around the town and food banks are available to those in need of extra support. We encourage people who need extra support to reach out, whether it be emotional, psychological or social well-being from just a low mood or hearing things to reliance on drugs and alcohol or pulling away from family and friends.
Since becoming Mayor, I have been inspired by the sense of community when the Town Council have hosted events such as the free 3 day Queen’s Jubilee Platinum Party and were the key partner in the 3 day Christmas Town party. The Market Place, Fore Bondgate and beyond were inundated with families and friends who had come together to celebrate and have fun. This includes community led events at Woodhouse Close and Henknowle. The support that was given to local businesses by purchases or stopping for refreshments highlights what a hidden gem Bishop Auckland is. I hope that people continue to shop locally to help small businesses and protect jobs.
2022 also saw the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II. All of us were affected and grieved in our own way to come to terms with someone who had reigned our nation all our lives. It was wonderful to see how St Anne’s Church and the Town Council came together and held a commemorative service at St Andrews followed by prayers at St Anne’s giving everyone the opportunity to pay their respects. The Remembrance Service on 13th November was also very well attended, a time to reflect and honour those who have fallen.
It is also great so see the success Bishop Auckland Cricket Team had this year, winning three Trophies. Our football and rugby teams in both ladies and men’s categories are playing well and could see them land trophies in 2023.
As the year draws to a close, I remain hopeful for 2023. We have lots to look forward to including the Coronation of King Charles III, the regeneration work within the town from the multi million-pound Future High Street Fund and Stronger Towns Fund. The opening of the new Park Head Hotel and the developments at Tindale and continued strengthening of partnerships with all our community groups.
On behalf of Bishop Auckland Town Council, my fellow Councillors and Town Council Officers, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and above all a healthy 2023.