Wednesday, 13 December 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Every year I’m shocked at just how quickly December comes around and our thoughts turn to mince pies and mulled wine.

This year is no different, it’s been such a busy year with far too much to mention in just one blog.

At this time of year there are so many events and commitments. One important one is finalising the capital budget in preparation for County Council on the December 15.

It could feel slightly strange to be talking about money at this time of year but it’s such an important task. Setting the budget isn’t about pounds and pence but it’s about making sure the services we deliver offer the very best value for money for those living and working in the county. In these tough financial times balancing the budget requires us to think differently, it pushes us to test ourselves and really question what we are here to do and what we should be providing for our residents.

One of those vital services we offer is the Fire and Rescue Service. Last Thursday we held our annual West Sussex Fire and Rescue carol service at Chichester Cathedral. This carol service is for fire and rescue staff and relatives together with many other supporters and friends. It has very much of a family feel to it and always gets me in the Christmas spirit.

This December we also held our Exceptional People in Care awards ceremony. This is a wonderful heart-warming event where we celebrate the achievements of our looked after children and what they have achieved. There are around 600 children in care at any one time. Some of these children have gone through some very difficult and traumatic times. They have shown great resilience and bravery and it was so nice to see them joining in and celebrating theirs and other achievements. At West Sussex County Council we want to give children the best start in life.

For some in order to do that they need more of our protection and support than others. Our foster carers, social care staff and everyone else there to support young children play such an important role in helping these children providing a stable supportive environment where they can grow and thrive.

It is events like these that remind me why, as a County Council, we need to keep evolving and changing. We need to make sure we continue to work with our communities as a partnership, building and developing our county into one that meets the needs of residents and then exceeds them, that is ambitious for our residents and the place we live in.

Christmas is a time for reflection and I will be reflecting on our county, on how lucky we are to live here and what we can do together to continue to make West Sussex a wonderful place.

Happy Christmas to you all