Recognising Those Working for the Community over Christmas

Column in the Barry & District News by Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP:

At this time of year, it’s important to recognise the hard work and dedication of the many voluntary groups in our community. Over the Christmas period, while many others will enjoy a break from hectic work lives, volunteers continue to provide the help and services that they do throughout the year.

In Barry and the Vale we’re fortunate to have so many brilliant organisations that, in their own and unique ways, contribute to making our community a better place. They embody what makes our community special and there is a huge debt of gratitude to everyone who plays a role in giving back to Barry.

I recently visited Barry’s Friends & Neighbours at their Christmas Party, held at Barry Masonic Hall. It was lovely to see so many people gathered together enjoying the day, Gay Fifield and her team did an excellent job of organising the event. They are one example of the excellent community groups that we have in Barry that work right the year round.

Throughout the year there are organisations in various forms that contribute to our local community. Our sports clubs, churches, charities and many more. There are also the ‘Dementia Friendly’ groups, that I have been working closely with to help make our area a safer and more understanding place for those living with dementia. I want to thank and pay tribute to these groups and the volunteers that make them so special for their continued service, particularly at Christmas.

Of course, we should also bear in mind that this time of year is particularly demanding on our emergency services and NHS. Those working in the police, ambulance, fire services, coastguard, coastwatch and RNLI, as well as NHS staff, will be working tirelessly over Christmas and deserve our full thanks and gratitude for all that they do to keep us safe and well.

On Barry Island, it’s great to see that O’Shea’s Fish & Chip shop opened up for those in need on Christmas Day, serving their signature fish and chips along with mince pies. They recognise that, sadly, not everyone is surrounded by friends and family at this time of year and have stepped up to do their bit. This Christmas I have been moved by the kindness and generosity from so many in Barry.

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year.