December 2020: News from the Mayor
2020 has been a humbling year. It is a year where we have faced a crisis that has tested every system we depend on – education, health, food, transport, and our economy. It is a year that has thrown into sharp relief the inequalities we have lived with for too long. And it is a year that has forced us to live with uncertainty in every part of our lives – our health, our jobs, our education, our ability to see family and friends.
We end this year with that uncertainty still hanging over our city. As I write, we do not yet know what restrictions might be in place over the Christmas period, or what further steps we may need to take to reduce the spread of the virus here in Bristol.
It has been a year where so many of us have confronted loss. My thoughts and condolences are with all of those who have lost loved ones, and have not been able to grieve together in the way they would wish. I am also struck by the loss people have experienced in other areas of life: work, personal relationships, financial security, and community. The impact on our collective mental health has been as profound as the physical health effects of this virus.
And yet, within this year of uncertainty and loss – there is hope.
Hope in the medics risking their lives to treat those who contracted the virus. Hope in the thousands of volunteers who stepped up through Can Do Bristol or the hundreds of mutual aid groups that are still binding neighbours together. Hope in the care workers looking after those who are among the most vulnerable with dedication and compassion.
Hope in the public transport workers who have kept our city moving. Hope in the cleaners who have kept schools, workplaces and essential services clean and safe. Hope in the retail workers and food programmes who keep shops and homes supplied and people fed.
Hope in the teachers and school staff who have kept children educated in unprecedented circumstances. Hope in the foster parents who provide love and a home for our city’s most vulnerable children. Hope in the children who adorned windows across the city with rainbows and messages of thanks to our frontline workers.
I extend my thanks to everyone who has worked with compassion, skill and patience to nurture hope throughout our city during this testing year. And as the year draws to a close, we see hope again with the possibility of a viable vaccine.
We are not there yet. We still need to keep our efforts strong in following guidance and making sure we avoid creating opportunities for this virus to spread. Keeping our distance, washing our hands, wearing masks all remain urgent and essential if we are to reduce the need for further and longer restrictions.
If we do so, we can retain the hope that 2021 will be a year where we can harness our collective efforts to rebuild, renew, and celebrate Bristol as a city of hope.