As Christmas is nearly upon us, the donations of strangers, pouring in through the doors of the Ark, remind us all, even in these difficult times, what a wonderful community with live in.
2020 has been a year when Shrewsbury has shone out as a beacon of light in some very dark times,, recognised nationally, as a place where people really look after each other.
It has been a priviledge to watch the work that the Ark, Shropshire Council and Mike, Charlie and the incredible team at the Prince Rupert did and continue to do, to provide accomodation and support for the homeless during the ongoing Covid Crisis. It's been heart warming to see these efforts recognised both nationally and internationally in the media, putting our town on the map, for all the right reasons.
And there are many others working tirelessly behind the scenes to make this town such a wonderful place to live. One of the great priviledges of being Chair of a charity like the Ark, is that I get to bare witness to many of these acts of kindness..
Every day I recieve emails from local people doing extraordinary things to support the work we do for those less fortnate.
Linda, who swam miles to raise money, Rosie and her women's group who collected gift bags for our clients and Sandra who has been sheilding since the first lockdown and knits the most exquisite blankets for our clients... I could go on... and on... and on!
As usual, our volutneers have been incredible under difficult circumstances and our partner service providers from Riverside Medical Practice to Shrewsbury Food Hub, from SALUTE counselling to Shrewsbury and Shropshire Councils, not to mention our local police force, are all deeply deserving of our gratitude.
But there are 8 individuals who I would personally like to thank for all their hard work and dedication this year. Like many other key workers, they won't be enjoying a long Christmas break, their unique skills and caring hearts are needed all year round, by those who have nothing.
They are our wonderful staff members. Wendy, Rose, Eloise, Alan, Ursula, Sophie, Brea and Cherry - they are the true heroes of our Ark community.
This Christmas I am thankful for these incredible individuals and for all of those who put the needs of others first. It's going to be more important than ever in the coming months that we continue to support eachother and I have no doubt that the wonderful community of Shrewsbury will not let us down.
Happy Christmas everyone, thank you for supporting us, we would be nothing without you.