New Year Message written for the Mearns Leader

One delightful experience this festive season was sitting behind the local Brownies at Portlethen Academy’s production of Beauty and the Beast. They engaged totally in the pantomime spirit, helping the talented cast to create a brilliant atmosphere full of sparkle and hilarity. The performance itself was notable for the huge cast which show-cased the talents of so many pupils and staff, both those who appeared on stage and those who were involved behind the scenes.

I was struck by the sense of community behind this production – so many people brought together to create something special. There was a similar sense at the Portlethen Gala this summer, when many local organisations set up stalls to let people know of their activities.

As we look ahead to the challenges of 2016, we can see that the contributions made to the local area by community groups will be valued even more by so many people. We know that the budgets of local councils have been cut substantially and that economic changes are putting many north-east jobs at risk. Without the volunteers who give their time and energy to provide activities for our children and young people, maintain community halls, support elderly residents, promote sport and general positivity, so much that is vital to our communities would not be possible.

Now is a great time to say thank you for giving in 2015 and to acknowledge with gratitude what will be given in 2016.

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