Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales reflects on 2014 looks ahead to 2015

Sir Robin Wales

Sir Robin Wales - Credit: Newham Council

On behalf of everyone at Newham Council, I wish you a happy, healthy and safe Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

For many it is a joyous time filled with family and friends. For others it can be difficult and we must think of them and hope that they can prepare for 2015 with determination and resolution.

The past year has not been without its challenges. The government’s cuts to the council’s budget have made things tough, but through innovative ways of working, we continue to protect those services we know are important to you. The local election result in May was a huge endorsement of Labour’s values, record and plans for the future.

Newham’s Every Child programme goes from strength to strength. The free music, sport, reading and theatre we provide, and the free school meals we continue to provide, equips children the skills, experiences and confidence to achieve their potential. The eight Community Neighbourhood teams we established this year are strengthening the local networks. Over the past few weeks the teams have been delivering Christmas hampers to almost 3,000 older residents. This year I again supported the appeal by charity Community Links and the Recorder to collect toys for almost 4,000 youngsters. Christmas also offers us a time to reflect so as we gather with family and friends let’s not forget those who sadly are no longer with us. Newham lost one of its greatest servants in June with the death of Cllr Alec Kellaway. He contributed much to political and civic life in Newham and he is greatly missed.

Have a happy Christmas, but spare a thought for those who are working – the emergency and hospital services, the armed services and the council staff who are on hand to ensure we all have a safe and healthy time.