Leader’s blog - 11 November 2022

This week the leader of Southend-on-Sea City Council discusses Armistice Day, Remembrance Sunday, fostering and the Toy Drive.

Cllr Stephen George, leader of the council sat in a chair with our coat of arms behind him.

As this blog arrives with you on 11 November, I think it’s important to take a moment to reflect and give thanks to those who have fought for their country and died, so we could have the life we have. Armistice Day is always a poignant date in the calendar, to remember those who gave their lives in the First World War. But Remembrance Sunday is also especially poignant this year as it is the 40th anniversary of the Falkland’s conflict.

While veterans from the First World War are mostly passed on and the veterans from the Second World War are few, we cannot forget there are more recent conflicts, such as the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan. The servicemen and women who fought in those conflicts, died in those conflicts or living with the consequences of those conflicts, deserve our thoughts and thanks too.

I hope many residents join the Mayor and other dignitaries at the Cenotaph on Sunday, for the remembrance service. Details can be found on our event page Lest we forget.

The Christmas adverts have certainly hit our television screens the past few weeks. The Aldi advert was filmed at our very own Southend Airport and the eagerly anticipated John Lewis advert definitely hits a chord.

If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to go to YouTube and watch it. It reminded me of the council’s own ongoing work to raise awareness of the work of our foster carers and encourage others to come forward and offer to share their home, family and lives with a child desperately in need of some stability, security and safety. If you think you could be a foster carer, please visit www.southendfostering.co.uk for more information.

Some of our children who need to stay with a foster carer, are currently placed with a family who live outside of Southend because we simply don’t have the numbers of carers to take them in. But we’d rather not do this - whenever possibly we want to keep these children close to their family, friends, school and familiar local environment. They’ve already been through enough.

It also ties in with a paper that was approved by cabinet earlier this week, which will see foster carers get additional benefits from 1 April 2023. You can read more about those benefits. We hope that this will make the decision easier for those who are considering becoming a foster carer but are concerned about the additional cost an extra mouth to feed, during the cost-of-living crisis.

Admittedly not everyone is able to accommodate an extra young person in their lives and homes, for a variety of reasons, but there is still a way you can help less fortunate children this Christmas. Our annual Toy Drive is once again underway and we have teamed up with Argosy Toys (www.argosytoys.co.uk) and Toy ‘n’ Tuck (www.toysntuck.co.uk) to collect donations of toys and gifts for children and young people, to brighten their Christmas and make sure every child in Southend-on-Sea gets a gift this festive season. Don’t forget teenagers too - we accept donations of toiletries and other ‘older’ gifts at the Civic. To find out more see our Toy Drive press release.

I wish you all a lovely weekend.

Published: 11th November 2022

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