Christmas message from Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz

​​On behalf of everyone at Newham Council, I hope you have a restful and enjoyable Christmas and our best wishes for the New Year! ​

At this time of year many of us will be with family, friends, and neighbours, but it’s also important that we look out for those who may be vulnerable through ill health, hardship, or who are alone. There are many in our community who embrace the spirit of Christmas by thinking of others and acting in ways that bring happiness and peace. It’s about showing those who may be lonely or unhappy this Christmas that we care by offering help where we can.

It can especially be the case for some of our older and most vulnerable residents Christmas. That’s why we hosted eight Christmas lunches across the borough for them to enjoy a hot meal and an opportunity to connect with people of their own age and younger generations. This year we’ve given them something to dress up for, and a chance to share a laugh and a chat with friends, make new ones and create new memories; plus a goodie bag full of festive treats. We have made them to feel part of the Newham family. It’s the very least they deserve.

We have also put in place additional provision over the Christmas and New Year period to help the street homeless - and on Christmas Day and Boxing Day I’ll be doing my part through volunteering to support these vital efforts. So my thanks to all those people who are working over the festive period, including the emergency services, to keep us all safe and well.

As we head towards 2019, I’m excited by some of the great things that are set to happen in the months ahead. This will build on the achievements these past eight months since May when I was elected Mayor.

Top of the list is more genuinely affordable housing. We recently secured £107m from the Mayor of London to push ahead with our plans for more than 1,000 council homes across 40 sites. Another priority is revamping support for young people. Some £10.6m has been committed in our 2019/20 budget proposals to transform services for children and a further £1.4m is being injected into keeping our young people safe. And there’s proposed provision to make us an accredited London Living Wage employer.

I also plan to continue investing in involving residents in our decision-making processes. We do have to make some difficult choices to deal with the scale of financial cuts the Government has imposed on us and the proposal to increase Council Tax for example is not one I make lightly, which is why there is also a range of support proposed for our lowest-income families.

No doubt 2019 will be full of challenges, but there is a lot to look forward too. As your Mayor I promise that you and all Newham residents will continue to be at the heart of everything this council does.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Published: 24 Dec 2018