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Christmas message: Stella Parkes, Stroud Mayor

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As I reflect on the past year in Stroud when residents and businesses have been dealing with difficult times I note that it is true that the only constant is change but it is the way we deal with these challenges that counts.

Stroud has a long history of freethinkers who come up with alternative solutions to current problems and I see that approach in the voluntary groups I visited throughout the year.

The wonderful Christmas tree festival that took place this month in St Laurence’s Church demonstrated just how rich and diverse the town is in voluntary groups.

When there is so much conflict in the world it is heartening to know that we can work together at a local level for the good of each other and the town.

I hope that such partnership working between councils, businesses and voluntary organisations will continue and develop throughout 2024 too.

It has been an incredibly busy year for our community hubs (Network Of Stroud Hubs) where volunteers work together for the wellbeing of their community. Kindness and respect costs nothing and yet is can be so often lacking in our world.

I have heard so many stories over the year where people spoke about the hubs giving them back their sense of self respect and worth.

I want to acknowledge and thank my fellow town councillors who are also unpaid volunteers and give their time so freely.

Their generous contribution of time and their genuine concern about the town makes Stroud a much better place to live.

Just as we need to show love and compassion to our fellow humans we also need to do the same for this world we share. We have a duty to ensure that we are passing on an environment that is healthy and safe for the generations who will follow in our footsteps.

May 2024 be a year filled with kindness for everyone. I look forward with hope for the future and send season’s greetings from the staff and councillors wishing you all a peaceful festive holiday.

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