Merry Christmas

I’d like to start this week’s post by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. While Christmas is a time of joy and happiness for many, it can be a difficult time for others. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank people across Cardiff for their efforts to volunteer, fundraise and help others going through hard times over the past year.

Each year, the Lord Mayor selects a charity for the council to support. The charity which the Lord Mayor, Cllr Margaret Jones, has nominated to support during 2014/15 is Tenovus which brings support and treatment to the heart of communities for cancer patients and their families. Over the course of the year a lot of work has been done to help raise funds for Tenovus and to inform more people about their work. The Tenovus ‘Sing with Us’ Choir recently performed at a wonderful Christmas carol service in County Hall.

If you would be interested in donating to Tenovus directly – please visit the Tenovus website.

One Voice: The Tenovus ‘Sing with Us’ Choir in action at County Hall

One Voice: The Tenovus ‘Sing with Us’ Choir in action at County Hall

One member of staff, Cheryl Evans, is actually going even further to raise money for Tenovus and will be both cycling from Cardiff to Paris and running the London Marathon next year. I’m sure you will join me in wishing her the best of luck. You can donate and find out more about these plans on her Just Giving page.

People around the city also do much more to support charities and the vulnerable. This includes everything from donating food to local food banks, holding cake sales, selling charity Christmas cards, and collecting unwanted toys and gifts to give to young people leaving care. Thank you once again to all those people across the city who help others – it really does make a huge difference.

Glasgow

The recent events in Glasgow have stunned us all. It’s only one year since the city suffered a similar tragedy when a helicopter crashed into the Clutha Bar killing 10. When news broke that six people were killed in the city centre when a bin lorry ran into crowds of Christmas shoppers, I was lost for words.

Glasgow is a great city and one with which Cardiff has many connections. Its people are strong and resilient and they will gather around each other at this terrible time to offer comfort to everyone affected. Our thoughts and prayers are with them too.

 Luhansk

I will also be thinking of the ordinary people of our twin city of Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine. I have received messages from Cardiff based relatives of Luhansk residents telling me about the plight of people in that city.

Cardiff has been twinned with Luhansk since 1959, a relationship that reflected a shared industrial history. During the mine closures in South Wales of the 1970’s, the miners from the Luhansk region donated money from their own pockets to help support miners in South Wales who had lost their jobs.

The conflict in Luhansk has created the need for significant humanitarian support. Many of the sick and elderly will be without access to medication and adequate food, water and power this winter.

A number of international organisations are delivering vital aid, offering crucial support to the people affected by the conflict. If you would like to support any of these organisations who are helping the people of Luhansk and many others in difficult situations, you can do so by donating to:

Book of Condolence for victims of the Peshawar massacre

A book of condolence has been set up over the past week in City Hall and many people have taken the opportunity to pay their respects. I’d ask that you spare a thought for the people of Peshawar at this time.

The Book of Condolence for victims of the Peshawar massacre at City Hall

The Book of Condolence for victims of the Peshawar massacre at City Hall

This will be my last post this year. My fondest memories as I look back over 2014 are of the people I’ve met and, more than anything else, the overwhelming sense of pride that people feel in the city.

I think the Echo captured this feeling best with the headline ‘We Love Cardiff,’ which was in response to residents voting our capital one of the best cities in Europe for quality of life.

I’m looking forward to working with you all to make our city even better in 2015!

Nadolig Llawen,

Phil