As we approach Christmas, it is always worth reflecting on the past year, the changes we have seen and what the New Year may hold.
For many families in Pendle, the past year has been tough.
But while there’s still a long way to go, it is clear the economy is turning a corner.
This can be seen locally with a record number of young people taking up apprenticeships and unemployment falling significantly.
We were starting to see signs of this at the Jobs Fair I organised at The Muni in Colne in June, but since then things have started to improve more quickly.
This trend will no doubt be boosted by the £5m. Regional Growth Fund money I helped secure to accelerate the expansion of our mid-sized manufacturing firms.
You can also see evidence of this when looking at our local high streets, with local towns like Colne doing exceptionally well at the moment.
However, the Christmas and New Year sales period will be make or break for many independent retailers, so please remember wherever possible to “Shop Local”.
At Christmas, I hope we will all remember those suffering hard times, either through poor health or financial problems.
Christmas should be a time of joy and celebration, but for many the reason we celebrate Christmas has become lost, and the pressure to buy presents they can’t afford can compound existing worries.
For me, the run-up to Christmas has been hectic, with numerous Christmas lunches, carol services, Christmas fairs and church services.
One of the best parts of my job is visiting so many different groups and seeing the tremendous work of so many volunteers across all the towns and villages that make up Pendle.
Can I wish all readers and their families all the best for Christmas.