A Director's Update

Well done for surviving January, which to many represents the worst month of the year – dark evenings, cold and miserable weather and of course that post-Christmas malaise. So, with the first month of the year out of the way, that can only mean we are getting one step closer to spring and all that it represents. As I look out of the window, I can see the first shoots of growth and some snowdrops and daffodils starting to appear. And, as we get to the end of the day it seems a little bit lighter. All we need now, are some sunny days for our walks and we can hope to see some general improvements to our mental health.

Having said all that, it’s still very tough for many businesses. But I remain very impressed with the scope and range of diversifications that have occurred. In December, the landlord of one of our local pubs laid a new kitchen floor for us. He did a great job in his new role, but he remained devastated that even after all the time, effort and money he had spent in altering the building to make it COVID-19-friendly, we would shortly be going back into lockdown.

On the positive side, it’s good to see that there are still opportunities available for businesses to apply for financial support from the government. We will continue to highlight these to you and encourage you to investigate all possibilities.

As an ex-teacher, I’m aware of the challenges of home schooling and how this can impact on working families. My advice is to do your best but don’t beat yourself up too much. Children will survive and there are other things that you can teach them – cooking, nature walks, relaxation skills and mindfulness are all important and will support their development both now and into the future.

It’s also worth remembering that although we are surrounded by beautiful countryside and some of us are fortunate to live in wonderful villages, this area of Oxfordshire does have areas of extreme deprivation and poverty where many children are eligible for free meals and struggling to access what so many of us take for granted. I would personally like to do more to help these families, so if you have any suitable IT devices that you could donate please get in touch and I and some of my colleagues will deliver them to local schools.

Hopefully very soon, we will all have been vaccinated and be able to look back at the lessons we have learnt through these dreadful times. In the meantime, I wish you all the very best and look forward to seeing you physically this year.

Wishing you good health and success

Julie Briggs

Posted: 8th February 2021

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