What a soggy autumn it was with record December rainfall and now floods in the city. A number of streets have been under water, dozens of homes seriously affected and some business and travel disruption. What a miserable way for many people to have to face the new year! It is hard to imagine how dreadful it has been for those who are rough sleeping in such harsh weather. Floods may be receding but now the weather is turning cold.

Thank goodness for the severe weather protocol (SWEP). In Worcestershire this is jointly run by organisations which support homeless people, including the City Council. SWEP is triggered if there is a risk of temperatures falling below freezing for one or more nights. It was activated for five nights over Christmas and again last weekend to make sure all homeless people had a safe and warm place to stay.

I am reminded of the phrase “think global, act local” – good advice even if its origins are disputed. The world can seem a scary place at the moment with climate changing, countries at war, populations moving and nature under threat. The links between these are complex and difficult to resolve. It can lead to a feeling of helplessness in the face of overwhelming challenges.

The key is to focus on what we can individually do in our daily lives, to live at peace with those around us and engage with our community. Let us celebrate the excellent work of local charities and their volunteers, including the Worcester Foodbank which helps those in crisis. Our community has to choose how to prioritise its resources. Politics matters at the national and local level and we can all play our part through the ballot box. So, let’s face the new year with confidence. Spring is around the corner and the snowdrops are coming out in the garden!



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