I recently held a successful Bermondsey Food and Drink reception in Parliament to celebrate our local thriving food and drink sector.
It was a fantastic opportunity to show everyone at Westminster the fantastic produce of local firms like Anspach & Hobday, Maltby and Greek, Southwark Brewery and the London Liqueur Company. Many people ordered gifts for family and friends in the run up to Christmas.
It’ll be my first Christmas as a father and the festive period brings a plethora of positive local community events. It has been great to attend a whole range of local celebrations including the Surrey Docks Farm fête, the London Christian School Christmas Market at St George the Martyr in Borough, the Pullens Yards open studios on Walworth, and the huge Christmas festival at The Blue, Bermondsey. It is fantastic to see the local community celebrating together and wonderful to see everyone mixing together – even if it puts even more pressure on the busy diary!
With Christmas round the corner, it is also important to remember all those less fortunate than ourselves. Foodbank use this Christmas is rocketing with more people, even working people in Southwark, reliant on free food and help with expensive baby products for example.
Homelessness remains a major concern – with higher than ever rough sleeping expected this winter. I slept out for one night with the Robes Project to raise awareness and funding for the food and shelter they provide across Southwark and Lambeth over winter. Their collections run till the end of January so please do help if you can.
At this time of year, it is vital that local charities working hard in our area have your support and recognition in what can be a hugely demanding time. As the News has covered, Bermondsey Care for the Elderly needs more volunteers after serving food and celebrations for local older people for 40 years now – and I’ll be there again this Christmas Day to serve meals and drinks at Guy’s Tower. You can get involved online via:www.bermondseycares.wordpress.com
Christmas and the New Year also affect my surgery sessions, but all are advertised online at: www.boslabour.org.uk/surgeries or email me at Neil.Coyle.MP@parliament.uk – and my emails will be checked throughout the festive period. To get involved in any of the above events or help the charities mentioned above, please email or call me on: 020 7232 4640.
Other than the arrival of my daughter Esme, I have found some events this year very divisive, so let me end 2016 by wishing everyone a very happy Christmas and an even better, more harmonious 2017!