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Optimism and hope as we enter 2022

By Contributor

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AS we look ahead to the New Year, it is also a time to reflect on what was a difficult 2021, a year

dominated by Covid.

This sign says it all. Picture: Gary Anthony
This sign says it all. Picture: Gary Anthony

However, as we look to the future, I believe we can do so with optimism even if it seems we continue to face a few more tough weeks immediately in front of us.

The new more infectious variant has been a blow but, as ever, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Moray’s heroes. Those working on the front line in our public services, shops, vaccinations centres, in our health and social care sectors, and local NHS, who have worked their socks off to look after us and get us through the pandemic.

Thanks to our scientists we know that the booster is the route through the Omicron variant and to protect our NHS and wider economy.

I thank each and every constituent who has played their role by getting vaccinated and also the thousands of volunteers who have been there to help others and who epitomise Moray’s community and selfless spirit. In the run up to Christmas, I was humbled to see all the pictures of generous locals donating to Moray Food Plus and other causes. A reminder that many of fellow citizens are having to cope with cuts to their incomes and rising living costs with each day bringing new struggles.

Richard Lochhead reflects on 2021 and looks ahead to 2022. Picture: Becky Saunderson
Richard Lochhead reflects on 2021 and looks ahead to 2022. Picture: Becky Saunderson

Plenty of challenges await in 2022 and there is no doubt that 2021 was a particularly tough year for everyone who lost a loved one, and for local businesses dealing with public health restrictions and the impacts of Brexit, such as labour shortages.

As we look to 2022, we will hopefully see progress with the Moray Growth Deal that was signed off recently, bringing desperately needed investment and new high value jobs.

The signing of the vital Moray Growth Deal.
The signing of the vital Moray Growth Deal.

I also hope that after the momentous COP26 in 2021 that the coming year will see progress towards building a net zero Moray, where we play our part in reducing Scotland’s contribution to global warming. We owe that

to future generations. That can also help us tackle big issues like fuel poverty here in Moray.

On a personal level, I was privileged and humbled to be re-elected Moray’s MSP in 2021 with a record number of votes and my team and I will continue to work hard for our community.

It is certain that 2022 will be a year of recovery and rebuilding. In Moray, we remain blessed living in a beautiful part

of the world with fresh air, and a wonderful natural environment. I urge everyone, who is able, to make it a New Year resolution to get out and about to help our physical and mental health given the tough times many have faced.

As we reflect on the past year and look ahead to brighter times, I wish all my constituents a healthy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year.

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