It’s been another busy week in the life of a Mayor. With Christmas coming I get invited to all the Yuletide lights ‘switch on’ events as well as festive markets around the County. I’ve been trying to support them when possible. I do this because it’s a great opportunity to network with other Councils around Herefordshire and I fly the Ross flag whenever I can. As I’m sure you’re aware we’ll be having our own Christmas Fayre this Sunday and I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the new Hedgehog Christmas lights in all their dazzling glory … I don’t think there will be many other towns displaying festive Hedgehogs so once again Ross blazes a trail! With the price of power so high some people think Christmas lights are an unnecessary expense, but I believe it’s important for the town to sparkle at this time of year. With the long, dark nights we all need cheering up and I know they bring people into the town which is so vital for all our excellent independent traders.

As well as attending Christmas events I was also delighted to be able to present the annual awards at our incredible Community Garden. Tim Shelley and his team do an amazing job and it was an honour to meet all the volunteers who contribute in so many ways to the Gardens success. While I was there I was also fortunate to see the Zero Waste stall in full swing and had a chat with Alison Bagg who manages the operation along with her husband Adrian and around 40 volunteers. The work they do has dramatically increased over the last 12 months and Alison shared some interesting statistics with me. According to their records they had 8000 separate visits to the stall in 2021 but they have already seen more than 10000 in 2022 which equates to giving out 23 tonnes of food in 2021 and over 40 tonnes in 2022.

They have over 120 regular visitors each week, and I fear that after the autumn budget and the very negative forecast released by the OBR these numbers are only going to rise. A big thank you to all the volunteers who do such incredible work; we all rely on your continued efforts to ensure those most in need can get through the difficult days ahead.

But I’ll end this column on a brighter note … the Christmas Fayre will be a real treat this year, and I look forward to seeing many of you down at the Market House when our very own Richard Hammond will be flicking the switch on the new lights … it should be lots of fun!