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Lord Mayor highlights invaluable contribution of local communities in festive message

Date: 21 Dec 2023

A Christmas message from Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy.

Christmas is a time to take stock of the year that’s been, while also looking ahead to what’s coming next.  
2023 has not been without its challenges, with rising costs and household bills continuing to impact us all, especially as we head into the winter months.

Earlier in December, I was pleased to launch an updated cost of living guide from council, signposting families and individuals towards sources of support at what can be a very difficult time of year for many.

I would encourage everyone to pick up a copy at their local library, council building or other public venue to check what help is available to you if you are struggling or know someone who is.

This year, I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to get to know Belfast more and to experience the wonderful and invaluable contribution our communities make towards the fabric of our city.  

At the reopening of Templemore Baths in east Belfast, I heard fascinating stories and cherished memories of this vital community asset down the years. At new facilities in Lower Shankill Park and Marrowbone Millennium Park, I met with residents delighted to have fantastic new developments on their doorstep where they can relax, enjoy sports and spend time with friends and family.

I welcomed thousands of young people to our city for One Young World and heard about their ambitions for both Belfast and the planet, and was pleased to announce our city as a host for the Euro 2028 Championships.

At the unveiling of a statue to abolitionist Frederick Douglass in Belfast city centre, I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about our city’s diverse history and, through my chosen charities for my year in office, I’m delighted to showcase the vital work of organisations who represent Belfast in its many different forms.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve also spent time with residents and user groups at our community centres, where volunteers give their time selflessly to ensure everyone experiences the spirit of the season through special events and activities.

I hope that sense of friendship, resilience and hope continues, and I look forward to seeing more of our city and its fantastic community spirit into 2024.

I wish all residents a peaceful Christmas and a healthy and happy new year.

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