Home Local News Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council’s Christmas and New Year message

Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council’s Christmas and New Year message

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Councillor Yvonne Gagen, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, reflects on the past year and looks forward to 2023:

“The last 12 months in the Borough have given us many things to be proud of. The new town centre plans in Skelmersdale took a huge leap forward with the opening of the Tawd Valley Centre. This brand-new retail park has enhanced the Borough’s appeal as a great place to live, work and visit and allowed Skelmersdale to hold its first of many fantastic Christmas Lights Switch Ons.

“We had a very busy year of events. In May, the 1st Battalion of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment marched through Ormskirk to exercise the Freedom of the Borough bestowed upon them in 2010 and I was also delighted to see the return of the Green Fayre in Beacon Country Park and our first ever Bank Holiday event in Ormskirk. These events were a huge success and proved we can really put on a show with something for everyone.

“There were also incredible community events in June for the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee celebrations. It was wonderful to see the Borough decked out in red, white and blue, with everyone enjoying the sunshine in recognition of our longest-serving monarch.

“Sadly, we once again joined together to commemorate the passing of Her Late Majesty just a few months later. Thank you to everyone who rallied round to make sure our commemorations went so smoothly and reflected our love and respect for Queen Elizabeth II so fittingly.

“2022 has also been a challenging year with the cost-of-living crisis hitting many people hard. I have been constantly overwhelmed by the way our communities and partners have pulled together when the going gets tough. I would like to congratulate the Birchwood Centre on the opening of the West Lancs Foyer – a vital residential facility that will provide young people at risk of becoming homeless a safe and comfortable place to stay while they get back on their feet.

“As a Council, we have issued almost £9 million in funds to help with the cost-of-living crisis through various government and local schemes. Five separate schemes have helped residents with financial pressures with almost 40,000 people helped by energy rebate schemes alone. Distributing these funds has been a massive challenge for the Council and staff have worked incredibly hard to get payments to the people who need them most as quickly as they could and I extend my sincere thanks to them.

“With 2023 knocking on our door, we can also look forward to some really exciting projects moving forward next year, particularly the progression of our plans for two new Leisure and Wellbeing Hubs in Skelmersdale and Ormskirk and the refurbishment of the Burscough Racquet & Fitness Centre. When completed, these hubs will create affordable, accessible, modern and needs-led facilities that will help drive behavioural change and community resilience.

“The next twelve months will undoubtedly bring big challenges. If you think we may be able to help, please reach out to us. There are lots of resources on our website outlining where we may be able to assist you with things like money advice, benefits and health and wellbeing, along with contact details for other organisations.

“Times may be tough, but I’m confident that we will not only overcome these challenges, but we will move towards a more positive outlook for everyone. As a council, you can be assured we will continue to work hard for everyone in the Borough.

“I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.”

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