What. A. Year! With only a few weeks until Christmas, how are you going?
With an amazing run of double donuts, restrictions progressively easing and state borders opening, we can breathe a sigh of relief.
I hope wherever you find yourself right now, that you're looking ahead with optimism or at least have some plans coming together for the new year that you're looking forward to.
I could not be prouder of how our community has responded to the challenges of this year.
We've seen flexibility and innovation from businesses and students, teachers and parents take to virtual classrooms. We rode the mental wave of two lockdowns and our essential workers became the heroes of the pandemic - we couldn't have done it without them!
We've heard the saying 'we're all in this together' many times this year and I believe that we are, having realised just how important social connection and interactions are - even if only over Zoom.
So as the clock runs down on 2020 and we look forward to a re-set in 2021, let's keep our community at the front of our minds.
As you write your Christmas lists, put the goods and services of Greater Bendigo businesses at the very top. Everywhere you go, the Love Your Local stickers in shop windows are a great reminder to spend locally this festive season to help our business community recover from the pandemic.
When we love our local businesses, we're also helping to keep local people in jobs. For every $100 spent in a local business, up to $70 stays in our community. This is compared to only $3 when we shop online from a store located outside Greater Bendigo.
It's also important to recognise that after such a challenging year, there will be people and families in our community that are feeling uneasy about Christmas and it will be tough for them.
If you are able to buy gifts, consider purchasing one for someone in our community you may not know and support a charity of your choice. The smallest random act of kindness could bring the joy of Christmas to someone who really needs it.
There will also be people who are uneasy about going out, so consider connecting with them by dropping off some home cooking, sharing extra seasonal home-grown produce or catch up outside in their garden.
Greater Bendigo has an amazing community spirit, I know we will see out 2020 in a caring and inclusive way, doing all we can to support those who need it and connecting with those important to us.
A new year and a fresh start are on the horizon.