Chamber Chat – Mal Garnett

January 03, 2019 - 10:00am

Chamber Chat – Mal Garnett

As a new year dawns, it’s hard to write a forward-looking piece because in many ways we’ve never been more out of control of the factors that may or may not affect our business environment. So instead I’m going to focus on a local issue that we do have the power to influence.

 The mood this Christmas was a different one. There was a shift away from spending money on unnecessary gifts and instead a lot of people focused on spending time at home with the people around them. A number of families created ‘reverse advent calendars’ where rather than treating themselves every day, they collated items for the Food Bank instead. This was supported by local businesses who got behind the movement by offering collection points.

 As always at Christmas in our house we found that we were running late and we missed the collection deadlines so on 21st December we went down to the Food Bank to drop off the essentials and Christmas treats we’d put together. We arrived as the queues of Food Bank clients were building outside and it was sobering to see so much need on our doorstep. Who would have thought this could happen around here?

 We don’t know what lies ahead in terms of policy changes this year but it’s likely that the government is going to have its focus on international rather than domestic issues. So in the meantime, although it really shouldn’t be down to individuals to solve, let’s not forget that there is hunger on the streets around us. It’s a local issue that we need to support for as long as we have to. My message today is that the Food Bank needs businesses and individuals to work together to support it all year round, not just at Christmas.

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