IT has been six months since we were elected to represent the people of Pontefract in the local elections.
We are pleased to be able to say that our experiences to date have been both heartening and enlightening and we thank people for entrusting us with the responsibilities that the position of councillor brings.
It has been a time of learning and challenge for both of us. We have been impressed by the levels of voluntary activity in the community and the deep level of commitment demonstrated by many people.
Despite all that is positive we recognise that times are hard and that further real cuts to council services will have to be made into the future given the approach of central government.
We know that there are major challenges to face but nevertheless, we want, as far as possible, to be part of the solution by encouraging new initiatives and making our contribution.
We understand that there will be debate and discussion along the way but, that ultimately, the best way forward has to be by working through this together to get the best that we can in the circumstances.
It is therefore disappointing to read some of the negative letters that have been printed in the paper over the past few weeks about the council.
We remain acutely aware that there is always work to be done. However, it is also important to recognise the labours of those who work tirelessly, very often behind the scenes, to serve the best interests of Pontefract.
On Friday we attended the opening of the new building at Carleton Community High School. This excellent facility, which is the fruit of many people’s hard work and vision, both within and beyond the council and of which there is no equivalent in the Wakefield district, will doubtless help our young people to learn and to flourish. This must be cause for celebration all round!
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas.
COUN CELIA LOUGHRAN
Pontefract South ward
COUN PAULA SHERRIFF
Pontefract North ward