First and foremost, I want to send my best wishes to everyone in Camden for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

While I believe there will be cause for hope in 2022, especially as vaccination rates around the world steadily increase, it’s important to note how challenging much of this past year has been.

That said, as leader of the council, I’ve been left in awe on a near daily basis by the residents I’ve encountered across the borough and how impressively they’ve responded, often in grief, to this global crisis, not least in how people have looked out for one another.

To my mind this speaks volumes about the strength of character and spirit here in Camden, and indeed across London – that capacity for endurance, optimism, and selflessness. It makes me proud to live here, and I’m grateful for it every day.

And although this is the season for gratitude and celebration, with the Omicron Covid variant rising rapidly, we need to take even greater care in the days and weeks ahead.

As Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, has recommended, please think carefully about how and where you’re socialising, make those that matter most to you your priority, and if you can avoid unnecessary gatherings, please do.

Good choices regarding social distancing will make a huge difference, as will proper ventilation, and wearing masks in enclosed public places, such as supermarkets, shops, and when using public transport.

But as essential as those actions are, getting fully vaccinated and boosted as soon as you can is the most effective thing that you can do to protect yourself, your loved ones, and the community around you – the vaccines are safe, they work, and they are our best chance of bringing the Covid-19 pandemic to a much-needed end.

Finally, while I wish everyone a Merry Christmas I do appreciate that, for lots of reasons, this is not always an easy time of year. So if you are in need of support over the festive period, including with self-isolating or accessing food, please get in touch by calling 020 7974 4444 (option 9) or visiting

Georgia Gould (Lab) is leader of Camden Council.

Ham & High: Camden's The Lock Tavern was lit up as part of the Guinness Light Up Your Local campaign this monthCamden's The Lock Tavern was lit up as part of the Guinness Light Up Your Local campaign this month (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)