May you all thrive and prosper in this new year – Lord Provost Frank Ross
Lord Provost Frank Ross looks back on the highlights of 2019 – and forward to the year to come
As we wake up to a new decade, I’d like to wish everyone in Edinburgh a happy and healthy start to the new year.
There was much to be proud of in 2019 and, as Lord Provost, I had the opportunity to recognise the achievements of many of our own.
It was certainly with a proud heart that I presented the 2019 Edinburgh Award to entrepreneur and Heart of Midlothian FC owner Ann Budge, in early December. Ann has had an inspiring career and is a role model to many. Recognising all that she has achieved on behalf of the city was certainly a highlight of my year.
She, of course, followed in the footsteps of former rugby international Doddie Weir, who was presented with the accolade the year before. I managed to catch up with members of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation again this summer after raising £3,000 for the charity at my Burns Night Fundraiser. The money will go straight towards researching much needed motor neurone disease treatments.
I’ll be returning to Prestonfield for the annual Burns event and hope to raise many more thousands of pounds for the OneCity Trust, of which I’m patron. Supporting charity is something I’m very keen on and Edinburgh is a hugely generous city.
We have a great many big-hearted citizens but the loss of one such gentleman – another Edinburgh Award recipient – has certainly left a hole. The warmth we all felt for the one and only Tom Gilzean was made clear in November when he passed away and tributes poured in from all corners of the city.
It came just days before Remembrance Sunday and I’m determined to keep pushing for greater support of our veterans in Edinburgh. We recently recognised the success of our youngest cadets and dedicated reservists with a celebration in the City Chambers and I’ll continue to work across the council and the city to strengthen the support we provide.
Something many in the armed forces community unfortunately face is the mental aftermath of time in service and post-traumatic stress. Mental health is something all of us have and, like any illness, none of us are immune to ending up in poor mental health. In November it was an honour to hit this message home and launch the first THRIVE Mental Health Conference for Edinburgh.
The inaugural event was a chance for people to join forces to start an open and honest conversation about the future of citizens’ mental health. Inspired by similar initiatives across the globe, and building on the early findings of the 2050 City Vision, we’ll continue to build on this work to share new ideas and discuss mental health initiatives with an ambition of nurturing the wellbeing of people in Edinburgh. The start of a new year is an exciting prospect for many and a chance to celebrate with those close to you. But it can also be a difficult time. I want everyone to feel they have support if they need it and that’s what THRIVE is all about.
January also brings with it the Queen’s New Year’s Honours and I was pleased to see individuals from Edinburgh make it onto the list. It includes those who have given time to charity and public service in healthcare, bereavement services, education, science and the arts and I look forward to presenting some of the medals in person.
The search will also soon be on for a nominee for the Edinburgh Award 2020, so please don’t miss this opportunity to see someone you admire receive a token of the city’s pride.
Cllr Frank Ross is the Lord Provost of Edinburgh.