Colchester United's Football in the Community wish everyone a Happy Christmas.
With the big day imminent, Head of Community at the U's Football in the Community charity arm Corin Haines issued the following message:
As 2020 draws to a close, I just wanted to take some time out to reflect on a year that has brought extraordinary challenges to us all.
Everyone has been affected by the pandemic in some way, and I send my thoughts and condolences to those who have experienced loss and tough times.
When I gather with my wife and two young children on Christmas Day, I will spare a thought for all those families that will be without a loved one this year.
We started 2020 in a really positive position, and were projecting a record year in terms of participation levels across Colchester and North East Essex.
Fast forward three months and those plans were being ripped up and replaced by a new "Part of the Solution" strategy in response to the pandemic.
The response of our staff and volunteers, supported by the trustees, to remodel the business, re-imagine programme delivery alongside identify and secure new opportunities to support our community is something that we take great purpose and pride from.
None of this has been easy and tough decisions around furlough, cost controls, and staff work load had to be made to ensure the sustainability of the charity.
Difficult messages to convey when so many staff have gone way beyond their job descriptions to contribute to our responses of these challenges.
The pride that I feel for Colchester United Football in the Community this year is like no other I have experienced in the previous twenty years working here, this extends to the club's superb response on so many different levels.
Our staff has been absolutely magnificent and truly humbling.
We enter 2021 confident but not complacent, and acutely aware that factors beyond our control will continue to play a large part in our future.
We will need to continue being agile and flexible and recognise that there are likely to be bumps in the road.
We do however have a strong infrastructure in place to react, which is underpinned by an exceptional football club at the heart of its community.
If we continue to show the passion and dedication to overcome the challenges that 2020 presented, we can confidently look forward with optimism on creating more successes together in 2021.
From all our staff, volunteers and board of trustees, we wish everyone a very Happy Christmas.