The past year has been an extremely challenging period for us all - but now more than ever we need to continue to work together to rebuild in 2021 and beyond.

The economic challenges have been particularly difficult for our rural communities, as those families and businesses who rely on farming and agriculture, as well as tourism, have seen unprecedented struggles.

The peak periods of summer and Easter, which are so important to tourism businesses as families travel from across the UK to our wonderful region, have been largely decimated in terms of tourism, creating genuine struggles for many who depend on this trade.

The ongoing lockdown and forced closures of hospitality venues, and possibility of the introduction of Tier 4 at some point after Christmas, mean the conditions will remain tough for many months ahead.

And now probably isn’t the time to even mention the likely impact of Brexit!

But together, we can get through this.

Through supporting each other, we can strengthen the foundations for future growth which have been so tested during 2020.

Supporting our local businesses has never been more important, and I would urge everyone to get behind our family-owned and independent ventures, the lifeblood of so many communities whose existence depends on us enabling them to rebuild.

Over the past few months, our rural team at Sintons have supported so many families and business-es in protecting their futures.

From enabling people to make wills and make provision for future generations, to supporting businesses with their rights and obligations through the Job Retention Scheme and the complexities around furlough leave, we have again been there for our rural commu-nities.

For 124 years, our specialist advisors have supported our rural communities and we will continue to do so into the future - we’ll be by their side every step of the way giving the guidance they need.

But for now, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and send you my best wishes for the festive season.

May it be a happy and healthy period for you and your family, and let’s all hope 2021 is a much less eventful year for us all!

The prospect of holidays over the festive period and the positive vibes of changes in 2021 are hopefully enough to spur us all on and maintain strength.

Tom Wills is head of agriculture and estates at Sintons.

He and the team continue to work as nor-mal during the pandemic and are contactable at all times.

Please contact Tom on or (0191) 226 3796.