One of the great strengths of our borough is our strong and diverse voluntary sector with many of our residents regularly giving freely of their time to help others in the community.
Across our borough in all areas there are excellent examples of voluntary organisation, often supported by private and public sector partners doing great work to support and improve the day to day lives of our residents.
One of my roles as council leader is to chair the Dacorum Strategic Network which brings together amongst others local councils, health, police and voluntary sector partners to look at issues which affect our borough.
As part of the work of the network an annual community fair is held. This brings together partners from across the sector and reports back on the achievements of the partnership over the last year.
This year’s community fair was held recently at Grovehill community centre and was attended by a wide range of voluntary groups. I was able to give a report on the topics covered by the network this year which have included supporting school leavers in a career in science and engineering, teenage mental health, suicide and child poverty and deprivation in Dacorum.
Whilst there is always more to do it, has been pleasing how people have worked together to make progress on these and other challenging topics. I am committed to ensuring that this strong and effective relationship between the council and our voluntary sector partners is maintained and strengthened.
The first of a new type of community project is being held this week in Highfield. A week of free and fun filled events, “Love your Neighbourhood” is being held at Yewtree School to coincide with half term.
Each day has a different theme based on aspects of daily life with the later part of the week concentrating on community safety and cleanliness, employability and upskilling.
The week finishes on the Friday with a community celebration. For more information please go to www.dacorum.gov.uk/loveyourneighbouhood or call 01442 228000 and ask for Neighbourhood Action.
I am sure that this will be a very popular event and one which I hope we can repeat in other neighbourhoods across our borough in the future.
On another topic, I have received comments about recent work to remove some trees from the Water Gardens in Hemel Hempstead.
This is part of the project to restore the Gardens to their original 1960’s design, which was far more open.
Whilst there will be a break before the main work starts in April, once this is completed we will see a return of the green grassy banks and openness which many people will either remember or have seen in photographs, and where appropriate new trees will be planted.
Which brings us back to the essential role volunteers in the borough – the Friends of Jellicoe Water Gardens volunteer group have been instrumental in bringing about the regeneration of the gardens and helping to restore this historic landmark back to its former glory.
Another great example of the positive influence volunteers have on their community.