As you have heard, my journey to Dunstable has been somewhat circuitous. I have now lived in Dunstable for 30 years. I believe that is about the time one becomes accepted
During my year of office I would like to build on the work of the Town Council and the Dunstable Joint Committee and of those Councillors and officers who have been treading the streets talking to the shopkeepers and businesses in Dunstable, seeking ways in which we can increase footfall in the town. The Special Saturdays, that is the themed events in the Methodist Hall and on Ashton Square on the first Saturday of each month are designed to draw people into the centre. It is my wish to do what I can to harness enthusiasm for these events and involve the townspeople in making them more than just worthwhile. The owners of all the businesses in town need to involve themselves and help the Council and Councillors help them.
Our Leisure Centre is due for a £20m refurbishment. A new Library will be a part of that new building as well as further community space. The new warehouses in Boscombe Road are occupied bringing 100’s of jobs. Work continues on the White Lion Retail Park to accommodate new shops. A new highways and household recycling facility is being built at Thorn Turn to replace French’s Avenue domestic waste tip and the Brewer’s Hill roads depot; Creasey Park Community Football Centre, managed by the Town Council, flourishes; Priory House Heritage Centre, owned by the Town Council with its gift shop, information centre and Tea Rooms is as popular as ever; Priory Gardens and Grove House Gardens, both a credit to the Town’s garden team, both boasting green flags recognising them as being of high quality. Dunstable has also won Gold for its floral displays in the Summer under The Anglia in Bloom banner. There is so much for which the town can be proud. On top of that the Town put in a bid to Central Bedfordshire’s Market Town Regeneration Fund. Subject to Central Bedfordshire Council Executive approval, we will be able to improve many shop fronts, build a splash park and develop a new catering facility in the Bennett Memorial Recreation Ground, bring new signage around the town, give our Town Ranger new equipment to spruce up our town even more, create new town entrance features, enhance some of our most imposing buildings with new architectural lighting, make improvements to the Quadrant centre and refurbish the toilets there. This is all very good news.
My charities this year are Signposts, a charity which provides temporary accommodation for homeless persons between the ages of 16-29. While also offering guidance to their clients there is a clear emphasis on volunteering and they get involved in various community events. Skills are developed, confidence grows and they very much contribute to our community.
I am happy to support youngsters who have chosen to join with others to learn new skills, achieve new qualifications under the auspices of the RYA, to develop team work and self confidence and to constructively enjoy themselves. To this end I am pleased to announce my support for the Sea Cadets. I know we are rather a long way from the sea. Their home is a former windmill off West Street. In spite of a lack of water in Dunstable, but at times much wind (although the windmill has lost its sails) the Sea cadets overcome all this and are a credit to our land locked town. Indeed to their credit, they are currently Eastern Region power boat champions.
The third charity I would like to support is Sorted. This is a free and confidential counselling service for young people up to the age of 25 dispensing advice and giving support for those with, amongst other concerns, anger management, bullying, alcohol, drug and mental health problems, domestic violence and sexual health.
I do ask you all to do what you can to come and join me at my various Mayoral events to support these worthy causes.
I will be very happy to visit schools, local societies, clubs and businesses to join in an important occasion or to say something about the role of Mayor and the town’s future. Please contact the Mayor’s democratic services officer, Michele Markus at firstname.lastname@example.org and arrangements will be made.