During the last month I have continued to support local businesses through engaging in network events. I had the pleasure to present to the three businesses who won the Christmas Window Display competitions this year their prizes. A great chance to speak to those in Flexi Staff to hear how busy they have been and how recruitment opportunities continue to develop further for Dunstable.
My Deputy, Cllr Louise O’Riordan, and I attended Keech Hospice on the 18th January 2024. An opportunity to tour the site and speak to senior leaders and key workers about the services they provide and the support they receive from many other partners across the county and further afield.
One of two new shop openings took place in the Quadrant, with the welcoming of Wood Green Charity Shop. I was pleased to hear and see the range of employment opportunities within the store including voluntary, and supported employment.
The Dunstable Business Buzz was launched on the 26th January, and had over 70 local businesses attend and provide a 7 second introduction to the services they provide. The Sugar Loaf was the venue and it was great to see and hear the physical buzz in the room and the collaboration taking place. The events take place on the last Friday of every month and everyone is welcome to book a ticket via this link https://www.business-buzz.org/bedfordshire/dunstable/ .
January seemed to be a very very long month, and I was pleased to attend the Mayor of Ampthill’s Charity Fund Raiser – Beat the January Blues. It is always nice to support fellow Mayor’s at their events, as it is an opportunity to share good practice and showcase the excellent work we are doing in our own communities.
Shots and Potz opened on the 27th January 2024 – a real pleasure to officially open the new Sports Bar and see the transformation that had taken place inside.
I held a very successful fundraiser myself for my chosen charities at The Old Hunters Lodge. A fabulous two course Sunday Lunch was served by John & Louise and their team to 40 guests, raising over £300 for my charities.
I was joined by three of my fellow councillors on the 30th January 2024 to attend a Safer Central Patrol and Weapon Sweep activity across Dunstable. It was a valuable opportunity to talk to the Safer Central Neighbourhood officers who patrol our streets and work closely with the Community Policing team. It was an opportunity to further strengthen our need for greater visible policing in Dunstable as increased cases of anti-social behavior have been reported, particularly involving off road motorcycles.
I have been following up the outstanding questions from the previous months meeting with the Police and Crime Commissioner as we made strong representation at that about the situation we were facing right across the town. Answers still pending to our questions !
We have a lot of young businesses that can’t quite afford right now the full expense of running their own unit; to support this Priory House has for many years now offered “Showcase Shelving” an opportunity to “rent a shelf” and sell your items. I was asked along to Cazidore in The Quadrant to launch their Community Shelving project and met with two of the three businesses displaying their range of items. If you get the chance do pop in and take a look!
It’s not often you get to host the Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire. I was joined by the Deputy Mayor and our Town Clerk, Chief Executive, Paul Hodson, and we welcomed Susan Lousada to Dunstable.
We talked to her with regards to the town centre, it’s rich history and the work that the Town Council does to enhance the lives of its residents. A tour of the town centre showcased key areas including Eleanors Cross, Ashton Square, Middle Row, The Quadrant , explaining that well established independent businesses were the backbone of our community. We talked about the 38 years Octave had been in the Town; 30 plus years Coconut Garden had served delicious meals and supported the community; 30 years that Stoten Gillam Accountancy had been in town; and the vibrant community of Eleanors Cross where Spicer and Co, Cakes by Claire to name just a couple deliver excellent service all year round. Susan was very impressed with the vast amount of independent businesses attracted to Dunstable!
Not many people get to 100! Last week I was invited to Thorn Springs Care Home in Houghton Regis to celebrate the birthday of Lily. I had to seek permission to cross the border into Houghton Regis with my mayoral chain on, and it was a pleasure to go along with Cllr Jimmy Carroll to meet Lily and her family and friends as they celebrated 100 years young!
Louise represented me at the Mayor of Ampthill’s Civic Service last weekend.
Celebrating 30 years of The Disability Resource was a lovely opportunity to visit the Warm Hub at The Mayfield Centre in Dunstable. Good to talk to those attending to hear how much they benefit from the social interactions that come with their weekly visit.
As we approach the end of the mayoral year, most Mayor’s hold a service to reflect on their year and to thank organisations, voluntary groups etc. for their support across the community. My own service is on the 3rd March 2024 at 3pm at the Priory Church – everyone is welcome to attend!
The rest of the month I have been busy behind the scenes planning for my charity fundraisers – you can find all the details for all the events via this link https://www.dunstable.gov.uk/town-mayor/
  • 80s Night – 24th February 2024 – Peter Newton Pavillon, Dunstable .. not too late to book ! 
  • Fun Run / Walk – 17th March 2024 – Creasey Park, Dunstable 
  • Bingo Night – 4th April 2024, Mecca Bingo, Skimpot Road, Luton 
  • Coffee Morning – 27th April 2024 – Priory View, Church Street, Dunstable 
I am now into my last 100 days of being Mayor, and I will continue to commit my time and energy to the town to ensure those that want to see the Mayor at events, see the Mayor (or Deputy if I can’t make it) and I continue to support all local businesses, organisations, schools and residents in any questions they have. 
Please email democratic@dunstable.gov.uk to request a visit from the Mayor !