October 11th – November 13th, 2023 – Mayoral Roundup
Whilst the last month or so has been quieter with fewer official mayoral engagements it has given opportunity for reflection and planning for second half of my year.
In the last month the focus has been on education, health and well-being and sporting activities.
The Multi Use Games Area at Kingsbury Recreational Park, near Luton Road, continues to attract visitors from across the town seven days a week. Despite the colder, damper weather it appears nothing will stop people from “shooting some hoops” and from where I live, I see young people walking along the road carrying basketballs, whereas previously it was football.
As it happens on the 13 November myself and Cllr Greg Alderman attended the official opening of the new MUGA at Priory Academy in Dunstable. A fantastic space for the school and for outside hire in the centre of Dunstable. Whilst currently focusing very much on football the school plan to utilise the facility for Netball, Tennis and are keen to explore the world of Pickleball with the Dunstable Hunters Pickleball Club.
Dunstable Sea Cadets invited me to their Annual Parade night on the 20 October and Cllr Robert Blennerhassett came as my guest. It was an honour to be at their parade and see the passion and commitment by all cadets and officers.
The Sea Cadets play a huge part in our town’s Remembrance parade each year, not only as one of the three uniformed organisations based in the town, but they also run the parade ground and ensure the march from Grove House to the War Memorial in Priory Gardens is done with professionalism throughout. My thanks go to Kayte Hollis who led this year’s parade.
New beginnings in our town during the last month include the newly opened Lithuanian food shop Sala in Ashton Square. I was asked to officially open the shop by cutting the ribbon and being at their afternoon of activities. A lovely family run business that has a fantastic selection of foods.
I think we all feel the loss of Wilkinson and I know through conversation with local business owners in the last month footfall in Middle Row has reduced somewhat. It’s more important than ever to focus on supporting our businesses and whilst it may not have the all singing all dancing major high street names Dunstable does still have a plethora of independent businesses still trading in our town.
Huge thank you to Joanne from the The Workhouse who acted as the “post box” for entries to this years Mayor’s Christmas Card Competition. Over 30 entries across four age categories were received and the winners came to the Workhouse to receive their prizes. My deputy and I will be signing the cards over the coming weeks and will be distributing these across the town during our travels in December.
I’ve been continuously looking at what more I can do to support young people to engage in community activities from a young age and recently myself and Cllr Louise O’Riordan visited a group of children at Larkrise Academy in West Dunstable. Following a plea on social media for chess sets to enable the school to start a club at lunchtime etc. it was mine and Louise’s pleasure to gift the school 4 new sets. The room of 24 children was filled with sheer excitement, whilst full of concentration and strategic thinking as they chose their next move.
I spent time with students of Queensbury Academy who were all eagerly awaiting results of their nominations for the Junior Leadership Team within the school. We talked about their passion for helping others and for making a difference in not only the school but the wider community. I’m keen to explore this further and will be working with the school to build on wider engagement and involvement in making a difference.
The month ahead is focused very much on festive activities and my long-awaited Abba Night for my charities.
The Town Council’s annual Torchlight and Carols evening on the 24 November promises to be a great night finishing with a laser show. Starting at 7.00 pm and ending around 8.15 pm over 300 young people from many schools from the local area will come together. The tree switch on and visit from Santa is always the highlight!
Twilight Market weekend promises to bring lots of lovely festive fun to the town so please do support it over the three days 8-10 December.
Tickets are available for my Sunday Lunch at the Old Hunters Lodge via this link – please do book early to avoid disappointment. www.dunstable.gov.uk/event/old-hunters-lodge-sunday-lunch/
My festive update will be next in Mid December – until then have fun and remember to invite the Mayor along!