Last Monday, I met the Mayor Cllr Robert McLean and Mayoress Wendy McLean of Dacorum Borough Council at the Civic Centre in Hemel Hempstead for coffee and presentations from Community Action Dacorum, Dacorum Community Trust and Dacorum Council's housing services staff.
I spent a full day touring the borough and visiting various organisations to see how the services they provide relate to the community and associated problems such as domestic abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, and homelessness.
We visited Cherished, an initiative to support victims of domestic abuse in Hemel Hempstead and the wider Dacorum area, and met some of the women and their young children who receive support in a safe environment to help them regain control of their lives. Since a focus on the complex issue of domestic abuse is one of my themes during my shrieval year, it was great to see the important work being done in this area.
We also saw (and participated in!) a dance group for 55s and over called Let's Dance, which aims to address concerns of social isolation. This was followed by visits to some housing schemes including a sheltered scheme for older people, and a hostel for single homeless people which includes an IT training suite and garden area with allotment. Our final visit was to Druglink, a charity which provides a detox and rehab centre, where we met some of the clients currently undergoing treatment there.
All of the projects are providing life-changing help and opportunities for a diverse group of people - it was absolutely great to see.