I started the month of July with a day out in East Herts. I met with the Leader of the Council Linda Haysey and the Deputy Chief Executive Helen Standen. They are proud of their work on wellbeing and combatting isolation and loneliness, the Forever Active program for over 55s and in setting up the East Herts lottery. Challenges are in waste collection, housing and planning.
Then on to Ware with Chairman of the District Council and former Mayor of Ware, Jonathan Kaye where we met with the Living Together East Herts interfaith group and Chief Inspector Stuart Orton over lunch. Living Together formed last year with a first event in Ware and another planned for this year in Bishop’s Stortford.
Chief Inspector Orton took us on to Bishop’s Stortford to watch PCSO Tea leading a Mini Police session on drugs and alcohol for primary school children. He is keen to improve ‘confidence’ in police and communities working together and to promote a whole community approach to problem solving.
The next week I spent a day Watford. I met with elected mayor Peter Taylor and Watford Interfaith Association representatives Judith Bruni and Harjit Singh. There are lots of community projects including interfaith projects in Watford yet the highest rate of hate crime reports is from this district.
We were joined by Chairman Asif Khan and walked through the beautiful and impressive Cassiobury Park for lunch in the Education room with Park Manager Pherenice, who kindly gave me 2 lovely books about Cassiobury, the ancient seat of the Earls of Essex. There are lots of great community projects and wonderful events taking place here and we visited the Peace Garden, created and cared for by the local interfaith community.