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A day out in North Herts

I had a lovely day in North Herts with Chairman Jean Green, her consort James and Alan Fleck, Community engagement officer. I am grateful to her team for arranging a day with my particular interests in mind.

We started the day at the Council offices where I met the Leader of the Council, Martin Stears-Handscomb and Chief Executive Anthony Roche. North Herts is a large district and I learnt about the challenges of providing for both rural and urban populations and their different requirements.

At the Ravidissia centre we had a brief tour of the community centre, temple and kitchen and heard about the partnership with Hitchin Food Rescue Hub/Cookery Eatery who use the space too.

A group had been assembled there who then gave short presentations on their work:

  • Best before Café, tackling food waste and food poverty together by taking surplus and unsold food from local supermarkets and cooking it up into delicious meals served to anyone and everyone on a pay-what-you-can basis

  • Hitchin Food Rescuer Hub

  • Citizens Advice in N Herts

  • North Herts CVS and support available matching volunteers with opportunities, training, funding applications and much more

  • Intergenerational Project taking the elderly for activity sessions in primary schools

  • Hitchin Peace Garden project, created by the Hitchin Quakers

  • Royston Community Transport

As well as being very informative, theses local groups were able to meet each other and make new and helpful connections.

We had a lovely lunch at the Nourish Café at the Letchworth Centre for Healthy Living.

Then on to visit the North Herts Minority Ethnic Forum where Director Mohammed Alam told us about the many courses, events and outings arranged for young and old and how the demand for their services has increased due to larger numbers of new immigrant communities settling in North Herts. They provide culturally and linguistically sensitive services to help with training and employment and better community integration.

Finally, on to Jackie’s Drop In where we met Jackie and her son Shane and Daughter Zoe. This family, led by Jackie, have created an extraordinary space, doing most of the work themselves, for adults with learning disabilities and there is so much to do here from art and music to a film room, hairdressers, café, garden, sensory room and much more. There is also a Hate Crime reporting office with support. And all done with love and a desire to care for others.

Thank you to Jean and to her consort James who dove us. It was a really interesting and enjoyable day.

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