Five months ago I was privileged to take up my role as chief executive of Dacorum Borough Council.
Since I began my new role, I have put aside time to allow me to meet as many residents, voluntary and community groups, local businesses, investors, partner organisations, staff and ward councillors as possible.
And I’ve been struck by how much collective effort goes into making Dacorum a great place to live.
I have walked around much of the borough doing ward walks with councillors to see first-hand what is great about Dacorum and what could be improved.
We have some wonderful beauty spots which I believe may go unnoticed – for example Margaret Lloyd Park in Grovehill, Hemel Hempstead, with its natural dell and pond providing an oasis to walk and relax in.
In September I’m pleased to announce that Dacorum will host the finish of stage six of the Tour of Britain Cycle Race (Bath to Hemel Hempstead) providing an excellent opportunity to showcase our beautiful natural environment, as there will be three hours of televised coverage of the race per day.
I’ve spent time with each of our council services and seen the real passion that our staff have for the work they do and the services they provide.
I’ve been out with the refuse crews and the clean safe and green team and seen their efforts to keep our borough clean and tidy.
Even though it is a service that we provide for the borough, each of us individually can also take some responsibility for how the borough looks and feels, by putting litter or chewing gum in the bins provided or taking it home with us.
It inspired me to challenge the corporate management team to join me last November in a litter pick during our lunch break in Maylands.
I was staggered by the volume and type of rubbish people leave behind.
In just a short period of time we picked up a total of 250 kilos of rubbish which included many sweet wrappers, cigarette stubs and packets, soft drinks cans, coffee cups and, more unusually, a television set, a bag of single shoes – and a bottle of urine!
When visiting one of our elderly persons housing complexes, I was a little concerned that I may have aged more than I thought over the last few months.
One of the residents said: “Are you moving in? They’re really good to you here, you’ll love it.”
However, it was a great endorsement for the service.
The tireless and invaluable work of volunteers and the voluntary sector is also a credit to the community of Dacorum.
Last week I attended the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire Awards.
It was great to see six of our local charities and volunteers receiving recognition for their hard work within our communities by being awarded either a grant or an award from Viscountess Trenchard.
Congratulations to all those who were recognised in this way.
On behalf of the borough, thank you for the work that you, and so many other volunteers, do day to day for the benefit of Dacorum and its communities.
Sally Marshall is the chief executive of Dacorum Borough Council. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01442 228000.
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