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Author: Louis Stephen

MAYOR’S WEEK: 11 – 18 May 2024

MAYOR’S WEEK: 11 – 18 May 2024

Thank you and goodbye.

Sadly, my time as Mayor has now come to an end. The chain of office has been handed over, a thank you and goodbye speech made at the Guildhall.

As they say, all good things come to an end. Katey and I have enjoyed the experience. It has been a real honour and a privilege, something that I’ll treasure forever. Thank you.

Last year I attended hundreds of events and helped to raise over £7,000 for Age UK. Last May I supported Worcester Community Trust to put on a Christmas meal at the Guildhall.

I’ve conducted scores of Mayor’s tours of the Guildhall to all manner of charities, schools and foreign visitors – sometimes several in one week. Each tour being perfected and honed, hopefully getting a little better as I gained experience.

At the beginning of the year, I made a pledge to attend every Mayoral event on my bike. I’ve always believed that leaders should lead.

Unfortunately, perhaps I should have consulted Katey before making that pledge.

There were a few ‘words said’ when, on more than one occasion, I insisted on us arriving at a posh charity event in evening dress and dinner jacket on our bikes.

One of the things that I’m most proud of was the Mayor’s Charity Fashion Show. When I say proud it’s actually more accurate to say proud of the team that made it happen and by that, I mean key Guildhall staff like Gill Preece but also Karel Bretveld from Age UK.

The team raised thousands of pounds and gave dozens of Worcester’s young people an amazing opportunity to show off their creative skills. And it was also a lot of fun.

Finally, I wish Mel Allcott all the best for her time as the city’s new Mayor. I hope she enjoys the experience as much as I did.

MAYOR’S WEEK: 5 – 11 MAY 2024

MAYOR’S WEEK: 5 – 11 MAY 2024

Mayor of Worcester Louis Stephen on the bike bus

This week I joined the Honeywell Bike Bus in Dines Green. It was great to be able to show a bit of Mayoral support for this fantastic initiative.

Not yet familiar with bike buses? A bike bus is a brilliant way to support and encourage primary school children to cycle to school, reducing traffic and giving families the experience of cycling together.

Bike buses can also improve on-road cycling proficiency, with the safety of being directed by adults and surrounded by other children cycling.

Bike bus routes are planned for school runs, marshals and others ride in formation to make sure children on the ride are kept safe from vehicles.

Worcester’s first bike bus was started by Katie and Rob Collier at North Worcester Primary Academy, and Bike Worcester have been doing a great job supporting other parents to set up their own bike bus.

In January 2023 Worcester City Council granted Bike Worcester £1,000 to be used to help start bike buses at other primary schools in the city.

They’ve got flags, vests and banners to publicise bike buses along the journey and outside of schools. They also help share routes and bike bus information to schools and parents, ensuring new bike buses keep momentum and increase interest over time.

Bike buses show the power of, and the demand for, cycling on the school run. Bike Worcester are campaigning for safe routes to school without the need for a bike bus to keep small children safe. Until then, we need to continue to support and expand bike buses in every primary school in the city.

If you want to know more about an existing Bike Bus, or you’d like to volunteer or set up your own, visit the Bike Worcester website. Bike buses are explained in this Youtube video.

MAYOR’S WEEK 28 APRIL – 4 MAY

MAYOR’S WEEK 28 APRIL – 4 MAY

Youth Choral Worcs in Worcester Cathedral performing Mass in Blue

Last weekend we were invited to a performance of Mass in Blue by Youth Choral Worcs in Worcester Cathedral.

This is a project set-up in 2010 to provide educational choral singing projects to young people in the county, particularly those who have limited opportunity to access this sort of experience.

It is open to any secondary school in Worcestershire and provides the opportunity to learn a major choral work with world class professionals and perform it in a major concert venue. It is the brainchild of Anne Renshaw who has a vision of the highest quality of music in the city being open for all.

Well, the energy, enthusiasm and top-notch performance this week is testament to the success of this project.

Christopher Whitehead and the Royal Grammar School (RGS) from the city were joined by other county schools, Cathedral Youth Choir and international students from the USA together with the project’s Music Director and Conductor Neil Ferris, the composer of Mass in Blue, Will Todd, at the piano with the Will Todd jazz ensemble and soprano soloist Lorna James.

It was an unforgettable performance. The concert was presented by the saxophonist Jess Gillam who performed with her trio as guest artist. What an inspiring role model she is.

The sad thing is that this is exactly the sort of thing that is being cut with a narrowing of the national curriculum and underfunding of the arts.

Anne was twice turned down for financial help from Arts Council England for the project and it was only because of generous funding from The Bransford Trust, Worcester City Council and Worcestershire Community Foundation that this could go ahead.

Music provides a great way to learn teamwork and broaden horizons. I know that opportunities like this can literally change a young person’s life. It is a travesty that without opportunities like this, music is often now limited to an affluent few.

Well done to everyone involved and thank you Anne for everything you do.

MAYOR’S WEEK: 21 – 27 APRIL 2024

MAYOR’S WEEK: 21 – 27 APRIL 2024

Mayor Louis Stephen with members of the St George's Day Parade

Last Sunday it was the Scout’s annual St George’s Day parade. I’m always learning. The sun shone on the hundreds of Squirrels, Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers as they marched past the Vice Lord-Lieutenant Gilbert Greenall taking the salute.

There was a warm positive atmosphere with the High Street packed with proud parents and grandparents. What I had not expected was the Cathedral service just prior to the parade.

I say this in a good way – I’ve never been to a Cathedral service quite like this. Cubs and Scouts have changed a great deal over the years.

Participants of the St George's Day Parade

The service included lots of singing, audience participation “it’s behind you” and lots of laughs as they put on a short play retelling the story of how St George overcame the dragon in the most engaging way imaginable – at times we were in stitches on the front row.

All of the organisers deserve much deserved thanks – they are all volunteers and do so much in our communities creating a fantastic social environment for our young people.

The Scouts in Worcester meet in 10 groups within our city. With over 1,100 young people and 350 volunteers. Unfortunately, not every area is fully covered. In the north of the city, 12th Worcester would love to open a Scout Troop so the Cubs can move up when they reach 10 years old.

And in WR2 they have a huge waiting list for the Squirrels’ age group of 4-6 years old. They need volunteers to help open these sections.

Society changes and with it so do organisations like the Scouts. They are an inclusive organisation and welcome diversity in volunteering. Whether you work with young people directly, a trustee, or an admin superstar, they are ready to welcome you. Visit Scouts Worcester to express an interest.

Participants of the St George's Day Parade

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