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Category: 2018-2019 Mayor Jabba Riaz

MAYOR’S WEEK: 10 – 16 MARCH 2024

MAYOR’S WEEK: 10 – 16 MARCH 2024

The Mayor with Nunnery Wood High School pupils  Natasha Lee and Lara Jackson, working on one of the outfits for his charity fashion show
The Mayor with Nunnery Wood High School pupils Natasha Lee and Lara Jackson, working on one of the outfits for his charity fashion show

In recent years, the term “fast fashion” has become synonymous with affordable and trendy clothing, churned out at lightning speed to meet consumer demand. However, behind the facade of convenience and low prices lie a host of negative issues that have far-reaching consequences for both people and the planet.

The industry is notorious for its excessive use of resources, including water, energy, and raw materials. From the cultivation of cotton to the dyeing and finishing processes, each stage of garment production contributes to pollution and environmental degradation.

Equally troubling are the human rights abuses that pervade the fast fashion supply chain. In pursuit of ever-lower production costs, many companies outsource manufacturing to countries with lax labour regulations, where workers are subjected to long hours, low wages, and unsafe working conditions. Reports of child labour, forced labour, and exploitation are all too common, highlighting the human toll of the industry’s relentless drive for profit.

Maybe that sounds all a bit too worthy? Thankfully, there are so many alternatives of which Worcester can be proud. There is a fantastic local group called the Social Sew In which, in their words, “is encouraging the public to be inspired to rethink, reuse, repair, and rework items of clothing and textiles to reduce carbon emissions and the colossal wastage and pollution of fast fashion”. For those that need a bit of professional help step forward Lucy Akehurst, the owner of Worcester’s The Zip Yard. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Lucy to recognise her achievement of reaching her 30,000th customer.

Thursday saw the culmination of months of hard work to create the Mayor’s Charity Fashion Show in aid of Age UK. Nunnery Wood High School, Christopher Whitehead Language College and Heart of Worcestershire College made an incredible fashion show out of donated second hand clothes. The students sourced their materials, made their designs and produced clothes that were then shown, often by themselves, on a catwalk as the culmination of the charity dinner. What an experience for some of Worcester’s most talent young people – I’m so proud of you.

Mayor’s Week: December 25 – December 31

Mayor’s Week: December 25 – December 31

Our weapon of choice this year was duck. Thankyou Mr. N. It was preceded by a festive mayoral pint in our local, The Plough, Christmas jumper and chain. We exchanged presents, texted family, watched the King’s speech, ate and drank. And that was it.

The crowd in the pub inspired my “Seasonal Notable Message”, striking a happy medium. Some went home alone, happy, some less so. Some were tipsy, some were not drinking. Some had fish, or turkey, or vegetarian spaghetti bolognaise. Some went to friends or family. Some gave presents, some got them. A few may even have been to church, given the main message of the day. Some took a cab, with a driver of a different faith, but a faith, nonetheless.

Talking of fowl, my other mayoral duty this week was feeding swans in the river’s Swan Sanctuary. Inches from a wartime bomb site, we threw food pellets to one of those beautiful and iconic images of Worcester, serene atop, beating their legs furiously beneath.

A great metaphor for our challenging times. Costs dictate how many presents you buy, what you eat, and can you heat your home for three extra days off work. If you are in work. Travel disruption can keep you from loved ones. Some worry about facing a health emergency. Maybe some are hosting refugees from a war in Europe, or other persecution. For many, the climate emergency adds impetus to our recycling wrapping paper and Christmas trees.

But we can still have fun because it is a holiday and you can leave troubles behind for a few days, but God help you if you just wanted to watch the telly. There was only one programme worth it, The Boy, the Mole etc.

Simple message for the New Year: build confidence in others and be kind.



Mayor’s Week: 16 – 22 October 2022

Mayor’s Week: 16 – 22 October 2022

I chaired the first full Council since the summer this week, lasting three-and-a-half hours. We saw the end of one Leader but fully expect the new one to be safely in place at the next meeting in November. Meanwhile, the Council staff and members continue to operate consistently.

The Big Worcester Sleep Out event reminded us why a lot of us came into politics. The issue of homelessness still needs money and awareness and other resources, not least empathy. Several participants had been through or close to homeless periods in their lives, bringing a reality check to the situation.

Worcester’s annual Film Festival ran last weekend and was a very successful multi-dimensional step-up from last year, with the prospect of a great future. I was able to get to one showing, a fascinating remastered 1950s documentary about making porcelain. This festival has great potential.

This week Worcester hosted the visit of HRH Princess Anne, attending the Clothiers’ Company 500th Anniversary Dinner, to which I was pleased to be invited. The Princess Royal spoke highly of the Guildhall and the city.

The next day we greeted HRH Princess Alexandra, a sprightly 86, visiting Henry Sandon Hall to meet representatives of community and voluntary groups including the Film Festival, Engage with China, Monday Night Club, Soft Lads, and my own Elgar Festival. Tea and cake was enjoyed by all.


The Civic Society’s Annual Lecture in aid of mayoral charities was from Marcus Binney, an expert in campaigns to save and, crucially, re-purpose historic buildings and heritage. Helpfully, he has just moved to Worcester.

The weekend had me in church again, firstly supporting the Mayor of Redditch’s Civic Service, and later, the High Sheriff in the Cathedral. Tea and cake twice there too.

Now, who was it that said something about princesses being like buses….

Mayor’s Week : 14 – 20 August 2022

Mayor’s Week : 14 – 20 August 2022

August is always an active month in the Worcester Calendar but last weekend was, as I am sure you noticed, a trifle warm. Maybe some people preferred the early morning or simply staying at home, but Percy the Peacock and the Mayor got fully dressed up to open the 20th Worcester Festival. Despite the paraphernalia I am sure it was the Gugge band everyone came to see!

Sunday morning I spent a little time with a community litter pick in St Johns, but it can have been nothing compared to the clean-up of Pitchcroft earlier that morning by volunteers and council staff – nor after the Worcester Show itself. Well done to everyone for making it such a safe and tidy and happy place for the Show, held again this year on Pitchcroft.

As usual, trophies galore to be won in fruit, flowers and crafts – but where have all the artichokes gone? And the funny shaped veg? There’s a catch-up trophy-giving due for all those who couldn’t stand the heat.
Well done too to the bands showing off Woo Town’s talent on the main stage and with the community karaoke. But for me, it was the Mela what made it. Colour, spice, sparkle, noise, excitement. What a vibrant addition that must now become a feature every year.

Community and volunteers are also at the heart of the Tudor House Museum, a gem of a building and resource in the city centre. Thanks for the invitation to the consultation event. Back in the day, I chaired the committee that made it free entry, part of our city museums, but also later had to close it due to running costs. The renaissance, with the considerable help of Worcester Consolidated Charities, has been amazing and if you haven’t seen the only surviving Tudor ceiling in the city yet, get along there!

It looks like we have a fund addition to the leisure scene on the High Street in Mulligans, though we managed to lose a golf ball pretty crazily.

Finally, not a Mayoral thing, but what can I say – Tom. Fair play. Great gig.

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