For many Worcester residents, this has been the first week back to work after the festive break. As Deputy Mayor, I am no exception; I run my own small business and it’s high time to get back to it! I’d particularly like to thank all those people who worked over the festive period to make sure transport was running, shops were open, vital public services were accessible and news got reported. Our city simply couldn’t function without your efforts.
I am Councillor Mike Whitehouse, and am stepping in to write this week’s column while the Mayor takes a short but well-earned break from a hectic schedule.
The weather will be at the forefront of many minds as we enter 2016. How much more rainfall can the River Severn take? The signs so far are that we won’t get flooding of anything like the severity which occurred in 2014. Rest assured that even if things do take a turn for the worse, Worcester is a very resilient city and we will remain open for business, whatever the weather.
This week we’ll be focusing on the Mayor’s pledge to plant 2,000 new trees in Worcester. Local Explorer Scouts will be in Battenhall Park this Saturday to plant hazel trees which the Woodland Trust has kindly donated to our city.
Over the next few weeks, several other community groups and businesses will be giving up their time to help plant trees in other locations including Cripplegate Park, the riverside and King George V Playing Fields. We are extremely grateful for their help.
This is just the latest example of the remarkable benefit that volunteers bring to Worcester. Indeed, last year volunteers collectively contributed over 2,700 hours of their own time to help spruce up our city’s parks and spaces, operate allotment sites, organise community events and undertake conservation work.
I had the pleasure of recently meeting Jane Moorhouse, Vice Chair of the Arboretum Residents Association.
She told me: “I really believe that you only get as much out of your local community as you put in. I moved to Worcester two years ago and think it’s a fantastic city – I was keen to get involved and gain a great deal of personal satisfaction from volunteering – you get to meet some great people along the way too.”
If you haven’t made a resolution for 2016 yet (or have made one and already broken it!) then I hope you may find her words inspiring.
Wishing you and your families a very happy and prosperous New Year.
Councillor Mike Whitehouse
Deputy Mayor for Worcester