Chairman’s dinner raises £1500 for local charity

A special charity dinner took place on Friday 1st March at Bells Hotel in Coleford organised by Marrilyn Smart OBE, Chairman of Forest of Dean District Council.

The dinner welcomed 90 people including civic dignitaries, local and neighbouring elected members and council officers in support of the chairman’s charity ‘The Forest of Dean Mental Health Carer Support Group’.

More than £1500 was raised on the night with £150 of that being donated to The Gloucestershire Academy of Music Charity which provided the evening’s entertainment – a four string quartet, the ‘Gaudeamus Youth Strings’.

Cllr Marrilyn Smart OBE, Chairman of Forest of Dean District Council said, “The Forest Mental Health Carers Support Group was formed nine years ago to offer much needed support for the carers of local people with a wide range of mental health conditions. Their 14 members have voluntarily taken responsibility for the welfare and happiness of a relative who may be experiencing a mental health condition. Caring can be wonderfully rewarding work, but it can also be physically and mentally exhausting as well as extremely lonely. I hope that my support will raise the profile of this worthy cause and that as a result the charity gains additional financial help from other organisations.

“As we move towards the end of this term of council the charity dinner was not only a great way to raise money for a good cause, it was also a wonderful way to celebrate the council’s achievements and successes over the last four years.

“Saving targets for last year were exceeded and are on track to do the same this year after most council staff transferred to Publica in November 2017. Publica was shortlisted for ‘Alternative Service Delivery Model of the Year’ and the ‘Best Service Model Awards’. The Environment Regulatory Team was shortlisted in the ‘Team of the Year’ category in the Local Government Chronicle Awards.

“Freedom Leisure was selected as the preferred partner to take on the management and operation of the districts Leisure Centres, which has resulted in a wide range of improvements to Lydney Leisure Centre.

“The kerbside recycling and waste service went live in August 2016 allowing our residents to recycle a wider range of items.

“Work has been done to protect homes and businesses in Lydney and Newent from flooding and the multi-agency culvert replacement works in Lydbrook are now complete.

“There were awards for our community engagement team in the ‘Healthier Communities Category’ in a national competition to mark the 70th Anniversary of the NHS and for our street warden team for their excellent work in the community and animal welfare, with a RSPCA award for their support to pet owners with dementia.

“The recently formed Forest Economic Partnership was recognised in the Small Business Awards 2018 for addressing key challenges and opportunities in our district around education and skills, transport and infrastructure, digital connectivity, bridges and borders.  Our Leader Cllr Tim Gwilliam was also shortlisted for ‘District Councillor of the Year Award’ in the Councillor Achievement Awards.

“More than £8,500 has been raised for charity by our former Chairman Cllr Jane Horne which benefitted Friends of Lydney and Dilke Hospitals, Great Oaks Hospice, Forest Read Easy Deal and Forest Children’s Opportunity Centre.

“Last May the council took steps to be more open in its decision making by broadcasting its full council and planning meetings live.

“We’re particularly proud of our local armed forces regiment – 1st Battalion Rifles who are still based in our district at Beachley Barracks.  It’s with much pride that we always raise the armed forces flag outside our offices at the start of National Armed Forces week.

“Finally, in 2018 we saw the first section of the new spine road in Cinderford’s Northern Quarter completed and the opening of a fantastic new college campus, ensuring the future of our local young people. This involved many years of hard work and extensive partnership working with the Homes and Communities Agency, Gloucestershire County Council, Cinderford Town Council and the Cinderford Regeneration Board.

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