November and December 2021
November saw us paying tribute to the fallen and those who have served in the forces. I was honoured to be asked to place a poppy wreath on the “Poppy Train” heading for Paddington where our wreath and others were placed on the War Memorial at Paddington Station by the train crew. I also attended the Armistice Service at the Priory and the Remembrance Sunday Service, placing a wreath on the War Memorial at the library.
As usual, it has been a busy few weeks leading up to Christmas, turning on the lights in Great Malvern and in Malvern Link, attending the late night shopping event in the Link and the Christmas Fayre at Barnards Green. Unfortunately, some other events that I was to attend in my capacity as Mayor representing Malvern were cancelled as once again we were advised to keep up social distancing and not hold any non-essential events.
I am pleased to report that the annual Christmas window competition has been a great success this year with traders designing their own Christmas wreath. We had thirty very imaginative entries! Congratulations to the overall winner, Abbey Road Coffee, who created an inspired wreath using recyclable coffee cups and jute coffee sacks. Look out for all the wreaths either on the windows and doors of the traders who took part or pictured on social media.
Christmas for most of us is a family time but there are some in the community who live alone and have little or no family to celebrate with. I have sent a Christmas card to every care home resident in Malvern to wish them a Happy Christmas but ask you to please consider popping round to a neighbour who lives alone and checking in with them.
For those families who need a little extra help at Christmas time, Malvern Town Council has once again put together one hundred Festive Cheer bags to those who need them. Donations have been received from supermarkets Morrisons and Co-op, the Plough and Harrow Pub, and cash donations from many individuals, so thank you to you all. Many thanks also to Lyndsey at the council offices for packing all the bags.
However you celebrate the holiday, please stay safe and have a relaxing Christmas.
I cannot solve every problem in Malvern, but I will listen and do what I can. We are a council of twenty councillors and all are working hard to support our community.
Seasons are changing and the parks and grounds are slowly turning autumnal in colour.
It may be a little early to start thinking about Christmas but if you are looking for a great Christmas gift for under £10 maybe think about buying the Malvern Town Council Charity Calendar for 2022.
I teamed up with the Beacon Camera Club and organised a competition to take photographs of places owned and/or maintained by the Council. The Beacon Camera club did not disappoint and we have a fantastic calendar. I was able to get sponsorship for 125 calendars so the purchase price will be donated into the Mayor’s charity fund, which this year is supporting two great local charities.
You can buy your charity calendar and charity Christmas cards on this website.
On the 18th September I had the great pleasure of handing out medals to the humans and the dogs that completed the Help for Heroes Malvern Hills challenge and was joined by Harriett Baldwin, our local MP. It was a great afternoon and excellent to see how much money was raised for Help for Heroes.
I also had the privilege to attend the Bridge at Hanley Swan school to talk about what it is like to be the Mayor of Malvern. I was asked some great questions and I hope to visit the school in person soon to see first hand the great work the school does for its students.
This year we were once again awarded ‘GOLD’ status by the Heart of England in Bloom campaign for our parks, gardens and floral displays. This is an excellent achievement for Malvern; thanks to the hard work of all those involved, Malvern in Bloom really is a team effort and the floral displays within the town looked fantastic this summer.
COP26 international climate talks begin on 31 October so it seems the right time for the Town Council to announce changes to their current planting policy. The Operations Team use 15,000 plants in beds at Victoria Park, the cemetery, and Rosebank Gardens. Plants have always been changed twice a year with bedding displays made up of approximately 80% annual plants which then have to be disposed of each year. The newly agreed planting scheme will consist of 80% perennials and 20% annuals, which will be composted at the end of their life. The Town Council’s Environmental Panel has agreed that we will be a peat-free council from 2022. At the Town Council’s Environmental Panel it has now been agreed that we are now a peat-free council as from 2022.
As we are approaching Remembrance Sunday I had a meeting to discuss this year’s arrangements and I am glad to say that the situation this year will return almost to normal. The parade will be slightly smaller, but people are encouraged to join us at this special time to remember the fallen.
I am busy planning fundraising events, so please watch this space as I hope you will be interested in attending some or all of them and helping to raise valuable funds for my two chosen charities which do fantastic work in the local community.
I cannot solve every problem in Malvern, but I will listen and do what I can. We are a council of 20 councillors and all are working hard to support our community.
Cllr Nick Houghton, Mayor of Malvern
I will be updating my blog every month so please come back next month to read more news.
Welcome to the first blog of the Mayor of Malvern
It has been a strange first few months of being Mayor due to the issues around large gatherings but we seem to be getting back to a more normal state.
Malvern Town Council held the Mayor’s Bonanza on the August Bank Holiday when I also opened the new basketball courts. We saw around 500 people visit the court opening and it was a great success. These are currently the only basketball courts in the UK to have the new flooring and are proving very popular.
The Bonanza was also a great success and raised £3,000 for the Mayor’s chosen charities and also provided a free day of entertainment for Malvern residents. It was the first year we held the event in Victoria Park and I think we will continue to do so.
Also in Victoria Park, work continues on designing and building a new Pavilion to replace the existing one, which no longer met the needs of the community. Full Council approved a budget for a two storey building to be built and this will mean we can relocate the Town Council offices and also have a community space for local groups etc. We will also be able to provide much needed public toilets for users of the park.
The subject of no toilets at Victoria Park is a constant issue raised with me as Mayor and the council is currently looking at options to provide toilet facilities whilst we work on the new Pavilion.
We will be holding public consultations soon on what you, as residents, want to see in the new Pavilion. As a council we have approved this project subject to a satisfactory business case and, of course, we would welcome your ideas on what we should have inside the building.
Over the past few weeks I have met with MHDC to understand how we can work better together, Malvern Town Council works very well but of course there are always things that could improve our partnership with other local councils.
I have met with the Police to look at how we can address the ongoing issue of anti-social behaviour in the town. This is not an easy thing to resolve but taking advice from the Police means we can learn from what is really happening and what we can do to try to reduce this type of behaviour; it is not something that we can stop altogether but at least we can attempt to reduce it.
This month, I enjoyed playing football with Newtown Sports CP football club and I took part in the Crossbar Challenge, managing to hit it once during the session. The ultimate aim of this project is to raise funds to help people within the local area fuel their homes during the winter months, be that the elderly, vulnerable or families who attend the foodbank.
Bands in the Park has been as popular as ever and we have seen a great turn out for these Sunday afternoon events. This year’s social distancing restrictions have resulted in a larger variety of bands playing and this has been very well received by audiences. Sadly, the season has finished now for 2021 but will be back next year. Look out for the programme and further information on this website.
I am busy planning fundraising events, so please watch this space as I hope you will be interested in attending some or all of them and helping to raise valuable funds for my two chosen charities which do fantastic work in the local community. Keep an eye out for my Peaky Blinders-themed Charity Casino Night which is being held on 19 November.
“I cannot solve every problem in Malvern, but I will listen and do what I can. We are a council of 20 councillors and all are working hard to support our community.”