Mole Valley Chairman’s Certificate
In May 2021 the Chairman, Councillor Chris Hunt outlined three themes for his year of Office. These are
- Improving the environment,
- Improving life chances for the disadvantaged, and
- Promoting community cohesion.
The Chairman wanted to recognise the contributions and achievements (big and small) of individuals and groups throughout Mole Valley in delivering against these three themes and the presentation of a Chairman’s Certificate was seen as a way of thanking these people.
Each month the Chairman invites the Members from a selection of wards to submit their nomination/s.
Recipients of the Chairman’s Certificate
Improving the Environment
Fraserfields Reserve Conservation Project - Since 1984 the Fraser family have created a small nature reserve in Mole Valley. It includes large ponds, a 1-acre wildflower meadow and the planting of 3,000 native trees and shrubs. Over 160 species of birds have been seen with many nesting there, including nightingales and chiffchaffs. Work continues to create ideal habitats for many species and control natural invasive species.
Leatherhead Community Hub – The have been working on the creation of a wellbeing garden in what was a neglected beer garden at the back of the NLCA building in North Leatherhead. The garden was full of broken glass and overgrown with dead shrubs and weeds. Over the space of 2-3 months, the gardening team created a new garden, with accessible paths, seating, new trees, shrubs and perennial plants, with work still ongoing - bulbs are to be planted shortly and the path edging will be completed. The work involved members of the community and has already seen a huge increase in the amount of wildlife visiting the garden, from bees and butterflies to birds using the many water features. However, it will ultimately be a quiet space for people to sit and reflect, so benefitting not only wildlife, but also improving the environment for residents of Leatherhead.
Dorking Refugee Support – Connie Nash and Keith Halsey have worked closely with the charity Refugees at Home (founded in Epsom) to help build a community of 10 local households who have personally hosted refugees; they have also helped by organising English lessons and getting local employers to offer jobs once refugees have secured right to remain. They have also run campaigns to collect clothing for Calais and raised money to send a fully equipped ambulance to Syria.
Headley & Leatherhead Litter Pickers - Lauren Brand – Having recently moved into the area, Lauren and her neighbours were determined to tackle the growing problem of litter along, and close to, the lanes in Headley and nearby parts of Leatherhead. During lockdown, the group set up a Facebook page (now with 53 members) and organised regular litter picks, coordinating with Local Councillors to secure equipment and arrange litter collection points with Amey. The group continues to organise events locally and has donated proceeds to Cancer Research.
Improving Life Chances for the Disadvantaged
Capel Assist – Capel Assist is a group of volunteers who help vulnerable and elderly people. Most often this takes the forms of driving people so that they can go to hospital appointments, shopping or to visit friends. It was set up to help people without their own transport from feeling isolated and lonely. These wonderful volunteers provide more than just a taxi service. If an elderly resident needs to attend a hospital appointment, the Capel Assist helper will often sit with them while they wait to support them. It could be a vulnerable person who needs to get a pet, perhaps their only companion to see a vet. Or it might be a shopping trip to a local town to buy a present or get their hair cut. Whatever is needed these lovely people not only provide a lift but also a much-needed chat or some friendly advice.
Tina Callcut – Tina Callcut, a long-time resident of Newdigate is a Pastoral Assistant working with St Peter’s Church, Newdigate. Tina is extremely pro-active, especially with the elderly residents in the village, visiting and listening.
With David Newberry, Tina runs Hearing Champions – held approximately once a month, helping those who need this with hearing aids, problems, etc.
She also runs KeePING Active table tennis, which is open to everyone, but suitable for the more mature who would like to benefit from the positive effects of exercise.
Added to all this excellent work for those more challenged, Tina also, during Covid, resourced local places for recycling when all the charity shops were closed, collecting much of this personally and taking it to the relevant places. She has just started Pop-In Ploughman’s a lunchtime get-together, open to all and is a Traidcraft representative – taking orders, supporting this international helping charity.
On top of all this, pre-Covid, Tina organised an excellent annual Church outing, open to all and visiting many interesting places. She is also involved in NEWTS – the Newdigate Theatrical Society – the village Am-dram offering.
Leatherhead Youth Project (LYP) - Despite significant difficulties in maintain their services during the lockdown, LYP has continued to provide counselling for young people, even more important at the current time than before, and reopened their youth provision as soon as it was safe to do so. These services both help to support young people achieve their potential and provide guidance and advice on how to cope with the challenges that life presents. In addition, the All Saints Café, part of LYP, offers apprenticeships to young people who may have struggled to achieve other qualifications, enabling them to get a foothold on a new career.
Boxhill Good Neighbours – Boxhill Good Neighbours provides a transport service for residents who may not have personal transport to help them attend doctors/hospital appointments. They also organise tea parties and similar events for the elderly in the village.
Promoting Community Cohesion
Newdigate Sports and Social Club - The Newdigate Sports & Social Club has served the community of Newdigate for several decades by providing a social hub for local workers who were employed in and around the village by three major employers. Following the Second World War local employment gradually declined to the extent that the NSSC membership fell to a point where financial viability was of concern.
The Covid Pandemic shutdown which was announced in March 2020 in effect closed the club until May 2021. During that time the Club received financial assistance from the Government and Local Authority which enable the club to meet essential financial commitments. It was early February this year the decision was made to refurbish the Club - a complete makeover, upgrade the toilets and create a venue that would attract the local community. Some funding came from MVDC, and further finance was donated as a loan. The refurbishment, which cost over £32,000 was completed and the Club reopened on 21st May 2021.
Since opening they have held several events involving the local community, they have created a community venue which is attractive, and the membership has grown to over 100. There is a dedicated games room with snooker and a pool table, a bright meeting room and bar and access to an outside space and the Brocus recreation ground (where there is a children’s playground. The Club has gone from being a tied, unattractive, working man’s club to an attractive and vibrant community venue providing a centre for people old and young to meet and enjoy a social gathering in a pleasant venue. On August Bank Holiday Sunday an “Alternative VE Day” was held, with music, carriage rides, wartime vehicles and a hog roast which was enjoyed by a very wide section of the community. Plans are ongoing that will form the foundation for a community hub for the benefit of everybody in Newdigate.
Peter Seaward – Peter has been chair of the Bookham Residents Association for over fifteen years. He has led the association through the Bookham Neighbourhood Plan, the current draft local plan consultation and he has actively been involved with the Bookham Youth and Community Centre.
However he is involved in so many more ways. He continually and tirelessly represents, on a voluntary basis, the community of Bookham. He offers advice and guidance to many residents and Councillors. His knowledge regarding Bookham is seemingly endless.
His energy and willingness to represent and improve Bookham are boundless.
Julie Lever - Julie and her husband John set up and manage the long-standing Box Hill community website, which provides an email distribution service to keep residents informed about local news and activities which will affect the community. For many years she has worked tirelessly to ensure that as many people in the community are kept informed about key activities.
Sandra Ede - Sandra is retiring from the Westcott Village Association after more than 15 years service. Sandra lives in and speaks up for part of the village whose voice can be seldom heard and her contribution on their behalf to community cohesion cannot be underestimated. From baking cakes for those, particularly children, who may be more disadvantaged to championing issues that really matter to that area of the village, Sandra has been dedicated in her service of her community.