Outgoing Kenilworth Mayor reflects on his year in the role under the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic

Cllr Richard Dickson has spoken about a 'uniquely difficult' 12 months for everyone in the town and the 'vital values' which have helped many through

Outgoing Kenilworth Mayor Cllr Richard Dickson.

Here are Cllr Richard Dickson's reflections on his 12 months as Mayor of Kenilworth.

After Tuesday May 4 my time as Mayor of Kenilworth will be over.

There are many individual people to thank for what they’ve done in the past year, including my employer Coventry University for enabling me to do this role as Mayor, but most of all I want to thank the people of Kenilworth.

The 12 months since I was voted in as Mayor in May 2020 have been uniquely difficult for everyone.

Vulnerable people have had to shield, families with children at home have had to homeschool, frontline health and care staff have been exposed to a new deadly virus, jobs have been lost as businesses have closed, schools have operated both in class and online, community groups, sports clubs and faith bodies have stopped meeting face-to-face, townwide and individual social events first postponed and then cancelled.

Worst of all, loved ones have been lost.

When I was elected as the Mayor of Kenilworth I spoke about the three values of community, creativity and culture that for me define what it means to be a citizen of our town.

It’s these values that have been so vital in helping to get us through the past year and which we’d do well to carry forward to the ‘new normal’.

We’ve got to know our neighbours better.

We’ve got to appreciate more where we can go for a nice walk or bike ride near Kenilworth.

So my thanks to everyone who has contributed to our community in Kenilworth in the past year.

Yes there are things I wish more progress had been made on – like sorting the future of our leisure facilities, resolving our town centre traffic problems and making more progress in building our new secondary school.

There are things I wish had not happened, like suspending our local train service.

In the past year I’ve come to appreciate that if you want good things to happen in a place you have to collaborate patiently with other people, including people who frankly don’t like you very much.

You have to have some humble compassion, including for people who you find hard to understand and you have to communicate openly a vision of how things could be done better, even though the future is complex and uncertain.

It’s not about dictating what we must do, but more about asking the right questions, hearing the answers and then acting with people accordingly.

When the new Mayor, Cllr Peter Jones, takes over as Mayor on the evening of 4th May the Council’s workings will continue to evolve progressively.

Hopefully Peter and local Kenilworth residents will be able to enjoy the release from the restrictions that we have all endured these past 12 months.

Good luck Peter!