GUEST COLUMN: Thanks to those who work tirelessly for community, by Coun Martin Wright, Mansfield Independent Forum

Congratulations to the ASSIST team at Mansfield District Council (MDC) for their outstanding work assisting the discharge of medically fit and vulnerable patients from King’s Mill Hospital whose circumstances may have led to a longer stay in hospital longer than would have otherwise been necessary.

For example, rehousing or housing adaptions may be needed and occasionally temporary respite, in units provided in MDC housing and funded by Nottinghamshire County Council, where former patients stay until suitable accommodation and support can be arranged. This pilot initiative is being run in conjunction with Nottinghamshire County Council and funded by the Mid Nottinghamshire Commissioning Group. Already 1,280 people have been helped and NHS savings of £1.3m have been realised leading to the scheme being shortlisted for an award earlier this year.

A new soft play area and café at The Water Meadows Swimming and Fitness Complex has recently opened, delivered by the Independent Coalition administration despite total opposition by the Labour members of the council. The funding of £210K was shared between Mansfield District Council - £140K and the Mansfield Leisure Trust - £70K. These new facilities enhance the existing fitness and swimming provision and make the complex the ideal destination for a family day out with fun and exercise for all.

At the recent Mansfield District Council AGM my tenure as chairman of the council ended. It was both a privilege and an honour to represent the council and Mansfield at many events. I would like to thank the organisations and community groups who invited me to join them, allowing me to meet so many people from Mansfield and District who work tirelessly to enhance the lives of others across the whole spectrum of our community.

Your new chairman is Councillor Stephen Harvey and vice chairman Councillor Kevin Brown, may I wish them both a successful year in office.

I was extremely disappointed, though not surprised, when the Labour Group voted solidly against the granting of the title of Honorary Alderman to former Labour councillor Mick Colley. Mick was the member for Bull Farm and Pleasley Hill for 20 years, working tirelessly for his community and much deserving of the accolade of Alderman. Sorry to say, politicsgot in the way, why, because Mick believed there was actually more to serving the community than being a ward member and put his name forward to be on the former Executive Mayor’s Cabinet where he worked with distinction on council housing matters without ever betraying his hard held socialist roots. The Mansfield Independent Forum takes this opportunity to wish Mick a long and happy retirement.