A Word From The Mayor of Felixstowe
At our annual council meeting, I was delighted to be elected by my fellow councillors to stand as your mayor again this year. Though the previous year has clearly been challenging, it was anything but disappointing and, at times, very rewarding. Both the mayoress and I were aware when we took office that the year was going to be vastly different from previous years. In total, I managed 154 engagements and while the majority of these were virtual, it allowed me to promote many of our businesses, community groups, volunteers and campaigns. My aim for the next 12 months is to be even more visible and accessible. I have been truly humbled by the fantastic work of so many individuals and organisations and I look forward to continuing to develop these relationships.
My second year as mayor will allow us to build on some of the work and partnerships we have already established. I am very grateful for the support and coverage Spotlight has given to many of the events I have been involved with and am looking forward to supporting DIScoverABILITY, a joint venture between this magazine and Felixstowe Radio which is showcasing stories from people living with disabilities, creating a friendship network, providing links with groups and organisations and addressing myths and stereotypes associated with disability and long-term conditions.
We are fortunate to have two fantastic local stations in Felixstowe Radio and Fresh Gold Radio. They do a great job helping to promote local initiatives and the town and, though they are run by volunteers, they are run with professionalism and true commitment. I urge you all to give them both a listen!
As we emerge from the restrictions we can start to look forward. There are exciting plans for Landguard Fort and the museum, the Felixstowe BID Manager has now been appointed and I am sure they will be keen to make an early impact to aid the town centre’s growth as well as linking the town centre to the seafront. The pubs on the seafront have been permitted to extend their seating onto the grass areas opposite their establishments. I really enjoyed visiting them last year with friends and I hope these extra facilities help them in their recovery.
I have decided to retain the same two charities this term. Felixstowe Citizens’ Advice has been delivering a very valuable service to many people in the area this last year and we know that demand is likely to increase. Their office, led by Graham Page, has experienced considerably more demand and the dedicated team has delivered a fantastic service to our community. We are very grateful to you all.
Felixstowe Carnival Association has made the difficult decision to postpone the carnival this year. They incur considerable costs preparing to put on a very enjoyable weekend which has a very positive impact on the town and local businesses. I hope to hold some fun events to raise much need funds for both organisations.
When the shops opened again on April 12, one of my visits was to the RSPCA charity shop. The staff there very kindly donated ‘George the Jellycat’ and I have decided to adopt George as my mascot for the year. George will accompany me and the mayoress on various engagements and when people ask who he is (or why I am carrying a teddy around with me!) I will take the opportunity to promote the RSCPA and the work they do.
I believe that together we can have a very successful year and the town will benefit from all the support you will give it. It is great to feel that there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel but we still need to continue to do the right thing so we can safely emerge from this pandemic. As ever, please look after yourselves, your family, friends and neighbours.
Mayor of Felixstowe Mark Jepson