This week, we would like to recognise a fantastic ‘all-rounder’ and a council that like many around the country, works tirelessly to improve the lives of its community often with little recognition or acknowledgement.
Monk Hesleden Parish Council is located on the East Durham coast in the beautiful county of Durham, it serves an electorate of over 4500 people and provides services and facilities for the four main settlements of Blackhall Colliery, Blackhall Rocks, Hesleden and High Hesleden.
The Council employees five full time ground staff and three part-time staff, one of which is the Clerk. Facilities and services include a flagship community open space, known as Blackhall Welfare Park which incorporates a first class cricket pitch which accommodates county and international games, a full size football pitch, two bowling greens, memorial gardens and play area. The Council also manages and runs two cemeteries, including burials, and five play areas throughout the villages, all of which are maintained to a high standard. There is a busy council office which incorporates a police office, meeting rooms and provides a drop in for all residents who can collect dog bags and at the same time report environmental issues to be forwarded the county council.
The Parish itself is a former mining community with continuing high levels of deprivation and problems, but this does not prevent the council working hard to engage with its residents throughout the villages to try and understand their needs and concerns.
In the last three months alone the council has worked with partners to deliver many projects; including securing funding for public access computers in three community buildings, which is vital with the introduction of recent reforms to the welfare benefit system. Monies have also been secured to install internal and external defibrillators in two community buildings and an answer is currently awaited on funds to refurbish an area of the Welfare Park to be used by young people for multi-sports activities. It doesn’t end there, Christmas trees have been installed in three villages and replacement of all wooden floral tubs with purpose built brick planters all undertaken by the council's multi-skilled employees.
Future plans include the continuing delivery of a weekly youth club, supporting volunteers in setting up a football academy, refurbishing the pit wheel memorial and planting wild meadow flowers at locations throughout the villages, not an easy task in the current crippling financial climate!
Monk Hesleden Parish Councillors take no allowances or payment for their work and their commitment and that of their employees veryoften goes unrecognised. NALC is therefore delighted to be able to share their story and some of their recent endeavours and successes by recognising them as Council of the Week.