Dean Russell MP Watford pulling a pint behind a bar

LOCAL ACTIVITIES

Dean enjoys working hard for constituents and is very active across our town, from volunteering to regular surgeries, attending events to showcasing Watford nationally. Find out about some of Dean's many local activities below.

Events & Visits

Dean attends many events across Watford including many virtual visits.

 

On special occassions Dean has even been able to bring a guest along too, and in the past year both the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak and several Government Ministers have joined Dean to find out what is happening locally in Watford.

If you would like to invite Dean along to one of your events, join a community zoom or speak at a local Watford function, then get in touch via our contact page.

Image of the Houses of Parliament in a scene across the Thames

Community and Volunteering

Since being elected, Dean has been privileged to volunteer alongside local charities and groups to support our community.

Dean's volunteering and community work has ranged from weekly support for local charities including joining community groups reach out to local residents every Saturday, through to being a volunteer at Watford General Hospital since the beginning of the first lockdown. Dean has encouraged others to volunteer and created videos to showcase the amazing work of many local groups and to thank volunteers in Watford and beyond.

The videos here are a small snapshot of the incredible Watford community to highlight the incredible role so many people have played throughout the COVID crisis.

Creativity For A Good Cause

As an artist, Dean has raised thousands for good causes and fundraisers through auctions of his paintings.

During the past year Dean has auctioned his paintings of Sir Captain Tom Moore for the West Herts Hospital Trust 'Raise Charity' and a portrait of Watford FC legend Luther Blissett for the Watford Community fund which is now in Watford Museum.

 

Dean has auctioned other painting for charity and a local school.

Over the past year Dean has produced artwork for schools for auctions, or organised for signed items, if you would like to discuss potential auction prizes for your charity or school auction get in touch via the contact page.

Dean Russell MP with Luther Blisset with portrait of the legendary footballer outside Watford museum
Dean Russell MP with his painting of Captain Tom Moore auctioned for Watford General charity

£4 million To End Homelessness

Dean spoke in the Commons to thank

New Hope and One YMCA for their work

in reducing homelessness in Watford.

Dean continues to work closely with

both organisations and the council since

the start of the pandemic to help tackle

homelessness in the town and was

delighted to read that there have been

no reports of people sleeping rough in

Watford in recent months.

Earlier this year it was announced that

ONE YMCA will receive government

funding of £2.2 million to help fund the

creation of 34 new rooms for rough sleeps, as well as rehabilitation space at their Charter House hostel.

In 2020 it was announced that Watford Borough Council will receive an additional £1.65 million from the Government for local schemes that provide secure ‘move on’ style accommodation for people at risk of sleeping on the streets.

I took the opportunity to thank everybody most sincerely that has been involved in getting people off our streets and into safe accommodation. Since being elected one of my priorities has been lobbying Government for additional funding to tackle homelessness and to help deliver brighter futures for those that have been sleeping rough.

If we are to deliver on the promise we made in our manifesto to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament, then the people who have been helped need access to long-term housing that gives them security so that they can focus on rebuilding their lives.

I am delighted that The Housing Secretary acknowledged the incredible work happening in Watford following the news that zero rough sleepers were recorded on the count, in what he described as an incredible step forward. Nevertheless, we must continue to work to ensure that this becomes the norm.”

Did   You   Know?

DEAN'S MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

During the first lockdown Dean was asked to help the Mission Impossible movie producers ensure filming could continue at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden.  Dean successfully organised for Tom Cruise to virtually meet with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

 

Dean's intervention led to specific film and production industry rules during COVID which countries around the world soon followed. His actions subsequently meant the global film industry could continue to make movies and TV shows safely - saving jobs in Watford and around the World.

John Lewis Petition

Dean was as frustrated as the rest of the town when he heart John Lewis was looking to close their store in Watford.

When Dean heard about the petition by Caroline Sampson, to ask John Lewis to keep the store open, Dean asked if he could hand the petition in person at the headquarters. Dean printed out the full petition which had more than 11,500 signatures.

Mr Russell later met the chairman of John Lewis, Sharon White, to explore opportunities to reconsider the company's decision to close the shop.

Taking Woodmere Avenue
to Parliament

Dean Russell has been lobbying on behalf of residents frustrated with the width restriction at Woodmere Avenue since before he was elected.

 

Dean has been working with the County Council to secure a refreshed approach to the width restriction and in Parliament to argue that communities should have a greater say in decisions that impact the roads outside their house. This includes raising the matter to the Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg about how we can get pavement politics back into government and more recently holding an adjournment debate to raise concerns directly with the Transport Minister.

Dean stated that for too long, the Woodmere Avenue width restriction has created a risk of damage to all those passing through.

Watford's MP has said that change for local residents is one of his top priorities despite the coronavirus pandemic rightly dominating recent discussions and being the top priority over the past year.

Standing Up For Commuters

In PMQ's, Dean Russell MP lobbied on behalf of local commuters to raise concerns raised around the trains from Watford to London directly with the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Dean's question to the Prime Minister is shown here. Following Dean's lobbying, the local train services increased the capacity to 12 carriages. Sadly, this was immediately prior to the pandemic and lockdown, which saw the rail services change services accordingly. 

Dean Successfully Lobbies For A Freeze On Planning Target

Following a consultation launched in the summer that sought views from planners, councils and the wider public, the government has announced it will review the way it calculates Housing Targets and an updated method will be introduced that prioritises brownfield sites, delivers on the governments ‘levelling-up’ agenda and encourages the construction of more family homes.

The government wants to build 300,000 new homes across England each year by the mid-2020s, but a proposed algorithm to calculate targets was met with concern earlier this year. As a result, the Housing Secretary has today updated the proposed methodology.

Watford’s MP said:

"I believe that the Government must press on with its levelling up agenda. This government was elected on a mandate to give all Britons a real chance at a better life, and the opportunity of home ownership and security must be at the heart of this.

However, as I made clear in my response to the White Paper, Watford presents a unique challenge in that it is one of the most densely populated, but geographically small areas in England. I know housing numbers have been a concern for many residents which is why I have met with Ministers and raised concerns directly with the Secretary of State many times this year to argue that any increase in housing targets in Watford would risk our town turning into little more than a commuter belt for London over the coming decades. After a year of making the case for Watford it is welcome news that Ministers have agreed not to add further pressure to our town and will focus on its levelling up agenda elsewhere in the country."

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

"This government wants to build more homes as a matter of social justice, for intergenerational fairness and to create jobs for working people. We are reforming our planning system to ensure it is simpler and more certain without compromising standards of design, quality and environmental protection.

The government is today encouraging councils to ensure that appropriate numbers of family homes come forward, with the right mix of home sizes, types and tenures for local communities."

St Albans to Watford Passing Loop Success

Dean Russell collaborated with local stakeholders including the Abbey Flyer Users Group to submit a proposal to the Department for Transport to secure investment in the Abbey Line.

The bid made the case to ministers and officials in Whitehall that the project should progress to the next phase and receive financial support.

The project is part of the Government’s £500 million Restoring Your Railway Fund, to reopen many of the lines and stations that were closed in the 1960s – known as the Beeching cuts. The restoration of many of the Beeching lines is a core component of the Government agenda to invest in infrastructure to level up economic growth and opportunities across the whole country

Making Watford A Wellbeing Town

Dean was delighted to invite Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to Watford to launch his initiative to train 1000 people in Mental Health First Aid Awareness.

This Watford project will provide Mental Health First Aid training to local businesses, residents, schools, charities and community groups. The programme is in partnership between Dean Russell MP, the Watford & West Herts Chamber of Commerce along with Wellspring Church and local community groups and champions.

Did   You   Know?

DEAN'S CASEWORK

Along with representing Watford in Westminster, an important part of the role of an MP is constituency casework. Through surgeries, emails, meetings and outreach, since being elected as the Member of Parliament for Watford, Dean and his team have completed over 11,000 casework requests from constituents, families and businesses. Every case

 

Dean and his team work on is unique and varied. If you need help with an issue, want to share a local concern or ask for information on an important local issue please get in touch. Dean will be pleased to hear from you.

£4 million To End Homelessness

I spoke in the Commons to thank New Hope

and One YMCA for their work in reducing

homelessness in Watford.

I have continued to work closely with

both organisations and the council since

the start of the pandemic to help tackle

homelessness in the town and was

delighted to read that there have been

no reports of people sleeping rough in

Watford in recent months.

Earlier this year it was announced that

ONE YMCA will receive government

funding of £2.2 million to help fund the

creation of 34 new rooms for rough sleeps, as well as rehabilitation space at their Charter House hostel.

In 2020 it was announced that Watford Borough Council will receive an additional £1.65 million from the Government for local schemes that provide secure ‘move on’ style accommodation for people at risk of sleeping on the streets.

I took the opportunity to thank everybody most sincerely that has been involved in getting people off our streets and into safe accommodation. Since being elected one of my priorities has been lobbying Government for additional funding to tackle homelessness and to help deliver brighter futures for those that have been sleeping rough.

If we are to deliver on the promise we made in our manifesto to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament, then the people who have been helped need access to long-term housing that gives them security so that they can focus on rebuilding their lives.

I am delighted that The Housing Secretary acknowledged the incredible work happening in Watford following the news that zero rough sleepers were recorded on the count, in what he described as an incredible step forward. Nevertheless, we must continue to work to ensure that this becomes the norm.”

Standing Up For Watford Against Proposed London 'Border Tax'

Dean Russell MP took the lead with 23 MPs by writing to Sadiq Khan after he proposed a controversial Greater London boundary charge.

The proposed ‘border tax’ would see drivers paying between £3.50 and £5.50 a day to drive into the city from outside London.

 

A daily charge of £15 already exists for motorists entering the centre of the city.

Dean wrote to the London Mayor to highlight the damage his proposals would have on Watford residents, requiring drivers with vehicles registered outside London having to pay once they enter an outer borough such as Croydon, Enfield, Hillingdon and Havering.

The full letter is available opposite.

Put

Dean

on your Team

Would you like to put your local MP to work on a shift in your school, business or charity? 

'Put Dean On Your Team' does what it says on the tin! Get Dean to join a shift with your team and help promote your work.

From serving customers to filing documents, doing a spot of cleaning to helping load your van, no job is out of bounds.

Watford Matters Podcast

Dean hosts a regular podcast 'Watford Matters with Dean Russell' where he interviews local leaders from across our community.

Interviewees range from Watford FC legend Luther Blisset to Director of Public Health Jim McManus, leader of Watford Borough Council Donna Nolan to Faith Leaders from across Watford.

You can listen to all the editions of the podcast by visiting here, or subscribe for free directly on Spotify or Apple Music. 

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Dean Russell MP Watford Matters Podcast Title

What Are Your Views?

During lockdown, Dean has been focused on keeping the community safe, so he hasn't been able to meet constituents by knocking on doors as he would have usually done.

Whilst he hasn't been able to speak on the doorstep, he has been keen to hear what your local priorities are online and via regular virtual community events. An important opportunity to hear your feedback has been via surveys and polls.
 

Dean has a specific survey for constituents to share your priorities so he can make sure he knows your local concerns and ideas for our town.

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Check back regularly to share your views and feedback about issues that matter to you.

Share Your Views graphic with two speech bubble icons
My Plan For Watford by Dean Russell MP

Dean is actively involved in the community and is leading local and national campaigns and initiatives to make a difference for people across Watford and around the UK. Use the links below to find out more. If you don't see something important to you, let Dean know via a quick community survey here. 

Funding For
Watford General

Find out about Dean's successful lobbying for £400m funding for West Herts Hospital Trust.

Infrastructure &Transport

From Woodmere Avenue to local infrastructure and transport. Find out about Dean's local work. 

Mental Health
& Wellbeing

Find out Dean's plans for mental health & wellbeing across our town.

Safe Streets &
Fighting Crime

Find out about Dean's work to put victims first, tackle crime and ensure our streets are safe.

Tackling Homelessness

Dean has helped secure over £4m to end homelessness in Watford. 

Education, Skills & Jobs

Find out about the latest initiatives for skills and jobs from kickstarter schemes to training. 

Environment & Waste

Join Dean in ending the use of single use plastic and waste across Watford. 

Share Your Views

What are your priorities? Dean wants to hear your views, complete this quick survey now.