15,000,000 Covid vaccines and counting
Thursday 18th February 2021
The rollout of the Covid-vaccine is progressing at pace both nationally and here in Watford - and it is thanks to our brilliant doctors, nurses, staff and volunteers. Everyone in the top four priority groups has now been offered a jab, the over-65s are next in line. We’ve still got a way to go, but the end of the Covid nightmare is finally in sight.
I recently caught up with Elliot Howard-Jones and Cath Slater from Hertfordshire NHS Community Trust - they've been heavily involved in setting up mass vaccination centres across Hertfordshire. You can catch our full conversation in this episode.
Taking questions at St Paul's C of E Primary, Kings Langley
Thursday 11th February 2021
Our local schools are doing an incredible job giving lessons digitally and keeping our children learning. I was excited to virtually visit St Paul's C of E VA Primary in Kings Langley to thank the teachers and pupils and answer some of their questions - Year 6 definitely put me through my paces and you can listen to how it went in this episode!
The faith conversations - Dr Rev Peter Waddell
Monday 9th December 2020
Thank you to Watford’s faith groups for pulling our neighbourhoods together and helping vulnerable people throughout the pandemic. In this episode I'm joined by Dr Rev Peter Waddell from Abbots Langley and Bedmond Church and we discussed the impact of Covid on the community, mental health, prayer, and much more.
The faith conversations - Harjit Singh
Monday 9th December 2020
Did you know Watford Gurdwara's volunteers served meals free of charge to our community during the Covid pandemic? This concept of meals for people regardless of their religion, colour, gender or ethnicity is called 'Langar'. Harjit Singh from Watford Gurdwara joins me in this episode to discuss this and much more.
The faith conversations - Imam Hafiz Saleem
Monday 9th December 2020
Watford's faith groups, like North Watford Jamia Mosque, have been instrumental in helping their neighbours during Covid and I'd like to thank them. I'm joined by Imam Hafiz Saleem in this episode where we discuss volunteering, embracing technology and much more.
The faith conversations - Rabbi Mordechai Chalk
Monday 9th December 2020
Watford's faith groups have done an incredible job helping the community during this pandemic. And they've had to adapt quickly under difficult circumstances. The Jewish community for instance cannot use technology or electricity for Shabbat, their day of rest on a Saturday, which rules out services on Zoom. You can find out how Rabbi Mordechai Chalk innovated to get round that, and much more, in this episode.
What would a Shaun Bailey Mayoralty mean for Watford?
Friday 27th November 2020
Shaun Bailey may be the Mayor of London this time next year, and his work and approach will affect Watford residents. He joins me in this episode where I ask him about his background, his priorities, the Met Line extension into Watford, and much more.
A career in the local newspaper?
Thursday 18th November 2020
Do you still read your local newspaper? I absolutely love to catch up on the Watford Observer every week, but there's no doubt the internet has impacted the industry. And if you're thinking of a career in local journalism, how should you go about it? I'm pleased to be joined by Watford Observer’s Deputy Editor Robert Collins to discuss this and much more. (Yes I got to interview him for a change, normally it’s the other way around!)
The story of local veteran Scotty Darroch
Friday 13th November 2020
As we celebrate the end of World War One and remember our fallen heroes, I feel honoured to have spoken to local veteran Scotty Darroch. Scotty served in the Army for 10 years before becoming an ambassador for charity Give us Time. Scotty joins me in this episode and tells us more about his incredible story.
Making mental health conversations the norm post-Covid- Mental Health recovery plan
Friday 11th September 2020
Covid and lockdown has had a big impact on mental health increasing stress, fear and anxiety for many people - but it has also given us an opportunity to get to grips with it and do something about it. I brought together some of our fantastic local charities and together we drew up a mental health recovery plan. At the heart of it is making mental health conversations the norm in our schools, workplaces and neighbourhoods. My ambition is for Watford to lead the way on this. More here with Herts Mind Network; Watford & Three Rivers Trust; New Hope Charity; Signpost South West Herts; and more.
Catch up with football legend Luther Blissett
Friday 14th August 2020
Football legend Luther Blissett is possibly the most famous Watfordian. He joins me in this episode to discuss a range of issues such as Covid, community relations and what Watford means to him.
Tech, leadership and business being a force for good
Thursday 30th July 2020
Sir Ian Livingstone has a fascinating CV. Chief Exec of BT, then trade minister responsible for our exports, now Chairman of British multinational Dixons Carphone. He joins me in this episode to talk tech, leadership and business being a force for good.
Coronavirus and rough sleepers in Watford
Thursday 23rd July 2020
Did you know New Hope, the homeless charity here in Watford, has been around for 30 years? They’ve done an incredible job over lockdown helping dozens of rough sleepers into temporary accommodation like the local Travelodge and the YMCA. Now we need to work together and make sure they get the support they need to stay off the streets and turn their lives around. I caught up with Matthew Heasman, the CEO at New Hope in this episode.
Coronavirus community information with Hertfordshire's Police & Crime Commissioner David Lloyd
Monday 29th June 2020
David Lloyd is the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, and he has a big job on his hands. He's been elected to the role and is tasked with making sure Watford and Hertfordshire remain safe. Amongst many things, he sets the local policing plan and budget and holds the Chief Constable to account. David joins me in this episode.
Coronavirus community information with with Paul Da Gama from West Herts NHS Trust
Wednesday 24th June 2020
During the Covid crisis, Watford Football Club turned Vicarage Road into a sanctuary for doctors, nurses and staff at Watford General Hospital which included meals, beds and chill out zones. Just one way our brilliant community pulled together during this tough time. I caught up with Paul Da Gama from West Herts NHS trust for this episode.
Coronavirus community information with Francis Thomas from London Northwestern Railway
Friday 19th June 2020
The Covid outbreak hit us suddenly a few weeks back and it’s changed some of our habits in a big way. Many of us have got used to working from home, and we’ve found technology like Zoom and Skype actually works! And that will mean a big shift in the way we commute - especially in the immediate future. Francis Thomas from London Northwestern Railway joins me in this episode.
The National Lottery and Watford
Friday 12th June 2020
Did you know that Camelot, who operates the National Lottery, is a major Watford employer - employing more than 700 people locally. And the National Lottery has invested a huge £40bn into good causes since it started 25 years ago. Watford has received £37m of that and some of that cash been used to renovate Cassiobury Park. More here with Nigel Railton.
Coronavirus community information with Lord Lieutenant Robert Voss
Thursday 11th June 2020
Lord Lieutenant Robert Voss is Her Majesty’s personal representative for Hertfordshire. Robert carries out duties on behalf of the Queen, and in Hertfordshire his packed agenda includes being President of the scouts, the local cadets and reserves force, and the patron of many local charities. During the Covid crisis, he has been working with local hospices to build a 'wish list' get them what they need. Robert joins me in this episode.
Coronavirus community information with local volunteer and district councillor, Donna Duncan
Tuesday 9th June 2020
Meet Donna - a local volunteer and district councillor. Donna and her husband have been doing an amazing job picking up shopping and delivering prescriptions for vulnerable people during this pandemic. Donna joins me in this episode.
Coronavirus community information with Director of Public Health in Hertfordshire, Jim McManus
Tuesday 2nd June 2020
We are incredibly lucky to have Jim McManus as our Director of Public Health in Hertfordshire. Jim has worked in 4 pandemics and brings a wealth of experience and important lessons with him as we recover from Covid. Great to talk to him in this episode.
Coronavirus community information with Operations Director Glyn Evans from Watford Football Club
Thursday 21st May 2020
Watford Football Club has done a tremendous job completely transforming their ground into space for doctors, nurses and staff at Watford General Hospital. Feeling very lucky to live in such a generous community, and pleased to be joined by Glyn Evans from the club.
Coronavirus community information with Watford’s Mental Health champion Cllr Rabi Martin
Thursday 14th May 2020
Mental health - everybody goes through days where they don’t feel great and it’s ok to talk about it. Ask your friend or colleague if they are ok, especially during these tough times. Sometimes asking twice is good. Very pleased to discuss this and more with Watford’s Mental Health champion Cllr Rabi Martin.
Coronavirus community information with Small Acts of Kindness Chief Exec Lynne Misner
Thursday 7th May 2020
I’m really pleased to hear that older people who need help during this pandemic are asking for it. It’s not always easy for them as some are not on social media, and in many cases older people try and make do and are too proud to ask for help. Small Acts of Kindness is a charity doing a great job delivering warming packages and helping reduce loneliness. More here with Founder Lynne Misner.
Coronavirus community information with Nik Allen
Wednesday 4th May 2020
Nik Allen is an excellent local journalist at My Local News who sadly caught coronavirus. He’s now better - he opens up about his darkest hour battling the virus and he tells us what it was like inside the much loved Watford General Hospital.
Coronavirus community information with Lead Chaplain Frances Novillo for Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy
Tuesday 28th April 2020
The Street Angels and Chaplains at Watford Town Centre Chaplaincy are doing an amazing job in looking after the mental health of people working in our town centre. The COVID-19 lockdown means they can’t visit workplaces at the moment, but they are innovating and adapting to the circumstances. I'm pleased to be joined by Frances from the Chaplaincy to discuss this and much more.
Coronavirus community information with Mayor Peter Taylor
Tuesday 17th April 2020
Whether it’s bin collections, helping homeless people or making sure burials happen, we’re making sure people get their core services during this coronavirus lockdown. I'm really pleased to be joined remotely by Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor who is doing a brilliant job for the community with Watford Council.
Coronavirus community information with Herts County Council Chief Exec Owen Mapley
Tuesday 7th April 2020
Hertfordshire County Council is doing an incredible job during COVID19 - keeping our local schools open for children of key workers and providing social care for those who need it. Their Chief Exec Owen Mapley joins me remotely in this episode to discuss their fantastic efforts. And a big thank you to everyone volunteering in Watford to help vulnerable and isolated people as we get through this crisis. You can also listen to the full episode on 'Watford Matters with Dean Russell' - available now on Spotify here.
Coronavirus community information with Bob Jones of W3RT
Wednesday 1st April 2020
Over the coming days I'm beginning a series of community information podcasts to throw a spotlight on some of the great work happening in Watford during this challenging time. I'm pleased to be joined by Bob from Watford & Three Rivers Trust who is helping coordinate the local volunteering effort with Watford Council. Forgive the audio quality, these episodes are being done remotely to keep everyone safe and we are putting information out in as real time as possible.