COLUMNIST: Mike Menoza

THIS past week saw Adur Council sitting in full for the first time since my installation as chairman.

This was a meeting with mixed emotions, as there was the excitement of chairing a full council meeting and at the same time, we said farewell to Peter Latham, who is about to retire.

Peter has been with Adur Council for many years, the last two as chief executive. Peter will be greatly missed be all at both Adur and Worthing Councils as he is an immensely popular character and does an amazing job for the council and citizens of Adur.

Another unusual part of the evening was the presence of Worthing councillors and Ian Lowrie, the past chief executive of the council, many of whom paid tribute to Peter.

In my report to the council, I mentioned that I had attended some 40 events in my first few weeks of office, plus I have sent on behalf of the council and the people of Adur our very best wishes to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son, Prince George.

I also congratulated Shoreham Beach resident Tom Welch, son of former Commonwealth boxing champion Scott. Tom is just 17 years of age and is already British junior boxing champion and about to represent Great Britain in a European competition. We wish him well.

School holidays have now begun and I am looking forward to what is in store for the district over the summer months. All I ask is please stay safe. We are very fortunate to live on a wonderful coast with a lot of temptations in the shape of harbour walls, groynes, etc, which in warm weather are very tempting to jump from.

This is a very dangerous exercise leaving people dead or injured around the district. In 2012, there were eight serious injuries and two deaths reported. Before you decide to tombstone from anywhere near the harbour, think before you become a statistic.

How many new mothers are aware of the Breastfeeding Peer Support Group that is overseen by the Sussex Community NHS Trust? I attended and presented awards to 15 women from Adur who have completed a 12-week course in breastfeeding who will go on to help other women in the community who wish to breastfeed and who should be encouraged to breastfeed.

There are four drop-ins held in children’s centres at Shoreham, Lancing and Worthing. This gives new mums the opportunity to speak to a ‘listening’ ear and socialise with other mums who are going through a similar stage with their off springs.

Peer supporters are all volunteers who give up their time to help these mums. They are a valuable resource that the NHS could not do without. I didn’t realise that our breastfeeding rates are low compared to the rest of Europe.

The civic presence consultation has now ended after a couple of weeks on display in the Civic Centre. The general feedback has been very positive.

I go to my office in the Civic Centre several times a week and often speak to people in the reception area. What comes across loud and clear is that the people of Adur want and need a civic presence.

The option open looks, in my opinion, brilliant and well thought out. The help desk at the current location is always busy so it is essential that this facility is always available.

The proposed new location at the Shoreham Centre is also ideal, as it is very central, easy to get to and with plenty of parking.

On the topic of parking, several consultations will take place later this year with regard to parking in and around the town centre area of Shoreham. It is vital that all residents get the opportunity to see what is proposed and make their views known.