Name: Glen Saffery
Contact information: [email protected]
I was born in Watford General & brought up in Garston. Went to Lea Farm school (now Berry Grove) then Queens’. As a Councillor it’s been such an honour to work with my community across Woodside & Watford to make my hometown a better place. Just in the last few months I’ve had the chance to go carolling with the Leavesden Community Group, tree-planting with North Watford Allotment & Garden Society, plant bulbs in honour of those affected by Covid at All Saints Church, speak at our Remembrance Sunday service and do some more carolling with the 9th North Watford Scouts. All of these groups, plus many more like our boxing club, cricket club, veterans’ support group and the Watford free-cycle group enrich our area and make being a Councillor here so rewarding. I am particularly proud to have been a driving force behind the ‘Watford Helps’ initiative during lockdown, which has raised over £180,000 for local charities, ensuring they could survive financially during the pandemic. It was also a huge honour to become chair of the licensing committee. I’ve also led work at Watford Council to improve access to healthcare services for deaf people, set up a mental health task group and took charge of our strategy for the Charity and voluntary sector as we recover from the pandemic. I have also represented Watford on the Police and Crime Commissioner’s scrutiny panel and attended regular meetings during lockdown to feed into Herts-wide community safety work, a cross-party effort that shared experiences and helped police & councils share information on community safety during the crisis. My day-job is working for a medical research charity who fight bowel cancer and diseases like Crohn’s and Colitis, so I’m extremely passionate about helping others. I’ve recently become a Trustee of Home-Start Watford & Three Rivers, in order to help bring my fundraising experience to bear for an amazing local charity that helps give local children the best possible start in life.
Why are you a Lib Dem?
I always say that I joined the Liberal Democrats because of what they have done for my hometown. I love Watford and to me it has always been clear that the Lib Dems do too. The local record speaks for itself and ‘those Lib Dems do a good job round here you know’ is something I have heard from family, friends and neighbours since well before I started representing the party. But I also know that this is no coincidence. The Lib Dems are unceasingly devoted to local politics and this focus on empowering local communities is a core piece of who we are. I see it daily working with my colleagues on the Council. I think this is the reason behind the high esteem we have been held in by so many people in Watford. On a broader level, my most cherished political values have always been fairness, respect for individual freedoms and the creation of a level playing field for every child to reach their full potential. These are enshrined in the Liberal Democrats’ core values, and that’s another big reason I’ve always felt an affinity with the party.
Why do you want to continue being a councillor?
I love Watford and playing a part in making it a better place is what I want to spend my life doing. I will genuinely never forget the feeling I got when I first saw the words ‘Glen Saffery – Watford Borough Council’ on my chair for a meeting. Perhaps that’s a bit corny but it’s a fact. Being a Councillor in the last 9 years has given me countless moments of pride. I’ve spent my whole life living here and I’m so proud of it – everything about the place has shaped me. It will do the same for hundreds of thousands of others. It’s home. Being able in turn to help shape the future, to try to make sure kids growing up in Watford, and others moving here, love it like I do is just an incredible honour. Every time I step foot in that town hall I’m reminded of the special responsibility I’m lucky enough to have for a place and people that I love. I know some scoff at our town but I couldn’t care less. In my eyes Watford is the best place to live in the world and representing the town is as big an honour as I could wish for.
What do you enjoy about living in Watford?
I genuinely think Watford has facilities to rival anywhere in the country. Despite the pandemic our town centre has proven resilient and hugely popular. We attract visitors from across Herts and North West London. Admittedly this doesn’t help the traffic! But it’s great news for our local economy. We’ve got a fantastic mix of restaurants, activities, pubs, sports clubs and community groups. Our parks are stunning – from Cassiobury and Woodside to some of the more hidden gems like Cheslyn Gardens. The huge demand for new housing is a challenge we have to manage, but it’s also testament to how attractive Watford is as a place to live. From Watford you can reach beautiful countryside or the centre of London in less than 20 minutes. I challenge anyone to name a better connected town in the country – with access to such good road, rail and airport links. We’ve got the Grove, we’ve got Harry Potter, we’ve got the original family football club, we’ve got the Harlequin, we’ve got the Palace theatre, we’ve got so much going for us.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Football, cricket, reading, bars and restaurants. Thankfully I’ve got all of these in Watford!