North Yorkshire County Council’s new chairman has pledged to continue the work to champion the role of volunteers across the region’s communities.
Cllr Val Arnold, who is beginning her new duties, said that her focus for the year ahead is to continue to support volunteers in North Yorkshire “who give such a tremendous amount of their skills, time and devotion to improving the life of others”.
Cllr Arnold, who represents the Kirkbymoorside ward, is herself a volunteer at Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside libraries, as well as at Helmsley Arts Centre and is president of the local WI. She is also older people’s champion for Ryedale.
“I am very much a community person,” said Cllr Arnold, “and as a councillor over the years have worked very hard to understand and support community issues and initiatives. As we move forward as a County Council, our job is to sustain and strengthen our communities as partners in the delivery of high-quality services and the work of volunteers is crucial to that.
“I am very much looking forward to the year ahead and to working with communities across this large, diverse authority with its coast, its national parks, market towns and towns. I feel very honoured to be appointed chair at this time.”
Cllr Arnold has been a County Councillor for the last 15 years, is chair of the Council’s Ryedale area committee and is a member of the Council’s health, young people’s and corporate and partnership scrutiny committees. She also sits on North Yorkshire’s Fire and Rescue Authority.
She is also a district councillor for Ryedale and has just stepped down from being chair of Ryedale District Council.
She said: “I moved to North Yorkshire 30 years ago and worked in banking and I have always been at the heart of my community. For me, it’s what living in this beautiful county is all about. Communities help the council in delivering critical services, and provide social networks which reduce isolation and enable people to live independently for longer.”
She intends to build on work championing volunteers started by her predecessor in the chair, Cllr David Jeffels, and to continue the annual community awards scheme, which was established last year.
Cllr Arnold is married to Stephen Arnold, a Ryedale District councillor for Helmsley, and they have two children and three grandchildren.
- Cllr Helen Swiers, who represents the Esk Valley, has been appointed deputy chair. She has been a county councillor since 2001 and chairs the Council’s Coast and Moors Area Committee. She is a farmer and county chair of the National Farmers Union.