A DISTRICT councillor with a wealth of experience supporting communities to improve their health and wellbeing has joined the council’s cabinet.

Jackie Dale (Green, Pillowell) has been appointed Cabinet Member for Thriving Communities by Leader of the Council Mark Topping (Lydney West & Aylburton).

The appointment means a new title for Cllr Adrian Birch (Tidneham), who previously managed the Communities portfolio.

Cllr Birch now takes on the role of Cabinet Member for Built Environment, focussing on net zero ambitions around planning, housing and leisure.

Cllr Dale was elected to Forest of Dean District Council in the local elections last May, and also sits on West Dean Parish Council representing Pillowell.

Jackie, who works as a medical officer at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, has played a key role in developing a number of community projects in her own parish, including the successful Yorkley Village Garden and a ‘Dark Skies’ project to scale back light pollution for people and nature.

Cllr Dale said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been invited to join the Forest of Dean District Council’s Cabinet as the member for Thriving Communities and I will do my very best to support and enhance the excellent work of our Council’s Communities Team.  

“My focus will be on local resilience and improving community engagement.

“I am passionate about hearing people’s views and strengthening local democracy so that people feel more empowered to get involved.  

“I will approach this role with determination, honesty, and humility.

“We all need each other, our family, friends, and communities.

“That will be my starting point.” 

Councillor Dale’s Thriving Communities portfolio includes community empowerment and resilience, health and wellbeing, communications, and public engagement. 

Councillor Mark Topping, Leader of the Council, said: “I would like to welcome Cllr Dale to the Cabinet, and I look forward to working with her to deliver for the Forest of Dean community.  

“Jackie has considerable personal and professional experience in health and community well-being. She is also a passionate advocate of public engagement, which has a central role in the new Council Plan. Adding Jackie to the Cabinet gives us more capacity to deliver on behalf of communities across the district.  

“At the same time as Councillor Dale’s appointment, Councillor Adrian Birch’s portfolio has changed from Communities to Built Environment. Cllr Birch will now be able to focus on our net zero ambitions around planning and housing, leisure, and the built environment generally.”  

Councillor Adrian Birch’s Built Environment portfolio includes built environment (net zero), housing and homelessness, housing policy and leisure.