Everyone in Watford knows Michal Siewniak - if you don’t, he’s the one at every community event who is always happy and full of laughter and smiles.

Here Michal, the Service Manager for the Community Voluntary Service, writes a special ‘goodbye’ column for the Watford Observer.

Hankies at the ready...

“I can’t believe that I am saying this but after 15 months or so, I am leaving Watford and Three Rivers Trust!

“It has been such a wonderful journey. I LOVED every single moment. Was it tough at times? Yes it was, however it made my experience even more enjoyable. Highlights? There are too many. I have met amazing people, run or supported some really exciting projects and initiatives, helped (hopefully) to build the capacity of the local ‘community and voluntary sector’.

“From day one, I felt welcomed in Watford and inspired by Watford. I felt that this town can be ‘yours’ if you give it your best. In my view, passion, dedication, commitment, diversity, vibrancy drives through Watford. I really think that Watford has it all and it is one of the best places I have ever worked in.

“I think that Watford helped me to become a better person. As a service manager, I had a real opportunity and privilege to meet so many great people; people who are always happy to help, make you smile and want to make a real difference.

“I think I have matured in Watford (my wife may disagree!).

“I think that my role enabled me to learn a bit more about Britain and its multicultural society. I do, more than ever before, believe that diversity can work.

“Visiting Sikh Temple, learning more about Ramadan by talking to the Muslim community, bringing people together by running events and conferences on funding, fundraising or governance, marking fantastic Volunteer Week or organising most inspiring trip to the Houses of Parliament.

“Each day, each moment and each project made me realise that I am truly blessed and lucky because I work in the charity sector which has such an amazing potential.

“Watford increased my belief that positive change is possible. It allowed me to further my skills and abilities to give better advice to our community groups.

“It helped me to realise that you are never too old to learn. It gave me a tremendous opportunity to take the risk and MAKE THINGS happen.

“The political leadership in Watford made ‘my life so much easier’. I felt supported and listened to. Cllrs, Mayor and other key politicians who never wanted just to turn up to a meeting because they had to or because they held a particular portfolio but because they wanted to be part of making Watford a better, happier and healthier place.

“I feel that I have given my best but it does seem like I was given back so much more. I will be thankful forever for these moments and I hope, as I was told by the Chairman of the Watford Borough Council, Cllr Rabi Martins, this is not ‘goodbye’ but au revoir.

“Finally, thank you to W3RT, its fantastic staff for giving me a chance to work in this lovely part of the world. Keep up the good work guys.”