One piece of post stood out - a card shaped envelope with my name and home address hand-written on the front.
I opened it to find a lovely 'Thank You' card inside from a local resident who I helped recently with a housing problem. Without naming names (caswork confidentiality of course), this lady got in touch with me a few months ago asking for help in her quest for a housing transfer. Her current flat was not suitable for her as the neighbouring tenants were causing her much trouble and she was at her wits end.
I receive a number of housing requests for support and write in to the housing list officer in the Council giving my support but ultimately the final say rests with the officials and not myself.
I bumped into this lady a few weeks ago in the middle of town and was delighted to here her tell me excitedly that she had been offered a transfer and she was moving the next day.
"Thank you lots Mark.
"Without your help I would never have moved from the hell I was living. I no longer have to wear ear plugs on a daily basis. I love my new home and the people are lovely and friendly"
"Wishing you well and look forward to you popping in".It's a lovely gesture because whilst it's my job to help residents like her in their dealings with the Council, it really is incredibly uplifting to receive a card like this. There's always a difficult and problematic issue to deal with and not everything runs as we would like in local government. It often feels like a case of banging my head against a brick wall. But then that's bureaucracy for you.
But this is what it's all about. It's a simple gesture that reminds me why I entered local government in the first place 7 years ago and why I hope to continue doing this job for more years to come.
It's a basic matter of helping people to live their lives as happily and as comfortably as possible.
If I were to be run over by a bus tomorrow, it could at least be said of me that I have helped improve the quality of life of local residents by doing my job as a local Councillor.
What job could be more rewarding and fulfilling than that?