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Hertfordshire: Developing Euros stars of the future!

Volunteers help to deliver £4m of social impact on Tarmac’s sites across Herts

Hertfordshire County Council cements its support for care leavers

Herts Sustainable Families Highly Commended in Excellence in Recycling & Waste Management Award

Hertfordshire Growth Board: Celebrating forests as catalysts for biodiversity, wellbeing and travel

Goodbye Hollywood, hello Hertfordshire – the new moviemaking capital

Improving passenger transport – Hertfordshire Essex RapidTransit

Already a home of world firsts, skills offer can ensure Hertfordshire remains a pioneer

New guide shows Hertfordshire laying groundwork for modern construction methods

Life sciences industry panel to grow Herts key sector and deliver nationwide benefits

As the UEFA Euro 2024 football tournament kicked off in Germany this weekend, we want to wish Hertfordshire-born Gareth Southgate, who comes from Watford, all the best as his England team gears up for their first game of the tournament.

Hertfordshire has a proud tradition of nurturing grass roots youth football, as well as being home and host to many famous footballers, as well as football league clubs Watford FC and Stevenage FC.

There are over 50,000 children – 42,497 boys and 7,651 girls – currently taking part in some form of grassroots football activity, with female participation increasing 56% since 2021, and male participation increasing 14%. There are also over 600 players taking part in dedicated Disability Football settings across the county.

Hertfordshire County Council and the District and Borough Councils have played its part in the growth and development of football by providing regular funding to support local schools, organisations, and sports clubs. Such as providing football for children with a wide range of physical and neuro-diverse challenges and those with learning and physical disabilities.

“We are very keen to support our local grassroots organisations to provide sport and physical activities, as these opportunities are essential to help our residents lead healthy and fulfilling lives. In particular, we have invested a great deal of funding into physical activity programmes specifically designed to help people improve their mental health and wellbeing, as we are well-aware of the link between physical and mental health. We have been working with Watford and Stevenage Football Clubs for many years to develop bespoke physical activity programmes for local residents.”

– Hertfordshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, Sarah Perman

Active Connections is a new programme, funded by Hertfordshire County Council’s Public Health department and delivered by Herts Sports Partnership (HSP). The partnership works to upskill health professionals and social prescribers and to promote the health benefits of being physically active and to sign post people to local opportunities.HSP works closely with the Hertfordshire Football Association and the University of Hertfordshire with events such as the ‘Coach Education Week’ and have three Apprentices currently working in the Herts FA team from the Universities ‘Sports and Business Management’ degree course. Children can register to play football from as young as age 6 and in Hertfordshire over 50,000 players have registered with Hertfordshire FA across all formats of affiliated football, making up 3,380 teams from 494 clubs. These are supported by over 5,000 qualified coaches and countless other volunteers who give up their time to make the grassroots game happen.

Hertfordshire FA is responsible for a wide range of initiatives that help to develop the professionalism and culture of football across the county and all age groups.

“Football has a unique power to unite communities, build aspiration, reduce inequality, and bring joy to those involved. As well as improving physical and mental health, participation has also been shown to have wider impacts on society, such as reducing crime and improving educational outcomes. With the vast majority of the grassroots game being run by volunteers, additional financial support is always welcome, and we encourage clubs to reach out to Councillors to access locality budgets where they can be used to grow provision in areas of need and share these benefits more widely. We are proud to work together with local agencies to use the power of football to promote positive change, which includes putting on sessions with Hertfordshire County Council to raise awareness across the game about the risk of radicalisation to young people as part of the Prevent programme.”

– Karl Lingham, CEO, Hertfordshire Football Association

Hertfordshire Sports Partnership
Hertfordshire Football Association
Active Herts

Hertfordshire’s communities have benefitted from £4m of social impact generated by Tarmac sites across the county according to a new report from Tarmac, the sustainable building materials and construction solutions business.

As a member of the Hertfordshire Infrastructure Development Board (HIDB), Tarmac’s report, titled ‘Creating social impact in Hertfordshire’ shines a light on the positive impact the business has created for people, planet and place across Hertfordshire in 2023 and provides a framework for how Tarmac will continue to operate responsibly in the future. This included a focus on how the business is restoring former industrial sites into vibrant green spaces, like Panshanger Park and Waterford Heath, where it is enhancing biodiversity and ensuring natural spaces are accessible for the community.

With 2024 marking the 10th anniversary of the opening of Panshanger Park to the public, an estimated 5,165 hours were donated by volunteers last year alone, an army of supporters who maintain the landscape in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council and Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT).

In honour of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 17,341 trees and shrubs were also planted at the park to create the new Queen’s Wood. The planting of the woodland would not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of volunteers, including local schools, residents, businesses and community groups.

Further findings from the report finds Tarmac’s wider operations across Hertfordshire have:

  • Generated £1.16m social impact through giving local communities access to green space within 500m of their home.
  • Provided eight local apprenticeships and employed 39 people.
  • Contributed £40,200 social impact through mental and physical wellbeing support for local employees.

The social impact report follows Tarmac signing the Hertfordshire Growth Board’s Development Quality Charter, pledging commitments to master planning and community engagement; incorporating social impact and environmental management systems into business models; and adhering to sustainability standards which exceed the minimum requirements set out in building regulations.

Forogh Rahmani, Director of the Hertfordshire Growth Board (HGB) said: “We welcome Tarmac’s great social impact at its Hertfordshire sites, and this demonstrates the important benefits of our Hertfordshire Infrastructure Development Board and Development Quality Charter. The HGB welcomes many more businesses signing up to the Charter and to support our ambitions for good growth and a sustainable county where all can thrive and succeed.”

Colin Haigh, Director of Growth and Place at Hertfordshire County Council said: “Signing the Charter ensures well-designed places to live, work, and visit for residents, businesses and communities, setting a quality and sustainability benchmark for new developments across the county. Councils and developers, like Tarmac, recognise that by signing the Charter they can reference it and use the Charter Mark in their corporate promotional material.”

Hertfordshire Infrastructure Development Board (HIDB)
Development Quality Charter
‘Creating Social Impact in Hertfordshire’

The Care Leaver Covenant has gained a new signatory as Hertfordshire County Council pledged its continued commitment to support care leavers as they continue their journey to live independently.

As part of its commitment, the County Council is calling on local businesses, organisations, districts and borough councils to also sign up. Encouraging local employers and housing providers to reach out to these young adults by offering support and opportunities as they take their next steps into adulthood.

Fiona Thomson, Executive Member for Children, Young people and Families, said: “We know that our care leavers face additional challenges as they transition to adulthood: living independently, often with little family or community support. Many care-experience people say that discrimination has also contributed to negative outcomes in their lives. Our care leavers have told us that it’s important that we sign up to the National Care Leaver Covenant, which we are able to do now that we have found a way to offer council tax reimbursement for them until the age of 21.”

The National Care Leaver Covenant is a promise made by the private, public and voluntary sectors to provide support for care leavers aged 16-25 to help them live successful lives. The covenant pertains to all areas which impact on care leavers’ opportunities to thrive, including housing support, training and employment, work experience, or partnerships with local businesses.

Signing the Care Leaver Covenant is one element of the Council’s commitment to improve outcomes for care leavers. Recently, Hertfordshire agreed to treat care experience as a protected characteristic. This means that when policies and services are developed, it will assess the impact of these on people with care experience making sure that they are not negatively impacted by decisions taken.

Fiona continued, “As the corporate parents for children and young people in our care, it’s important that we lead the way and encourage all those we work with to look at how their practice and policies are impacting care leavers and encourage them to do all they can to support people leaving care. By working together, we can build bright futures for our care leavers.”

As well as The Local Offer for Care Leavers, Hertfordshire County Council has recently extended the lifelong links programme; strengthening contact with people important to them to create support networks and providing stability. It has also expanded the Care Leaver Service to provide personal advisors with more capacity and time to dedicate to the young people and the popular Ohana support group for care experience young parents.

Useful contacts and links

The Local Offer of Care Leavers
Lifelong Links Programme
Ohana support group

WasteAware’s “Herts Sustainable Families” discount scheme, offered as part of the county’s Waste Partnership has been highly-commended in the “Best Local Authority Recycling Initiative” category at the prestigious Awards for Excellence in Recycling & Waste Management.

The Awards for Excellence in Recycling & Waste Management celebrate outstanding achievements and innovative initiatives in the field of recycling and waste management. The recognition of Herts Sustainable Families underscores the council’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

The trio of schemes within the Herts Sustainable Families banner encourage residents to choose reusable items instead of single use products by offering a 15% discount on reusable nappies, sustainable period products and washable incontinence products. Around 2,500 residents have already taken advantage of the scheme, purchasing items from across 19 suppliers, including local companies, major retailers and brand leaders.

Receiving a high commendation recognises the exemplary leadership demonstrated by the WasteAware team and dedication to promoting waste reduction initiatives within Hertfordshire. Through collaborative efforts and community engagement, the initiative has successfully provided free period products to those in financial hardship and engaged in training for 56 teachers on the benefits of sustainable period products, ensuring they included as mainstream options when menstruation is discussed in school. Two further training dates are booked for June.

Cllr Richard Roberts, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council said:
“We are thrilled to be highly commended in the ‘Best Local Authority Recycling Initiative’ award. This recognition is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team and the support of our community. We are committed to continuing our efforts to create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly Hertfordshire.”

The success of Herts Sustainable Families campaign highlights the importance of local authority initiatives in driving positive environmental change and promoting sustainable practices amongst residents. By promoting education, awareness, and practical solutions, the initiative has contributed significantly to the county’s efforts to minimise waste and drive reusable options as a standard way of living to protect the environment for future generations.

Hertfordshire Waste Partnership’s Herts Sustainable Families continues to lead by example in promoting recycling and waste management best practices, inspiring communities to embrace sustainability, and making a meaningful impact on the environment.

Cllr Eric Buckmaster, Executive Member for Environment, Hertfordshire County Council said: “It’s so good to see the progress being made in this particular area of activity and the success of the team in promoting awareness and benefits of these sustainable products.”

For more information about the Herts Sustainable Families discount, WasteAware and its initiatives, visit: 

As the world marks the International Day of Forests on March 21, Hertfordshire stands proud as a testament to the integral relationship between nature and mental wellbeing. The county’s lush green spaces, from ancient woodlands to sprawling parks, not only harbour rich biodiversity but also serve as sanctuaries for mental wellness and advocates for active travel.

Hertfordshire’s forests, such as the Ashridge Estate, Heartwood Forest, and Cassiobury Park, are invaluable reservoirs of biodiversity. Hertfordshire’s diverse landscape boasts a myriad of green spaces, ranging from expansive woodlands to urban parks, each playing a vital role in supporting biodiversity. These green corridors serve as habitats for a rich tapestry of flora and fauna, preserving the county’s natural heritage and enhancing its ecological resilience. Through strategic planning and sustainable development, the Hertfordshire Growth Board is committed to safeguarding these green assets, ensuring their continued protection and enhancement for future generations to enjoy.

In addition to their ecological significance, Hertfordshire’s green spaces offer huge benefits for good mental health and wellbeing, providing residents with opportunities for relaxation, recreation, and rejuvenation amidst nature’s tranquillity. Research has shown that spending as little as 20 minutes a day in green environments can alleviate stress, improve mood, and enhance overall mental health. As a Growth Board mission – Healthy and Safe Places for All – the Hertfordshire Growth Board understands the importance of incorporating green infrastructure into urban planning initiatives, creating vibrant and inclusive spaces that promote wellbeing and quality of life for all.

Furthermore, Hertfordshire’s green spaces serve as catalysts for active travel, encouraging residents and visitors to embrace sustainable modes of transportation while enjoying the county’s natural beauty. From scenic walking and cycling routes to green corridors connecting urban centres, these initiatives promote physical activity, reduce carbon emissions, and enhance the overall health and vitality of our communities. By investing in active travel infrastructure and promoting environmentally conscious transportation options, the Hertfordshire Growth Board aims to create a more sustainable and resilient transportation network that meets the needs of both current and future generations.



Forogh Rahmani, Director of the Hertfordshire Growth Board, said: “As we mark the International Day of Forests, we celebrate Hertfordshire’s green spaces as invaluable assets that contribute to the health, prosperity, and wellbeing of our residents and communities. Through collaborative efforts and forward-thinking initiatives, we are committed to preserving and enhancing these green corridors, ensuring that Hertfordshire remains a vibrant and sustainable place to live, work, and thrive.”



To read more about Hertfordshire Growth Board’s Vision and Missions.
Vision and Missions

For enquiries contact Luke Fisher, Senior Campaigns Officer.


Hertfordshire is now the number one destination in the UK for film and TV – and with the 96th Academy Awards taking place this Sunday it is clear to see why major movie moguls are choosing the county as the place to make movie magic.

With its stunning countryside, sprawling mansions and a plethora of heritage sites, Hertfordshire is often seen on screen in the movies. However, it’s the production magic that takes place across the five major studios situated in the county that is helping propel the county of opportunity into a golden era of film making – Elstree Studios, Warner Bros Studio Leavesden (WBSL), Sky Studios, BBC Studioworks and the newest proposal Sunset Studios in Broxbourne.

Two of the top three performers at the UK and Ireland box office were produced at WBSL, which is situated just outside Watford. According to the British Film Institute (BFI), Barbie earned £95.6m in box office revenue, while Wonka starring Timothée Chalamet and Olivia Colman came in third, grossing £58.4m. This has made the county the economic hub for the filming of many of today’s biggest TV shows and Oscar nominated movies.

Partnerships through the Hertfordshire Growth Board, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), district and borough councils and the Hertfordshire Film Office is testament to how Hertfordshire County Council is working with the creative sector to make it easier to do business here.

Cllr Jeremy Newmark, Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council and Chair of Elstree Studios, said: “These are exciting times for the film and TV industry and, here in Hertsmere, we are right in the heart of the buzz! 

“Within a short distance of our Civic Offices in Borehamwood are the council-owned Elstree Studios; BBC Elstree where Eastenders is based and Sky Studios Elstree where they’ve recently been filming the new Wicked movie.  Positioned right in between is Elstree Screen Academy where talented young people are honing their skills across a whole range of disciplines and we hope that many will go on to work in the industry in the future. 

“Of course the contribution this makes to our local economy is substantial as well as the opportunities it brings for local jobs.

“More broadly it is exciting to be working with partners across Hertfordshire to promote and support the industry.”

Not only is Hertfordshire the paramount pick for studio time but it is also a thriving centre of educational excellence with the Elstree Screen Arts Academy (ESA) and the University of Hertfordshire producing the next generation of home-grown film makers.

Students at ESA can study a wide range of courses, including creative media production, film studies, production crafts like set and prop design, as well as hair and makeup artistry. Students have had amazing opportunities working on major productions like The Crown, Mission: Impossible Dead Reckoning and Paddington 2.

The University of Hertfordshire has a film and television programme which is in the top 20 for film production nationally, delivering industry ready graduates into the workplace. The university has close partnerships with leading industry figures. Former students have been winners of many prestigious television awards, with many going on to gain employment with leading companies and broadcasters such as BBC, Endemol, ITV and Sky.

With incredible education and employment opportunities on the doorstep and further investment planned over the coming years, the future looks bright for the county’s burgeoning creative industries.

Cllr Richard Roberts, Leader, Hertfordshire County Council, and Chair, Hertfordshire Growth Board said: “Hertfordshire has a rich heritage in filmmaking from Star Wars to Paddington, Saving Private Ryan to Band of Brothers. This is the golden age for Hertfordshire, spearheading skills development and driving job creation.

“It takes an army of different tradespeople and a diverse range of talent to produce a film. Thanks to our co-ordinated approach, working hand in hand with industry, we can ensure our residents and businesses are poised to benefit.”

New facilities that have been built in the past two decades include Sky Studios at Elstree, which sits on a 32-acre site, just off the Borehamwood exit of the A1, it has as many as 14 stages, covering 20,000sq ft, all using the latest in cutting edge technology. It is estimated that the studios could create over 2,000 new jobs.

Our county has a long history of film and TV excellence. Elstree Studios is world renowned and hugely successful and has been in existence for over 90 years. It has been the studio of choice for many legendary producers and directors with memorable films such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Elstree Studios has also produced TV shows including The Crown, Strictly Come Dancing and The Voice.

A new proposal to Hertfordshire is Sunset Studios, a US franchise that has produced movies such as La La land and the first X-Men franchise. Backed by a £700m investment, Sunset Studios has developed a 91-acre greenfield site in Broxbourne, it looks to create 4,500 new jobs and it is expected to become the largest film and TV studio campus in the UK. The studios will encompass 25 sound stages and is expected to contribute £300m a year to the local economy.

Last but very much, not least, is the Warner Brothers Studios, set in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, home to the Harry Potter films. Warner Bros has been making films in Hertfordshire for many years and invest heavily in the UK film industry.