Your stories – Tim Pickard

Tim Pickard
Neighbourhood Warden, Street Care and Safety Team

Image of Tim standing by the beach huts in Mersea

When did you start working for Colchester Council?


Why do you choose to work for the council?

I’ve always felt valued in any role I’ve done at the council. I feel appreciated by all levels of management, and I’ve had great respect and support even in difficult times.

But most importantly I feel proud to be representing the council, serving the community and making a difference to the lives of the Colchester people in whatever team I’ve worked in.

Tell us about your career at the council

I started at Colchester Council on August 02, 1976, as a carpenter/joiner on a 3-year City Guilds Apprenticeship with a day release to Sheepen Road Technical College. I remember arriving on my first day on my bike. I was made to feel very welcome and give a tour of the Gosbecks Depot where I would be working. 

My first job was making door frames for the new builds at Greenstead building site. I qualified as a carpenter and was offered a full-time role at the council. I worked on maintenance to council owned properties, which included the historic Town Hall and museums.

In 1994 I joined what was called the Highways Sign Shop department. I was erecting street name signs, installing benches, litter/dog bins, spray painting car park lines, etc. I also joined the winter gritting team, and my route was the town centre and Hythe roads.

I kept my chippy hand in by making and maintaining things like the oak village direction signs and the wooden floating rafts down at West Mersea beach front. After that, I joined the parks and recreation department, gaining a new set of skills helping to look after our green spaces. I marked out sports tracks, football and cricket pitches, allotments, the cemetery grounds, and school maintenance contracts.

This took me to a role working in the Small Works Team, where I installed and repaired street furniture and delivered school maintenance contracts for nine schools, so my previous skill of marking out sports pitches came in very handy.

I also helped out at civic events at the Town Hall, Christmas Market and fixed the Christmas tree on the mayor’s balcony each year. From here, I took on the inspections and maintenance of 70 play sites across Colchester, after the previous inspector retired, and did this for around 10 years.

Then in 2011 the council formed the Zone Warden roles, incorporating the work of the Community Wardens, Small Works Team and wastes bin emptying / litter picking staff. I have really grown to love this role and it has enabled me to gain some computer and life skills I thought I would never be capable of, and I’ve built up so many good working relationships with communities, including Town, and Parish Councils.

All I can say is wow, what a journey. This August 02, 2024, will be 48 years employed by Colchester Council and yes there's been lots of changes, with highs and lows along the way, but far more highs and in my current role I will finish happily on a high.

Throughout your career, what has been your most rewarding moment?

As wardens we are asked to encourage individual residents/groups to get back to good old fashion values and to take up voluntary litter picks named Litter Warriors.

Residents are encouraged to take pride and ownership of their own neighbourhood and litter pick a chosen area on a regular basis and take some pressure off front line services, many enrolled across the city and are still going.

Looking back on your 47 years with the organisation, what do you believe will be your lasting legacy or contribution to its success as it celebrates its 50th birthday?

Probably the big change I was involved with was to Mersea beach and the solar powered compactor bins we installed. We took out 26 litter bins between the beach huts on West Mersea beach front as historically we had problems with rubbish being left at the base of them and foxes pulling the rubbish out, not to mention the summer fly’s, wasps and smell of dog poop, not great for people visiting the beach or the environment.

The new solar powered compactor bins were installed, and this has made a big difference for the environment and improving the quality of life for everyone going to the beach. When I retire, I will probably be remembered as the go to person for practical solutions and always willing to help and support.

What is the thing you love the most about working for the council?

A lot of satisfaction serving the people of Colchester. The flexibility. Being trusted to work remotely. Being appreciated.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career at the council?

I would advise anybody new starting with the council to take advantage of all personal development available to you, progress to the best of your ability and work with pride in the community.

What one word would you use to describe the council?


Page last reviewed: 29 April 2024


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