In 2018, at the age of 25, I was selected by my local labour party as a council candidate for Caversham ward for the local government election in 2019.
I was honoured and campaigned hard for period poverty, more funding for schools, greater support for older people through health and social care and led the petition with the MP and council that saved the local post office. You rewarded my hard work and voted me into local government, allowing me to win a previously conservative seat with a strong majority.
3 years on, my elected term has come to an end. I can now reflect on the pledges I made to the electorate and how I delivered. I am proud of I gave it my all and served with 100% commitment and integrity.
In my terms, I have achieved the following:
+ I campaigned to be a voice for residents. I delivered by:
– Completing casework resolving issues raised with me;
– Being a listening ear and a helpful pair of hands when residents needed it;
– Attending ward surgeries listening to concerns;
– Door Knocking to hear your views;
– Regulars updates via quarterly blogs;
– Being your voice on the planning application committee, adult social care, children services and education, corporate parenting, housing, neighbourhood and leisure, AWE local liaison, as well as the investigations and disciplinary committee.
+ I campaigned for a more sustainable Caversham and council in term of social, economic and the environment. I delivered by:
– Working with Reading Climate Change Partnership, running a series on sustainability, working with partners on a water theme that forms part of the Reading Climate Strategy to 2025;
– Co-founding Plastic Free Caversham which has helped 14 business champions who have been certified, 20 business allies, 3 schools, and 3 community groups to replace three single-use plastic items and progress on their sustainability journey. We held litter picks and arranged fundraisers for a local refill station that will now be installed in the ward this summer in partnership with Thames Water;
– Working with lead members to create more wildflower meadows to save the bees.
– Working with Reading Museum to create and launch a ‘How to be an active workshop’ for young people empowering them. I consulted with Reading Museum to improve education on black history across Reading which resulted in the amazing workshop and training offered by the museum to schools across the borough;
– Going into schools speaking and raising awareness on local government to encourage a strong, diverse pipeline of future candidates.
However, I am not just proud of what I have achieved but who I have become over the journey.
They have been challenges both big and small. It has been difficult at time to find the right balance between working full-time, obtaining professional qualifications, volunteering, my personal life and passion. However, I am proud that despite the challenges I answered the call to serve and always served my community wholeheartedly and I, therefore, count this chapter as a success.
I wish the labour candidates all the success at that ballot box today. I know Caversham will be in safe hands.