It is an honour and a privilege to be selected as Labour’s Bradford Council Candidate in Ilkley, my hometown.
The average age of a councillor is 61 and the majority are retired, so I hope to offer something new and engaging. I was crushed by our election defeat in December 2019, but I believe we can build back our support, starting at a local level. Labour is, and must be, the party of the future, not the past. I joined the Labour Party in 2015, despite being from a Conservative family, because I believe it is the only vehicle to achieve social justice and change in Britain.
I was born, raised, and educated in Ilkley before going to Manchester Metropolitan University and latterly the University of Huddersfield. I am currently in my final year of a drama degree and due to finish in May. I have worked in several hospitality venues in the town and for last seven years I have worked at the Ilkley based Virtual College. In addition to this I also run a micro part time catering business and a voluntary dog walking service.
I have been involved in the Ilkley community all my life through my membership of Upstagers both as a drama teacher and a performer, and I have become Ilkley’s resident pantomime villain! I am passionate about all Ilkley has to offer, as we are blessed with such a vibrant arts scene in the town. Sadly, due to the pandemic, all drama teaching has been put on hold, but I am currently in the process of planning some form of online drama coaching. I had also previously been doing online storytelling for my Upstagers students.
If elected I will:
Speak up for and promote Ilkley’s many fantastic independent businesses.
Ilkley is fortunate to have so many amazing local businesses, all of which make up the backbone of the local economy. As we begin our recovery from Covid-19 it is vital we all do our bit to ensure their futures.
Support schemes to improve the environment in Ilkley and beyond.
I am delighted that the River Wharfe in Ilkley has been granted special bathing status, thanks to the Ilkley Clean River Campaign supported by Bradford Council. However, we must go further. We must reduce the speed limit in Ilkley town centre to 20mph, improving air quality and pedestrian safety. We must replenish our precious peatland on Ilkley Moor to reduce flood risk and increase its carbon storage potential. We must get more cars off the road by promoting and improving our public transport access. There is so much we must do!
Protect our cherished public services.
In Ilkley we are extremely lucky to have so many fantastic public services. The Ilkley Pool and Lido, currently being refurbished after significant Bradford Council funding; Ilkley Library, kept open by the Council despite Tory cuts closing 1 in 5 UK libraries; and the wonderful Kings Hall and Winter Gardens. We must do everything we can to protect these essential services despite Bradford Council’s Government Grant being cut to zero.
Engage with and back Ilkley’s many active community groups.
Ilkley has many active community groups doing excellent work to improve our town. Friends of Ilkley Moor, Climate Action Ilkley, Ilkley Civic Society, Ilkley Clean River Campaign, Ilkley BID and many many more. These groups know and understand what Ilkley needs and I will do everything to ensure their voices are heard and represented at the very top of Bradford Council.
Promote schemes that support healthy lifestyles in Ilkley.
There are so many voluntary organisations and businesses in Ilkley that encourage healthy living, both mental and physical. Our multiple sports clubs, walking clubs, friends of groups, theatre groups and charities, among others, provide everyone in our town with activities to stay fit and look after their mental health. I will do everything I can to help Ilkley residents access these groups and clubs to improve our collective wellbeing.
We have a fight on our hands, but I genuinely believe that we as a Labour Party can win Ilkley. I have already reached out to a wide array of people in the town and am flattered and grateful for all the support I have already received. I genuinely believe there is a growing appetite for progressive politics in our town.
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