It occurred to me that I should tell you a bit more about my background and experience to help you decide if I have the skills needed to be a councillor.
I’m 38 years old, married with 2 young children (one 6 and the other rapidly approaching 3) and currently working as an agency supply teacher in both city and county schools.
I grew up in a village outside Huddersfield, completed GCSEs, A-levels in Maths, Physics and Chemistry and then went on to spend 4 years at the University of Birmingham studying a Masters degree in Natural Sciences (mainly Chemistry with some degree level maths and physics thrown in for good measure).
Whilst at university, I was a member of the RAG (raising and giving) society which raised thousands of pounds each year for local and national charities. Two of the years I was treasurer, therefore I have experience of accounting large amounts of money although admittedly not on the scale of a council budget.
I completed a fifth year at university where I achieved my Postgraduate Certificate in Education and then, in 2003, moved to Derby with my, now, husband and we lived first in Mickleover (1 year) and then in Spondon (6 years).
Since being in Derby, I have been a teacher in a school in Belper. During this time I have taught both infant and junior age pupils; I have nurtured pupils with a wide range of individual needs; I have led the ICT curriculum subject area and procured the fitting out of a brand new ICT suite; I have qualified as a SENDCo under the New Code of Practice 2014 and managed the implementation of this policy in school.
During the academic year 2008-2009, I spent 9 months in Eritrea working as a teacher trainer with VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas). This involved: visiting schools; observing lessons; giving feedback; modelling lessons; teaching English as an additional language; delivering training; and developing a sustainable method of improving the quality of teaching. Alongside this work I had to adapt to a different culture. During the 9 months I was there, I had to deal with a fuel shortage and a water shortage. I had to adapt to living in a developing country and get alongside the local people in order to find ways of meeting my most basic needs.
In 2010, my husband and I moved to Oakwood with the aim of starting a family. We were drawn to its green spaces and local amenities.We joined Springwood Church (formerly Woodlands Church, Oakwood) and began to settle into the local community. As part of the church, I have been involved in organising and running a number of community activities: kids holiday clubs; stands at Oakwood Gala; the Christmas Carol Cafe that ‘popped-up’ in the empty Nationwide unit; and more recently the Ladies Breakfast at Katherine’s Gift and Coffee Bar in Chaddesden.
At the end of 2015, I became a member of Oakwood Neighbourhood Board where I gained an insight into how Neighbourhood funding was prioritised and a little about the role of a local councillor. Unfortunately the role came to an abrupt end in early 2016 when the Neighbourhood funding for Oakwood was withdrawn by the council. This prompted me to stand as an Independent Candidate in the 2016 local elections – a decision which was made just 7 weeks before the election date. I managed and ran my own campaign from designing publicity material to recruiting volunteers and organising leaflet distribution. This experience stands me in a much better position two years on.
Last winter I got asked to help occasionally at Derby City Churches Nightshelter. In November, I spent a very wet night sleeping outside in ASDA car park, raising £700 in sponsorship – an experience that helps you understand the plight of Nightshelter guests. This winter, I have not only been a regular volunteer at the evening sessions meeting guests and serving them a hot meal but I have also volunteered at the Guest Support mornings where help is given to the guests to get them on the road to finding permanent accommodation and a better life style.
Throughout all my time in Derby, I have been actively involved in Girl Guiding, leading and assisting with various Brownie and Rainbow groups. In May, I will become the District Commissioner for Oakwood and Chaddesden which will involve overseeing all the units and working to ensure that all our groups have the support they need to run great activities for our young girls.
I’m a member of Oakwood Residents’ Association which serves as a great place to find out the views of residents on local issues and I am on the organising committee of Oakwood Festival 2018.
I hope this, rather long, post has given you some insight into what makes me tick; the things I am passionate about; and my heart for the community of both Oakwood and Derby.
As it was two years ago, I am running my own campaign again this year. If you feel able to support me either by displaying a poster or helping to deliver some leaflets in your area of Oakwood please get in touch either via the facebook page or by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org.