Our Somerset County Council Campaign
The new Somerset Unitary council will need to tackle some tough challenges:
- 25% of our children are living in poverty, there are 14,000 troubled families across the county, and our disadvantaged children are six months behind in education than their peers.
- Many families are stuck in a cycle of low income and low prospects.
- Our elderly population is set to increase by 30% over the next 10 years, and care services are already under strain from years of cuts and the Coronavirus pandemic.
- Many villages are poorly connected, with a lack of reliable and regular public transport, and only 90.1% of Somerset having access to high-speed internet, well below the 97% national average.
But the current ways of working are not working, and if we don’t put Place before Party, and People before Politics, then this situation will only get worse.
But there is an opportunity here for real change if we do things differently.
Over the last eleven years, the ifF-led Frome Town Council has shown how much we can achieve when we work simply for the good of our communities, and approach our shared problems creatively, compassionately and together as a town.
This fresh approach has led to ideas that could work across all of Somerset.
Ideas like the innovative partnership with Frome Medical Centre, Active and In Touch, and other community groups, which has helped combat loneliness and isolation amongst older people – something health professionals say is as damaging as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. This work has been proven to keep people happier and healthier for longer, reducing hospital admissions and preventing unnecessary suffering.
By addressing the root cause of a problem and actively working with local organisations we’ve helped make a real difference in Frome. This approach can be used to tackle a wide range of Somerset’s challenges, and make a real difference across our county too.
But we need a seat at the table to share these ideas, our approach and our experience, and to be a voice for a new, less divisive, more inclusive way of working.
Our ideas were born in Frome – now they are ready for Somerset.
Our Candidates for Somerset County Council
Over the last few years I’ve led Frome Town Council’s Planning Committee, fighting to help the voices of local people be heard above the noise of national party politics that currently dominates Somerset’s councils. I’ve seen how detrimental this lack of a voice can be to our communities, and how currently those who work in Taunton, or even Westminster, have more of a say in Somerset than the people who have built their lives here.
I am running for Unitary because I believe there is a real opportunity for change with this new council, and I keen to make sure that the people of Frome finally have a real say in how things are done in Frome.
The new Unitary Council for Somerset offers exciting possibilities for Towns and Parishes but without fresh ideas, there is a real risk of repeating mistakes of the past and alienating local communities further.
For the past eleven years, Frome has paved the way in finding new solutions to old problems. We’ve helped fill the gaps left by cuts and developed new ways to support communities to create real participation in local politics.
I’m running for Unitary to help foster change in new and exciting ways, and to help Somerset thrive.