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Have you ever thought about becoming a Councillor?

March 21, 2019 12:01 PM

Ruth Juett with a Townsend resident

With a new leadership coming in at national level for the Liberal Democrats, putting a greater emphasis on the importance of local politics, there's never been a better time to get involved.

If you're good at listening and want to make things better in your local community, we need you in 2020. There are potentially 27 unitary and 161 Town & Parish seats up for grabs in local elections across Amersham and Chesham next year.

Here, Ruth Juett, ex-Chair of the Chiltern Liberal Democrats, shares her experience representing us as Councillor for Townsend ward for four years…

Ruth's story

"I've always been interested in politics and community work - most of my career has been in this field as well as my voluntary work with local charities and causes," says Ruth.

"But I'd never thought about being a Town Councillor. When I started to find out more, I could see it was a great opportunity to really get to know my local community, listen to their concerns and help them.

"It appealed to my strong motivation to make things better for local communities."

Support network

"I was fortunate to have some great support and mentoring from the Lib Dems and this helped me get elected on my first attempt," adds Ruth.

"The Lib Dems were a great sounding board throughout my term, helping me prepare for Council meetings, and agree policy positions, among other things.

"Over the four years, I was involved in so much that I am really proud of. My achievements included improving parking facilities, accessibility, creating Residents Associations and working with local businesses and householders to tackle anti-social behaviour."

Key skills

"I think that as a Councillor, you need to be a great listener and have empathy, but also be realistic about what is possible. You have to be prepared to put some time in, attending around 12 meetings a year or more depending on how many Working Groups you join.

"Personally, I worked many evenings on this as I was also working in my job during the day. But you are your 'own boss' and it is up to you to decide the time you can spare. The role of Town Councillor is unpaid and you have to manage your own admin, so you have to be independent and self-sufficient.

"Being a Councillor would definitely suit anyone who is interested in representing their community. Perhaps you're interested in local politics, whether as an elected official or in campaigning.

"It takes some energy and commitment, but it is immensely rewarding."

If you are interested in finding out more, contact Walid Marzouk chair@chilternlibdems.org.uk