I moved to Hebden Bridge exactly two years ago today. When I moved, I would never have predicted that I’d be elected to the Town Council in less than a year, become chair of the local branch of Liberal Democrats, and campaign organiser for our Parliamentary candidate.
One of the things that frustrates me most about the Town Council is how little the community know and appreciate about what we do. All the councillors are volunteers, and (apart from the mayor) receive no allowances. Most of us give up lots of evenings to attend meetings and events, occasionally at our own expense. The media don’t seem interested – the local newspaper print our press releases more or less verbatim, and the local news website report what we do occasionally, but I have never seen a journalist at any of our meetings, not even the budget meeting where we decide how much council tax to collect from residents. Our annual turnover is around a quarter of a million pounds, hardly small change.
I have done my best to keep in touch with my own ward through Focus leaflets (which I’ve paid for), but they are expensive, slow to deliver, and only cover a small part of the council area. I’m hoping this blog will provide more information on what we do on a vaguely regular basis to whoever is interested. I’ll also comment on national issues that catch my eye, or that I have some involvement with.
Assuming that I follow my plan to publish articles once a week or so, and don’t just give up in boredom, I will begin to publicise the blog in early 2010. Readers’ comments are welcome!