I have lived in Newham since 2005, when my husband and I moved to West Ham when we bought our first house. We now live in Forest Gate with our three little girls. I currently combine being a stay-at-home parent to Rosa, India and Persephone with being Chair of Governors at Woodgrange Infants School, and since May 2014 I am also an elected councillor for Forest Gate North.
Before my attentions were taken up by family life, I worked in Policy, Strategy and Equalities, working for another local authority, and prior to that for a health regulator. My experience is mainly in policy and communications work, although I also did some campaiging (and a bit of anything that came up) during the year after I graduated when I worked full-time as a sabbatical officer for my students’ union. Whatever my job, I have always done a lot of writing, for the web, for the intranet, for publications, and when I was younger I did a lot of creative writing, too.
Working in policy I became very used to familiarising myself quickly with a new area, reading up and finding out about it, finding a way forward, and presenting views and options (and the limitations of what was possible) in a clear way. I hope these skills will stand me in good stead as a councillor, but if you are a resident of Forest Gate North then you can be the judge of that!
I have been a Labour party member since 2005, joining the party the same year as I joined a union: suddenly feeling that these things were important to me and I should put my money where my mouth was and be part of the action – join in rather than watching from the sidelines. I think political party membership can appear to be a bit old-school, and limiting, but I sincerely believe that it is only through collectivism and specifically through the Labour party that we can achieve progressive change. I am not afraid to describe myself as a socialist, but temper my political idealism with what I hope is the healthy dose of pragmatism required to get along with people of all political backgrounds, make difficult decisions when necessary, and make things happen.
These days I don’t seem to have any free time, but if I were to have some idle hours I would love to spend them reading novels, crocheting, writing old-fashioned letters with a fountain pen, sorting out the house, blogging, learning to take better photographs, and perhaps one day even starting to do some creative writing again.
For now, I am finding my feet as a councillor, learning new things every day, meeting lots of very interesting people, and nauseating as it might sound, really enjoying all of it. If you see me around Forest Gate please do say hello. I may be wrangling small children, and / or rushing to be somewhere but I would love to meet you.