Politics at Town/Parish level is not so much about a National Party emblem but about the candidate's knowledge, understanding and work within the community they live in.
Too often we see candidates fielded by National Parties who do not live in the ward they are nominated to represent, on occasion they do not even live in the town, and when questioned on the doorstep cannot answer questions about major current local issues, despite leaflets indicating support for them.
How many people, reading the various leaflets arriving through letterboxes, understand that at Town Council level what is needed are hands on people with the Town’s best interests at heart rather than being another National Party face around a table so their party can claim they ‘control’ the council? What is the point of that?
From the outset of recent campaigns Party machines have rolled out, and it was not surprising to see that the successful East Ward candidate’s campaign leaflet contained a logo which led to the leaflet being reported to the Electoral Monitoring Officer for breach of Campaign rules as well as glaring errors. If I was that candidate I would have been concerned at the lack of attention to detail – have their party not been doing this long enough to ensure leaflets are compliant and truthful?
Some may cry ‘sour grapes’ as last night (6/7/17) as the IfS candidate I came third in the East Ward by-election, a ward I have lived in for 25 years and whose residents I have successfully assisted with various issues over the years. I am understandably disappointed but will continue to work in the community whether we are in an election campaign or not and help those who come to me, no strings attached!
I hope newly elected Cllr. James Elton proves that, despite his relatively recent involvement with his party that gives the impression of yet another ‘paper candidate’, he truly does have the time and knowledge of Seaford to properly represent the people of East Ward and the town as a whole.
IfS Your Voice for Our Town
East Ward Campaign 2017
I have been a resident of Chyngton, Seaford for 25 years. I am a mother and grandmother. My 3 eldest daughters live in Seaford with their families. My daughters and grandchildren all attend or attended Seaford schools.
In 2009 I started up a small business helping other sole traders with bookkeeping, HMRC compliance, admin etc. as well as working part time in a local accountancy practice. In August 2016 I left the practice to focus on my own growing business, local voluntary groups and to be more available for my family, assisting daughters with childcare to enable them to work. For those who want to be really Nosey you can see what I have been up to and the depth of knowledge & experience I would bring to the role of Councillor, as well as a personal declaration, here.
In 2012 myself and my youngest daughter joined Seaford Bonfire Society and found there is a lot more to Seaford behind the scenes than people realise. In 2014, when public determination changed the course of Seaford Town Council, I was indignant at the system that had allowed Seaford residents to be kept in ignorance of how the Town Council worked.
Meeting Sylvia Dunn and Sarah McStravick, joining SRV and assisting four independent candidates in the May 2015 elections I realised the way forward is to work together for the benefit of the town whilst retaining the independent ethos to enable residents voices to be heard in council chambers. When IfS was formed I stood in the East Ward by-election in June 2015 alongside 3 fellow IfS candidates. Despite only 4 weeks campaigning, and in a race of 19 for 4 seats, we four ladies achieved an average 18% of the votes cast - the 4 successful candidates had 25% so a tight result.
I have continued to listen to residents since 2015; helping them find the right person to deal with their concerns, liaising with authorities and offering solutions that benefit both sides. Issues include; businesses needing assistance on Market days with parking, unsightly and potential H&S risk waste build ups, bullying.
I believe as a candidate you should
- a. already be active in your community (not just at campaign times) and
- b. continue to learn and be active even if you are not successful
after all being a councillor may help you achieve more but it is surprising how much you can help shape and give back to the community without being elected. For my personal brief on being a candidate please read here.
For the last 2 years I have worked to prove that the IfS can and will work. That standing as an IfS candidate, unfettered by national party ideals, you can make residents voices fit local needs and capabilities. Working together and pooling knowledge and skills IfS members have greater strength to deal with concerns or put together plans. No one person could ever know all! Residents have a reassurance that candidates are not only, if elected, held accountable by the Councillor Code of Conduct but also by the IfS way of working and constitution.
Seaford Bonfire Society, keeping the Sussex tradition of Bonfire alive and burning in Seaford with a spectacular annual procession, bonfire and firework display. Throughout the year the society supports local events and charities.
Seaford Community Events Committee, bringing together organisations within the town to put on collaborative events: Motorfest has it's 3rd event in June 2017.
Seaford Residents Voice committee which, following on from the petition started and promoted by IfS, successfully challenged the legality of the 'New Homes Plan' process. Raising the profile of this 'under wraps done deal' and working alongside other groups in LDC ensured the resident's of the whole district were heard.
I provide free of charge website hosting to several voluntary organisations in the town and enjoy helping out with locally run charities; marshalling and fundraising being the best fun when shared with others!
I'm for Seaford
East Ward Campaign June 2015
Fiona moved to Chyngton, Seaford in 1992 with her young family. In 2009 she started up a small business helping other sole traders with bookkeeping, HMRC compliance, admin etc. as well as working part time in a local accountancy practice. In 2012 she and her youngest daughter joined Seaford Bonfire Society and found there is a lot more to Seaford behind the scenes than people realise. In 2014, when public determination changed the course of Seaford Town Council, Fiona was indignant at the system that had allowed Seaford residents to be kept in ignorance of how the Town Council worked.
Meeting Sylvia Dunn and Sarah McStravick, joining SRV and assisting four independent candidates in the recent elections she realised the way forward is to work together for the benefit of the town whilst retaining the independent ethos to enable residents voices to be heard in council chambers. Fiona is also a member of Seaford Community Events Committee, bringing together organisations within the town to put on collaborative events: Motorfest 2015 will take place within a year of it's formation.
I'm for Seaford
Debbie has been part of the Seaford life since she was born, and is keen to see Seaford move forward in the 21st Century whilst keeping its close knit community feel. She will push for a Neighbourhood plan, giving Seaford residents more input for future developments and taking some of the power back from LDC Planning Dept. Already active for the betterment of Seaford, she is vice chair of Seaford Residents Voice and is a member of the following: Seaford Community Events Committee, The Base Committee and Seaford Health Stakeholders group. She is also a volunteer for Waifs and Strays rescue and Drusillas education department.
As far as East Ward issues, they have been mainly all covered. I'd add the need for more bus shelters and more information boards. The poor state of the roads and pavements, especially around homes for the elderly. Continuing to work with the neighbourhood police teams regarding anti social behaviour and security awareness.
I'm for Seaford
Sarah McStravick moved to Seaford East in 1977, where she went to Church St school and Seaford Head. Her family have always been active in the community, in business, schools, local churches and community groups for over 40 years.
Sarah moved away and trained as a social worker, she returned in 2008, with her children.
Sarah has been a member of STC. Initially as a Lib Dem with whom she shares many principles, her most trusted principle is local decisions by local people and accountability to the people of Seaford. She is seen by many as a trusted, active councillor, putting the needs of the town first. Sarah has a strong work ethic working in planning, community services and many local organisations in the town. She continues to be an active campaigner on road safety and championing local issues.
I'm for Seaford
Sylvia Dunn has been a dedicated and active councillor with a proven track record of being involved with and working in the community. Sitting on many community groups and organisations enabled her to help set up and organise events and projects that the town has had the opportunity to enjoy and get involved with. These include Seaford 150 celebrations, Steam Train and the Seaford Station Wild Flower Garden, also she regularly runs beach cleans and can often been seen out and about in her high vis, checking and reporting issues to the council.
Alongside her community work, she is very passionate about campaigning for local issues, including dog fouling, litter, road safety, health, environment, and planning. Her background and knowledge in law made her a valuable asset as a councillor, as she supported and helped change governance documents to increase accountability, transparency and good practice within the council. Her strong community spirit and solid ethos in her principles means she will always put the town first.