Message from Cllr Ken Eastwood, Chair of Oxenhope Parish Council: –

Could you, or someone you know, have an interest in becoming a local councillor?

There are local elections in May and the Parish Council is encouraging residents who are passionate about Oxenhope to stand for election. There are some eligibility requirements, but by and large any resident over the age of 18 can stand.

Some of our existing members have indicated they won’t be standing again this year so we are looking for interested and enthusiastic residents to step forward.

I’d really like to see a few younger people join the Council this year. It would be good if the make-up of the Council was more representative of Oxenhope.

A bit of background. Local (town and parish) councils are led by democratically elected councillors from the local community. Local councillors decide on what services and projects the council will deliver. As representatives of the first tier of local government and the closest to their communities, local councillors are well placed to engage with residents and find out what the real local issues are and how to overcome them.

There are currently 120,000 councillors serving on the 10,000 local councils in England. Oxenhope Parish Council is made up of 8 elected Councillors and employs a Clerk & Responsible Financial Officer.

The Council is not part of or affiliated in any way to the Church, a common misconception arising from the inclusion of parish in the title. In Oxenhope, the Council has never been ‘political’ – although candidates can declare a party affiliation at nomination, party politics doesn’t influence business at the Council.

The Council meets monthly, at 19:30 and meetings usually last for around an hour and a half. Training and support will be provided to new Councillors.

Projects already planned for the year ahead include purchase and installation of two more defibrillators, improvement and management of the Rose Garden, purchase and improvement of the horse shoe dam, a dementia friendly communities initiative and completion and consultation over the Neighbourhood Plan.

Whilst there are opportunities to get involved in projects and initiatives, and to attend external meetings, on average the time commitment is not significant and people in full time employment are generally able to make a valuable contribution to local council business.

If you might be interested please get in touch for an informal and confidential chat. You can ring me on 07850 049 487 or email ken.eastwood@oxenhopeparishcouncil.gov.uk

I’ve also provided some links to useful resources below.

A recent survey found that 80% of local councillors would recommend becoming a councillor. I have certainly found my first term interesting, rewarding and enjoyable.

If not for you perhaps you could mention this to others, be they friends, family, work colleagues or anyone you know who has an interest in Oxenhope.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far!

Ken.

Resources

Power to the people – in this booklet, you will find out what a local council does on behalf of local communities and people. See how they make a difference in villages, towns and cities.

It takes all sorts – this booklet highlights the difference you can make by representing your community on your local council. It explains the role of local councils and local councillors and explains how you can get involved. The booklet also features the thoughts of current councillors from around the country explaining a little about why they represent their communities.

The Good Councillor’s Guide – a guide for new Councillors that is also useful for those considering taking on a local council role.

Points of Light – a collection of case studies highlighting the work that local councils are undertaking to support their communities.

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC)

The Yorkshire Local Councils Associations (YLCA)

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