Chris Percival for Christchurch
I grew up in Gosport, the town in which generations of my family have lived and worked and still contribute to this community. I spent some time away, studying and working, but chose Gosport as the place to settle with my own young family. I value our shared spaces, from the alleyways and communal areas used and enjoyed by all, to the parks where my own child and his cousins play. I feel lucky to live in a town with amazing waterfront areas where I love to walk and cycle. Coming from a family of nature lovers, I have a great respect for Gosport’s unique wild spaces, from Gilkicker and Stokes Bay, to the Alver Valley and the Wildgrounds nature reserve, where I volunteer as a warden. I have over a decade of experience working in benefits and social housing, and so am more than familiar with the everyday hardship and difficulties faced by the most vulnerable people in our community, as well as what can be done to resolve or ease some of these issues.
I joined the Labour Party because I believe things can and must get better. For me, standing as a councillor was the logical extension of this. I believe only Labour governance can achieve the fair and socially just society that our community deserves. A decade working in benefits and social housing has left me in no doubt about the real pain caused to us, to our communities, by the austerity regime brought in by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition. I’ve watched as the wages of public servants – firefighters, nurses, police – have stagnated, even as the essential services they so diligently provide have been slashed, their efforts ignored. Council funding is being cut, desolating adult social care, while our NHS is being systematically destroyed. These are national issues, but they affect every one of us here, and I believe that politics – not the bickering we see on the news, but the real politics of getting things done – must start right here with us.
I believe we can come together to work out how best to deal with the issues in this ward and in Gosport as a whole, from everyday annoyances like lack of parking and badly maintained public spaces, to issues of crime and the poverty and social injustice from which these issues so often – and so avoidably – arise. I want to facilitate member of the community working together to identify issues and to find or suggest solutions, and to work collectively to scrutinise and challenge decisions made by the Council.
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