Well the European and local elections are now over and I have had a little time to rest. I was disappointed not to win a seat in the European elections, but delighted that I was part of a fantastic London Labour party campaign machine, where I was able to contribute to a triumphant result in London. The Labour party gained two extra MEP’s, with a swing of over 15% to become the first party in London. Congratulations to Claude Moraes, Mary Honeyball, Lucy Anderson and Seb Dance who will now represent us in the European Parliament. I will always treasure our memories on the campaign trail over the past year. Thank you to all my supporters, well wishers, family and friends. Without your support I could not have got through the hectic schedule that being a European candidate brings.
Labour also increased its share of the vote in all the other UK regions in the European elections and are now also the largest party in the local government association (LGA), which is fantastic news.
I stood for re-election in Barking and Dagenham and was delighted when the residents of Alibon ward voted for me to serve them for another four years. UKIP stood candidates in each ward in the borough but we saw them off just as we saw off the BNP in 2010 with a further 5% swing to Labour. I look forward to working hard in my ward and with my fellow councillors across the borough, during these tough times to make it a better place to live and work for everyone.
In my experience, we can fight the far right by showing that it brings false solutions and that Labour’s economic and social policies deliver results. Read my article about how we tackle the rise of the far right on the Fabian society review here.
I was excited to see that I had been shortlisted for my second award of the year. The Dods Women in Public Life Awards celebrate women leaders in society and seek to recognise and promote the work of women in politics, business, the civil service and community leadership. It is so important to highlight the achievement of women in public life as they are so under-represented in this area. I hope that by at least being shortlisted, other women will be encouraged to join me in this field.
The Awards which are now in their sixth year, aim to highlight the achievements of outstanding women role models amongst us. I have been shortlisted for Local Government Personality of the year. You can read the shortlist for this category here and for all the various categories here.
I was thrilled to find out earlier this week that I had been shortlisted from over 250 entries for Young Councillor of the year in the annual Local Government information unit awards which will take place on the 25th February 2013. I am shortlisted with a field of exceptional young councillors (including those who did not make the shortlist), who have made a huge difference to their communities, which we were elected to serve. Two other councillors from Barking and Dagenham were shortlisted in other categories which really shows our borough is forging ahead in tough times.
You can read the full announcement and shortlisted candidates in all the categories here.
Last week I was invited as a guest speaker at the Tottenham GC meeting, to speak about how I successfully won my council seat from the BNP London Regional Coordinator, Robert Bailey to become the youngest woman on the council. I also spoke about the rise of the far right across Europe.
I was asked a number of questions ranging from how we engaged with BME communities, what I thought about David Cameron’s speech on Europe to what we could do to tackle the far right in Eastern Europe.
At the end of the meeting I was so pleased that members said that they felt inspired to go and reconnect with their local community, based on our success in Barking. It’s only by closly connecting with our electorate that a Labour government will be able to take control in 2015.
Last week I wrote an article for Left Foot forward about why nationalist political parties like the UK’s BNP and France’s Front National party would be rubbing their hands in glee. Their positions are set to be potentially strengthened by gaining monies of €400,000 for 2012, funded by the European Parliament. Monies are set to be allocated over the next two weeks. Read the article here.
This weekend I received a community leadership award for the work I do to represent my constituents in Barking and my work as chair of the health and adult services scrutiny committee, at the good neighborhood scheme awards ceremony, which was held in Barking.
It was an honor to accept this award, although my passion for community representation does not come from external recognition but seeing the difference in the lives of people I represent when I am able to intervene in their particular circumstances which spur me on.
Alibon and Parsoles wards have recently launched the advice, support and kindness project. This has been done in conjunction with the local churches schools and voluntary organisations. The project will provide food parcels to the most vulnerable and needy residents living in these wards. If you are able to donate tins and packets of food then please contact Councillor Darren Rodwell on 020 8593 1947 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to pick up a food parcel then you can visit St Georges church on Rogers Road on Sundays between 3-5pm or the Dagenham Congregational Church in Osbourne Square on Wednesdays from 6-8pm.
I attended the Reede Road Tenants Residents Association meeting this evening. This association started off with residents in Reede Road, but has extended to include all residents that live in Alibon Ward. The meeting started off with the police reassuring us that our ward has the lowest crime rate in the borough and the fire in Sterry Road although the cause of the fire is till unknown. We then had a presentation from DABD a disability organisation in our borough that provides a whole range of services that our residents can take advantage of. These include advice on entitlements to welfare benefits and advice on this is also provided in the children’s centres in the borough. They put on Christmas shopping trips to Basildon market and Lakeside shopping centre as well as to popular seaside destinations such as Southend on Sea, Walton on Naze and Clacton on Sea. They can provide volunteer companions if you do not want to travel alone. All trips cost £12.50. They also lend wheelchairs on short term loan, provide maths, english and computing courses and have an independent living shop. Do visit them on the corner of Parsloes Avenue.