12-02-16 – Become a Councillor

Last week's readers' letters were typical of the KM's postbag; subway closure, traffic signage, speed limits, infrastructure repair management to cite just a few. They are very reflective of the issues my constituents raise on the doorstep, who frequently offer ideas and solutions whilst airing their grief.

Such engagement often inspires me to say 'why not consider becoming a Councillor?' because most of these issues come under the auspices of our Parish, Borough and County Councils.

Many people I meet would make great councillors but they don't seek to stand for election for a range of reasons; insufficient information on the role or the selection process and concerns about becoming Party political are common examples.

I'd say such obstacles to participation can be overcome during an informal chat with any of the Party organisations without the need for a pledge of allegiance. It is also right to say that whilst Party Political ideologies have their place in the scheme of things, the majority of councillors are primarily local champions who believe in public service and focus their attentions on doing what's right for their neighbours and the local community.

I understand that there are still some vacancies for candidates in the Borough Council elections this coming May. If you think you might be interested in helping shape the place where you live have a look at the Borough Council websites about how to become a councillor www.maidstone.gov.uk or www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk or contact one of the local political party offices.

Local councils affect our lives in so many ways; planning, housing, leisure, parks and spaces, business, environmental protection, public health, roads and highways, and more.

But it is the individual members of our councils who take the decisions, create change and really make a difference. Alongside the hard work there is a lot of fun and fulfilment to be found too - do please consider.


Helen's weekly column is published every Friday in the Kent Messenger.  The content shown here may differ slightly from the press version.

Helen Grant MP signs Holocaust Educational Trust Book of Commitment

This week Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone & The Weald signed the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment. In doing so she has pledged her commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and to honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust, as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.

Wednesday 27th January will mark the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

After signing the Book of Commitment, Helen Grant MP commented: "Holocaust Memorial Day marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau – and is an important opportunity to remember the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and make sure they are not forgotten. I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of my community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance."

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: "We are proud that Helen is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day. As we mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the Holocaust and the liberation of the concentration camps, it is vitally important that we both continue to remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge antisemitism and all forms of bigotry.

Welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit my website. I hope you will find it informative and helpful.

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With very best wishes


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