500 Words From Matt Wilcox

As many of you will know I was elected last year in the ward of East Valley. During that time much of my work has taken place in the area of Smallthorne and the Norton heights estate which has now been coined “Ford green & Smallthorne” By the boundaries commission, therefore when I had to decide which area to stand in I felt it was a natural decision to stand here.

The past 12 months have been a huge learning experience for me in terms of what being a councillor actually means and during that time ive met some fantastic people and seen some great projects and ideas. Having spent pretty much my entire adult life working in the community through various guises the role of councillor opened my eyes not only about what the impacts of what politics mean in this city but about what support communities need and how we can work together to make this city a better place to live.

Many good foundations have been set in my first elected year and I really do hope that the public demonstrate support for me next week in the local elections as im excited about the prospects of building on these. The interesting thing for me is the fact that with a smaller area and better (or sole) accountability success can really be measured over a 4 year period for example anti social behaviour is down, this area was regenerated, this play facility was built ect ect. Things that sometimes don’t happen unless you have a hard working person (your local councillor) who can string meetings and ideas together with local residents and the wider team (council officers, police etc etc)”¦.

I prefer to focus on the positive ways of working and not the negative. When cuts are forced upon us lets take the bull by the horns and do something about it, not moan or critize but do something! Like ford green hall, I didn’t moan about this potential cut I took the bull by the horns and joined the group that are developing the new business plan for it. Moaning, petitions and going to the press is far more ineffective than actually doing!

I know what the issues and priorities are in this ward, have built up great relationships with residents associations, shop keepers and users of local facilities like the allotments and community centre and have the skills and experiences to really make a difference. Lets make sure we all use our votes carefully on the 5th of may to ensure we get the right candidates elected who can collectively take this city forward in a positive way.

Andy Burnham MP In Stoke-on-Trent To Support Labour’s Campaign

Another Labour Party big gun was wheeled out in Stoke-on-Trent today [Tuesday] in support of the local election campaign.

Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Secretary for Education and the Labour Party’s Election Co-ordinator made time to visit the brand new 6th Form College. He was given a guided tour by college Principal Helen Pegg and took part in an informal question and answers session with a number of students.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Leader Mohammed Pervez and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education Debra Gratton were also in attendance.

The new 6th Form College opened its doors in September 2010, the building provides a brand new state of the art development which incorporates world class resources and design features to provide outstanding learning facilities for young people across the city and from further a field.

Andy Burnham was eager to see the learning environment the new building had created and credited the initiative to the Labour Party’s commitment to Education.

I managed to catch up with Mr Burnham and he gave me his views on his recent war of words with the coalition government about Education Funding, school budgets, EMA, and tuition fees.

He also applauded the local Labour Party for saving Children’s Centres across the City and why, in his opinion, a vote for Labour was a must at the upcoming Council Elections.

Andy also confirmed that it was better to be a Stoke City fan than an Everton fan at the moment.

[AUDIO INTERVIEW BELOW]