Families are under pressure. Household bills are rising fast and salaries are not keeping up. Schools are being squeezed and parents are concerned about their children’s education. Activities for young people of all ages are difficult to access in our area.
If elected on 2 May, I will be a champion for hard-pressed families.
Local parents tell me that they worry about the cost of school uniforms. I will work with local schools and retailers to help reduce this. Schools can choose to use generic garments for most of their uniforms, which can be supplied cheaply because of economies of scale across the country. School specific items, such as blazer badges and ties, should be as inexpensive as possible.
I would like to see local retailers, such as the proposed new Waitrose store in Bagshot, help to keep school uniform costs down for parents. By working together with schools and businesses, I will make reducing the cost of new school uniforms and sports kit a priority as your county councillor.
Also, as pupils move through the education system, their previous items of school uniform should be available to the next generation. I will support schools in setting up pre-owned uniform exchanges. The prospect of finding the money for new school uniforms every summer is hugely stressful for many families. I want to end this major drain on household finances.
Children’s play areas are provided by either parish or borough councils. Parents in Chobham tell me that they are not impressed by the play area at the rec ground. One mother even said she feels forced to drive her children to Sunningdale to play.
Chobham Parish Council told me they are aware that it needs improvement and I believe that they take the issue seriously. However, play areas are usually funded by mandatory contributions from property developers and because Chobham is in the Green Belt the parish council does not receive much money this way.
Families in Chobham shouldn’t suffer poor facilities because of lack of developers’ funds. County councillors receive “members’ allocations” which they can use to help fund small local projects. I would use such funds to improve the Chobham play area so parents don’t have to drive their children elsewhere. This would reduce traffic and help local retailers since many families would walk down Chobham High Street to reach the play area.
In Windlesham and Bagshot there is more property development so the parish council there has access to funding for play areas. However, they have chosen to spend this money on hanging basket stands, but not hanging baskets, and a “bus shelter” which is more accurately called a “shelter” because buses won’t stop there! They also bought a new council noticeboard.
In the absence of support from the parish council, I would encourage local businesses to help set up and improve play areas in Bagshot and Windlesham.
Windlesham Field of Remembrance
The planned new pavilion at the Field of Remembrance would provide an ideal venue for youth groups such as the Scouts and Guides. It would be a good central location in Windlesham for a nursery too. Improved changing facilities would increase participation in football and cricket by young people. As I have stated before, I’m strongly in favour of this project.
I would support the fundraising for the new pavilion by asking county council staff to help me approach bodies such as the National Lottery and central government departments to obtain grants. Local philanthropists and businesses could be assured of the project’s potential by it having the full backing of the local county councillor, if I am elected.
Surrey County Council has a health scrutiny role and I would use this to lobby the new NHS Commissioning Board to bring back GP provision to Windlesham. Initially, this could be part-time in a room in the new pavilion. The rent would provide another regular source of income for the Field and help sustain it financially.
Making Activities Accessible to Young People
I recently addressed the borough council’s planning committee to obtain planning permission for the Terri Jayne School of Dance to set up in Lightwater. As county councillor, I will prioritise making activities like this accessible to young people and families in our area. I have also been involved in lobbying Education Secretary Michael Gove to stop selling off school playing fields, which I talk about in this film.
I am a long-time campaigner for sustainable transport. This includes creating safe cycle routes so that young people can get around without relying on their parents to drive them. The school run blights some roads at certain times of the day and I would like to see an alternative offered.
Labour: Standing Up For Families
A Labour vote in Bagshot, Windlesham and Chobham on 2 May 2013 is a vote for supporting families. Nowadays families and young people are under more pressure than ever. If you vote for me, you can trust me to be on the side of families.
Labour Candidate for Surrey County Council 2 May 2013