08/03/2021 - Permalink

Councillors offer advice to anyone thinking of standing for election

Related topics: Democracy

People interested in serving as a councillor are being encouraged to consider standing in this year’s Shropshire Council elections.

There are currently 74 councillors serving on Shropshire Council, representing 63 electoral divisions across the Shropshire Council area.

Every four years local elections are held to elect the councillors who will represent each division. The next elections will be held on 6 May this year.

Now people are being asked, do you know what a councillor does, and could you be a Shropshire Councillor?

To help answer these questions, four current councillors have explained why they became councillors, what they enjoy about the role, and what advice they would have for anyone thinking of standing for election.

Anyone who would like find out more, and is interested in standing for election, should click here to visit the Shropshire Council website.

Ruth Houghton, councillor for the Bishop’s Castle division

Ruth was elected 18 months ago in a by-election and says being a councillor is one of the most exciting things she has done for a very long time

She says she stood for election because she wanted to help local communities and support people who live locally to make a success of their businesses and lives.

She says she has enjoyed meeting lots of new and interesting people, and says it feels great to help address some of those issues and challenges that people face every day.

Ruth’s advice to others is: “If you interested in standing and would like to make a difference, give it a go.”

Madge Shineton, councillor for the Cleobury Mortimer division

Madge Shineton explains that she has been a councillor at parish, district and unitary level since 1978. She says that she first became a councillor because she thought she might be able to make a difference.

She says that being a councillor gives her an enormous degree of satisfaction, because “it’s all about what happens to people locally… you can achieve something that you can see and touch and that is useful to the community.”

Ann Hartley, councillor for the Ellesmere Urban division

Ann Hartley first became a councillor 25 years ago because, as she says, “I really wanted to make a difference to my local area and be a voice and an ambassador for people in the area.”

In this video she explains that “If you can make a difference people are so grateful and that’s what it’s all about, when you get a thank you and people are genuinely thankful.”

Ann adds that “the role is so fulfilling because I have achieved things for Ellesmere and for Shropshire”.  She admits that “it’s hard work and you need to be a people person, but it really is very fulfilling.”

To anyone thinking of becoming a councillor, Ann’s advice is: “If you’re thinking about it, do it. It is so, so worth it.”

Kate Halliday, councillor for the Belle Vue division in Shrewsbury

Kate Halliday says she first chose to stand for election as, “I had always admired what a previous councillor for the division had done, and thought it might be interesting to see if I could make a few changes and differences to local community.”

Kate says she has been surprised by just how broad the role has ended up being. She explains that you “get to vote on high-level issues, encourage changes, influence things at a strategic level”, and that you get to “do lots of varied things within your local area – including dealing with the unexpected…”

Kate says that what she enjoys most about being a councillor is “what I do within the local area, and managing to make small changes which can be really rewarding.”

And her advice for anyone interested in the role? “If you’re interested in working locally and at a strategic level, do think about becoming a councillor. It’s very enjoyable and rewarding and you learn an awful lot.”

To find out more about the role and work of councillor, and how to stand for election,  please click here to visit the Shropshire Council website.