Statement from Barbara Lloyd
We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.
I was born in Wrexham and have lived in the Offa community for over forty years. My dad was a Gresford miner, and my grandfather was a Royal Welch Fusilier, so you can see that my roots are very firmly in the Wrexham soil.
I was educated at Grove Park Girls’ Grammar School and went on to work in Barclays Bank in Wrexham before becoming a primary school teacher until my retirement seven years ago.
Our daughters attended Bryn Offa School (now Ysgol Clywedog) and my grandson is a pupil there at the moment. My husband worked for social services in Wrexham for many years.
I have been a community councillor in Offa for the past three years and have been involved in several events that have brought our community together. I have had the privilege to work on environmental projects with school children in our area to improve our green public spaces. I believe that education and ensuring a healthy environment should form the foundation of a healthy and wealthy society.
I joined the Labour Party in 1984 during the miners’ strike and have been a member ever since. Labour is built on equality, social justice and compassion and these are the principles that I strive to hold fast.
Questions & Answers
1. What are the three biggest issues for your ward, how do you think they need to be resolved, and what will you do to achieve it?
Looking after our environment is so important. Littering, fly tipping and dog fouling are all problems that are major concerns in our area as well as other parts of the town. This is not an easy problem to solve; it’s been with us for many years. Imposing penalties will have some effect and should be used but educating and encouraging the development of community pride will have a bigger and longer lasting effect. Wrexham Litter Pickers have shown how effective this approach can be. Traffic and parking in the ward are concerns. The older streets in the ward are constantly congested with many residents unable to park near to their homes. Residents’ parking permits have been used to good effect in some areas and solutions need to be investigated. On a ward level I intend to listen to residents and to act on that community voice.
2. What do you think needs to be done to help Wrexham recover from the pandemic and what hands-on-role can you play as a councillor ?
This is a big, big question which I can’t begin to answer here. As a council, we need to have a plan to grow our local economy, concentrating on local products, suppliers and workers. Our town centre needs to be re-energised and transport is an essential element. We need to attract more people into our town to access high quality services, shops and leisure provision. A thriving community is one where no one is left behind and there are a variety of well-paid jobs.
3. As a councillor you may have the chance to take on further roles eg. Lead Member, Audit, Scrutiny. What appeals to you and what skills do you bring to that role?
I am a great believer in finding the right person for the job. And that is what the Labour group on the council will do. Through a democratic process members will select that best person to fit the role. In my working life I led school staff and worked with children and adults towards developing a rich and caring community. In any working environment people are our most valuable asset and I would expect my skills and knowledge to be fully utilised to Wrexham’s best advantage.
4. What do the words climate emergency mean to you and your ward?
The climate emergency is the single biggest challenge that faces us today. We must act locally to reduce our carbon footprint and exert whatever pressure we can nationally and globally. Wrexham Council has published a Decarbonisation Plan and as a community councillor with Offa I have contributed to publishing our own carbon reduction programme. All Offa community councillors have signed up to this programme to reduce our carbon footprint. I have also been involved in meetings to assess the progress of the council’s plan and I am about to take part in training to become ‘Carbon Literate’ which will add to my knowledge and effectiveness for moving our plan forward.
5. What is the biggest thing you would have done differently from the ruling administration over the last 5 years? (Or, if you were part of the Administration - what would you have done differently?)
Wrexham doesn’t appear to be moving forward. I feel that we’ve been let down over the local economy and our public services. The council earned a ‘cause for concern’ from Estyn because of their delivery of social care and education. Major improvements are needed here. I would also like an improved communication system. I would welcome more open consultation with businesses and services as well as with residents.
6. Local health pressures are well documented, from delayed ambulances to issues in the hospital. How can the council help resolve those problems?
Covid has brought new and unexpected pressures on our health services, and they are still reeling from these demands. There have been many criticisms of GP services in Wrexham, and we need to be working with our local health board to devise community solutions such as community health hubs. The issue with GPs retiring however is a national problem and needs to be factored into the council’s planning.
7. What will you do on a local level to help support people in your ward affected by the cost of living crisis?
This is already a massive problem and is only going to get worse. Millions of low-income households are behind with their rent and bills, and this will only increase. Wrexham Council will have to utilise every available penny of funding that is made available by Welsh Government to the people of Wales. The Foodbank is situated in Offa and is increasingly important for unemployed families but also the working poor. Offa Community Council employs a community agent who continues to help support and advise residents in the area. Sadly, these are just temporary solutions, they will not solve the problem so we need to be more creative locally with our policies to tackle poverty.
8. How would you improve the local education system?
I am concerned with secondary education in Wrexham. Many of our schools have been in special measures for some time and I feel that the council is failing our children in this area. I would welcome the opportunity to work within this area as I have knowledge and experience of the local education system. Our schools have much to be celebrated and I Iook forward to becoming an advocate.
9. When the public view the Full Council meeting in June, do you envision you could be part of a Party, Group or coalition, and if so, specifically who and why?
I am a Labour Party member and I will be part of the Labour group. We have 30 excellent candidates standing and I would like to see us gain a majority and implement our plans for change. We are the only party which offers an ambitious plan to take Wrexham forward and secure the town’s future.
10. This is a noteworthy election with 16 and 17 year olds now able to vote, what have you done to engage this new electorate and what do you think is the biggest issue for them locally ?
Climate emergency without a doubt. We all need to make significant changes now to ensure the safeguarding of our planet. Our young people are very aware that this concerns them and their children. Our days are numbered, we need to be fully aware that our actions now are life or death to future generations. I firmly believe that all of us have a responsibility to encourage our young people to register and use their votes as the future is theirs.
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