Statement from Beverley PARRY-JONES

We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.

On 5th May, I am seeking re-election as your Councillor for the Bryn Cefn ward on Wrexham County Borough Council. This includes the villages of Pentre Broughton; Moss; The Lodge; and part of Brynteg.

I was born and bred in Bryn Cefn. I've lived here all my life. I attended Black Lane CP school and I am a school governor at Ysgol Black Lane. My family have lived and worked in Bryn Cefn for many generations, and I am proud to be the fourth generation of my family to call this area my home.

As a Councillor I feel it is important to listen and ensure that people's priorities are your own priorities. You should be accessible, be involved in the community, a member of the Community Council and be prepared to work hard for local people. I feel I have demonstrated these qualities throughout my term as a Councillor. Recent examples include holding clean-up events, litter picking, installing public access defibrillators, as well as organising the village Christmas trees and lights.

It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your local Councillor for the last five years, during which we have gone through great difficulty as a community during the Covid-19 pandemic. And I have been working hard to support our recovery now that the worst is behind us.

I am proud of the community I represent. There have been a lot of positive changes we have achieved by working together, and if re-elected I will continue to work with residents on the issues which matter to them to improve our communities for the better.

I have and will always put the needs of Bryn Cefn residents before party politics. In my role currently, I also sit as a Cabinet member on Wrexham Council's Executive Board as the Lead Member for People - Youth Services and Anti-Poverty.

I want to make our community the best possible place to live, work, and raise a family. And if you do me the honour of re-electing me on 5th May, I promise that I will continue to be proactive in standing up for the needs of Bryn Cefn residents and securing improvements locally.

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?

Residents have different priorities however, over the last five years, I have had many residents contact me about the reduction in GP services at local surgeries. Many people are concerned that they will be left without the healthcare they need and deserve. I have been in contact with the Health Board and will continue to highlight these concerns to BCUHB. Speeding is also something about which residents are very concerned, and I have been involved in community speed checks together with North Wales Police to help tackle this problem. I have also registered to support the community speed watch scheme and have made sure key areas are registered for monitoring. I have also had flashing speeding signs erected in known hotspots throughout Bryn Cefn. Lastly, dog fouling has become a key concern recently. I was disappointed to see that there have been no fines issued for this locally, and I have already raised this with the Council to demand better enforcement. There are of course other issues that I am dealing with on a day-to-day basis and hope to continue this should I be re-elected on 5th May.

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 ?

To aid Wrexham’s recovery from the pandemic, we need to see an economic recovery. There are currently plans underway to achieve this, including the development of the Wrexham Gateway, the City of Culture bid and investment in Wrexham Town Centre. Businesses need to be encouraged to invest and grow in Wrexham. This will provide more jobs and opportunities for the people of Wrexham and the wider County Borough. The Council should also continue to work with other Councils across North Wales and the North West to improve transport links and maximise access to job opportunities. Covid-19 has also created social issues as well as highlighting areas of our community that need additional support. I will do all I can to support residents, using the skills and knowledge I have gained in my voluntary and professional experiences.

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?

If re-elected as your Councillor for Bryn Cefn, then this area will be my number one priority. I am passionate about the community and improving it for everyone. Being a local Councillor means you need to be committed and flexible. When I was first elected in May 2017, I was appointed to the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee and as Vice-Chair of the Safeguarding Communities and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee. Both of these committees were areas where I felt I could support people and offer vital skills. I am on the governing body of a school which recently came out of special measures. And I have seen first-hand what it takes to get the improvements we need. I am passionate about providing opportunities for our young people that will help them to achieve their aspirations in life.

4. What do the words climate emergency mean to you and your ward?

The impact of climate change is something we hear about daily. I believe that tackling climate change is a combined effort. Residents in Bryn Cefn are already doing great things to help in the local area. I was delighted to meet recently with the Eco Council at Ysgol Black Lane, and to learn more about what they are doing – both at school and at home to tackle climate change. Recycling levels remain high in Bryn Cefn and several properties have already begun to incorporate sustainable and renewable energy creation at their properties. I welcome the installation of electric car charging points in key locations within Bryn Cefn.

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?)

I firmly believe that had it not been for the pandemic, the administration would have been able to make progress on a number of key projects which unfortunately stalled. I wouldn't say that there's anything which stands out that the administration should have done differently. The Council has done very well in attracting significant sums of investment to the County, such as the Levelling Up Fund bid for the World Heritage site. The benefits of this hard work will be seen over the next 5 years.

6. Local health pressures are well documented, from delayed ambulances to issues in the hospital. How can the council help resolve those problems?

The ongoing issues with the health board are clear to see and the Labour Welsh Government have overseen continued decline in our health services here in North Wales. Residents regularly contact me as they are unable to get the support and care they need. This is worrying for all. By sorting out primary care, it is hoped that pressures at the Maelor Hospital will ease. The Council has a role in providing adequate social care for adults and children. Being a single parent, and also caring for an elderly and disabled parent, I know what it’s like to fight to get your rights. There are many spokes to the healthcare wheel and if we don’t do our part then it will buckle. The Council is making good progress in improving social care and I have been privileged to witness the work of the Safeguarding and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee.

7. What will you do on a local level to help support people in your ward affected by the cost of living crisis?

Everyone is feeling the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and the issues that Covid, as well as national and international events are having on our daily lives. In my role, I regularly receive queries from residents on a range of issues including benefits and energy efficiency measures. I have vast experience in signposting individuals to relevant organisations for advice and support on a range of issues. Recently, during the pandemic, I helped vulnerable residents who were in need of priority food delivery slots from supermarkets and also supported residents working with local food banks. I am also pleased the Community Council have agreed to fund youth and play provision which helps support local children and young people in Bryn Cefn throughout the year. I can use the skills and contacts that I have made to ensure that people can get the advice that they need.

8. How would you improve the local education system?

Continued investment in improving our school buildings at both Primary and Secondary level to ensure that our teachers and support staff can support pupils in a modern environment with the resources they need. Bryn Cefn has two good schools – Ysgol Black Lane and Ysgol Brynteg. The education of our young people is key, not only to their success in life, but also to the success of Wrexham in the future. I have sat on the Governing Body of Ysgol Bryn Alyn since it went into special measures and have worked with other Governors to ensure that the correct level of scrutiny is in place and that there is a clear plan for improvement. It has been a pleasure to work with the headteacher and staff over recent years and to see the school move out of special measures recently. The school is now heading in the right direction. Since being elected, I have sat on the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee and have heard how Wrexham is on its own journey of education improvement. I hope to be able to get further involved with this should I be re-elected on the 5th of May.

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 stood and was elected as a Welsh Conservative Candidate in May 2017and I am standing again for the party. During my time on the Council, I have always put people before party politics. I firmly believe that Councillors should he accountable to their electorate and not the party. It’s about being on the side of residents, being their voice and working together to bring positive change to our community. I believe that people understand that at a local level, it’s about who can get on with the job and who will represent them best and deal with the issues that matter most to local families. It is my view that at this level, it should not be about party politics but who is best for the job and who best represents the whole of the community. Being a County Councillor should not be about looking after specific interests. If I am re-elected, I will represent everyone irrespective of their political views and to make decisions based on what we collectively think is in the best interests of our residents.

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 ?

I have always encouraged young people to be critical thinkers, and to base their decisions on facts and evidence. I have never used my political background in these settings as I don’t think everything has to be politicised. The biggest issue facing young people is their future aspirations and the increase in mental health issues facing many young people. I strive to provide our young people with key skills that will set them up for the future, from leadership and public speaking to resilience and confidence. If I am re-elected, I will make it a priority to improve facilities and provide services for children and young people.

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