The first thing I will say, I back the Teaching Assistants and DLI, 100%.
I have lived in Spennymoor for the past 40 years. Firstly, on the Grange Estate, and now Parkside. I am married to Liz who is a Town Councillor. I have 4 grown up children and 5 grandchildren.
I worked in the petro chemical industry on Teesside. I retired early and now work as a Caretaker.
I was a Town Councillor for the Tudhoe Grange Ward for 6 years, some 4 years ago and have also been a School Governor.
I was a Trade Union Member for over 40 years – that does not make me a Socialist. I was a Councillor for 6 years -that does not make me a politician.
I believe that truth and honesty is a big thing in local councils. I want to make a difference in our Town. In the last 4 years we have had none of this – endless court cases, bullying, payoffs, compromise agreements, gagging orders, senior officers’ leaving and no reasons given and more consultants and solicitors given work, taking £100,000+ out of Council funds. I have also seen up to 7-10 Labour Councillors regularly not turning up for meetings.
I believe in local businesses getting work from Spennymoor Town Council. This is not happening. Over £700,000 has recently been allocated for previously neglected capital works improvements £450,000 was borrowed with a public works loan, and a substantial amount of this has been spent with a Gateshead company. Many jobs now go to Sunderland companies.
The Bob Abley Art Gallery was my idea. I brought Bob, Jim Smith, George Teasdale on board. Bob drove the gallery on to great success for local artists to help them on the ladder to exhibit. This is not happening now; with exception of the late Norman Cornish it is now mostly artists from out of our area.
In 2011, I put forward for the first defibrillator in the Town Hall. I am now pleased this initiative has lead to a number of these being installed in other community buildings! I also recommended to the Council that they consider Solar Panels for the Town Hall roof. Rebates from this initiative have reduced energy bills by on average £8-10,000/annum. Again, my report to Council, my suggestion!
I am a keen sportsman. As an athletics coach I have coached 3 Spennymoor youths to become English Schools’ champions. I played football for many local teams and I have ran over 100 half marathons. As a Sedgefield Borough Councillor my wife Liz encouraged the Boxing Club to apply for grant funding for a new boxing gym and helped Robert with the paperwork. We both supported his application and the Neighbourhood grant money enabled the new Boxing Gym to be completed. It is great to see the Labour members supporting this, as some were still at school when this was approved.
I passed a Voluntary Sector skills course on politics and have asked questions to MP’s at the House of Commons. This and my technical and management skills learned in private industry can be applied in a Town Council position. I had a 95% attendance record when I was a Town Councillor and brought new ideas to the Council. I will not let you down.