Update From Councillor Guy Lambert
Could hi-vis 'I'm a Councillor, Kick Me' jackets be the answer?
A quiet week this week. Spent Thursday in the Civic Centre, drawn there inevitably by IT problems and spent some time catching up on correspondence and a similar day on Friday.
On Saturday I was out with Ruth Cadbury MP and various Labour party members knocking on doors in Hounslow Heath and Osterley. When we canvass for an election people often say they never see us except when we’re chasing votes. Not true, though people do tend to think there must be an election coming up! The point is to keep a finger on the pulse of residents and uncover issues that are beginning to bug them, or things where they need help.
My fellow Brentford councillors and I are trying to think of new ways to engage with locals: people are keen to talk when they identify you on the street but wouldn’t dream of coming to a surgery unless they have an acute problem. I’ve suggested we should wander the streets in hi-vis jackets saying “I’m a Councillor, Kick Me” but it’s more likely that we’ll set up in a café or suchlike and try to publicise to locals.
I spent the whole of Monday morning waiting in the flat of a local resident who has had a water leak for several weeks, that has also interfered with her electricity and lights. Finally tradesmen turned up but decided they were incapable of resolving the problem. The good news is that today we waited whilst another gentleman came round, this one with a bit more experience and authority. He couldn’t fix the leak but he did manage to get the lights fixed and we are both confident the whole issue will now be solved. This was an interesting episode for me: not only did I want to support a resident who had been badly served in any way I could, but I also wanted to understand a bit more how the council deals with repairs. Anyway, she was charming company so I enjoyed my time and I feel I achieved something on both fronts.
Monday evening was the monthly board meeting of Thamesbank Credit Union. Everything with the Credit Union is going OK but as a board we are always a bit frustrated that we do not reach as many people as we’d like. We have plenty of money available to lend and it really grips me to hear of people paying way over the odds to doorstep or internet lenders, or to retailers who sell products on the never-never at outrageous interest rates. Tell your friends – the credit union is local, excellent value and run mainly by volunteers. So what’s not to like about www.thamesbank.org?
Yesterday and today (when not waiting for plumbers) was the usual IT problems and the usual correspondence. Also I cycled around the ward looking at mess of various sorts and reporting it – weeds and rubbish in Enfield Road, flytipping on Clayponds Lane, pavement up near Kew Bridge etc etc. Being a councillor is dead exciting: it’s a bit like being an astronaut but you get to eat normal food, including a good lunch in the Griffin yesterday.
August 20, 2015