On being a councillor as a working mother

Is being a local councillor compatible with being a working mother? This is a question I get asked a lot along with “why on earth would you want to be a local councillor?” and “how could you be a Tory?”

And the truth is that it is extremely hard to be a working mum and a councillor. It’s hard because you have a full-time job on top of being a councillor and most people tend to forget that, and it’s hard because – let’s face it – misogyny is still prevalent. As for being a Tory, well suffice it to say that the current Conservative Party is most certainly no longer in line with my core beliefs and that’s without even mentioning the “B” word.

I decided to run for local election because I believed that my professional expertise could be put to good use. I wanted to give back to my community by using my skills. I wanted to help people improve their lives by providing a link to an authority they are often too distanced from, or don’t understand the dealings of. I naively believed that I would be taken seriously having spent over 15 years working for large multinational corporations, that my voice once elected would be equal to that of all the other elected councillors. But most naively of all, I believed that we would focus our time, effort and attention to local issues and would focus on what was best for Medway and Medway’s residents. Suffice it to be said that this was not the case.

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It takes a village

In which Vicki Sigston looks at how much support exists for families in Medway in those vital early years..

Did you know that May 15th was the International Day of Families? It was first celebrated in 1994 by the United Nations who wanted the opportunity to reflect and celebrate the importance of families, communities and societies around the world.

As an antenatal practitioner I have been lucky enough to be a tiny part of the journey into parenthood for hundreds of families. It is a real privilege to watch them traverse the magical, and often tricky path that comes when extending a family unit.

As a society though, I think we are letting families down.

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Medway’s Mental Health Matters

13th to 19th May was Mental Health Awareness Week.

Mental health, we all have it. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes, unfortunately, it’s not so good. It’s certainly a buzzword at the moment thanks to more people speaking openly about it, including celebrities and royals. I think we can all agree, whether you struggle with yours or not, that more awareness and more support can only be a good thing.

If you Google ‘Medway Mental Health Awareness 2019’, you get an old result from 2014 and pretty generic, outdated mental health information. It seems Medway isn’t doing too much this year in terms of events, which is both unsurprising but also sad, considering Medway has some of the highest mental health need in Kent. 

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iFAQ: The next four years

As we move beyond the recent local elections, we start to look ahead to the coming four years on Medway Council. We contacted all re-elected councillors to ask them what they think the priorities for the authority should be going forwards, along with the biggest issues facing their wards.

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below in the order they were received.

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Recap: Annual Meeting of Medway Council

This week saw the first Medway Council meeting following our recent local elections. While not a regular full council meeting with all of the bells and whistles, this one saw the election of a new mayor and deputy, a selection for leader of the council, and a couple of other bits. Keevil went along to cover the proceedings, and you can find the highlights below.

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European elections in Medway are today!

It is European election day Medway.

Across the area and the UK, voters have the chance to elect the MEPs that may or may not represent us in the European Parliament for the next five years.

Medway is part of the South East region, which will select 10 MEPs on a proportional basis.

Polling stations are now open and remain open until 10pm.

If you have received your polling card, you will know where you need to go to vote. If you are registered to vote but have not received your card, you do not need it to vote. Just go to your polling station, confirm your name and address, and you will be allowed to vote. No ID is required.

If you have a postal vote, but did not remember to return it in time, you can drop it in to your polling station up until polls close at 10pm.

To find who our candidates are, Medway Elects have a handy list of each party and their list of candidates.

Once the polls close at 10pm, we will begin waiting with baited breath for the results, which will likely arrive somewhere around midnight on Sunday.