Serving the people of Long Ashton & Leigh Woods

What's it like being a councillor?

Councillors spill the beans...

A photo of Ruth McAllister-Kemp with a speech bubble explaining why she joined Long Ashton Parish Council

Ruth McAllister-Kemp

Why did you decide to become a councillor?

"I have previous experience of committee work having been the Director of a small training establishment in Bath. My main reason for joining the Council was to be more involved in local matters, to get to know more people in the village." Cllr Jane Purkiss

"I became a councillor because I wanted to learn how the Parish Council works and to engage with the community especially around my interest in health and well-being." Cllr Liz Anderson

"I was approached by an existing Parish Councillor a few years ago and asked if I would be interested in joining the Parish Council. At first I was a bit surprised to be asked but the opportunity came at a point in my life when I wanted to start contributing more to my community." Cllr Ash Cartman

How do you balance your work and leisure time with being a councillor?

"At times it can be difficult. The key is to only get involved with things that you care about and where you can make a difference." Cllr Ash Cartman

"Balancing work, leisure time, family time and being a Councillor is important so I have gone for clear boundaries and attempt to stick to them." Cllr Liz Anderson

"In between Council meetings and working group meetings, I also do the Parish Council's newsletter, Facebook page and I'm working on the new website. It's a lot of work! I tend to dedicate big chunks of my week to Council work, but I don't do Council stuff on the weekends." Cllr Ruth McAllister-Kemp

What is the most challenging aspect about being a councillor?

"With the Covid restricitions in place it's been challenging to get to know people, to understand the workings of the Council and particularly all the abbreviations that are used! Shorthand for those in the know and more difficult for beginners..." Cllr Jane Purkiss

Cllr Liz Anderson

"The first 6 months can be challenging as you get to know how things work and the history and background of key issues in the Parish." Cllr Ash Cartman

"The complexity of decision-making and discussions at meetings is challenging. But, I am very good at changing my mind in response to different information, which I think is a strength! Sometimes it is hard to represent community views amongst all the complexity." Cllr Ruth McAllister-Kemp

Describe three attributes a councillor should haveā€¦

"Be a listener. Be flexible. Be a learner." Cllr Ruth McAllister-Kemp

"Patience, sense of humour and team player." Cllr Liz Anderson

"Love of your local community, ability to see all sides of an argument, willingness to talk and listen to anyone about anything." Cllr Ash Cartman

"I think the best approach to starting out as a Councillor is to adopt a style of listening and learning and I have been trying to do this whilst also asking questions. I have had a couple of short outside walks with other councillors and this has helped the 'getting to know you' process." Cllr Jane Purkiss

What film, song or book title would best describe your role as a councillor?

"Another Brick in the Wall" by Pink Floyd" Cllr Liz Anderson

"It's all been quite a mystery initially and so one of my favourite books - The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes sums things up in terms of being presented with a puzzle and slowing working it out... following clues and talking to people as much as possible in order to reach a helpful conclusion." Cllr Jane Purkiss

"Well it's not House of Cards for sure… more Neverending Story." Cllr Ash Cartman

"Driving Miss Daisy - it's about listening and appreciating people's life stories." Cllr Ruth McAllister-Kemp

Photo of Cllr Jane Purkiss of Long Ashton Parish Council

Cllr Jane Purkiss

How do you feel you make a difference to the community?

"Ask me in five years! Maybe facilitating bringing the community into the council via the Biodiversity Working Group, so making small inroads in biodiversity awareness." Cllr Liz Anderson

"I know that I am sharing information in an interesting way and, hopefully, building a picture of the council and our community as vibrant, engaged and committed to each other." Cllr Ruth McAllister-Kemp

"That's for others to judge! I hope I do make a difference in my own small way." Cllr Ash Cartman

"I have been interested in the village environment and in communication... hopeful that participating in these areas will have a good effect on local life." Cllr Jane Purkiss

Describe what a typical week looks like for you as a councillorā€¦

"So that I can do good communications, I'm on all the committees and a couple of working groups. Monday nights are usually meetings, plus perhaps one working group meeting a week. I'll spend roughly 8 hours a week on communications, more when I'm getting the newsletter together. On weekdays, I check through my council emails and spend time replying - may take 5 mins, may take 50!" Cllr Ruth McAllister-Kemp

"Typical week would be reading emails to keep up to speed with things, attending any meetings (not each week though) and at the moment making sure that the working groups I am involved with have enough information to make progress on any activities." Cllr Liz Anderson

"There are about 2-3 Parish Council related meetings a month. On top of that it's keeping up to date on emails." Cllr Ash Cartman

"I can't answer this yet in any full sense. I tend to check emails every day in order to keep up (10 minutes) and I prioritise Monday evenings for Council meetings. Writing for the newsletter on occasions has been best done in the mornings with a clear head." Cllr Jane Purkiss

Last updated: Mon, 12 Jul 2021 11:34