Helen Wood – St Giles Ward
Married with two small children Helen has lived in the area for a number of years. Her children attend the local school, and pre-school, of which she chairs the committee. Helen has managed in public services, and also has experience in the voluntary sector.
She held public office as a City Councillor prior to moving to the area, including sitting on the planning and scrutiny committees.
Helen affirms – ‘My focus has always been on working with and for residents with differing concerns and backgrounds. As my children are here, I am concerned we have a safe, clean, well-ordered environment in Desborough. Care of the elderly is also close to my heart having an older family member living locally. I am passionate that we face the challenges and opportunities afforded to Desborough positively and with local people’s interests as the focus.
I will also press for tighter planning controls to avoid any repetition of the problems in Rushton Road that have blighted our community with heavy traffic for many years.’
A frequent visitor to Dunkirk Avenue Rec, I have had several occasions to contact the council. Once we arrived Sunday morning to find all the swings had been wound around the top, and none of the small children gathering there could play on them. Another time I sent an urgent email as the flat swing had been rendered unsafe with a broken chain. This was responded to Ist thing the following morning, and I was happy then with the speed of response. I know some parents would like to see a clasp on the small gate at the Chaplin’s road end, and have started speaking to the council about this.
Ongoing problems with anti social behaviour are more difficult but not insurmountable. As chair of the playgroup situated there, I have a real interest in keeping the environment good for children and everyone. I firmly believe working together with police, youth groups and the community is the way forward. We need to clearly see and address where young people are causing problems so that they can be diverted away from worse in everyone’s interests. This problem will take resources to fix, and I would press for these. Important to keep recognising the huge contribution the young make to our community, and the potential of all of them.
Along with the other candidates, I received a letter asking me to attend training should I be elected. For me, although I’ve been on a similar one before, it’s quite a while and I’d appreciate the chance to refresh my memory. I think the electorate generally would wish this. The date has duly gone in the diary.
It did make me think about the nature of the role, and its relation to whatever form of Unitary Council emerges. I would hope KBC would offer alternative dates, and maybe alternative methods, for those whose pattern of commitments make them unavailable for or unable to take up this one. We need a relationship with our ‘upper’ council in which the diverse lifestyles of our councillors are recognised and respected, and by extension the diverse needs of our community. Amongst our community are shift workers, breadwinners, full time carers, parents, disabled folk, volunteers, older, younger, and so on. So I hope elected councillors who ‘don’t fit the mould’ make it known and we consider changing the pattern in response, and this sets the tone for how we want to be dealt with as a community. .
So for example I’ve noticed the WI meetings co- incide with town council ones. That could change, couldn’t it? The council meetings, I mean. It seems a shame to channel people one way or another. (My apologies to anyone from the WI who prefers it that way, which is maybe understandable!)
Filled in my postal vote today. I’m Proud to vote for a complete labour team in St Giles, and impressed at the experience contained therein. I feel if elected we could work well with all parties and really start to achieve.
Don’t lose your voice
On the street Stall in Station Road encouraging people to take part in the democratic process by getting on the electoral register, applying for a Postal Vote or a Proxy Vote.
Canvassing 14th April
Enjoyed canvassing Roman Way and a ‘Don’t lose your vote’ Street stall at the weekend. It was great to hear people from all parts of Desborough, talking about their concerns and wishes for the future. Traders want the centre of Desborough to improve and become more viable for business. One of the key issues here is the Lawrence factory and moving this on.
Lawrence’s site 2006 Lawrence’s site 2018
I know that our progressive local Labour candidates would join me in pressing for a resolution here. Innovative ideas came up on the doorstep about improving the look of the centre with trade.
One person spoke movingly about excessively long working hours and her worry for a loved one in this situation. A reminder for me about why I am a member of a political party, as well as a local activist. It’s simply that some things that affect our daily lives need big solutions.
Just under 5 years ago, following my sons birth, I was invited by my health visitor to the breastfeeding group in the Sure Start Centre that was. Shortly after this the Centre shut and Library staff were given the task of replicating as much as possible of the Sure Start provision, minus the breastfeeding group, in the library itself. Having undertaken this enormous task, grown in skill and experience, it’s a catastrophe for Desborough that we face loosing these skilled staff and this lovely facility, which provides so many people with services. The young, the elderly and disabled, the lonely, and computerless households, all find something they need in our library. .
From the closure of Sure Start, I have lobbied local councillors for improved services for families. Alongside colleagues of all political colours, I have more recently shared petitions against the closure,, contributed my local knowledge to building a legal case, attended and spoken out at public meetings, demonstrated outside the library and County hall, and written to our MP. It’s supremely ironic that the government has just awarded 1.6 million to Northants for the filling in of potholes, (a fraction of what is badly required) when the yearly cost of Northants library provision is 1.2 million, now being used on the roads instead,. And the public report the holes don’t even stay filled.
The next steps for the library are crucial for Desborough, and decisions will not be simple. I believe people in Desborough will need to be able to trust those elected to consider carefully all angles of any future plan, not least the implications of further financial commitments for the town. I will work with all parties to do the best by local families and taxpayers.
St Giles Labour Candidates Helen Wood and Rikki Tod out and about meeting local residents.
Helen and Rikki take advantage of the better weather to get out and meet voters on Saturday morning.
Canvassing Broadlands afforded some glimpses of the lovely Ise Valley, soon to change unrecognisably. There’s no doubt about the need for housing and always two sides to the prospect of development. I said my piece at the planning appeal. That this area is defining of Desborough, that it is not required to meet our housing quota, and that Desborough people have contributed above and beyond in so many ways.
Faced with the decision, however, I believe we need now to think of future challenges, and opportunities. I expect there to be ongoing issues, around access, impact on the surrounding homes and infrastructure; and the common day to day concerns of any new development, the settling in of new people. But New folk bring fresh perspectives, experience and another dimension to our community. If elected I would be proud to be part of the effort to make this development work as well as possible. .
Helen stood as the Labour Candidate for the Desborough Division in the County Council elections in 2017
Click below to see Helens web page from 2017
Contact Helen Wood –
Tel: 01536 506580
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Promoted by : Phil Sawford C/o Kettering Constituency Labour Party, 12b Market Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 0AH.
On behalf of: Helen Wood (Labour Candidate for the S tGiles Ward Desborough) C/o Kettering Constituency Labour Party, 12b Market Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 0AH.