I am seeking your support in both the Town (Central Ward) and County (Aycliffe North and Middridge) council elections.

In my time on our Town Council, I initiated beekeeping on the allotments, and I am happy to see we now have a thriving bee keeping community with expanding training facilities. I successfully pushed for a review of the council’s use of single use plastics and raised awareness of gender inequality, resulting in three female councillors being made deputy chairs of sub-committees, the first in a very long time, and I tenaciously fought for the rainbow flag to be flown on Pride Day.

I am proud to have be part of the Labour led Town Council team that has one of the best financial management records in the country. If elected again, I intend to explore the possibility of having special educational needs equipment in our play parks and secure fenced areas where pet owners can feel safe to allow their dogs off lead. I would also like to see ideas I have mooted previously at the council, such as a food festival event and open-air cinema, be followed through on.

With my background in mental health support, bereavement counselling, multi-agency working in domestic abuse, and along with my four year ‘apprenticeship’ at parish level, learning the ropes and contributing to debates, responding to constituents’ requests, and raising important issues, I have gained the experience needed to step up to County Council.

If I am elected to County, I would like to focus on wellbeing and the environment. Covid has highlighted how important our green spaces are for emotional and mental wellbeing. Having a background in counselling, I would like to see more resources put into this area, especially for our young people. I would like to see our green space utilised more in eco-therapeutic ways, with more projects, like the forest schools, being made available for our youth. I’d like to see innovative ways to combat loneliness post Covid.

As a democratic socialist, I would like to see people engaged in local democracy and decision making. I would like to organise democracy workshops where local people can work together to identify their main priorities and identify the solutions they would like to see for their ward, and I would take those outcomes forward to the council.

I am not going to tell you that I can end the unfair council tax system, or that I can stop double taxation, or make our town centre thrive again, because those things are national issues in the hands of central government or private companies. Of course, we all want those things, and I shall campaign for changes to be made on those issues, as I have actively campaigned on many national issues, such as to end the bedroom tax, to combat climate change, and to make food a basic right.

I cannot promise you the earth, but I can promise that, if you vote for me, I will fight your corner and make a difference.

Your Labour Town and County candidate, Kathryn Beetham.