Abinger Parish Council
The role of a Councillor
Life on a Parish Council – you should try it!
By Carla Jones, Abinger Parish Councillor
We’ve all heard of a Parish Council, but have you ever thought of becoming a Councillor?
Maybe, maybe not. I’d urge you to consider it. It really does open your eyes as a volunteer to local decision making, which directly impacts on our own doorsteps.
I moved into Mole Valley and specifically into Abinger Parish a couple of years ago having grown up next door in Ewhurst. I don’t feel like a stranger, this is my ‘hood! I love the area, the nature, the landscapes, the pubs, the people – yet there are things I’d like to see evolve or improve. Having travelled the world professionally encouraging marginalised and ignored girls and young women to have a voice, to speak up, to be heard, to be active citizens, I realised I wasn’t really walking the talk.
Rather than moan on the sofa, it was time to engage in the community I care about, to stand up and be counted. And so began my journey to being a Parish Councillor.
The group of people I joined are awe inspiring in their commitment – Peter has been involved for 37 years! And our Chair and Vice-Chair frankly are powerhouses of knowledge, tackling big meaty issues with skill or little local niggles with good grace. We meet once a month for a couple of hours in the evening. We have a Clerk who keeps us on track.
We are on the look out for new faces to join us – what do we need? It’s important to have a mix of backgrounds, of knowledge, of skills, of time available to commit. Newcomers and long-time villagers all welcome and age is no barrier. What matters is your ability to attend once a month, to look after a notice board and your willingness to care about the whole Parish, not just the bit where you live!
Did you know, Abinger Parish is reputed to be the longest in the country? The five villages within the boundary – Okewood Hill, Walliswood, Forest Green, Abinger Common and Abinger Hammer – are all quite different in nature. The Parish is split into smaller wards and you as a Councillor of a ward need to ensure you aren’t a Nimby – we make decisions for the good of the whole.
So whether it is playground provision, road signage, planning decisions or development of the area that interests you, I’d urge you to think about making contact with our Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org. No one will make you stay as long as Peter, but a couple of years so we hear different opinions and voices would be a big help. Come and get involved, have a say and together we can ensure Abinger Parish remains vibrant, sustainable and a place we all want to live. And rest assured, we do have a laugh too – I wouldn’t do it if we didn’t!
*Carla Jones joined Abinger Parish Council in January 2017