Voters in Kirkstall Ward will go to the polls on Thursday May 3, 2018 Leeds City Council elections. As this is an ‘all out’ election, each voter will have three votes to cast.
Your West Leeds Dispatch has written to each candidate asking them for a statement of up to 250 words and a head and shoulders photograph to help you decide who to vote for. Here are their responses …
Amaad Amin, Conservative Party
Flat 1, 203 Hyde Park Road, Leeds LS6 1AH
Hannah Bithell, Labour Party
16 Abbeydale Gardens, Kirkstall LS5 3RG
My name is Hannah Bithell and I am standing for the Labour Party in Kirkstall. I moved to Leeds over a decade ago. I came to university in the city and I have stayed in the area since then. I have embedded myself in community life in Kirkstall and live on the Abbeydales.
I currently work as a Geography teacher in Bradford. During my time in the classroom I have been on the front line of public sector cuts and seen the damage that Tory austerity is having on the education system and the wider lives of students.
If I have the privilege of being elected to represent Kirkstall then I will use my experience to help build on what the council have already done to improve child services. I will dedicate myself to protecting public services more widely and to ensuring the needs of Kirkstall residents continue to be heard in Council.
I am standing because I want to ensure that we, as the Kirkstall team, can continue to fight for a fair deal for all Kirkstall residents. As a teacher my particular passion is education and young people. Specifically I want good quality public spaces for young people to be provided in our ward.
Please give Labour your support on May 3rd and I will work with you, and for you, to ensure that Kirkstall gets the very best in services – for the young, the elderly, for transport, schools, safer neighbourhoods and health services.
Maria Frank, Liberal Democrats
6 Truro Street, Leeds, LS12 2NN
Ben Goldthorp, Green Party
1 Norman Row, Leeds, LS5 3JL
John Illingworth, Labour
37 Kirkwood Way, Leeds, LS16 7EU
Liam Kenrick-Bailey, Conservative Party
16 Abbeydale Grove, Leeds, LS5 3RE
Our current Labour council is failing, with money being wasted on ‘vanity projects’ rather than being directed towards worthwhile causes, even Labour’s own local councillors are resigning in protest.
The party’s expensive City of Culture bid and a wasted £4.8m on the abandoned Leeds Arena hotel project are two key examples of how funding is being diverted away from helping our communities.
I am proud to be running as your local councillor in the upcoming elections – I’m a young, passionate and enthusiastic individual who is 100% dedicated to solving local issues, and ensuring your taxes are spent on more important areas of investment.
Finally, I really feel that local and national Politics needs a face lift and a culture change.
My personal aim is to help get more youth, ethnic minorities and residents involved in their communities and politics at grass root level no matter what party they support.
I’m determined to see change and although this May’s elections will be difficult, I can assure you I’m here for the long run. I’m a firm believer in ‘grassroots politics’ and that Politics itself should be from the bottom up, not the top down!
Eleni Nicolaou, Conservative Party
6B Sandmoor Avenue, Leeds, LS17 7DW
Fiona Venner, Labour Party
12 De Lacy Mount, Kirkstall, Leeds, LS5 3JF
I have a background in community work and activism having worked for mental health and homelessness charities since the early 1990s. I’m the Chief Executive of a mental health charity delivering crisis services.
As a councillor, my proudest achievement is campaigning for capital investment for major building work on tower blocks Grayson Heights and Crest. This led to transformed blocks being insulated, damp free, affordable to heat and somewhere residents are proud of.
I am passionate about community based politics and led anti- dog fouling campaigns in Hawksworth Wood and central Kirkstall, working with local children to design signs and write to local residents about the impact of dog fouling on their lives. We also held dog shows to bring dog owners together to promote messages of responsible dog ownership.
I’m involved in Hope not Hate Leeds, have campaigned against welfare ‘reform’ alongside Hand off our Homes and attend events and marches campaigning against NHS Privatisation.
Outside politics, I love running (with my four legged running coach!) and cats. My tweeting photos of cats met canvassing to @catsforlabour and @canvassingcats proved so popular that #KirkstallLabourPoliticats is now a regular feature of Kirkstall Labour News!
If re-elected, I will remain a strong advocate for constituents who turn to councillors for help – often in situations of great need. I will continue to campaign for a Labour government, so we can end the idealogically driven Tory mission to dismantle the welfare state, sell off the NHS and drive ordinary working people into destitution.