I had quite a nomadic childhood, moving around a lot and having highs and lows of social mobility. I moved from a semi in a leafy suburb of West Lancashire to an apartment block in the southern United States to a terrace on a sprawling Merseyside Council estate to a huge detached house in an even leafier West Lancs suburb. This taught me a lot about making connections with people and understanding their situations.
Uplands is the first place I have ever called home. I moved to Swansea from Brighton so my husband could be nearer his family at a time when they needed support. We bought a house in St Thomas which was affordable and convenient. But after hunting around for a Playgroup where I felt understood, I found Brynmill Tea & Tots. The support I had there was amazing, I made about a dozen friends who are still precious to me. My tiny daughter used to point at Bryn-y-Mor and say, “school” – how could I send her anywhere else? We moved to Uplands in 2010 and my son was born in our front room two years later. My husband would like a garden, which we don’t have, but he is banned from house-hunting outside of Uplands! I refuse to leave.
My life experiences have taught me that poverty is not an attitude problem or a lifestyle choice, but a trap which wealthy people put others in quite deliberately, and every job I’ve ever had has been focused on that. Minimum wages is not enough to live on. The benefits system does not work as it should – people don’t claim what they’re entitled to, then they don’t spend cash locally – it causes problems for all of us. I’ve worked for Swansea Council for ten years grappling with these issues. The pace of change is too slow for me, I feel we can do better, but we need people who understand the issues and have the right experiences to step up and be Councillors.
I was elected as a councillor in May 2017.