I am Sheffield born and bred, and have lived in a council home in the Heeley/ Arbourthorne area since 1996. In that time, I have volunteered with several local initiatives such as editing the New Heeley Voice, driving for Sheffield Community Transport as well as some national based human rights campaign work, including work with the former Sheffield Health Authority campaigning for rights to access treatment and surgical care for a disadvantaged trans group.
I was the Chair of Heeley Rise Tenants and Residents Association and have been since its inception in 2008 until 2014 when I stood down to allow others to have a go at making their mark, and have been delighted to have been a part of various local community projects such as developing a ‘growing food garden’, children’s play area, organising coach trips for local people who cant afford a holiday and planting some exciting blossom trees to improve the area for tenants and residents.
I completed my studies at Sheffield Hallam University in 2004 when I was 36, and have worked as a Social Worker in Adult Care in Chesterfield within the neighbouring county of Derbyshire. This is increased my passion, interest and knowledge around diversity and inclusion, and given my trans* background, my own disabilities with a hearing impairment as well as viral fatigue, and being English with a Polish spelling name, I felt I had an interesting background to offer when working within a diversity and inclusion ethos.
I have been a Labour voter in the past, and I then stood as a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in 2003. This wasn’t a good experience if I can be honest which after this brought me to join the Green Party. Mainly of their persistence on climate change and their focus on local people and their communities in a more sustainable way. Housing, transport, poverty, debt, health and the local economy being key issues in the ward. Joining the Greens was like coming home with such lovely, decent people to work with, who work hard and truly do stick to the values of the printed manifestos!
We’re lucky to have good local transport such as the Supertram, along with measures to slow down traffic. However, bus services are under threat and future profiteering price rises must be opposed. I am also keen to explore with local people the issue of increasing fuel, energy prices and how we can use alternative energy. I feel it is important we all learn how to live more sustainably to reduce poverty and, more importantly, improve the quality of life for people living in the area.
There is an urgent need to change our lifestyles to address the main issues facing us as a society which collectively I feel we all have to face up to responsibly. I am concerned about increasing debts, the effects of austerity policies which have a huge impact on local people. I have an allotment and now look to buy locally grown produce from a major supermarket. I need to drive for my job but have a small car and keep mileage to a minimum. However I have a disability with nerve damage in my legs, which means I can walk for miles one day, and pay for it the next; I still use public transport as often as I can. Every individual step helps!
Peak Oil was an issue previously but as more supplies have been found, accessing them will be more and more devastating to landscapes and for climate change, such as the release of methane from fracking. I believe the local focus now is now on keeping supplies in the ground and using clean renewables instead. We have some excellent examples in Arbourthorne where this is happening already, such as the solar panels seen on the Eco Housing on the junction of Park Grange Road and Guildford Avenue. We need more stuff like this in our area, especially for those more disadvantaged in accessing eco opportunities.
We are already seeing the effects of rising oil prices and a European Country on the verge of financial collapse. I am worried about this and believe we all need to adjust in preparation for those changes ahead!
I now enjoy a more creative role within the Sheffield Green Party, so you will see me taking many photos for our publicity needs within the various media we use, such as local news, Facebook and our website here.