Gearing up for local elections

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PREPARATIONS for May’s council elections are getting under way with an advice session for would-be councillors and college visits to make sure eligible students are registered to vote.

Local elections will be for Scarborough Borough Council as well as 39 parish and town councils across the area and are due to take place on Thursday 5 May.

And the planned elections could coincide with a possible referendum on the alternative voting system in May.

The briefing session will be held in the council chamber, at Scarborough Town Hall on Wednesday 9 March, between 2pm and 4.30pm and will include discussions about the role of a councillor and the desired skills.

During the session the responsibilities of a council will be outlined and there will also be the chance for potential candidates to quiz current councillors to find out what it is really like to be an elected member of the council.

Coun Tom Fox, the current council leader, said: “Even though being a councillor entails a lot of hard work, it is a privilege to serve the community.

“I would urge anyone thinking of standing for election, no matter what their political persuasion or beliefs, to come along to this session so they can see the type of work a councillor does and the benefit it can have on the community.”

The idea behind the briefing is to give potential candidates as much information as possible about the role, before they decide whether or not they want to stand for election.

Jim Dillon, the council’s chief executive, said: “This borough is brimming with passionate people who care greatly about the communities in which they live.

“If people are interested in helping people and want to make a difference they should not dismiss the idea of standing for election.

‘‘If they want to find out more about what being a councillor involves, they should certainly consider coming to this session.”

The council will also produce a free booklet – called A Councillor? Who, me? – that will give details of the role of councillors and what people need to do to stand for election.

And the council’s elections team has already visited Whitby Community College and has already checked the details of more than 150 students across the borough.

Sue Bedford, the council’s elections officer, said: “We have had a good response in the colleges we have been into so far, with many young people expressing an appetite for local democracy.

“For the young people turning 18, the 5 May elections will be the first time they have been able to cast their vote.

‘‘It is important that young people and the wider public are registered if they want to show support to their favoured candidates during the elections and have their say in the referendum on voting reform.”

The deadline for registering to vote for the May elections will be Thursday 14 April and the councillor booklet will be available from next month.

To book a place on this training session people should either send an email to James.Pickup@ scarborough.gov.uk or contact (01723) 383503.

For further information either send an email to gill.wilkinson@scarborough.gov. uk or contact (01723) 232303.