I am standing as an Independent candidate in the 2017 Local Elections in Turriff and District ward in Aberdeenshire.
Locally I believe that people, not politics come first, that is why I am standing as an Independent candidate. I’ve never been a member of any political party or organisation, so I am truly independent.
Before I relocated to Turriff permanently in 2012, I was a regular visitor to Aberdeenshire for around 13 years, my wife and I stayed in Turriff for extended periods of up to six weeks at a time. During these stays we learnt a lot about the communities across this part of Aberdeenshire as we visited and explored many of the different areas. My wife and I relocated to Turriff so we could help look after my late Father-in-law who was not in the best of health.
After relocating to Turriff I started a small web development and management company which specialises in working with the WordPress platform. As part of this I run the My Turriff community website and Facebook page. Together with my wife, we run a small home bakery, Florence & May, supplying local outlets and farmers markets.
I feel that it is important to get involved with the local community wherever you live. After moving to Turriff I got involved with the Turriff Town House Association, who were trying to complete a Community Asset Transfer to the former Council offices on High Street. I had to leave this group due to work commitments.
I stood for election to Turriff & District Community Council in 2015 and I am the current Chairman, last year I was the Vice Chair. My role with the Community Council is to look at local issues with the rest of the council members and to try and get the best outcome for Turriff in matters that come to the council. We work closely with partners and stakeholders like the local Aberdeenshire ward Councillors, council officers, Police Scotland and other local groups. I really enjoy this work and feel that if I were elected I could do more to help and support of the communities in Turriff and District Ward.
I am passionate about community engagement, democracy, transparency and digital enablement to help people use technology for social good. I want to get people to engage with their community council and local councillors to help to shape and improve the places where they live over the coming years. Nothing beats face to face communication, but not everyone can make meetings, whether they be the community council meeting or public meetings about a particular issue. It is all too easy to sit back and watch rather than get involved. The social media platforms and tools make it easier than ever to engage and offer your views and opinions.
I have used my public speaking skills to host a number of meetings in Turriff, the closure of the Turriff Care Home was one of the biggest public meetings in Turriff in recent years and also meetings about the closure of the public toilets at the Haughs.
Using my previous experiences and skills, I support local groups as a trusted advisor and critical friend, I like to think I can look at issues objectively and offer advice and solutions that work. I am affectionately known as Captain Sensible by one group I support.
Since I relocated to closer to the coast I have started to volunteer with the RNLI. I work with the the dedicated volunteer crew at Macduff Lifeboat Station as the Lifeboat Press Officer and Community Safety Officer. I use my Social Media and technical skills to support and promote the station and the RNLI in general. I am also trained in casualty care and a member of the shore crew who assist with the land based aspects of the search and rescue operations.
Between 2009 & 2014 I worked with Talk About Local in some of the most deprived areas of the UK, training people how to setup simple free to own & use websites to help them get that all important voice on-line.
Some of these websites have helped
- Create better transparency in local politics
- Promote community events
- Improve the local area
- Change perceptions of areas
- Deal with issues such as anti-social behavior
We also worked extensively around Hyperlocal publishing & Citizen Journalism, being the go-to organisation for people to contact for more information and support. We were regularly asked to provide consultancy services for large internet companies and Government departments. I sat on the Department for Culture
Media & Sport Media Experts Panel for a time.
I have been a regular speaker at conferences on subjects such as
- Citizen journalism
- Holding power to account
- The future of news
- Social media for social good
Previous to this I had a career in Transport & Logistics as Operations Manager dealing with specialist logistic contracts across the UK.
I’m a member of the fsb.
Away from work and my online life, I enjoy photography, walking with my two Beagles, Jake & Elwood, good food & good beer and being originally from Manchester, I am a dyed in the wool Manchester City fan.