Jo Blackman (Wanstead Village, Labour)

Jo BlackmanJo Blackman

Jo Blackman is a Labour Party candidate for the new Wanstead Village ward in the upcoming Redbridge Council elections. Here's why she thinks she deserves your vote on 3 May.

I have lived locally for the last 10 years. My husband and I chose this area to bring up our young family and we have spent many happy hours on Wanstead High Street, in Wanstead Library and using the nearby playground and children's centre.

I am an active member of the local community and a busy campaigner and fundraiser. I have led a number of local campaigns. I set up the Aldersbrook Playground Campaign to address the lack of play facilities in the south of Redbridge. I am vice-chair of the Friends of Wanstead Parklands, where I continue to champion play and investment in the park. I have set up the Wanstead Park Nature Club to encourage children and their families to explore nature and I also recently secured £10,000 of funding for books for my daughters' school's new bus library.

I understand and share many of the concerns we've been hearing on the doorstep while campaigning. People are worried about rising crime, road safety, pollution, the housing crisis, worsening inequality, Brexit and the impact on local services of cuts imposed by the national government.

Local government is at the front line on many of these issues and we really can make a difference, which is why these local elections are so important for Wanstead Village.

Along with fellow Labour candidates Paul Donovan and Daniel Morgan-Thomas, I've already been busy campaigning on many of these issues, like reversing cuts to the crime budget, reinstating the old W12 bus timetable and introducing 20mph speed limits on residential roads.

My professional career has been spent campaigning at a national, European and international level for children's rights, the environment and for the Labour Party. I would like to bring this knowledge of how to effect change to my role as a councillor, championing the needs of children, the environment and the local services that our communities rely on, and generally supporting all of our residents.

I have been active in the Labour Party for many years, but the Brexit referendum and Trump's victory in the US were a real wake-up call – if we do not stand up for the issues we care about, we cannot assume that others will do so for us.

I hope I will have the opportunity to represent Wanstead Village as a councillor and work with local residents to make a difference. Deeds not words, as the famous suffragette slogan goes.

Redbridge Council elections will take place on 3 May. Visit wavidi.co/vote2018