Continuing our series of pieces highlighting Young Fabians standing in May's local elections, we hear from Leslie Alan Pumm, Labour candidate for Westbourne and Poet's Corner, in Brighton and Hove.
Why are you standing to be a councillor in your local community?
Brighton & Hove is probably one of the most diverse cities in the UK. On a sunny day walking along the seafront, you can hear all sorts of languages and experience cultures from across the globe. With this in mind, it shocked me that our city council doesn't reflect the diverse population of Brighton and Hove at all. This inspired me to stand for city council and give a voice to all those who have not been represented so far.
Tell us about the ward you are standing in, such as the biggest concerns on the doorstep and what makes it unique.
Westbourne & Poets' Corner is a gorgeous part of our city. As a coastal ward, it offers you opportunities to walk along the beach or enjoy a cuppa in one of the many cafes. You can even find a high street with unique shops and local businesses on Portland Road. Add to this a geographically advantageous location that makes Westbourne & Poets' Corner almost a 20-minute neighbourhood with a strong sense of togetherness.
Unfortunately, the incompetence of the current Green administration has taken its toll on my community. Residents and businesses cannot rely on reliable rubbish collection, the recycling service is not up to scratch, weeds line the pavements, posing a real safety hazard, and some parts of the ward even have to cope with dealers turning the streets into a drug market at night.
How did you find the selection process, and do you think there are ways it can be improved to better support young members?
As this was my first time running, the selection process was incredibly exciting. The first event on how to become a councillor and all that goes with it was held in early 2022 and there were many opportunities to shadow sitting councillors. The actual interview was a good experience and less stressful than expected. However, the tension before the interview is enormous and can be terribly intimidating. A briefing on which topics will be roughly discussed could ease the fears of some young candidates.
What do you hope to bring from your experiences within the Young Fabians into local government?
The Young Fabians not only helped me build a network of experienced people I could call and ask for advice. I also had the opportunity to learn a lot at the many events and debates. So many Young Fabians are excellent councillors and role models who serve their communities in impressive ways. I could not be more grateful for all these experiences.
What would be your advice to Young Fabians who are considering standing for local government?
Go for it! There is no better opportunity to be part of real change. You will also learn a lot about running campaigns, engaging with residents and building relationships, and utilising your own strengths. If you are up for the challenge of your life, then stand to be a candidate for local government.
How can YF members help your campaign between now and May?
We could use some help on polling day. GOTV is one of the most important stages of the campaign and requires teamwork to mobilise our supporters to actually go to the polls and cast their votes. If you have the time and fancy a trip to Brighton & Hove, I'd love to welcome you to my ward. Brighton & Hove has suffered from a minority council for more than 20 years. Your support will help us win a Labour majority in May.
If you are a YF member standing in the elections and would like to be featured, please get in touch with our Blog Editor Clark Beken via [email protected]