How did you hear about vacancies for new Councillors before you applied?
An existing Councillor, Carl Rylett, is my neighbour and has been on the Eynsham Parish Council for a while. Around three years ago, he introduced me to the Parish Council which persuaded me to join. He also helped me to settle in once I had been co-opted.
Before you applied, how did you feel about the prospect of becoming a Councillor?
Carl briefed me about the frequency and duration of the meetings, so I knew what to expect. He also suggested that I attend a meeting as a public participant to see how it went. Although I didn’t understand all that I heard in the meeting without background context, I did find it interesting and the people there friendly.
How easy was it to apply and be co-opted?
It was very easy to be co-opted. After expressing my interest to join, Clerk Katherine got in touch and was very helpful in explaining the process. In a subsequent Council meeting, Councillors voted in favour and I joined!
What initially surprised you about the council at your first meetings?
The meeting was very structured. We went through item by item on the agenda and tried to keep to the time. I was impressed by how much was covered in a single meeting.
What sort of people make good Councillors, in your opinion?
As Councillors we represent the interests of the residents in our community. Staying open-minded allows us to hear different perspectives and best serve the whole community. I think being able to work collaboratively is also important. Each Councillor has different experiences and passions, but by working together we can leverage each other’s skills and interests and achieve more.
What are the rewards of being a Councillor?
There are no monetary rewards; all Councillors are volunteers. I joined because I wanted to make a positive impact on our community, which I believe is the reason my fellow Councillors joined too. Not everything is within our power to change, but there is still a lot we can influence locally for better. And when we do, that’s a reward!
What’s the most enjoyable thing you’ve done as a Councillor?
Creating the new food forest garden for local school children has been really enjoyable. I got such a warming feeling when I saw the students getting involved to help with the planting or designing bug hotels, and clearly really enjoying being immersed in nature. I hope the pleasure of that will stay with them throughout their lifetimes.
What’s been a challenging moment during your time as a Councillor?
It’s been frustrating when, recently, repairs to play area equipment didn’t progress as fast as hoped. It made me feel we were letting down the local children and their families. At the same time, I also recognise the challenge of trying to find the budget to cover repairs and also maintain safety levels in a highly-regulated area.
How do you think the Parish Council supports the community?
If our community is a living organism, then the EPC is an organ that supports and nourishes. There are amazing groups and residents in our community. It is through joined-up efforts and collaboration that we develop and maintain a healthy and resilient organism for now and the future.
To find out more about becoming a Councillor, download this document or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To ask Milly a question about her experience, email her on email@example.com.