How long have you worked for Eynsham Parish Council?
It’s been 6.5 years so far but have been a Parish Clerk for 19 years at various local councils. I also previously worked for NMR Instruments (part of Oxford Instruments) which used to be located at Station Way; I seem to be drawn to Eynsham! That role was a fascinating insight into amazing technology and engineering.
Why do you enjoy this role?
Because I enjoy helping to make Eynsham an enjoyable and attractive place to live. Or, at the risk of being controversial, a ‘great place to belong.’ The ‘marmite’ slogan strikes a chord with residents because it really does echo how they feel, whether young or old, new or long-term residents. Doesn’t everyone want to belong somewhere and be part of a great community? If my role in the Council supports that, then I think I’m doing the right thing.
How would you describe your approach to your work?
Local governance is about enabling and supporting the community to fulfil its aims in a sustainable way. I am about to embark on the last year of a Community Governance degree, which helps with this as I can provide the Council with a wealth of knowledge on areas such as managing projects, planning matters, legal requirements, finance, organisational governance, environment needs, politics and community research.
How long have you lived in Oxfordshire?
All my life. I grew up in Minster Lovell and have always lived in and around Witney.
What do you like about Eynsham as a community?
Here are my top five:
it strives for high environmental standards (we’re going to be focusing more on this in the coming years at the Council).
it values its past (e.g. the Eynsham Museum opening and the buildings/heritage preservation).
It’s very arty (well done to Mill Street Arts on your new hub!) – although I’d love to see more art in the village centre).
It’s quick and easy to access green spaces and the countryside (although we are continuing to review the disability access of footpaths to improve where we can).
I feel safe when I’m out and about, regardless of the time.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your role?
I’m often working on three things at once, so juggling my work priorities is challenging. I don’t like to let anyone – or our standards – down, so getting everything done in the right timeframe is difficult. I also think it’s important for all employees to be in the village as frequently as possible to easily identify required tasks, engage with the community we work for and see the effect of our efforts, but that brings a pressure to be ‘out and about’ in Eynsham while also being in front of my laptop!
What would you like more people to know about the Parish Council?
That we are not like Handforth Parish Council or Vicar of Dibley-esque – and that we need more Councillors! It’s a very friendly Council and everyone is respectful and civil. If you have some time, energy and enthusiasm to put into your community and help make some decisions, we’d love to see you.
What do you for fun?
In my spare time I like to socialise with friends, swim, play the piano (a little!) and bake cakes. I also help tend some rare plants in Minster Lovell, where I used to live, as a member of the Wychwood Flora Group (part of the Wychwood Forest Trust).
You can contact Katherine on firstname.lastname@example.org