MEET OUR CANDIDATES
Today we're hearing from Paul Woodhead, serving councillor for Hednesford South. Read more about Paul below
1. How long have you lived in Hednesford? If you were not born in the town can you tell us a bit about where you were born, where you have lived and what brought you to Hednesford?
I was born in Grimsby and grew up in South Yorkshire and North Nottinghamshire before moving to Hednesford for work in 1997 and now in my third home in the town.
2. What is your most favourite thing about Hednesford?
It is the community spirit which has come together over the last few years. We come together to achieve so much for each other, and you can see that in everything that happens in the town that we have real pride in where we live and that comes from the people.
3. On a personal level what are the highpoints and best achievements in your life to date?
I have a daughter who is eighteen now and living with her mum but will always be proud of her. Life is full of highs which are appreciated from the lows and the journey I have lived is my best achievement, I think. I have a good career working in waste regulation compliance for industry, I completed my Master’s degree six years ago with a Distinction which was amazing having left school at 16 on a Youth Training Scheme. I have had business success and business failure and really proud that the things I learned from both help my community role whether that is helping St Peter’s school as a Chair of Governors, supporting Gentleshaw school with governance challenges and now being a Trustee with both these schools as well as Etching Hill and St John’s Essington. Working with community leaders in the town to get a fully independent Town Council in Hednesford and the positive change we are getting on with is a particular high point too.
4. What led you to be standing as a councillor now?
I first got involved through being a school governor at St Peter’s and subsequently Chair of Governors during a very difficult time for the school. This led to helping other schools with governance issues as a National Leader of Governance then being co-opted to a County Council Committee on Education and finding little positive challenge and too much politics. I found I could help my community in a way I hadn’t expected and give a voice to neighbours and residents as a reasonable, professional and challenging voice in the room. The impact of this I saw when we stopped the County Council selling off the Countryside Estate in 2015 and that has continued on from there. Standing for re-election is because this is a journey not yet complete, I can see so much more we can transform as a community to make our area more equitable and prosperous for the today and all the tomorrows to come.
5. What issues do you think are most important to residents in Hednesford?
There are a good number of things I hear as important from a thriving town centre, building on the community groups and volunteers working together as well as the protection and maintenance of our green spaces, whether that is formal play areas, nature reserves or access to Cannock Chase. One of the key aspects that recurs in an indirect way is the distance between the Council and the community it serves, a lack of communication, engagement or ongoing dialogue has created fractures between the priorities of the community and the actions of the Council. As a Town Council we are starting this journey of building this trust but a concerted effort from the District and County would address the issues most important to residents.
6. If there was one thing you could achieve in your area, what would it be?
A closer positive relationship between the Council(s) and the community to achieve all the things that are important to residents. We can only do this together.
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