People often wonder what Thanet District Councillors actually do. It’s a demanding role for all councillors, even when their party is not the governing one. We asked Councillor Iris Johnston what an average week could look like.
A Week in the Life of Cllr Iris Johnston
“Sunday 11th September
- Supported heritage events in Margate and reported Nayland shelter for poor state.
- Answered several emails and set up meetings for the coming week.
Monday 12th September
- 9.30 follow up meeting with family who have a member sectioned. Numerous phone calls to Housing Association and The Beacon plus Community Safety. Visit planned to St Martins for case conference that I have insisted on.
- 10.30 Travel Forum meeting TDC
- Delivered newsletter to all homes in areas near TDC.
- Picked up,ward work including reporting rubbish and ‘smells ‘ in communal housing areas. Reported barrier that doesn’t work at Union Row.
- Dropped into Mosque.
- 2pm meeting re Mayor’s Parlour in Media Centre.
- Dealt with abusive phone call from a lessee who leases a TDC property.
- More emails and leafleting until home.
Tuesday 13th September
- 9.30 meeting family at Gateway re one member’s serious illness and their pending eviction .
- 10.00 meeting with clergyman re homeless couple . He helping with storage of their belongings . She is pregnant and unlikely to get help from TDC until the baby is born.
- 12pm coffee with man who wants to join the Labour Party having had my leaflet.
- Picked up serious issue in cafe of drunken man harassing staff and customers. Moved him along and reported to TDC again.
- 12.30 delivered newsletter with help from kind lady I had been helping. We had won a benefits case and she would be an ideal Labour member.
- 5.30 Margate Town Team meeting
- 7.00 Standards meeting.
Wednesday 14th September
- Finished clear up of our garden for man taking green waste.
- 12.40. Lunch and catch up with John Edwards.
- 1.15 Meeting in their home with family who have paid £180 for taxi to London hospital. Nearly an hour chasing reimbursement.
- 2.10 Met a man in ward who needs disabled parking so picked up details.
- 2.20. arrived late for public speaking training but got the gist of it!
- 3.30 Meeting at TDC with man who has problems re ‘right to remain’ . Considerable follow up work with MP’s office and also trying to get family housing and council tax benefit as running out of savings. Family here since 2005 . Children born in England. Are an asset to this country work wise.
- 4.15 Very depressed person who is sofa surfing with her family. Hopefully, help from lettings agency re a property and helped with benefit forms.
Thursday 15th September
- Follow up emails and telephone calls on existing cases
- 11.00 meeting with a mum of five who will be evicted this month from TDC home.,
- Council won’t help re housing due to past problems. Now only hope private sector so made calls and got her interviews and HB form.
- 1pm to Ramsgate and spoke to East Kent maritime volunteers . Following up on incorrect comments made at Cabinet by Tory leader re opening times. Sent strong email to Council confirming all hard work .
- 6.30 Anti social behaviour Randolph Square Margate. Strong tensions. Visited and hopefully calmed things down. Followed up later with emails .
- 7.00 Labour Campaign Forum North Thanet office.
Friday 16th September
- Foul weather . Tidied our home ….a bit!
- Didn’t go to WASPI event as no transport.
Saturday 17th September
- Family visiting.
Sunday 18th September
- Writing this and leafleting later plus meeting at 2pm North Thanet office.
- Answering emails and planning coming week.
- Homeless and issues at Arlington House plus flooding in various areas also needing much attention.
Just a flavour of what a Councillor can be called upon to do and yes, it is worthwhile!”