Liberal Democrats growing on Tiverton Town Council
By David Wullf
Originally published by Tiverton and Honiton Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats welcome Cllr Siobhan Knight to their growing team on Tiverton Town Council
Siobhan is a young and highly motivated Councillor for Lowman Ward, Tiverton, with a passion and experience of delivering for young people.
Siobhan explains, "From speaking with young people in Tiverton, many feel they have been forgotten. They hear people complaining that they cause issues for the town, but feel that is unfair and if we engaged with them then people would see they love the town as much as anyone. We need to be doing things together as a community."
"I want to inspire young people to get involved with voting, starting with local councils, so they can influence positive change in their own lives. I have seen how young people have lost faith in the direction our country is heading and it is so important for them to be heard by the people making decisions in their name."
Formerly standing as an Independent Councillor, Siobhan joined the local Liberal Democrats in order to work more closely as a team to deliver on her priorities and promises to the voters in Lowman Ward and across Tiverton.
Siobhan continues, "When I was elected in May 2021, I did not want to be part of a political group, thinking that it would take all decisions and campaigning out of my hands and I would be asked to vote along party lines as some of the groups do. I was surprised to see that the local Lib Dem Councillors would openly debate differences within their team, and invited non-members to offer ideas and suggestions as a part of their discussions.
I was even offered support with my own projects despite not being a member of their group. Being able to express myself as an individual but call upon the combined experience and support of a larger group was the reason I stood for the Town Council. I was happy to join the Lib Dem team who share those same values, and I feel I will be a stronger Councillor as a result."
"There is a lot of change coming to Tiverton over the next few years with the next phase of the Eastern Urban Extension already underway. I have been worried that the local planning process does not give local town and parish Councillors like me any real say in the decision making. This makes it harder to help when a resident raises a concern. By working with an experienced local group having representation on both Town and District Councils I now have a much stronger voice for Lowman residents.
I want to bring the community into the heart of local decision making, not just have them notified when decisions are made."
Cllr Les Cruwys (Cranmore), chair of the Town Council Planning Committee, agrees, "Bringing a stronger voice on planning issues to the Town Council is something the Mid Devon Lib Dems have long been pushing for. Siobhan's passion for speaking up for residents who might not otherwise be heard will be a real benefit for the town."
Since being elected Siobhan has been working with the Adventure Playground, Uplift and other groups to organise increased mental health support - an issue she is passionate about.
Siobhan says, "A large number of mental health issues are rooted in what happens to us when we are young. If we can get young people practical help and make them feel that they are being heard, we could reduce the increasing mental health crisis and make a real improvement to people's lives."
"We have a whole generation that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and I feel that the government are only concerned with their voters and younger people are often ignored. I want to be a part of changing that and improving lives of all ages regardless of who you vote for."
Siobhan recently worked with Independent Councillor Steve Bush (Cranmore), on the highly successful school uniform exchange. As well as her core Council work, she is currently working on many exciting new projects to help young people to gain skills to go into work, and involving local school children with education, community building and environmental improvement tasks.