Councillor Jackie Meade
My role and responsibilities
Folkestone Town Council
Folkestone & Hythe District Council
I have been a Folkestone Town Councillor since 2017 and District councillor since 2019 for my home ward of East Folkestone.
I also have the honour of standing as a prospective Labour candidate for Kent County Elections this May (2021) for Folkestone East and Harbour division.
As Town councillor I sit on the Planning Committee and also, the Finance and General Purposes Committee, discussing and voting on budgets and funding as well as decisions on the services for the town that Town Council hold responsibility for.
At District Council I sit on the Planning Committee ensuring that all applications are acceptable under legislation but also to bring a resident’s viewpoint on some developments. I have been involved in some very public applications which I have spoken o
ut about, including the Sea Front Development, the development of Princes Parade and Royal Victoria Hospital amongst many others.
What makes a good councillor?
Passion for your community and environment and the courage to stand up for what you believe to be right for residents. Also tenacity, it can be a hard fight sometimes! Oh, and time management – there can be a lot of reading of documents and regulations in advance of Committee meeting.
What motivated me to become a councillor?
I stood for council to ensure that local people were represented by a Labour candidate at council and to fight for better decisions locally for residents.
My highlight/most rewarding moment since taking office:
The May 2019 elections where Labour took the majority for the first time at Folkestone Town Council and we achieved 6 District councillors.
Also, have had the great honour of being Folkestone mayor in 2019-2020 representing my town and travelling to Nepal to sign the Friendship agreement between Folkestone and Mechinager – recognising the Folkestone is the home of the British Ghurka community.
The challenges of the role:
Definitely time management ! As a full time employee, step mum and grand mother to 2 little ones as well as a carer I have a busy week. I am in Council or Labour meetings most evenings or assisting residents with issues. I am incredibly lucky that I have a very supportive partner!
How time consuming is the role and how to you balance it with other commitments?
There are some weeks where you are in back to back meetings almost continually and others that are quieter, however, I do set aside time normally over weekends for family time. Being a councillor and being able to help people is so rewarding though that it doesn’t feel like work.
What advice would you give someone considering whether to stand for councillor?
Do it! If you care about your community, have life experience and want things to change for the better you should stand. You will have plenty of support around you as well as excellent training, and it really is amazing when you find you can make a positive difference.
What makes a successful campaign?
Be honest and open! Reach out to your community, meet residents and understanding their concerns. Let people know your values and what you would like to do on their behalf – but most importantly listen! Normally we would be door knocking and delivering information but with lock down over the last year that has been impossible, so our CLP are phone banking – contacting residents via phone to ensure they know we are still here, still fighting on their behalf.
And the most important – if you are elected – keep those promises!