What being a Community Councillor means to me: Sally Millar
Later this year Leith Links Community Council (LLCC) will be holding its next election.
Despite living in Leith Links since 1987, I had never heard of the Community Council until I started a campaign against the giant biomass incinerator that Forth Ports proposed building in Leith Docks, in 2010. I needed to learn – and fast! – about all sorts of things like Scottish energy policies, how planning permission works, who all the key players were, in local and national politics, and how to find and mobilise friends and supporters for a campaign to fight off a threat to the local community. One staunch source of local support turned out to be members of the Leith Community Councils, (Biofuelwatch and Friends of the Earth Scotland were other important allies). We won, by the way! (2012).
After that, I really valued the work of the Leith Links Community Council and took the opportunity to become a full member in 2013, standing again for election in 2016. I have been Secretary for the past 3 years and I am intending to stand again for election this year because I feel that some experience and continuity could be useful, to balance and support input from new members.
I firmly believe that although many people aren’t even aware of its existence, the Community Council is a force for good in the local area.
Meetings are always interesting and it is a good chance to meet and get to know the local City Councillors, who usually, attend, as do the Community Police. Community Councillors are also invited to many other meetings and projects – a great way to learn about and participate in local activities and events. To be honest there’s a lot more ‘paperwork’ than ‘manning the barricades’ in Community Council work, but while that can be tiring and frustrating at times, being able to (sometimes) have a direct positive influence on important services and decisions, is a source of satisfaction and pride.
Being a Community Councillor has certainly really helped ME to truly become part of my local community, to feel active and useful, to learn new skills, and to get to know and work with so many interesting and committed local people, and worthwhile causes. It is a good way to learn how the City of Edinburgh Council works, and to learn the true facts and the complicated ins and outs of so many important matters that affect us all. (Almost nothing you read in the Evening News is a true representation of any situation!) I feel that it is privilege and a pleasure to ‘serve’ the local community to the best of my ability.
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