MEET THE CANDIDATE : Howard Tomlinson, The Beverley Party

MEET THE CANDIDATE : Howard Tomlinson, The Beverley Party

Howard Tomlinson will be standing for The Party in the Minster and Woodmansey Ward and looking to get elected to the East Riding Yorkshire Council on 7 May 2015.

Here Mr Tomlinson gives a little insight into his beliefs and what people can expect from him should he be elected to represent the residents Minster and Woodmansey.

Howard, this is the first time you are standing for an election. What made you decide to get involved in local politics?

It doesnʼt sound like a very enthusiastic start to a political campaign, but the truth is that it never occurred to me to compete at the local elections until shortly before the closing date for nominations.

Disillusionment with established party politics and doubts about my ability to achieve any useful change, even in the remote event of actually gaining election, were some of the major reasons for not giving the idea any serious consideration.

Then I met the people involved with The Beverley Party! Discovering like-minded people in The Beverley Party has changed my pessimist attitude towards entering the local political arena from “no way” to “maybe” and then “why not?”

Tell us a little about yourself.

I suppose I fall into the category of ʻseasoned veteranʼ with regards to community activism, but a definite ʻnoviceʼ when it comes to contesting a public office.

Hull-born, I worked locally as a Probation Officer until moving to South Wales in 1990 to head-up a team of Barnardoʼs community workers aiming to improve services and opportunities for children, young people, and families living on Cardiffʼs massive Ely estate.

Since returning to my birthplace in 2004, I have had spells of employment as a Support Worker with Mind and as a development worker with AgeUk helping to pioneer an innovative support scheme for isolated older people in North Lincolnshire.

At a personal level, I am a much married father of seven, grandfather of ten, with little money but plenty of wrinkles and laughter lines.

A little birdy tells me you have been awarded an MBE?

In addition to paid employment, I have been active in voluntary work from 1977 until the present time. My voluntary work efforts gained recognition in 1989 with the award of an MBE “for service to the community in Hull” largely because of work on behalf of homeless people and establishing the Hull Homeless & Rootless Project.

What has been your most recent community involvement?

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In addition to my voluntary work as a “Befriender” with Age UK, the past two years have seen me and other local people trying to gain the cooperation of the local authority and their roadworks contractors through the Grovehill Area Action Group.

The Grovehill Area Action Group is currently championing the rights of residents to engage in genuine consultation with East Riding of Yorkshire Council over the future use of the green space adjacent to their homes and the Grovehill Junction.

This residentsʼ pressure group arose from a situation of shared adversity – my neighboursʼ frustration in feeling unable to influence something outside their control that impacted on their daily lives. This situation persists, despite having achieved some success along the way and having gained the confidence that comes from pulling together and acquiring a stronger voice.

Pulling together on the next level and consequently gaining an even stronger voice is exactly what The Beverley Party is doing. It’s all about the people of Beverley; the whole community coming together to make local politics what it should be: looking at the needs of our town from the perspective of its residents and not from a party-political perspective.

Candidates standing for The Beverley Party are independent because there is no party whip, but in joining The Beverley Party they have committed to the Bell principles, e.g. integrity, transparency and accountability. In other words, these independent candidates are different because they come with a “quality mark” from the party. I like this.

What are your aims if elected?

If elected in May, I will happily campaign alongside other groups and individuals across the Minster & Woodmansey Ward in pursuit of more open communication and effective engagement with local government.

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