Statement to voters
I am an NHS worker and mental health campaigner. Alongside my job in the Ambulance Service, I volunteer evenings with the charity Mikeysline and continue to study in my spare time through the Open University.
I live in Merkinch and feel immensely privileged to be able to stand in this by-election for my community. My focus as a councillor would be on addressing inequality: I want to get out there and be a voice for people who don’t know how to navigate the complicated systems involved in claiming the benefits they’re entitled to, getting appropriate housing, being listened to by the powers that be.
As someone who moved to Inverness at 16 and had to pay £550/month for a studio flat with no hot water for over a year - half of my monthly income from my full-time job - I know how hard it is for people to access appropriate, affordable housing. More affordable houses need to be built in Inverness, and we have to make sure they are built in appropriate places. Private rent hikes must be curbed, and support for people looking for accommodation should be more helpful and easy to access.
Through volunteering for Mikeysline and being a long-time metal health activist, I know how difficult it can be not only to seek help, but to receive it. I am particularly interested in looking at services for people who are in a mental health crisis and require emergency care. It is simply not good enough that the care you receive depends on which service you happen to engage with first, or for people in immediate danger of suicide to be told they’ll be seen in three days’ time. I have previously campaigned for NHS24 to add an option for mental health callers to their phone line - my petition now sits at over 25,000 signatures, and I will continue to press for this and similar changes that could help desperate people access the services they need.
The current Council Administration has recently made cuts to ASN teaching assistants. As a councillor, I would do my bit to hold them to account on this and other decisions. Processes should be more transparent, and I and my SNP colleagues are keen to ensure that the cuts that are being made do not harm the most vulnerable children in the Highlands.
I recognise that the two years whoever wins this by-election will get is a short amount of time in politics. However, I can promise that I would work closely with the rest of our strong, Highland-wide SNP Group to bring forward policies we all agree on, make any positive changes I can, and continue to stand up for those living in this part of Inverness - just as I have done as a constituent.
I look forward to meeting more of the people who live here in the weeks to come as we run a local election on the issues that matter to the people of Inverness Central.
This statement was added by Emma Roddick, their team, or by a Democracy Club volunteer, based on information published by the candidate elsewhere.
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