I lived in Bath for 5 years and was working in various aspects of the community and in activism in both Bath and Bristol. People don’t think of Bath in that way I know, but that's one of the reasons I like it. I’ve been living in the boat for about a year. I moved here last December. There is a good community feel about it, especially when the sun is out! I was living and working in Bath and Bristol and didn’t really know Keynsham, until this opportunity for the boat popped up . It has provided me with a new home. I’m very happy here.
In 2015, I set up a group in Bath called Protestival, which is a platform for social change and activism, and allows groups to join up and share resources and connections. We do day events and festival workshops in the summer, and some winter evening events too. We launched it in Bristol in August.
I am standing as an independent candidate for BIG which stands for Big Independent Group in the May local elections. Its quite exciting. BIG is a strategic and co-ordinated way for activists to engage with official political channels, as well as bringing together local people and businesses. We want change from the inside, and to see a more diverse group of councillors. I used to work for B&NES council. I was in communications and research, so I have some insight there. I know that some of the council officers recognise how hard it is to get things moving. I made lots of great connections. The first 5 candidates have just been announced and made public. It’s an exciting time. We were filmed for the BBC politics channel yesterday. I work part time as an organiser for BIG each week as well as being a candidate. I was doing some of that this afternoon.
Some of the other people involved in BIG were part of the Save Bath Library campaign, an evidence-based campaign which challenged B&NES council’s statements about saving money through installing a one-stop shop in the Library. Their figures don't add up and some of the more statistically-minded of the group have asked where they get their figures from. Not only would there be no disabled or buggy access, there would be no private meeting space for people to discuss confidential issues. Clearly they are both priorities for a one-stop shop. It is not the right move for this building. The one in Keynsham is purpose built and works well, but the conversion in Bath would mean losing books, and the privacy and access issues are a small part of why is doesn’t work for the community. B&NES recently announced that they are freezing the plans to go ahead with this, which is great news.