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  • Writer's pictureLauren Dingsdale

And just like that ...

It's been two and a half years since I stood as a candidate in the 2019 General Election (I will stop talking about it soon ... I promise) and a lot has happened to me personally over that time:

  • I gave birth to my first son at the start of the pandemic (he's now 2!)

  • My husband and I moved to Eltham,

  • I got a new job

  • I gave birth to my second son

And finally, just last month, I got elected to represent my new home ward of Eltham Town and Avery Hill as a Greenwich Borough Councillor, when my youngest was just seven weeks old. You'll therefore hopefully forgive me that this blog has remained pretty empty!

This has raised quite a few questions from people, and so I thought I would take the opportunity to answer them (whilst the baby is sleeping).

Why Eltham?

My husband and I both have jobs that are based in London. When I lost the election, there were simply no jobs for us in Teesside. And if I had won the election, we were planning to make Eltham our London base for when Parliament was sitting. A couple of our best friends live here and we fell in love with the place - the people, the parks and the transport links!

Were you expecting to win?

Nope! Eltham Town and Avery Hill is a new ward, but predominantly consists of the old ward of Eltham South - considered to be one of the safest Tory Wards in Greenwich. I stood here because I live here, and I love living here. When I arrived at the count and the votes started piling up, I was overjoyed. It wasn't only the opportunity to serve my local community, but a chance to really become part of that community. Over the past month I have met so many people through community groups and charities, Eltham is starting to feel even more like home.

How are you going to manage with two small children?

Samuel is at a great local nursery and childminder's, and William comes with me wherever I go! I am really fortunate that the Council and the Labour Party are both being so accommodating, to me and to another councillor who also has a young baby. Having a baby (and a toddler) doesn't mean that I can't contribute and represent the residents in my ward. In fact - we all know that diversity and different perspectives leads to better and more inclusive decision making. Plus - my husband is very much a 50/50 parent, and is doing a lot of the bedtimes solo when I have late meetings.

Are you going to take maternity leave from the Council?

I'm not. It's wonderful that the Council has a good parental leave policy and people should absolutely be encouraged to take that leave (as the other councillor is doing). However, I am a first time councillor, a second time Mum and baby William is really enjoying getting out and about in the ward! I wanted to use the time whilst I am on maternity leave from my day job, to get to grips with being a councillor - so I can better serve residents and so that it's all second nature to me by the time I go back to work.

And that's that! William has just woken up from his nap - so I had better get back to my other job. I will try to keep this blog more up to date - particularly so that the residents of my ward can see what I have been up to, and what I am doing to make life better for Eltham Town and Avery Hill.

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