Parish councils seek to represent the interests of their people to provide, maintain and improve community facilities and resources. Some typical areas of work that could involve a parish council are;
When Darren Willcocks of Sampson Gardens Ponsanooth, our current Vice Chairman, becamce a member of the Council. We asked him a few questions of his experience and what it was like to become a Councillor.
Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A. I spent my childhood in Carnon Downs moving to Falmouth in my late twenties, I moved to Ponsanooth 5 years ago with my wife Katy and 2 daughters Taylor and Zoe. So I’ve not moved far. We love where we live, the village and its surroundings. I am a Chartered Quantity Surveyor for a local firm.
Q. Why did you want to become a Councillor?
A. I’ve been very fortunate in my chosen career, my family life and health. I have worked hard over the years but felt it was time to put something back into our community
Q. What have you enjoyed about being a Councillor?
A. It’s early days however firstly its working with the other members of the Council who have been very welcoming and supportive. I’ve enjoyed being part of the decision making process that will hopefully enhance our community for the benefit of all
Q. What do you hope to achieve?
A. In combination with the other members of the Council, I would like to engage more with the people and community groups of our Parish to represent their views and aspirations to improve the lives of the people of our neighbourhood. I would like to build on the already strong sense of community in our Parish, that is sometimes lost in our modern hectic world. Occasionally we need to all slow down, look up from our mobile phones and appreciate what we have on our doorstep.
Q. What advice would you provide to others interested in joining the Council?
A. From a selfish point of view it makes you feel good to be helping others and putting something back into our community. Seeing your community change for the better, as a result of decisions you have helped make, is something that can give you a sense of achievement and pride.
Q. Can you explain what a Parish Council is?
A. I’ve learnt that a parish council is a local authority that makes decisions on behalf of the people in the parish. As it is the authority closest to the people, parish councils are invariably the first place people will go with concerns or ideas. For this reason, they are a vital part of any community.
Q. What decisions does the Parish Council make?
A. As councillors, we make all kinds of decisions on issues that affect the local community. Probably the most common topics that we get involved with are planning matters (The Council are statutory consultees), managing open spaces and other public assets and campaigning for and delivering better services and facilities. We have limited powers but we do have the ability to negotiate with, and the power to influence, those other organisations that do make the final decisions (such as the Cornwall Council, health authorities, police etc) The organisations that make the final decisions know that a parish council gives the best reflection of how a community feels about something, and its views will be taken seriously.
Q. What powers do the Parish Council have?
A. We have a wide range of powers which essentially relate to local matters, such as looking after our community buildings, open space, play areas, street lighting, bus shelters and much more.
Q. What if I wanted to be a councillor?
A. The best way to find out what it’s like to be a parish councillor is to talk to someone who’s doing it now. Come along to a parish council meeting, or speak to one of our councillors and find out what they think of the job.