City Councillor for West Chesterton

Cllr Rachel Wade - City Councillor for West Chesterton
Contact Cllr Rachel Wade

I lived the first year of my life at Beale’s way Arbury, my Mother’s family lived at Stanley road during the WW2 years before moving to Council housing in Trumpington. My father’s family were uprooted from Suffolk in the 30’s when the advent of tractors ended 3 generations of working the land with Suffolk punch horses. 

When I got into Hills Road 6th Form College, my head was turned by music, and politics being a teenager during the divisive Thatcher years and I was a supporter of Music Against Racism, shook a bucket for Miners and started my journey into Trade Unionism and female empowerment. 

I then joined the Civil Service where I stayed for 25 years. The Social Security Act of 1948 was about the foundation of the Welfare State and I was proud to help people to understand their entitlements, we were taught that everyone has the right to be believed and to claim benefits when they needed help, our job was to apply the law without fear or favour and with honesty and integrity.

My passion to open educators’ minds and break down educational barriers for both students and parents was top of my agenda. As a result, I left the Civil Service to work at Chesterton Community College. During my time there, I expanded the library stock and introduced dyslexia friendly books, encouraging pupils to read anything, graphic novels, newspapers, using a multi-sensory and more familiar range of books that students felt comfortable with. 

I’ve gained an insight into some of the most impoverished areas of our city, and working in the college library after college was insightful, students who were digitally excluded, pupils who had no food before and after the school day, students who loved the security and stability of the day as home was chaotic and they were effectively parenting their adults. It was a privilege to be taken into their trust and to support students.

I also sought to support and help my  colleagues as a UNISON rep. Helping to solve several issues & with my GMB colleague organising the college towards strike action against austerity cuts. 

My time at Chesterton further compounded my belief that we all deserve a fair chance in life, we all deserve access to free education, elitism has no place in a fair society, each child has potential and monetising of education is scandalous. It can only serve to compound the status quo and ensure that the Eton boys continue to rob and pillage our country. 

I was able to give back to my community, volunteering at St Andrews to improve reading standards there. 

I focussed my efforts there on raising the profile and safety of vulnerable witnesses by using video links and ensuring that women and children felt safe and comfortable during their time at court. I also looked to staff welfare issues as neglect and family cases are difficult to deal with for all concerned especially the victims, dealing with each person to ensure they were afforded dignity and respect and that my colleagues had time to process and de-stress after a gruelling day.

My work at meadows Community Centre shows Labour’s manifesto in action. Our Labour run council is one of the few that is investing still into Community development, building a brand new Community Hub in the centre of Arbury to expand and improve services for local residents, whether it be a warm space, alongside those at Milton Road Library or access to IT and online services, the new building will serve the community well. As we learnt during the pandemic, local solutions can be found in times of crisis by the local community pulling together. Local services and businesses reached out to support and help each other to survive. We have learnt that together we are able and resilient enough to overcome adversity. The ordinary folks of Cambridge were the ones that pulled together to check on neighbours, deliver food etc. we became extraordinary together. 

And now, it is again the ordinary people of Cambridge that are being asked to pay for the cost of living crisis created by the current Government’s shambolic standards of government. We all need decent affordable housing, safe neighbourhoods to live peaceably. And the peace of mind to know that when circumstances dictate, we will have strong and robust local services to call upon for help. Our legacy going forward I believe is to leave a city that can sustain and nurture the next generation to flourish and grow roots too. One Cambridge Fair for All.


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