Graeme Hodgson for Market
City Candidate for Market
I’m Graeme Hodgson and I’m standing in Market Ward for a seat on Cambridge City Council.
After working for many years in International Education, I moved to Cambridge in 2017 to join the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Anglia Ruskin University, working in the Research and Innovation Development Office. My experiences there alongside the Positive Ageing Research Institute made me want to make a difference to adult social care in Cambridgeshire, so I joined the Local Authority as a Commissioning Manager in 2018. I’m also a Scout Leader.
I have been engaged in local grass roots activism and community engagement for many years. I campaigned hard against Brexit as I am a firm believer in the idea that diversity makes us stronger and we should celebrate and value other cultures and lived experiences different from our own. Recently, I led a petition for the telecommunications company EE to seek alternative sites for location of a 30m antenna mast which they wanted to place on Jesus Green tennis courts. The petition, which quickly exceeded 500 signatures, was successful and an alternative venue has since been found.
I am passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion as well as being a nature lover and defender of our biodiversity. This is why I have also campaigned for policies and projects which seek to reduce pollution and foster health and wellbeing not only of our population, but of our beautiful green spaces and native flora and fauna.
If elected, my top priority will be to reduce poverty in our city. Despite a decade of Tory and Lib Dem Coalition cuts, with next to no national funding, I would, as your local councillor, fight to maintain essential services for our most vulnerable residents as they grow older, as well as for those who are struggling to start get their start in life.
For me, taking an active role in the running of our city means local residents have a voice, a true representative of their interests, who will first and foremost listen to what they have to say. Someone who will seek consensus and, in some cases, find the best compromise between differing priorities then fight for implementation of those ideas which will lead to an improvement in quality of life and one Cambridge fair for all.
One example of this is when I helped campaign for a Police presence to be maintained in central Cambridge, despite the move from Parkside to a new HQ in Milton. I am a people person and enjoying learning from neighbours and voters on the doorstep. I have an open mind and understand that there are many reasons for people to hold the views they do on any one subject.
Not only do I believe Labour’s Green New Deal is the best way forward for restarting the economy in a sustainable way, but I know our local Labour City Council is as committed as I am to the environment and biodiversity, as evidenced by the planting of 1000 extra trees in 2020, with 1000 more due in 2021, as well as creation of 20 amazing wildflower gardens, with more planned. I was impressed by how quickly we were able to provide accommodation for 240 rough sleepers and homeless since the pandemic started, with 140 placed in longer term accommodation and I am proud that £700,000 was given in grants to homelessness organisations in 2020.
Already in 2021, the city council has given £1m in grants to voluntary organisations tackling poverty and inequality and the Citywide partnership welcomed 31,406 visits to our eight Community Food Hubs from March 2020 to January 2021. Personally, I have supported vulnerable people who were shielding by volunteering with Mutual Aid Groups and Care Network Cambridgeshire, a local charity that provides Help at Home for our older citizens.
During the pandemic, I spoke to hundreds of residents of Market Ward on the phone as door-knocking and leafleting were suspended. Now we are able to have some of those conversations on the doorstep again, I look forward to discussing residents’ concerns which I will take forward if you elect me as one of your local councillors.