A very warm welcome to my blog, and my first posting! Seeing as this is where it all begins, it's probably sensible for me to give an explanation as to why I'm doing this, and what I hope to achieve.
You may know that I've been a parish councillor for a few years now, and what I've learnt more than anything in that time is that so much of what a parish council does is on behalf, and in the name, of local residents. In truth, parish councils have very little direct power and authority (and future postings will touch on the things we can and can't do), so we tend to act more as an advocate on behalf of the local community. But this only works if the local community actually knows what it is we're saying, and why we're saying it. And that is one of the things this blog will attempt to do.
The benefit of a blog is that, being web based, it's easy (and cheap!) to update on a frequent basis. I will try to explain some of the background to the things the parish council talks about and decides, as well as sharing with you the meetings and events that I go to and the things I learn whilst I'm there.
Being a parish councillor is not for everyone (and I suspect most of you would find a lot of what we get involved in as tedious, unproductive and dull!), but the benefit of the blog is that you can skip the bits that are of no interest and go straight to postings that tell you something that you might otherwise not of known. And all of this in the knowledge that I've sat through the three hour meetings so that you don't have to!
The blog will hope to add to, and not replace, any other source of information that is currently used. BASIS magazine does a great job of sharing information, and the parish council always has a few pages explaining the business it's considered over the past few months. This will continue. The village noticeboards - especially Barnacle's brand new one! - will also continue to display public information of interest (including the agenda for upcoming parish council meetings). Many people don't want to, or can't, access information online, but my blog is aimed at those of you that, given the choice, are happy to find out what you want to know via the internet.
I'll get my apologies in early too. The seven councillors who make up Shilton Parish Council are representatives for the whole of the parish's area (ie. both Shilton and Barnacle villages). None of us represent a specific location, or part of an area, in the same way that your county and borough councillors do. But inevitably, many of us have a greater understanding, knowledge and interest in the immediate area where we live, and for me, that'll be Barnacle. So if some of you detect too much of a Barnacle-centric slant to my postings, then I am sorry, but it's reflective of what prompted me to start this blog in the first place - sharing my news, views and information with the people I live amongst in order that they have a better idea what one of their parish councillors, and their parish council, are getting up to.
It may of course all turn out to be a pointless exercise and of little use to anyone, but time will tell! I'll certainly commit to keeping it running for at least 12 months, and promise to try and post some snippet of news or information at least once a week. Ultimately, it'll be up to you to decide whether it's telling you anything you didn't already know.
It also goes without saying that any views or comments expressed are mine, and mine only. If you don't like what I'm saying, then let me know via the 'comments' option that's available at the bottom of every post, or the next time you see me in the street.
So that's the introduction and explanation. Now to start blogging!