Monthly column: Get up, get out and get involved

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Kempston litter pick. Photo: Bedford Labour Group

As anybody who knows me well will tell you, I’m not a big user of social media. I use Facebook for family news and to keep up to date with local news outlets, Luton Town FC, and what my council colleagues are doing.

However, I’ve noticed that some people use social media to complain about problems but don’t actually report them, and then criticise when it’s not been attended to – also how quickly some people respond to posts adding their two-penneth.

Often it seems people react to a headline but not the full content of an attached article, and make downbeat comments straight away.

Voicing your opinion on social media is easy, and never before have so many people had a platform where they can instantly react to news that is posted.

Constant negativity is frustrating and disheartening.

On the bright side, councillors receive many valid and constructive ideas via social media and these are always welcomed.

I believe more people getting involved directly in our community is how change comes about, working alongside elected councillors can be effective and productive.

Lots of residents join us when we organise litter picks, approach us with ideas of how we can spend our Ward Funds to improve an area, and understand that the council is working with drastically reduced resources compared to thirteen years ago.

Bedford became a unitary council in 2009 and much has changed for the council over the last several terms of Conservative Central Government rule, with significant reductions in funding.

The council has been restructured to provide maximum efficiency wherever possible, but we know that the huge and growing demand on adults’ and children’s social care will continue.

Central Government needs to recognise this and reverse the drastic cuts in funding they have inflicted, so local authorities like Bedford are able to meet the demand and provide the services that are so vital.

If you’re frustrated by issues in your area, why not report them directly to the council via bedford.gov.uk/reportit rather than posting your irritation about something online? Alternatively, contact your local councillor by email or telephone and we will report the issue for you.

Like all of my fellow Labour Councillors, I am regularly out and about in my ward specifically noting problems and reporting them, but we cannot be everywhere all the time, and the council can’t fix problems if they don’t know they are there. 

You are the eyes and ears of your community so please let us know if you see something that needs attention.

Why not contact your local councillor to see how you can help improve your community? No councillor seeks election to make cuts to services, and your Labour Councillors have fought long and hard to protect frontline services we consider vital for our residents.

Feel free to come and have a chat with us at our surgeries or tell us your ideas when we knock on your door. If you want to help improve the area, get involved and see how your efforts can make a positive difference.

This is a monthly guest column provided by Cllr Carl Meader,
leader of the Bedford Labour Group.
It is published unedited and does not reflect the views of the Bedford Independent.