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STAFFORDSHIRE: NULBC by-election Labour candidate

STAFFORDSHIRE: NULBC by-election Labour candidate

Steph Talbot, from candidate\'s campaign material

One of just two candidates in the Knutton by-election for a seat on Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council, Steph Talbot is representing the Labour party.

Talbot is CEO and co-founder of the Alice Charity, based in Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

The charity, which has been in operation for ten years, supports vulnerable and disadvantaged families across North Staffordshire.

It’s the first time Steph has stood for election, and she hopes to bring her experience in the third sector into local government. 

Steph said: “The reason I wanted to put my name forward for being a councillor was, I suppose, we’re quite reactive at Alice Charity in that we’re responding to demand because of poor policy.”

She said she feels there’s an opportunity to affect policy and reduce the number of people that relying on charities such as hers for support.

The Alice Charity started out as a toddler group in Clayton and evolved from there as different types of support were needed.

The charity opened a foodbank in Newcastle when they found families were regularly asking for help with food.

They also support families to become more resilient and independent as well as providing donations of things like furniture, Christmas presents, Easter eggs and children’s clothing.

Steph feels people are being let down by a lack of resources at local councils to support the kind of people she meets in her day-to-day work.

She said that as well as trying addressing this, she’s very conscious of the issues surrounding Walleys Quarry and this would be on her priority list as an elected official.

She told the LDRS that she was concerned about people being forced to leave the area.

She said: “It’s a heartbreaking thing to do, you don’t always want to leave your community.

“It’s also very expensive to move house.”

Her charity is supporting people with the costs of leaving, but also supporting those who want to stay with practical help such as air purifiers.

She said: “There’s tough conversations to be had with people about, realistically, how long it’s going to take [to solve the problem].”

“Although people don’t want to hear that, it’s better than giving people false hope.”

Steph added: “One of the big opportunities, I think, for Knutton is to rebuild itself as a community.

“They’ve lost a lot of physical assets in the community over the last couple of years – playing fields have been sold off, community centres have been knocked down.

“When physical assets are removed from a community like that, it removes the soul from a community.”

She felt projects such as youth clubs can help reduce crime, while isolation and loneliness in older people can be reduced by organising social afternoons.

She said, however, that she would listen to the resident sand give them an opportunity to share their ideas about what they wanted locally.

Acknowledging there’s little finance available in local government, she said her experience of partnership working would help create the opportunities the area needed.

Steph Talbot (Labour) is standing against Derek Huckfield (Conservative) on Thursday 25th November.

Words: Richard Price, Local Democracy Reporter


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