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My Role As A Community Councillor

posted 18 Dec 2015, 03:34 by Communications TEAM   [ updated 18 Dec 2015, 03:35 ]

Community Councillor Michael Burt gives an insight into why he joined the Community Council and what his role now involves.

I applied to join Bridge of Allan Community Council in October 2013 after a rallying call by then chair, Gavin Drummond. Member numbers had dwindled and without recruiting new members there was a real risk of the Community Council being dissolved.

At the time, the proposed development at Airthrey Kerse was very much at the forefront of my thoughts and that spurred me on to volunteer to join the Community Council. Whilst, sadly, the threat of Airthrey Kerse has not diminished that much in the last two years, my role on the Community Council has grown significantly.

All your community councillors contribute in their own way. We all attend the monthly meetings and most correspondence and queries are distributed among us via email for discussion or approval. In the last year we have developed how we work with each of us stepping up into particular roles or getting involved in particular projects while maintaining a flow of communication between us.

For example, with a view to increasing community engagement we set up a subgroup of the Community Council to deal with communication among ourselves and with the community. There are four members to the comms sub-group and we’re charged with getting information out to you, the wider community but more importantly, garnering feedback from you. We meet on occasion to discuss the most pressing issues of the day, we plan our communication and then we take action. Other groups of community councillors take part in looking after flooding problems, others in helping to set up community events like Christmas lighting and the Christmas Fair, others look at planning applications, parks, lighting and community safety.

I’m fairly technically savvy and felt strongly that social media could be utilised to better effect so I volunteered to be part of the comms sub-group. I help with most of the digital media postings whether it be on our website or our Facebook & Twitter feeds. Whilst we’re still finding our feet we have great success increasing engagement with our likes on Facebook up from less than 200 to almost 500 meaning we can now engage with many more residents in the village. This is proving invaluable when it comes to gauging the wider public opinion on issues. You help us a lot by liking, commenting on, sharing and retweeting our posts.

One of the main questions I had before joining the Community Council was ‘how much time will being a Community Councillor require?’ To be honest, it can involve as much time as you are willing to put into it. Some weeks it can involve very little with perhaps just a few emails to look over. Other weeks are perhaps more involved with meetings or more detailed discussions being required for a decision or prepping for an upcoming community project. There are some weeks though that I simply cannot give ANY time to Community Council business, what with having a young family and two businesses to manage. It’s just the nature of the beast though, we all have busy lives. The more people that are involved though the more enjoyable volunteering for the community becomes.

What do I like about being a Community Councillor? Well, I love living in Bridge of Allan. It’s a great, thriving little village with a real energy and spirit about it and it’s incredibly satisfying to be a part of something that works for the betterment of the village. I enjoy working alongside enthusiastic, like-minded individuals to discuss, plan, debate and consider the multitude of issues that pass through the Community Council in any given year. It’s really fascinating too. I’ve learned so much about Bridge of Allan since coming aboard that it’s just added to my appreciation of the place.

I hope that gives you a bit of an insight into what’s involved in being a community councillor. Does it make you want to get involved? If so we’d love to hear from you. We’re looking for new members in January so if you have any questions at all then please just drop me an email or give me a call, my details are below. Hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards

Michael Burt

m: 07999 943765