Community council elections approach

ASTOUNDING: Maybole's Mark Fletcher said he would encourage community-minded inviduals to put themselves forward as community council nominees.
ASTOUNDING: Maybole's Mark Fletcher said he would encourage community-minded inviduals to put themselves forward as community council nominees.

CARRICK community councillors are preparing to step back and be re-counted as elections approach.

Nominations close in only a week’s time and existing councillors are keen to make it known new blood is always encouraged.

Community councils are non-political and are intended to bridge the gap between local authorities and communities. There are currently around 1200 in Scotland,

They help make public bodies aware of the opinions and needs of the communities they represent, and support the role of elected councillors.

Many community councils also involve themselves in a wide range of other activities including fundraising, organising community events and undertaking environmental and educational projects.

Mark Fletcher (pictured above), who become chairman of Maybole Community Council a year ago and has been a community councillor for six, said he would recommend joining a community council as a way to feel “really involved” in community life.

“The variety of things that the community council is involved in is astounding,” he said.

“It is very easy, with our busy lifestyles, to take so much for granted and not realise that there are so many things that we can get involved with that make so much difference within our communities.”

Leader of South Ayrshire Council, Councillor Bill McIntosh (pictured above left), said community councils play an increasingly important role in local life, expressing the wider views of residents within its boundaries regardless of age, gender, ability, ethnic origin, political or religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.

“As we raise our ambitions in terms of how we deliver services to local residents, there is going to be more reliance on community councils to ensure those local voices and opinions are heard,” he said. “Becoming a community councillor is an excellent way to influence the future decisions that affect your area.”

Community councillors need no particular qualifications or background experience, but they must be aged 18 years or over, be on the electoral register for their area and not already be an elected member of any local authority. Some additional criteria apply and these can be viewed online at: www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/communitycouncils.

Nomination forms can be dowloaded from www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/communitycouncils/elections, or upon request by emailing CommunityCouncils@south-ayrshire.gov.uk or phoning 01292 612181/612447.

Nomination forms must be returned to the Returning Officer, Community Council Elections, County Buildings, Wellington Square, Ayr KA7 1DR in a sealed envelope by 4pm on February 21.

Please note that some community councils have made arrangements to send in applications together. Please check with your local community council chairman within good time of the closing date whether this is the case in your local area. All nominations can be accepted individually.