What April Believes: Edit
April Pond's official biography can be found on the Norwich Liberal Democrats website This page has been adapted from that.
In brief: Edit
- @aprilpond why should you get my vote? In 140 characters or fewer please. ;)
- @scourou Hi! Because I've got a record of action here. I'll work to clean up politics and fight the recession (incl. dualling the A11).
Norfolk born and bred, I come from a large family, who mostly still live in Norwich. I went to local schools and then at age 16 to Gt. Yarmouth College of Art & Design. I set up my first small business at the age of 21 and have been in business ever since, firstly in catering and later retail.
I think that the huge push to send 50% of our teenagers to university is ridiculous and ill thought out. For many, there is nothing but disillusionment after years of study, and a huge debt. You do not have to go to university to lead an interesting life, but you do need the basics, and ensuring that every child leaves middle school able to read, write and do simple arithmetic is the key to inclusion at secondary school. Practical training courses and apprenticeships in Norfolk should hold equal importance for schools and pupils to university.
Family Life: Edit
I am married to Jack and we have 4 daughters between us. I came to politics fairly late, as a means to help people rather than as a career choice, and was elected as a councillor and straight onto the cabinet in Norwich City Council in 2002. I oversaw some major projects in that time, including the re-building of St. Andrew's multi-storey car park, removing it from its status as a PFI project and finding the finance for the city to build it itself. The profit it makes each year now goes back to city coffers instead of to private investors. I am not a great fan of PFI schemes!
I instigated the 'Norwich Belongs to All of Us' campaign which won national awards for the city for cleanliness. This involved personally overseeing the overhaul of the Labour Citycare Contract to ensure all areas of the city and residential areas got cleaned regularly and properly, installing 500 new litter bins - (including outside every school and bus stop), major clean ups and collection of large items in residential areas including a complete overhaul in Mile Cross which suffered particularly from fly tipping.
I initiated fortnightly meetings with the market traders and ensured that Norwich market's major overhaul was done in 3 stages and in such a way that traders were allowed to trade on Gentleman's Walk while their section was being renovated, ensuring continued trading for them. Virtually all small businesses went back onto the newly renovated market, but the proposal under the previous Labour Administration would have evicted one third of these small businesses - over 100 of them.
Health services: Edit
I firmly believe that Norwich is a wonderful place to live - but we have to fight to be heard in Westminster. My most serious concerns are in the way Health and Social Services are being eroded. The permanent black and red alerts at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital because there are not sufficient beds is not acceptable*. We are told it is a government wish that community hospitals should remain open if the community wishes it, but I have fought for two years to keep St. Michael's hospital in Aylsham open. This and other community hospitals provide the very necessary link between an acute hospital stay and going home recovered. Common sense tells me that vulnerable people should not be sent home alone after a stay in the N & N, but unfortunately this happens all the time, and leads to re-admissions on a regular basis. I am very concerned about the way Social Services are buying in care at home packages from private firms which then 'self regulate' - too much evidence shows the pitfalls of over-privatising the health service.
- * Janice Bradfield from the Communications Department at N&N hospital has informed user:Payo that the hospital is not on a permanent state of Black or Red Alert. She added that there are several reasons to change the alert status - lack of beds is just one of these reason.
- "Delighted re April Pond's selection for Norwich N by-election. Very good candidate - natural successor to Ian Gibson - independent minded." - Norman Lamb (via Twitter )