Following a by-election last December, I’m proud to be a Labour & Co-operative Party Councillor in Lancaster, the first in the district for decades.

When the Councillor for University ward resigned, I knew I wanted to be a Labour & Co-operative Party candidate. Having being born in London I came from an area with a strong Co-operative Party tradition, one that I wanted to help revive in Lancaster. I’m extremely grateful to Gary Booth, Shane Brogan and Jack Croysdill in the Co-operative Party for their support and helping us achieve this important milestone in Lancashire.

Not only I am in the first Labour & Co-operative Party Councillor in the district inyears, but I am also the youngest in the country. I first moved to Lancaster in 2015 to start my degree, and soon got involved with the local Labour Party, campaigning in various by-elections and in the EU referendum. It was a hard-fought campaign, and I’m proud of the achievements we’ve made with this result.

The area that I represent is unique. University and Scotforth Rural Ward is almost entirely made up of University halls, which means that the ward simultaneously has the youngest electorate in the country and almost no long-term residents. Something that was borne out in the 7% turnout in December. When most of your constituents move out of the ward by the end of the academic year you have to focus on issues that affect life in the wider district, such as housing, landlord licencing and public transport, all areas the Co-operative party has developed strong ideas that engage people.

Our plan is to build Lancaster into a real stronghold of Co-operative activity. A Co-operative approach could help solve some of the biggest problems faced by Lancaster’s student population. Co-operative housing is the best way to protect students from exploitative, lazy landlords, while at other Universities enterprising students have already been using food co-ops to help tackle the cost of living crisis faced by so many of them. With local government across the country struggling for resources the Co-operative difference is important now more than ever, and it’s an effort that I am proud to be part of.