Bude & Stratton Town Council candidate – Jackie Diffey

The election is tomorrow, and Jackie is another Bude candidate:

I believe attitudes are changing.  There is a growing interest in how things are run, and why.  People want to have a say about how funds are allocated, what the town’s priorities are and to see a fair spread of facilities for everyone: young, old and in between – something I believe shouldn’t be left to a handful of people to decide.  In the last year we have seen the difference we can make when we work together and I’d like to see a council that draws the town into a conversation.  

Since moving to the area in 2008 with 3 young children, I have been involved with many of the fantastic clubs and organisations in the town, Bude Rugby Club as fixtures secretary, school PTA committees as Treasurer, Bude Canoe Club, Bude Diving Club, Bude Gig Rowing Club and Bude Surf Life Saving Club as volunteer, member then Treasurer, helping to run the ever-popular Christmas Day Swim. 

In 2018, I was part of a group who worked to bring a zero-waste shop to Bude and run it as a social enterprise, so that any profits should be returned to the community for the benefit of everyone.  We realised through research, campaigning and fund-raising that there were a lot of people who also wanted to cut down on unnecessary plastic in their lives. Lots of volunteer hours later, ReFILL Shop Community Interest Company opened its doors – that’s the power of action at a local level. We can make just about anything happen if we put our minds to it and community is the perfect scale at which to those make things happen.

I am now treasurer and core member of Transition Bude (another social enterprise) which is running a number of projects in Bude-Stratton aimed at strengthening communities, to make us more resilient to change and self-sufficient locally. 2020 certainly showed us the need for these things and also what an amazing community spirit there is here. 

I am naturally a team-player and I strongly believe in the power of collective participation – I want to see a town council that actively engages with its citizens throughout its term, a council that invites contribution and collaboration because we are stronger when we work together. I would like to see regular assemblies open to everyone that ask: ‘What are your priorities?’, ‘What would you like to change?’ and ‘How would you like us to allocate our budget?’  Speaking to voters on their doorsteps in the last few weeks has been fascinating – great ideas come from people, you just have to ask.

In the last 18 months, I’ve really got into growing, helping out at a smallholding 2 days a week.  This has been a great learning curve as well as offering a fantastic natural haven to work in.  I would love to get a community growing scheme here in Bude or Stratton so that everyone could enjoy the benefits – working with others, improved mental health, socialising as well as taking home the lovely produce! It could be a space for all age groups, skill-sharing and making connections as well as learning an important life skill.  It might also provide a venue for outdoor events and workshops of all kinds.  But these are just my ideas – I want to know what you want, and will keep asking, if I’m lucky enough to be elected.

Bude-Stratton is such a wonderful place to live but it’s the hard-working people and organisations, that make it so special. A council that brought people together would be the icing on the cake.

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