I have always lived in the borough of Southend and have been a resident of Leigh for over 40 years. I attended school in Blenheim Ward so I know the area very well. I have a background in running a local hairdressing business which was established in Leigh in 1984. The business employed and trained numerous apprentices and supported the Project Trident scheme. From 1984 I was one of the original members of the Leigh Traders’ Association that was responsible for establishing a number of community initiatives as well as founding the Leigh Christmas Lights.

I ran my business for 18 years during which time I went through a divorce and raised my 2 sons as a single Mum. I gained an OU degree and in 2002, at the age of 40, went on to train as a History teacher through the GTP. I have 15 years experience of working in secondary education, hold an MA in Education and am very conversant with the politics that go on behind our children’s schooling. I have always supported and voted for the Labour Party but it was during this time as a teacher that I began taking an active interest in government policies. Throughout my teaching career I was an active NASUWT member, including a term as its South Essex president, and supported and acted on behalf of staff to maintain teacher’s pay and conditions. Following the Conservative-LibDem coalition in 2010 that became an ever-increasing battle.

I have returned to my hairdressing roots and currently have a small business on the London Road. Community is very important to me. I have always volunteered for community events as I know how hard it is to set things up and didn’t want to see them stop e.g. Leigh Christmas Lights, Leigh Regatta, Leigh Road Baptist Church Friday Night Youth Café and the Winter Night Shelter.

In 2017 I put myself forward for a position on Leigh Town Council and won 2 consecutive elections. My experience of being a Town Councillor has given me the drive and passion to get involved in borough issues. Alongside my role as Leigh Town Councillor I currently work with the local senior schools to raise the profile of our youth and have established a monthly Youth Forum in Leigh. I also work with YMCA to run two weekly youth clubs in Leigh. My next aim is to include junior school pupils in the conversation as I am aware how our youngsters can be a vital source of information for development and/or change in the area.

I would say I have Christian values and a strong sense of justice and I believe that we need a more caring society. I am prepared to get my hands dirty to serve the residents. I am extremely pro-active and many Blenheim Park residents will have seen or spoken to me during Labour’s previous election campaigns and throughout the year helping local people and promoting our policies. I am a team player that wants the best for Southend and the surrounding areas. I understand what it means to represent the interests of a community and that is by understanding the needs of different groups in society, including the young, the elderly and others who are often marginalised. One of my main interests is the well-being of our young people especially during the current climate and the re-emergence from the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown. 

I know that nobody can properly represent the interests of all electors without consulting them, and speaking to residents will be a key part of my campaign despite the hurdles virus restrictions pose to traditional doorstep campaigning. Please use the contact details below to get in touch with me about the issues that concern you most, or any particular council-related problems you have and I will help if I can. I will be working closely with Laurie Burton, who was elected as a Labour Councillor in Blenheim Park in 2018. If elected I will work with him and colleagues as well as local residents to identify real improvements the Council can make to our area and achieve what it sets out to do.

Contact Anita:

Email: anita.forde@southendlabour.com

Tel: 01702 619868 (please leave a message for Anita and include your name, phone number and address)

Post: Blenheim Park Labour, 268 Sutton Road, Southend-on-Sea SS2 5ET

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