Voices In Politics: Penryn Cornwall Council candidates

On May 6th, voters will head to the polls in large numbers for the first time since the pandemic began. Over 4000 elected positions will be contested in England alongside elections across the rest of the UK. For voters in Cornwall, this will include Cornwall Councillors, Parish Councillors, Truro City Councillors, Falmouth and Penryn Town Councillors and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The Anchor is pleased to offer a platform to the candidates for Cornwall Council in divisions around the Penryn Campus to make their pitch to voters. The views expressed in this piece are not representative of The Falmouth Anchor, but of the candidates.

You can find more information on the candidates standing in your area here.

Mary May – Independent

For the past 12 years I have represented part of Penryn as a Cornwall Councillor. This year, Penryn’s electoral boundary has changed and will encompass almost all of the remainder of the Town. Since elected in 2009, I have donated £28,800 from my community chest grant to local organisations and charities in Penryn, which have included but are not limited to: Schools, Sports Clubs, Church Community Halls, Dance and Gym organisations. I have worked with planning officers to negotiate developer contributions for our Town which will or have contributed towards the following:

  • £78,000 towards the outline of Glasney College, at College Field and £100,000 towards drainage works and greening of Glasney Field.
  • £70,000 funding will see greener play equipment which children from our School’s will design and will be incorporated into Trelawney Park.
  • £70,000 to aid our Sport’s Clubs in the Town.

Penryn is my Town – it’s where I live and love. I have served as School Governor and Chair of Governors with pride. For many years I have been Chairman of Penryn Federation (an older person’s club), secretary of the Royal British Legion Penryn Branch, Penryn Town Councillor (where I have been part of the Neighbourhood Plan, Climate Emergency working groups), and a member of the Town Fair and Carnival Teams. I have spent many years organizing popular social events at Christmas and at other important dates during the year.

My priorities are: Homes, Jobs, protecting our Green Spaces, supporting Cornwall Council’s Climate Change Development Document. I am also supportive of smaller bus usage in and around our Town, to reduce carbon emissions, which will enable better health for residents.

Finally, I am a retired RCHT Bereavement officer, I have the time to commit to being your Cornwall Council representative, if elected on May 6th, I will continue to work hard for my Town and its residents, above all, I will listen, represent and more importantly be a doer!

Jennifer Forbes – Labour Party

I started my working life as a BT engineer. One of the scariest telegraph poles I ever climbed was in Penryn. I have never backed away from a challenge.

Working as a BT Engineer was a great way to get to know an area, and the people that live here. I am aware of the ongoing issues that exist with broadband in Penryn, like many other parts of Cornwall. I also think it’s important to have people in politics who have learnt a trade, and know how hard it can be for many of us, to get by.

These days I teach people how to be trade union representatives. Over the last year that has meant helping many people on their journey to make their workplaces safer and protect jobs. It is a privilege to be a part of something so vital.

It keeps me in touch with life in a variety of workplaces from the hospital, the Uni, supermarkets and the Council. I am always ready to stand up for people in need. I am passionate about creating changes in the world of work, and improving the Cornish economy to give everyone the chance to thrive.

I have stood on the picket line with workers at Tremough, I am always ready to put people and the planet first.

The sad reality is, the Tories are likely to win seats across Cornwall. That means the strongest voice for Penryn will be the person best able to hold the Tories to account. I have been campaigning for years on the same issues that get decided in County Hall, from public transport, privatisation of public services to supporting the local economy.

I pledge:

  • To put the community at the heart of decision making
  • To be a fearless representative of the issues that need to be raised
  • To be readily available to the community and responsive to its needs.

Carrie Trevail – Conservative Party

I am privileged to be standing as the Conservative Party candidate in the Cornwall Council elections. Penryn is the hometown of my best friend and her parents who were lucky to have spent their whole life there. I am Cornish born and bred and love living here. Having spent most of my working life as a ‘caregiver’ and then more recently working for the family haulage company and farm, I am now very fortunate to be able to devote my time and energies to Penryn.

I own my own sheep and have recently joined forces with a local dairy so we now milk sheep and goats and we are developing small batches of organic free-range cheese. I have already discussed the creation of a new woodland on the outskirts of Penryn with officers of Cornwall Council; they have promised they will locate land and provide the infrastructure to extend Glasney woods. I pledge to create a project that involves students within the community, so your time here is both interesting and fulfilling, by developing and sharing skills with residents within the town.

Technology continues to make great improvements and I intend to make Cornwall Council less Trurocentric and to allow the money to flow down river to Penryn, creating a technology hub within the town that draws together intergenerational members of the town’s community; a modern-day library – but of talents. I will support the university to create an art gallery that sells students creations. I look forward to working for you to get a better deal for Penryn.

Tamsyn Widdon – Green Party

I’ve been an advocate for political participation all my life and worked in community development and advocacy before embarking on a teaching career, inspired by the introduction of Citizenship into the secondary school curriculum.

I now teach at Penryn College and one reason I’m running is to do more for the wonderful young people who live in our town, by representing them on Cornwall Council and contributing positively to a happy and healthy future for everyone in Penryn. Above all, though, I want to really engage the people of Penryn with their democratic institutions, so that we can work together for the well-being, sustainability and vitality of our town.

My Dad was Cornish, and when I had the chance to move back to Cornwall for work, I chose to raise my family in Penryn, having spent my 20s working and travelling in Latin America and around the UK. I immediately became involved in the community, volunteering for the primary school’s governing body, supporting various community projects and taking part in local sports, music events and clubs.

In 2017 I set up a social enterprise to give people easier access to nutritious and sustainably sourced food, whilst providing a venue for community fundraising, arts and celebrations. And in 2019 I was elected to Penryn Town Council.

One of the first things I did as a Councillor was to help declare a climate emergency, and I now chair the Climate Emergency Working Group for the Council. I’ve really enjoyed playing a part in shifting people’s thinking in a way that leads to greener decision-making.

With minimum fuss, Penryn Town Council has agreed to divest from carbon, changed to green energy suppliers and introduced an ecologically sustainable procurement policy. The Council now systematically promotes renewable energy in planning applications.

But there’s so much more we can achieve – improving local bus and train provision, supporting local businesses better and keeping more money in the local economy. I’m sociable, confident and well-known in Penryn, and I thrive when helping others. I feel I’ve already achieved a lot in Penryn, by bringing groups together to create a Community Woodland and a Youth Forum, for instance. I now want to use my communication and facilitation skills to help more people to work together for the benefit of our community. As I see it, that’s the sort of leadership people should expect from their elected representatives.