Getting into politics

Clare De Silva is a Conservative councillor for Bush Hill Park
Clare De Silva is a Conservative councillor for Bush Hill Park

In our latest councillor’s column, Bush Hill Park ward member Clare De Silva talks about the importance of getting young people politically active

We are facing huge challenges both nationally and locally in our political arenas and in many ways it is a time like no other for our democracy. Contrary to popular opinion however, politics, especially at a local level, is actually relatively easy to get involved in.

Encouraging others to get involved in public life is a real passion of mine, so it was a huge privilege to visit year five pupils at The Raglan Schools recently. Fellow Bush Hill Park councillor James Hockney and I spent an afternoon with 120 children aged nine and ten, being grilled on all things political. To tie in with Local Democracy Week the pupils also had the opportunity to take over the council chamber at Enfield Civic Centre for their own debate!

For many years I thought that politics was something that ‘other’ people did. It was a career in the charity sector, working in some of the most disadvantaged areas of London, which led me into political life. I began to see that some of the barriers holding people back from flourishing in their family lives, socially and economically, went deeper than I was able to reach. I realised that I needed to be on the other side of the table; that’s why I am now involved in politics.

I became a councillor in Bush Hill Park just over a year and a half ago because I wanted to be able to support the local community and make a positive difference. It’s a very tangible and practical way of getting involved in local issues and I am able to be part of improving everyday life for local residents.

I was so encouraged by the passion of the students from The Raglan Schools in Wellington Road as they spoke about politics. They were engaged, informed and interested, keen to share their thoughts on pressing local issues such as parking around their school as well as broader issues including climate change. At a time when our politics is under strain, it is great to see the enthusiasm of the next generation and budding politicians in the making.

I would encourage anyone of any age who is interested in public life to get stuck in and get involved.

Clare De Silva represents Bush Hill Park along with James Hockney (Conservative) and Will Coleshill (independent). Ward surgeries are held every third Friday of the month, 12.30pm-1.30pm, at Stanton Coffee Shop, Queen Anne’s Place, Enfield EN1 2QB.
Call 07971 673 881
Email [email protected]