What does being a councillor actually involve? And how rewarding can the responsibility be? Find out by reading the testimonies of serving local authority members.

Councillor Sean Anstee

Conservative, Trafford Council

I am opinionated and get very frustrated when organisations find reasons not do something – my approach is to challenge that and ensure Trafford Council can thrive

Councillor Saima Ashraf

Labour, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

I have always been involved in community activism, but when the BNP came to my area I knew it was time to stand up and be counted

Councillor Bill Winlow

Liberal Democrat, Lancashire County Council

As a councillor, I enjoy meeting people and trying to solve their problems or, better still, help them to solve their problems for themselves

Councillor Laura Conway

Independent, South Kesteven District Council

It's great to be able to give something back to a community that has given me so much. As an independent councillor I have the freedom to think issues through for myself and act on my own conclusions

Councillor Alice Bramall

Conservative, Milton Keynes Council

Coming to a local councillor can be a last resort for people and there is nothing more satisfying than helping them to resolve a problem or being their voice in the council chamber

Councillor Amanda Chadderton

Labour, Oldham Council

I became a councillor in 2012 and what I enjoy most is the ability to make a difference – you have the knowledge and contacts to help resolve issues for people

Councillor Hanna Zuchowska

Liberal Democrat, London Borough of Sutton

What motivated me to become a councillor was a desire to shape my local community. The real catalyst, however, was a recognition that it was really possible to drive positive change

Councillor Mark Stephenson

UKIP, Tendring Council

I love the sense of achievement when community projects I initiated are completed. There is something very satisfying about the pride and community feeling that you can bring together in an area