Transcript: Cllr Beverley Momenabadi, Ettingshall Ward, Wolverhampton

Our council’s door is open to everyone. And, the more diverse the council is better.

So I studied youth and community services at University. I always knew that I wanted to do a job which was about helping people and serving the community. I’ve worked with young people who have disabilities and when I came to Wolverhampton, I proudly got a job here at the YMCA working with homeless young people

What inspired you to become a councillor?

Some of the most vulnerable young people that I’ve ever come across in my life, they became homeless for a number of reasons, it could be to do with family breakdown, it could be to do with family bereavement, I work with a lot of young people in care. But working here, although I’ve seen and witnessed a lot of things which bothered me, which upset me, the life chances and the opportunities that young people were given through somewhere like the YMCA was life changing and I’ve seen with the right support young people’s lives could be transformed.

So the reason that I wanted to become a councillor was because I was disillusioned by the governance of this country, I was seeing the real issues that young people and vulnerable people faced when I worked at this charity and I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to have a voice in being able to challenge and change some of the root causes of those problems that I’ve seen that people were faced with. You have a voice and a stake in those decisions that are life changing if you become a councillor.

Why should someone look at becoming a councillor?

When you look at what’s going on in the world or you feel that there are injustices in the world, you can get really, you can get really angry about it. But the truth is being at home on Twitter ranting about it, doesn’t make a huge difference and what I’d say to anyone thinking about becoming a councillor is that if you want to make a real difference you can do that by becoming a councillor.

What skills do you need to become a councillor?

You don’t have to come from a particular background or have a certain qualification. I would say real life experience is also very, very welcomed. If you’re thinking about becoming a councillor, I would say that the door is open to everyone. I really welcome applicants to become councillors from all sorts of backgrounds, regardless of age, ethnic minority, race, religion. Our council’s door is open to everyone. And, the more diverse the council is better.

What advice would you give?

And I would suggest that, you know, anyone thinking about running for council - although you can run as an independent - have a look online, have a look and read the manifestoes of different parties, get to know them, see which values align most with your own.

What work is involved day to day?

So, you’ll get casework from your ward that you represent and it could be something for instance like a broken bus shelter outside somebody’s house that they’re reporting to you and they want fixing and cleaning up. It’s your role to work with residents to resolve those kind of issues. Some issues that you are faced with are a lot more serious. For example, it could be a family who is about to lose their home and they come to you for support in how to get rehoused. So the issues are really varied as to what people come to you for.

Above all, being a councillor is an absolute privilege to me and it’s something that you should never take for granted. And you cannot take it for granted by being tenacious, being dedicated, being motivated, and always doing your utmost to help people.