LGA FIRSTONLINE MAGAZINE, 8 APRIL 2008
A Day in the Life: Cllr Louise Baldock (Lab), Liverpool City Council
Before I became a councillor I used to pay great attention to national news, now it is pretty much confined to the Today programme and a few quick looks at the BBC website through the day.
Still, I always wake up to John Humphrys and catch up on the news headlines. Later in the car I will move over to Snelly on BBC Radio Merseyside and I read the Liverpool Echo rather than the Guardian now.
We are having local elections in Liverpool on May 1st so the council is now in the dreadfully named ”purdah” and there are very few council meetings.
So today I don’t have to rush out and I spend an hour or so after breakfast checking emails and updating my blog. At 10am I am standing on the street in Old Swan giving out leaflets to shoppers, inviting them to come along to our Dream High open day in a local church hall. I am a board member of this organisation linked to the Sirolli Institute in America. Basically we advise and mentor budding entrepreneurs in those areas of Liverpool where there is a lot of poverty and unemployment. One way to tackle the lack of opportunities in some areas is to encourage people to set themselves up in business and perhaps employ others, rather than wait for a job for which they are trained to come their way.
At noon I pack up and go to the Labour Party office to meet our candidate to go door-knocking. The Labour team has worked our way round 1000 houses in the last six months, chatting with residents about local issues; at this rate it will take us 7 years to visit the whole ward. Hopefully we can improve the rate in the summer when the warmer weather comes and the days are longer.
At tea-time I spend time on one of my favourite local projects in the ward , the restoration of Deane Road Jewish Cemetery. The cemetery is Victorian, opened in 1837 and closed with the very last burial in 1929. Since then, as the years have passed and visitors have been fewer and fewer, it has fallen into disrepair, become overgrown and neglected. The working group is made up of local residents and enthusiasts, a couple of members of the Jewish Synagogue in the City centre and two officers from Kensington Regeneration, our New Deal for Communities organisation who help with grant funding applications – we reckon we are going to need £250,000 to do a proper job. We are having an open day in May when we will invite every organisation we can find in the ward to visit the cemetery and hopefully they will then remember us when they want to fund,or volunteer for, community projects.
There are some famous Jewish figures buried here. The founders of H Samuel jewellers, the founder of Bahr Behrend shipping, David, the founder of Lewis’s Department Stores, the first Jewish Lord Mayor, it is real historical treat to get the full tour.
I get home about 8pm, open today’s despatches from the council’s courier and fire up my laptop. There are lots of messages, people to phone, replies to case-work queries, plus all the issues I picked up on the doorstep today. And as it is election time and the temperature has hotted up I update the blog regularly with campaign stories . With the TV on in the background I sit up until at least midnight, when I find my library book under a pile of laundry unlikely ever to be ironed and go up to bed.