- Name – Joan Griffiths
- Party – Scottish Labour Party
- Ward – Craigentinny Duddingston
What is your story?
I have always been politically active but when my disabled son was born, I learnt very fast that there were no services and if I wanted services, I would need to help create them and get involved in helping develop services for the most vulnerable in our society. I also found that not everyone is able for all sort of reasons to speak out, so I became a voice for others. I came into labour politics to improve people’s lives. I am a can do person; I have real life experience which I take into the City Chambers.
Following the birth of my son I made a career change and worked in a number of different roles in social work, Planning and Commission Officer for people with Learning Disabilities, Carers and Equalities. I managed a resource centre for people with Mental Health and managed Midlothian Social work complaints.
Since I was re-elected in 2017 I was honoured to be the Depute Lord Provost and Carers Champion as well as Vice Convener Finance & Resources
What are the main issues you will be campaigning on?
Personally I feel that the sign of a caring society is how it cares for its most vulnerable citizens, and I want to ensure that people can remain in their own homes with appropriate support and, if they are unable, that there is long term care that suits their needs.
Our children and young people have suffered greatly over the past two years with the gap in attainment widening and this needs to be addressed as a priority.
In the Labour Party I feel we need to invest in our services and in our local communities by supporting community groups and work to improving existing community services. We also need to redress the inequalities in our city and build a strong local economy which supports fair work.
Edinburgh Labour is determined to get the basics right to ensure that the core services that impact on our citizens and will work with local communities to make sure the infrastructure works for all.
Your achievements in the last five years
In my Ward I fought hard to ensure we did not lose our local sports centre. I was out campaigning, along with the local community and sports groups to ensure we had a new Meadowbank Sport Centre, which will open this year.
I lobbied my colleagues and council officers to ensure that a local voluntary organisation did not lose out in the grant process by getting the funding it needed to continue the good work they do in the local community.
I also worked with residents to fight hard for an additional £230K for the regeneration of Northfield Grove to ensure the mixed tenure back gardens were included in the regeneration program.
If nothing else the Covid crisis has brought home to us the value of our parks. Working with the Community Council I secured additional funding for the Loganlea Play Park and managed to ensure that the council carried out the necessary work at Lochend Park to resolve flooding issues.
I think that Edinburgh Labour in setting up the Edinburgh Poverty Commission led by Cllr Cammy Day was a very good achievement. The body was set up to better understand the forces which drive almost one in four children in Edinburgh into poverty. The commission listened and learned from the voices of citizens in Edinburgh who are struggling and the report will help the city to build on what works well but challenge Edinburgh to do better.
What is the surprising thing about you?
I am a passionate football supporter and have a season ticket for Heart of Midlothian.