Six months ago, Plaid Cymru Councillor for Llanrug, Beca Brown (pictured) was elected to Gwynedd Council. The big question is would she encourage others to try for the job?
Councillor Beca Brown said: “I would definitely encourage someone to stand as a county council candidate. The image of a councillor's work is traffic problems, dog fouling, parking problems, and of course there are elements of these. They may not sound exciting, but the environment here on our doorstep and how healthy and appealing it is, influence our attitude to the wider environment and our own well-being as individuals and as a community.
"Since the lockdowns, we have spent more time in our localities than ever before, and it is encouraging to see people's interest in what's in their own backyard. The fact that I can play a role in trying to alleviate or assist people to overcome difficulties or concerns makes my work valuable.”
For Beca who works as Communications Director for SaySomethinginWelsh and is a single mother of two, the fact that she is already a Community Councillor has assisted her in her new county councillor role.
Pictured: Councillor Beca Brown, mother of Leusa and Tomi, with Nel the greyhound, enjoying a walk in Llanrug
“You have an inclination of the job because you are part of the Community Council that feeds into the work of the County Council. Now that I have a foot in both camps, being able to bridge both organisations and work jointly on matters makes the job slightly easier.”
The biggest secret to the role, according to Beca, is to be organised.
“Because technology is so easily accessible now, I have to be very organised. People can contact me through about 12 different channels, from my email accounts, Facebook, Twitter, phones, etc. I could be at work, at a Zoom meeting or sending one of the children to some activity, when a message comes through to me. So, I have lists of people who have contacted me and on what platform, and then an action list that details how inquiries are progressing. There are a number of topics that need research, resources and collaboration to solve and that doesn't happen overnight.”
Beca’s work with the FareShare food scheme in Llanrug has increased since being elected as Councillor: “I’m pleased that I am now able to support my fellow Councillor for Cwm y glo, Berwyn Parry Jones, with the task of collecting the food from Bangor and delivering it back here to Llanrug. It is, however, sad that we need to support people to feed themselves and their families in this day and age. I am concerned that the situation will only get worse as we move into the winter months.
“Berwyn is my best friend at the council - he has been a truly valuable friend and supporter, especially as we continue to work from home and not meet face to face with other councillors and officers. He is always there to point me in the right direction and is a loyal colleague as I learn more about the work.”
For Beca, there is sadness in that she was elected to the role, following the loss of the late Councillor, Charles Wyn Jones. Beca says that she feels privileged to follow in his footsteps and continue with his work.
Since her election, Beca sits on Gwynedd Council's Care Scrutiny Committee and is a member of the Council’s Language Committee. She has a strong interest in both areas and representing the highest Welsh speaking community in Wales, puts her in a valuable position.
In the coming weeks, Beca is keen to arrange a session with a team of volunteers to collect litter in the village and has plans to discuss with the youth of the area how they can help her raise awareness of the impact of dog fouling has on their environment during play and recreation.
“The voice of young people is powerful, so I want to encourage them to prepare short video clips to share their feelings. The problem of dog fouling lies entirely with irresponsible dog owners. Fortunately for us, very few people behave this way, but we all have our part to play in keeping the village and the environment clean and healthy.”
And for the County Councillor who walks Llanrug Ward twice a day with Nel, her very own greyhound, she is delighted to stop, chat and listen to her very own community.
If you are interested in standing as a Plaid Cymru Gwynedd candidate, an informal zoom session will be held on Tuesday 12 of October at 6pm for the Dwyfor Meirionnydd area. Pre-registration is essential https://www.dwyformeirionnydd.cymru/dos_amdani_take_a_stand A similar successful event for the Arfon area was held recently. For more information, contact [email protected]