She currently works as an international aid auditor, working closely with several European countries on the audit of global development programmes and remains deeply concerned at the unnecessary economic damage Brexit will cause.
Helen, alarmed that the nature of political debate in this country was moving further to the extremes, was drawn to the Liberal Democrats as a party committed to a fair, free and open society, evidence-based policies, and electoral reform unlike Labour and the Tories.
"The Lib Dems have a strong record in local government, working tirelessly for local communities, because we actually listen to what people in our communities want and we fight for them.
"We've seen many examples where the Hackney Labour administration have no interest in engaging with residents, especially on the Low Traffic Neighbourhood issue where the Council's approach has been needlessly divisive.
"The Hackney Liberal Democrats are in favour of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods as part of a wider London plan to also introduce road pricing to deal with traffic on main roads, as well as improving public transport and cycling infrastructure.
"But the consultation needs to be an open conversation, as no two LTNs are the same, and the schemes will have different impacts in different communities. It's so vital that residents are engaged with the process, and are not shut out anytime they share a view that differs from the Council's position.
"I will be guided by the data and evidence, really listen to residents, and be a strong voice for the whole community."
Elizabeth Prochaska for Kings Park
Elizabeth is a barrister and human rights campaigner who has lived in Hackney for 12 years. She ran the legal team at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and set up her own human rights charity.
Elizabeth has been a Hackney school governor and she's passionate about children’s right to a good education. She wants to be a strong and experienced voice on the council standing up for quality education for children from all backgrounds.
Tony Harms has lived in Hackney for 34 years. For 20 years he ran a Hackney based Adoption Support Agency and is currently the Secretary of a Mental Health Charity. He has been active in conservation issues and was Secretary of the Stoke Newington Conservation Area Advisory Committee. He is a member of the City and Hackney CCG Patient and Public Involvement Committee (to be reorganised) and is a former vice-chair of the Lordship Safer Neighbourhood Forum. He has previously contested Lordship, Clissold and Stamford Hill West wards.
"The pandemic has changed Hackney forever and we have an opportunity to rebuild a fairer, greener borough for everyone. We need to look at the whole picture when thinking about a green recovery and really bring the whole community onboard to tackle things like traffic pressure, air pollution and making our neighbourhoods safe for walking, cycling, and much more accessible for those with mobility issues.
"As a Liberal Democrat I believe that we should do this by putting power in the hands of local people who really understand the challenges, and as a Councillor I would engage with the diverse community through ward forums and residents groups and give them a real say in the running of their ward so we can tackle these important issues together."
Alton Hassan for Woodberry Down
Originally born and raised in Essex, Alton moved to Hackney in 2008 where it has been his home ever since.
He has had varied careers, working as an Actor for a decade before working for one of Europe’s largest regeneration projects, managing it’s digital infrastructure. Being a part of this project has given Alton the experience and insight into what can be created from a dream, belief and lots of incredibly hard work. This experience has also given him an insight into the issues around housing and the tools to solve them.
"Regeneration projects can be really positive but they need to be resident-led and not just the vision of a property developer. Hackney Council has really shown us how not to approach these types of projects, particularly in Woodberry Down with the felling of the Happy Man Tree that was such an important part of the local community. If I am elected Councillor I will not let residents get pushed around by developers or the Labour-run Council.
"We need to be much more demanding with these projects and make sure we are building far more council homes so that local people can benefit from improved housing and not get pushed out by unaffordable rents. Hackney Council's record on this is really poor with figures showing that since 2003 there has been a net loss of 1392 social rent homes as a result of regeneration schemes in the borough. It's no wonder why people feel their communities are being eroded.
"As a Councillor I would campaign to make sure there is resident-led decision making on future regeneration plans. We also need to be more creative with building homes and consider converting and renovating existing spaces in a much more extensive way. Big regeneration projects are sometimes needed, but they have an impact on the environment that also needs to be considered."
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