The new mayor of St Edmundsbury says she would like to encourage more young people to engage in civic life and is also aiming to raise funds for charities close to her heart.
Julia Wakelam is the first Green councillor to hold the position in the borough and takes over from Cllr Patrick Chung. She and her deputy mayor Terry Clements were appointed at a ceremony on Thursday at the Apex.
Cllr Wakelam says she would like to get the community - especially young people - more engaged with what the council does. She said: “Certainly before I became interested in politics and to be honest before I became a councillor I wasn’t aware of quite how much the council does. Both county and borough councils affect people’s lives and people know so little about how they work and don’t feel like it affects them. I would like to get people engaged. It isn’t about politics, it’s about communities.”
She also aims to raise money for three charities - the dementia hub at Gatehouse, the Bury Free Press Defeat Dementia Campaign and Nicky’s Way at St Nicholas Hospice Care, which supports bereaved young people.
Cllr Wakelam, chairman of Gatehouse, says the charity is planning a revamp of its premises, in Dettingen Way, to provide a one stop access for information and support to help people with dementia and their carers. The BFP campaign in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK was launched by sports editor Russell Claydon whose grandfather, Brian Yallop, has Dementia with Lewy Bodies.
Her first official act as mayor was to open a retro ‘Memory Cafe and Shoppe’ at North Court Care Home, in Bury, which supports people with dementia. Residents are able to help out in the cafe and shoppe, where they can also enjoy reminiscence sessions and socialise with family. In the future, the home aims to use the cafe to run dementia support groups.
On Sunday, Cllr Wakelam joined the British Legion Riders at Bury Cemetery to honour Private Albert Ralph from the Cambridgeshire Regiment who died in Bury in 1916.
She will host the Mayor’s Summertime Ball at Ravenwood Hall on July 8. For tickets or to donate raffle or auction prizes email firstname.lastname@example.org