Learning disabled shown election ropes in Galashiels

SIX of the seven candidates seeking election in Galashiels and District – the only Scottish Borders Council ward to return four members – heard about the concerns of local people with learning disabilities and their carers during an all-day information event in Langlee Community Centre on Monday, writes Andrew Keddie.

Organised by the Borders Voluntary Community Care Forum (BVCCF) and People First Borders to raise awareness of the local government elections, it afforded service users, during a morning session, to learn about the council and its responsibilities and how to complete the ballot paper on May 3.

Participants were able to ‘cast their votes’ using the new style ballot boxes and a polling booth, after hearing ‘party political broadcasts’ from the Smarty Party, the Hearty Party and the Party Party.

In the afternoon, the delegates were joined by the real candidates for lunch and later engaged in a question-and-answer session, during which a number of local issues were raised.

Kathleen Travers of BVCCF told us: “The day was a mix of fun and information, and was aimed at raising awareness of the election process and giving those attending the opportunity to raise their concerns with the local candidates. Most of the People First members and the carers who were there live in Galashiels, so this was a great opportunity for them to meet the candidates in person and hear about their policies as we head towards the election.

“We would like to thank the candidates for coming along and getting involved. We all had a great day and hope to repeat the event in Hawick, again with the support from local candidates.”

The only candidate not in attendance was Bill Herd (SNP), which was due to attendance being restricted to one hopeful per political party and the SNP was represented by John Mitchell.