When I nominated Cllr Ashraf to be the deputy Mayor I talked you through how she arrived to where she is today. A child born and bred in Northampton, through many stages of realising her dreams and ambitions for higher education, a career, a marriage, children and lastly political engagement.
I talked you through her trials, her tribulations and her triumphs so that you had an insight into all the many areas of barriers she faced and still faces. The story shows her to be resilient, determined and above all productive, even in the face of adversity.
Today, I want to highlight Cllr Ashraf’s role as a community activist. You will know she is an exemplary ward Councillor. In fact I have been told by officers on more than one occasion that she is the best of the best. She has conducted many successful campaigns on behalf of her constituents. You will be aware of her campaign to make St James a litter free zone. Her campaign to stop dog fouling. Her campaigns to improve public spaces.
It’s how she does it that marks her out. Cllr. Ashraf engages her community. She develops partnerships. She works with Borough and other officers, like the police, on action plans, where the community feel a sense of ownership, because she has listened to their concerns. Her partnerships includes her local school and the children of the school. It includes local retailers and then of course all the community groups. The results are plain for you and for me to see. But she also runs campaigns which have an immediate impact on vulnerable people. You may recall her food bank campaign where she had so many donations she had to use community rooms for deliveries. You may know of her recent call for Baby equipment and clothes to support families over Xmas and over the Winter.
On December 12th she is launching her Warm Winter Coats appeal.
Cllr. Ashraf doesn’t just say it. She does it.
That’s why her nomination as the first chair of Northampton Town Council has had such cross party and community support. I am proud to nominate Cllr. Ashraf as the first chair of Northampton Town Council.