Mayor of Weston Speaks about Democracy

Weston College was proud to welcome the mayor of Weston-super-Mare, councillor Ciarán Cronnelly last week for a talk about democracy and the role of local government.  

Mayor Cronnelly was elected to both North Somerset Council and Weston Town Council in 2019, representing Winterstoke ward. In May of 2023 he was elected mayor. His background before taking up this position was in the charity and volunteering sector, spending his whole career in this area including working for Citizens Advice for a number of years. Mayor Cronnelly said: “This work and volunteering has given me the skills I have now”.  

As a functional role, the mayor is the Chair of Weston Town Council. This means that they make sure that decisions are fair, and that everyone has had their voice heard. People on the council come from a wide range of backgrounds with a diverse range of views, making this incredibly important.  

The mayor also acts as a local and national representative for Weston. Mayor Cronnelly explained to students that he often meets with other mayors in the surrounding area, discussing how the surrounding towns can help each other. He also represents the views of residents by advocating for the Town Council nationally, even visiting Parliament to discuss Weston Town Council.  

The mayor also engages with the police and crime commissioner, as well as carrying out community visits and charity visits. He celebrates the important work that these people and organisations are doing and helps to promote their work to a wider audience. Each mayor chooses a charity for the year with Mayor Cronnelly choosing the Weston Foodbank. He has raised over £7000 since taking office!  

One of the key reasons that the mayor visited Weston College was to discuss democracy with our learners. With a general election approaching this year, the mayor spoke about how important it is to register to vote. Although you can’t vote if you are under eighteen, you can register to vote from sixteen.  

A way Mayor Cronnelly suggested to get involved with democracy at a college level as a student is to get involved with the Student Union. This is a great way to get involved with decisions around college directly and make a difference! The mayor also encouraged students to contact their councillor, or their MP if they have a view on something and tell them this view. “You won’t be heard unless you do get involved.” 

One of the reasons for the visit is to celebrate the AoC Colleges Week 2024. With a general election happening this year, this year’s Colleges Week has a focus on democracy and educating learners about the process and importance of getting involved with government at both a national and local level.  

Mayor Cronnelly was able to give us a strong insight into the workings of local government, as well as informing students on how they can get involved politics and influence change that they want to see from their leaders!  

A huge thanks to the Mayor of Weston, Ciarán Cronnelly for coming in! 

@westoncollege Last week we were joined by the fantastic Ciaran Cronnelly, Mayor of Weston-super-Mare! #collegesweek2024 #loveourcolleges ♬ original sound - WestonCollege

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