Poynton Town Mayor - 2020-2021
Councillor Lee Podmore
It is an honour to have been elected as Mayor for my hometown and I hope to serve the local community well during the next twelve months.
I’m also delighted to be supported by the new Deputy Mayor, Councillor Hayley Whitaker.
Both my wife, Sam, and I grew up in Poynton. We have fond memories of making friends and playing outside in the many fields surrounding Poynton as well as going to the local primary schools, then later to Poynton County High School (as it was known then) for me. Poynton felt a safe place to be as a child with lots of friendly people.
Initially spending a few years in Macclesfield after we got married, it was this friendliness, great local schools and the particular community spirit you only seem to find in Poynton which drew us back following the birth of our son. Raising a family in this Town has been a pleasure and we have both had involvement within the community, through volunteering at Vernon Cubs, being on the Parent Council or as a School Governor at Lower Park School, or working on the Neighbourhood Plan and finally being elected as a Town Councillor.
In addition to the primary role of representing Poynton on civic occasions, under normal circumstances the Mayor will choose one or more local charities and/or good causes to support through holding fundraising events. As many will be aware, my predecessor in the role of Mayor, Councillor Sarah Jane Gilmore, has been particularly successful in raising funds which have benefitted a number of local projects and organisations over the past three years.
However, with the gradual easing of Covid-19 lockdown still in its very early stages, restrictions on public events are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. Along with the need to protect public safety, the economic impact on local individuals and businesses as a result of the pandemic are factors which need to be recognised when planning for the year ahead.
Therefore, this year we’ll need to shift focus and do things a little differently.
Despite the challenges - and sadly for some, the personal difficulties faced - over the past few months, Poynton has worked together during this crisis. As many of you will have seen, the community spirit is alive and well throughout the Town.
Poynton Town Council took the lead with this and have had such initiatives as: the list of businesses providing food and takeaways during the lockdown, the Community Champions and the CCSO’s visiting the vulnerable in Poynton. We have also had the support of local groups such as members of Poynton Runners and Churches Together who have been delivering leaflets and collecting prescriptions for residents. Online we have residents’ groups such as - amongst others - 'Poynton supporting Poynton when the going gets tough' and 'Poynton Goes Green' offering help and advice during these uncertain times.
During lockdown, changes such as limitations on car journeys have presented significant practical difficulties for many. On the positive side many have commented on the streets feeling safer and the cleaner air, with many people choosing to walk, cycle and run around Poynton. With many residents participating in the weekly “Clap for Carers” during lockdown, people have been chatting to each other in the street or helping their neighbours.
However, this lockdown has also come at a cost. Many of the shops and businesses which are visible on Park Lane, Queensway and School Lane have been forced to close since March. There are also many businesses which people run from their homes which have suffered during lockdown.
So what can I, as Mayor, do to help, support and build on the community spirit that embodies Poynton; whilst recognising the impact the crisis has had on people, businesses and the environment and at the same time ensuring the social distancing rules are kept?
During my term in office as Mayor I am looking at the theme of community.
Over the coming weeks, I will be working with members of the Town Council towards launching an initiative - the main concept of which will be to assist the community in further engagement; continuing to look out for each other, support local business and voluntary organisations and to help protect our environment. Further details on this will follow in the near future.
In the meantime, I look forward to serving you to the best of my abilities during these next twelve months.