Hi, my name is Ed. I’ve lived in Handsworth since 2010.
I’ve lived in lots of places in the UK, from the far north of Scotland to here, but Handsworth is the place that really feels like home. It’s a community that welcomed us warmly and taught us a lot about the world, different cultures, faiths, foods and experiences.
I trained as a mental health nurse, and have spent years working in community and hospital teams with some of the most vulnerable people in our city. It’s not about just giving people medicine – most of the time I help sort out social, financial and housing issues. The most important part of my job is listening and helping people solve problems.
I have always spoken out on issues that matter; as a student I represented my class. As a nurse I was Clinical Staff Governor for Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Trust, representing nurses, HCAs, OTs, physiotherapists and all other clinical staff at Board meetings, speaking up particularly for the lowest paid (and most overlooked) staff. I’ve organised demonstrations and campaigns for nursing pay and better leadership, by raising the voice of those I am fighting for.
I worked hard for my profession too, and spent four years as Chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s Mental Health Forum. With over 12,000 members, it was my job to make sure the minority voice of MH nurses was heard against often competing interests. I led debates, changed policy, got invited to parliament, met with government ministers and raised nurses’ and patients’ concerns.
Since 2017, when my late son Kip was diagnosed with leukaemia, I have been involved in fundraising for important charities including Birmingham Childrens’ Hospital, Young Lives Versus Cancer, the Anthony Nolan Trust, Equalize Health, World Child Cancer and Love The One. We have raised over £50,000 in Kip’s name.
In August, Team Kip will be cycling the length of Wales to raise even more funds.
Rubbish, fly tipping, antisocial behaviour, violent crime, youth services fixing roads, bringing our community together, being there for the people of Handsworth and really listening.
For too long the voice of Handsworth has been ignored, and I’m aiming to change that.
3 out of 4 people didn’t vote at the last election. Our community has lost hope and faith in the politics of our Council. We need to take ownership of our neighbourhoods, the decisions made about it, and the future of Handsworth.