Meet the Candidates: Community Officer – Charlotte Simmons

Charlotte Simmons is running to be UoN’s Students’ Union Community Officer for the 2020/21 academic year. Impact caught up with Charlotte to ask her a few questions. 

What are your plans to improve community safety, in particular safety in the Lenton area?

The issue of safety is a big one and I will be working with the police to try to get more patrols in the Lenton area as a deterrent to would-be criminals to try and reduce the crime rate. I will also be doing a campaign on how to prevent burglaries as well as how to get home safely at night. Furthermore I will be continuing the work that has been started regarding road safety on Derby Road to help prevent any more casualties; this will include investigating whether crossing points can be improved and ensuring that those drivers driving in an unsafe manner are dealt with appropriately by putting pressure on the local authorities. I will be making student safety a core part of what I do if elected; this will not only include Lenton but will also include Beeston, Dunkirk and all of the University Campuses.

“I will ensure that I fight for all students, wherever they live and whichever method of public transport they use.”

In what ways do you intend to improve public transport for UON students?

I will be working to try to reverse the changes made to the Jubilee hopper bus (903) in September 2019 because these changes have caused widespread overcrowding on the buses during peak times. I will also be working with all of the local public transport companies (Trentbarton, NCT and NET) to ensure that service levels are adequate and that student fares are dealt with fairly when it comes to rises. Proportionally rises on student transport fares are higher than those increases levied on adult tickets, with one example being the 70% increase in the NCT bus fare over the last few years. I also know that there have been large increases on the tram and Trentbarton bus fares over the last few years and, whilst I haven’t particularly used these companies over my time in Nottingham so can’t comment on the specifics, I will ensure that I fight for all students, wherever they live and whichever method of public transport they use. At the end of the day, we all rely on public transport to get around the city on a day to day basis and therefore it’s vital that we can access affordable and reliable public transport.

There is currently a lot of tension between Lenton residents and students living there. How do you plan to help alleviate this tension?

I fully appreciate the issues in Lenton, and this is why one of my manifesto points is to help promote the positive impact that students have on their communities. I myself have done a lot of volunteering over the last few years and have helped to coordinate volunteering within the Scout and Guide society; the experience gained through these roles has given me an understanding of just how much impact student volunteers have on their local communities. I plan to work with officers at NTUSU to coordinate a social media campaign which promotes the good work done by students in Nottingham as I feel that getting the word out about the positive work we do as volunteers is a key part of reducing this tension. I feel that this needs to be a joint campaign between UONSU and NTUSU because students from both universities live in the area and it is therefore a joint issue. Furthermore I will of course ensure that I am available for residents to contact with any issues they have and will be encouraging students to be respectful of their neighbours in everything that they do.

Community officers work very closely with local public services such as public transport and the police. What will you do to ensure that these working relationships continue to be fruitful and successful?

I have a lot of experience that will help me with keeping these working relationships as successful as they have been in the past, including a year spent as the Youth Mayor of my home town. This experience has made me feel extremely confident about talking to and working alongside people from a wide variety of backgrounds. In the role of community officer, I can use these skills to make a real positive impact on the local community and work closely with public services to ensure that students in Nottingham feel like they are a real part of their communities. I will be working closely with the police and local council on my campaign regarding student safety, particularly in terms of trying to reduce the crime rate in Lenton and improve road safety on Derby Road, and I will work closely with the public transport operators to ensure that any fare increases which do need to be imposed are as small as possible as I appreciate the fact that it can use a large chunk of a student’s budget.

“If I am elected as community officer I will be transparent and accountable to the student body in everything that I do”

Why should students vote for you as their Community Officer?

I believe that I have the skills and experience to succeed in completing all of my manifesto promises within a year, making real positive change to the local community and improving student-resident relations. I deliberately haven’t made any large promises on my manifesto which I don’t believe I will be able to achieve, such as promising to end the mental health crisis and, whilst I will do everything that I can to help solve these big issues, I believe that it is important to be elected because of a manifesto that I know I will be able to deliver on. If I am elected as community officer I will be transparent and accountable to the student body in everything that I do, which will hopefully build trust between students and myself as an officer and help me to make Nottingham a better place to live and study.

Voting for the 2020 SU elections closes at 3pm on Monday 11th May.

The link to vote for the 2020 Students’ Union candidates is here.

Aidan Hall

Featured image courtesy of Nina Sasha. 

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