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Huntly councillor is in the running for a national award in recognition of her work to promote recovery and resilience during Covid-19 pandemic

By Pat Scott

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A HARD working Aberdeenshire Councillor for Huntly and the surrounding area has been shortlisted in the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) 2021 awards.

Councillor Gwyneth Petrie, is in the running for the resilience and recovery award - nominated for her work to ensure people are able to cope with the financial burden of Covid-19

SNP group leader Councillor Petrie said: "I’ve worked to signpost to constituents where support is available, but also internally within the council to ensure that we were doing all we could to assist.

"Women’s employment was impacted more due to the effect on childcare. When the childcare hubs opened, I pressed to make them available to as many people as possible, then, once school nurseries reopened, I pushed the council to deliver the provision flexibly around parents working hours.

"I’ve also been working with the council and the care commission to reopen the private nursery in Huntly hit by a flood – which has been really difficult for parents."

As leader of the opposition, Councillor Petrie aims to ensure that every decision takes rising poverty levels into account.

She champions political representation from a broad spectrum believing those who have felt the impact of the pandemic most are under represented, particularly young people, women, people with disabilities and minority groups.

She said: "I have worked to get family leave for all councillors, there is no guaranteed right to leave and Aberdeenshire Council have yet to adopt a policy which needs addressed."

As recovery from the pandemic continues, she believes that lessons can be learned.

Gwyneth Petrie - SNP Councillor for Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford - is in the running for a national award. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Gwyneth Petrie - SNP Councillor for Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford - is in the running for a national award. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

She said: "Home working has, in the main, been successful. The council can lead by example but I think other companies should seriously consider it. The benefits of flexible working are huge and will make life so much easier for many. I am strongly opposed to going back to how it was, purely because it’s how it was."

Councillor Petrie gets greatest satisfaction from achievements in her ward.

She is chairwoman of the Huntly Town team and is confident the significant sums of money secured for regeneration is putting the town on the right track.

"I’m passionate about improving the area for everyone - getting play equipment replaced, working to resolve flooding at the Deveron car park, securing investment in areas of the school, the road safety work – all of these will hopefully improve the lives of those living here, and that’s why I do the job."

A law graduate from Aberdeen University, she has been a councillor for six years and previously worked in an SNP parliamentary office.

She said: "My interest in politics came from my grandad Bob – I was leafleting with him from a young age, and always listening in to his conversations about current politics. I applied for a political internship when I was at university, and I have been actively involved and working in the field since."

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Glasgow City Chambers on Wednesday, November 24.

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