Botley and North Hinksey parish councillor Lorna Berrett won the ‘Councillor of the Year’ award at an event at the House of Lords on Wednesday. The ‘Star Council’ awards that recognise local (parish and town) councils’ contributions to their communities across England. The long-running awards are made by the National Association of Local Councillors (NALC) and celebrate local councils, councillors and clerks’ positive impact on their communities.
Lorna Berrett has been a councillor in Botley for eight years. Before that she was a leader of the successful community campaign that prevented the demolition of Botley’s Elms Parade shops and local housing and helped set up the community’s first local website.
As a councillor and now as Chair of the parish council she has worked on hard on projects including new bus shelters, new play equipment, and public art in the West Way centre. She played a leading role during the COVID-19 pandemic, setting up the ‘Botley Responders’ network of volunteers who supported vulnerable people in their neighbourhoods during lockdown. Three years later, the Botley Responders are still going strong with Lorna’s involvement.
For several months before the recent election, she encouraged residents to stand as a councillor. There were 26 candidates for the 14 places on the parish council – Lorna received the largest number of votes.
In Lorna’s capacity as Chair of the Council she is currently organising the annual ‘All in One Room’ event on December 10th, which brings together around 100 local volunteers form all the different community groups in the parish.
Cllr Berrett thanked her fellow councillors and parishioners and NALC for this award and for the recognition of all the hard work that councillors voluntarily do to support their community.
She added “I really enjoy being a Councillor and I try to build on all the amazing work by volunteers and workers across our community. As the first level of government Parish Councils may be small but by working together with the community they can make a bigger impact than many expect focusing on local facilities and ensuring that whatever funds are available used for initiatives that matter to people on the ground.”