It is just days away until Trafford will go to the polls with all 63 seats up for grabs triggered by recent boundary changes meaning this is the council’s first all-out election since 2004.
This year all voters will be given three opportunities to support their local Labour candidates but, with one other significant difference, photo ID must be shown to vote in person.
Here is an opportunity to meet two of our new Labour candidates, Emma Hirst, who is asking for your support to elect her to represent the residents of Old Trafford and her daughter, Sally Hirst, who is standing in Manor.
Both have lived in Old Trafford for over 20 years, so are definitely familiar faces within their community.
Emma, 51, is a full-time caseworker based at Stretford Public Hall while at the same time has been a foster carer for over two decades.
She has also been a member of the Labour Party for seven years.
While Sally, 22, is a freelance published artist, and it is due to her campaigning that TfGM introduced the ‘please offer me a seat’ badge for people who find it difficult to stand on public transport.
The badges are for passengers with disabilities, injuries or hidden health problems – like Sally – who has the condition Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
She also volunteers at Coppice Library teaching art and craft lessons in addition to volunteering at The Bread and Butter Thing, based at Sale West.
Q) What inspired you to put yourself forward as a local Labour candidate, Emma?
When the Tory government came into power things really started to deteriorate. I’m talking in terms of being a foster carer, the support network I had previously was simply falling apart around me.
In particular, the Sure Start centres were closed causing services to become skeletal – and I had nowhere to go for support and felt very much on my own.
And I would argue that the situation isn’t getting any better mainly due to lack of funding from central government.
And because I feel so strongly about this – and other issues – is the reason I want to represent my community.
Q) What about you, Sally?
My reason is a bit different, explained Sally.
At 16 I had to stop travelling to school by bus because sometimes I couldn’t get a seat.
My health condition makes it difficult for me to stand for long periods, so eventually I had to travel privately – and that upset me – and took my independence away.
So, I wrote to my MP, then it was Kate Green, and she helped me campaign to get the ‘please offer me a seat’ badge rolled out on all TfGM services.
And due to that result, it has given me the confidence to stand as a local Labour candidate.
Q) How do you plan to support the residents of Old Trafford, if elected, Emma?
I have a deep concern about the housing crisis and lack of good quality affordable homes.
Residents face daily issues with renting privately or social housing and now because of the cost-of-living crisis, I see people struggling to pay their mortgages.
Everyone is in a constant state of flux and stress – and as a result people’s mental health is also suffering.
Ultimately, I want to be an advocate for residents and campion for better housing conditions.
Q) How would you support the residents of Manor, if elected, Sally?
I’m passionate about campaigning for better access for those people with disabilities. I’m particularly concerned about the lack of dropped kerbs for wheelchair users because this is a major barrier for them.
I would like to use my position as a councillor, if I’m successfully elected, to champion for better accessibility and safety, and help improve public services including supporting people into work and education and provide access to travel.
Q) What are the main issues that people have spoken to you about during your numerous doorstep campaigning sessions?
Mainly the cost-of-living crisis, explained Emma.
People are really struggling to keep their heads above water – and it’s heart-breaking to hear and to see.
Central government has taken a real hit – to the point where lots of people, who normally vote Conservative, intend to support Labour.
We have been well received on the doorstep and local residents have been very supportive and are noticing a lot of positive changes under Labour’s leadership.
Q) Is there anything you would like to add?
Sally and I would like to thank everyone who has supported us on this journey – and we sincerely hope that the residents of Old Trafford and Manor wards put their trust in us and use all their three votes for Labour on Thursday.
To read the Trafford Labour 2023 manifesto visit: https://qr.page/g/If01AnLdwT