Case Study – Sarah Richardson

SARAH RICHARDSON – Conservative councillor for Churchill ward, Westminster

‘What people sometimes need is a good advocate’

Sarah Richardson (pictured) clearly takes a vocational approach to her role – although she admits she draws the line to her involvement in residents’ affairs at disputed parking tickets.

“I suppose there are things I do for residents that would normally be a social worker’s job, but it depends on the circumstances” – she says.

One such case involved a Polish family of four confined to a cramped one-bedroom flat. “They were a well-known, well-respected family; the father was a key worker, and they were dream tenants,” Richardson says. “They had applied for a bigger home but had been repeatedly turned down by the housing association.

“Because they came to me directly, and it doesn’t cost me anything to write a few letters, I took it on.

“For the next year I wrote constantly to the chief executive of the housing association. When he finally agreed to meet me and told me that they’d found a three-bedroom flat for the family, I burst into tears.

“Of course there are lots of excellent social workers who will go the extra mile, but sometimes what people need is an advocate. And a good councillor can be that advocate.

“When it comes to a genuine injustice I believe in getting involved”.



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