Voting on election day is only part of democracy

To find out about volunteering opportunities, visit: www.bhcommunityworks.org.uk/volunteering
To find out about volunteering opportunities, visit: www.bhcommunityworks.org.uk/volunteering

We’re heading towards the big day - Thursday, May 7 - when we can cast our votes.

We’re heading towards the big day - Thursday, May 7 - when we can cast our votes for councillors and MPs to serve for the next four or five years.

Our votes are incredibly important and I’m delighted we saw a big surge in voter registrations just before the deadline earlier in the week.

It’s right that there is a big focus on the choices we face as we cast our votes on election day.

But it’s also important to remember that casting our vote, important as it is, is just one part of the democratic process.

Democracy isn’t over once the votes are counted, the results are in, and the all-night broadcasts have wrapped up.

Once elected, our representatives are only as good as the input and feedback they receive from active citizens.

Every charity, campaign group, union branch, and residents' association is vital to helping our city work well.

So even if you don’t fancy taking part in a local political party, there are so many ways to take an active part in the wellbeing of our city.

In the last four years, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to meet many of the wonderful groups in our city that contribute to making it a great place to live and work.

I’ve met groups that help the homeless, teach therapeutic singing, offer gardening in our parks, teach cycling to youngsters, research local history, provide food banks and much, much more.

Even taking part for just one hour a week can make a huge difference to the people these groups serve - and help us to feel ever more connected with our city.

So don’t forget to vote on May 7. But also remember that democracy is an activity that carries on year-round.

Take part!

To find out about volunteering opportunities, visit: www.bhcommunityworks.org.uk/volunteering