Councillor's role is a full-time challenge
AS an independent councillor at Cornwall Council Andrew Wallis has just one piece of advice for anyone who might be considering standing for election as an independent – "you have to be determined to win".
The Porthleven councillor says he has "really enjoyed" the last four years as an elected member and is aiming to continue for another four years if elected in May.
Also a town councillor, he said that people should consider standing for their parish or town council as well as Cornwall Council.
He said: "Being a town or parish councillor gives you a chance to have a view on the really local issues.
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"If you're interested in your local community and want to help people to get their voices heard then stand for your town or parish council."
And he said that while being a parish or town councillor is hard work standing for Cornwall Council is even harder.
He said: "In my opinion being a Cornwall councillor is a full-time job – it can be seven days a week.
"You are at the beck and call of the public all the time – and that is how it should be.
"It is not just a case of turning up for a meeting once or twice a week, it is a real commitment.
"As well as looking after your local issues you also have to look at things from a strategic and corporate view for the whole of Cornwall."
Andrew's time as a Cornwall councillor has not been without incident – he was one of the self-styled Twitter gang who was highlighted for tweeting during meetings.
This has led to the council adopting an open approach to the use of social media by councillors, officers and members of the public as well as introducing the live webcasting of council meetings.
But that has not been the most important part of being a councillor – "the best thing about being a councillor is being able to change things for the better.
"You get to deal with so many different issues and subjects and work to bring people together, bring organisations together and bring groups together to help each other.
"It is not always easy and you have to work hard but when you manage to help just one person you realise that it is all worthwhile."