A proud Northumbrian whose grandfather was an Ashington miner, Joan now lives in Morpeth. She became interested in local issues when she fought, through the Ombudsman, to have her road brought up to adoption standard. Since then she has represented her area on various local councils, including Morpeth Town Council, where she served as Mayor in 2013/14. That year Morpeth commemorated the centenary of the death of suffragette Emily Davison. That was a meaningful event for Joan, as she believes that more women should be involved in local and national politics, and that women should be better represented at all levels of management.
A qualified teacher and social worker, Joan ran a childcare advice service at Newcastle University, and managed a fund to help students with childcare costs. Having met students from all over the world, she believes passionately that our shared humanity surmounts all differences.
As a school governor for 14 years, Joan has witnessed the benefits being delivered through the Pupil Premium. She now has significant concerns about cuts in school funding, while the lack of finance for improvements to existing school buildings contrasts markedly with the funding available for Free Schools and divisive grammar schools.
This Tory government is ignoring the financial challenges of social care and the NHS, while it focuses on diving headlong out of Europe. It has no plan and little understanding of the implications for business, our economy and in particular the least well off, for whom Joan has major concerns. She has three little granddaughters, two of whom live in Scotland. Joan is concerned about the possible break-up of the UK and the uncertain implications of hard Brexit for the future life chances of our young people.
Joan is a strong advocate for localism and believes local people should have more say in what happens in their area.