THE successful candidate in the March 1 by-election will speak up for communities in Alva and Tillicoultry.

Lib Dem candidate Damian Sherwood-Johnson will utilise his experience of community work, as he is chair of Tillicoultry, Devonside and Coalsnaughton Community Council.

He also has a background of managing relationships with local councils, has been chair of a national charity and was previously manager of an independent advocacy charity.

He will champion a more integrated approach to attract tourism to the Hillfoots and stands for the people who tell him how strongly they agree with his message.

He said: “They deserve an alternative choice to voice their protest.
“I am angry that those same parties that got us into this mess may be rewarded for their failure by winning.

“I believe in the amazing potential of our community. I do not want the hard work that I and other incredible local people have achieved to be undone.

“I stand to protect our ambitions for the future from the present threat of significant cuts.”

A Tillicoultry resident, Labour’s Afifa Khanam is disturbed by the years of “endless cuts to local services”.

Having discussed it with family and friends, she decided she could not sit back and allow her community to be “targeted by politicians sitting in Edinburgh and London with no idea of the suffering they’re inflicting”.

She said: “I will work tirelessly for my community. As a lifelong trade unionist I never shy away from a fight when I see injustices.

“I would draw on all my lifeskills from raising my four children as a single parent. I would draw on my nurturing, inspirational and encouraging skills I exercise daily as the head of a department in a secondary school.

“I would take the strategic skills I learned as a director of Age Concern and use this talent for the betterment of the Hillfoot communities.”

Helen Lewis decided to run for the spot after attending a meeting on the Community Empowerment Act, which offers local people the opportunity to have more control within the community.

The SNP candidate said: “I will be available to assist individuals and groups within Clackmannanshire North with matters relating to Clackmannanshire Council.

“I support main street and glen improvements, the retention of school transport, the delivery of community action plans and the enhancement of our living environment throughout Clackmannanshire.

“While I cannot promise to get everything right for everyone I promise to do the best I can.”

Providing excellent grounding for life as an elected member, is her experience as a councillor for Tillicoultry, time as a caseworker for MSP Keith Brown, bringing up a family in the county and running her own small business.

It is the great inequality across the county – in homes, health and life prospects – that motivated the Greens’ Marion Robertson to stand.

She said: “The decline people speak of affects me personally. I believe we are only as good as the way we treat the least fortunate in our communities.

“And, after some women got the vote 100 years ago, there is an urgent need to achieve equal representation for women in government at all levels.

“If I can help reconnect residents and communities with the decision-making that most influences the quality of their lives and prospects, in other words, putting that power in their hands, it would go some way to rebuilding trust in the council, and empower householders to get more actively involved in rebuilding their communities.”

Ms Robertson, who is involved in the Discover Clacks tourism group, would utilise her 12 years of experience as a waste minimisation adviser in Falkirk Council.

She would tackle fuel poverty, argue for the local community to take on facilities under threat of closure and campaign for an affordable, low-no carbon, integrated bus service owned by the council.

Conservative candidate Alex Stewart was raised in the county, has a business in the ward and, following a long career in the forces, will return and settle in the area.

He believes he has the desire, experience and motivation needed to serve those in Clackmannanshire and will draw on his work with two charities and senior positions of responsibility from his time in the army.

He said: “I am particularly keen on working within the community, and have observed in many parts of the world, the need and value of preserving and encouraging local charities, organisations and care for one another.

“I have been knocking on a lot of doors over the past month or so and have too many notes from people to include them all.

“I have heard about horrendous potholes, dog poo tales, the lack of yellow grit bins to missing street signs during my rounds however, I will work tirelessly to improve the lives of all people within this fabulous ward/county and will personally visit those people with updates on their concerns.”