A food bank supporter has been chosen to stand in a by-election. Josh Williams, from Newtown in Reading, will contest the Park Ward seat vacated by Melanie Eastwood in the local elections next month.
He will be contesting the seat alongside Rob White, who is up for re-election.
Last week, Cllr Melanie Eastwood announced that she was stepping down for personal reasons, forcing the second vote in Park Ward – the only part of Reading to have three Green Party councillors. It had previously been a Labour party stronghold.
Josh Williams has been a community activist with a passion for tackling food poverty by collecting food for Readifood, Reading’s food bank and leading a petition to improve road safety on the Wokingham Road.
“Road safety and poverty are two of the most serious issues right now for many people living in Park Ward,” said Josh.
“I recently handed in a petition to Reading Borough Council calling for them to look into the problem of double parking on Wokingham Road. There are more cars wanting to park than there are spaces available.
“This is not just a nuisance; it is a danger to pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers as well. As a result of this petition the council’s transport planners are preparing a report for the next traffic management sub committee.
He continued: “Greens have also been campaigning for road safety improvements at Cemetery Junction, like improved crossings for pedestrians, which will be delivered as part of the ongoing Eastern Area scheme.
“I also think it is outrageous that almost a quarter of the Borough’s children are living in poverty. I will work to end poverty wages and zero hour contracts.”
Reading Green Party said it has already opposed what it says are unfair benefits cuts like the Bedroom Tax (Single Room Subsidy) and ATOS assessments.
“We have also got the Council to commit to more people in Reading being paid a living wage,” Josh claimed, “and I will continue to work for a fairer, healthier, more affordable town.”
He has worked in the Reading area for 16 years, is currently a writer and lives in the Ward.
Other candidates for this by-election have yet to be announced.