Scheme Helps Disabled People Enter Local Politics


Same Difference

When prospective councillor Tom Garrod went door-to-door canvassing aged just 18, his first experience did nothing to calm his nerves. He asked to speak to the householder; “I was told they had passed away yesterday,” he says.

But it was only a minor setback for Garrod. Living with cerebral palsy, he also had to be creative to get his message across. As the condition alters his speech, he had to abandon telephone canvassing. “People thought it was a prank caller,” he laughs. But he made up for it by making good use of his digital savvy, spreading his ideas through social media – something he says older councillors weren’t able to do so easily.

The young Conservative was elected to Norfolk county council, in 2009. Now aged 25, Garrod’s experiences have helped shape a new scheme aimed at encouraging more people with disabilities to become councillors.

The scheme is part…

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