Council Leader honoured at awards
Posted on 30 Nov 2018
Council Leader Joe Cullinane has landed a prestigious award at a flagship event for local authorities.
He was named ‘Leader of the Year’ by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU).
Over the last 12 months, the Council has introduced and supported a series of ambitious policies with a real focus on alleviating poverty and helping some of North Ayrshire’s most vulnerable residents.
The most high-profile of these was the introduction of free sanitary products across all Council buildings to tackle the prevalent period poverty issue. This wide-reaching policy - a first for a UK Council – was heralded by leading poverty charities and national media.
The Council – through its Better Off North Ayrshire Programme – has also helped save residents over £1 million in the last 18 months. Working with a range of partners, they have helped people maximise their income, helped them access energy grants and worked out ways to write off debts.
During the last year, the Council has also expanded its award-winning holiday schools meals service reaching out to more young people than ever before, while they are tackling fuel poverty by becoming the first in Scotland to become a municipal energy supplier.
Councillor Cullinane, said: “Recognition is nice but I have to admit I am not entirely comfortable with the whole concept of politician awards. Public service is much more important to me and having the opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives is why I love being Council Leader.
“I’m incredibly lucky that I have political and officer colleagues who share the same vision as me and want to reduce poverty and make North Ayrshire a better and more equitable place.
“There is far too much poverty and far too much inequality in North Ayrshire. I’m not going to solve that on my own and it’s not going to change overnight.
“But we’re trying to make improvements that will have an impact – not always instantly – for some of our most vulnerable residents.
“We will continue to look at new and innovative ways of achieving that and as a Council we will keep chipping away at poverty.”
North Ayrshire Council Chief Executive Craig Hatton added: “A huge congratulations to Joe – this recognition is richly deserved.
“I’ve worked with Joe for a number of years and have always been struck by his passion and determination to improve the lives of people in North Ayrshire. We will both continue working together to make a difference.”
Dr Andy Johnston, Director LGIU Scotland, said: “The leader of the year award generated a very high class field but Cllr Cullinane emerged as a worthy winner. The messages of congratulation he has received since last night show he was also a very popular choice in his council area and across local government in Scotland.”