Samantha Charles is Labour’s candidate for West Worcestershire in the 2019 General Election on December 12th

Here Samantha tells her story of why she is standing for Labour and what she aims to achieve:

‘I am delighted to announce that I have been selected as Parliamentary Party Candidate for West Worcestershire Labour in the upcoming General Election on 12th December.

My personal and professional experience have shaped who I am and have placed the values of fairness, equality and social justice at the core of my being. I understand how essential public services are for every one of us and how important it is to fight for them.

I work as a sexual offences forensic medical examiner and worked in the NHS for 22 years as a midwife. I have 4 children who attended state school and university. My elderly disabled parents relied on the NHS, social care and supported housing before their deaths and my brother, who died of cancer at only 54, was cared for by the NHS at the end of his life. My gratitude for the care my family has received has turned into steely resolve to never stop fighting for the NHS and social care.

I grew up in Worcestershire and after university I worked with women and babies as a hospital and community midwife for over 20 years. I became a sexual offences forensic medical examiner in 2017, working with the victims of rape and sexual assault across the West Midlands.

I know only too well how hard it is to manage on public sector worker wages, under a pay cap resulting in a 14% real terms pay cut since 2010. Between 2015 and 2017 I ran my own business, offering training to people building businesses using social media. This gave me a great understanding of how to create effective social media posts, video presentations and graphics. This way of trying to earn a little extra money to make ends meet, proved to be invaluable to my personal development and enabled me to understand how to use all types of social media and video effectively in politics and activism.

In 2015 I was greatly moved by the refugee crisis and co-founded Herefordshire & Worcestershire Refugee Solidarity which became the charity People in Motion. The charity supports refugees, displaced and homeless people in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. I volunteered as a medic in “The Jungle”, the Refugee Camp in Calais, before it was destroyed and I am also a home visitor for Refugees at Home, an organisation which finds temporary accommodation for refugees in private homes in UK. I regularly cook for Worcester Street Café who provide hot evening meals for homeless people in Worcester city centre and also started Malvern Against Homelessness Street Kitchen and fundraise with Malvern Cares to open a new day centre for homeless people in Malvern.

I was Chair of both Malvern branch and West Worcestershire Constituency Labour Party until June 2018 when I resigned following my election to Malvern Hills District Council – the first Labour Councillor since 1997. I am now the Political Education Officer. I am a member of the Labour County Forum, bringing Worcestershire CLPs together to win for Labour both at local and general elections. I have been a Labour Town Councillor since early 2018 as well as now a District Councillor and work hard to represent Labour at a local level and achieve the best for the community.

I was the parliamentary candidate in the General Election in 2017 for West Worcestershire and led a team to double the Labour vote in a so called Tory stronghold during a very short snap election. Like all of us, I continue to campaign for a socialist Labour government under Jeremy Corbyn.

I am a great public speaker, skilled social media campaigner and builder of bridges between people with opposing views. I tirelessly campaign to challenge the Conservative MPs in Worcestershire both face to face and on social media. I co-started a petition against school cuts which gathered over 500 signatures and presented this to Harriett Baldwin MP during a meeting and held her to account for her voting record. I campaigned to save Langdale Wood in Worcestershire from the development of luxury holiday homes and successfully challenged the Planning Committee on the first application. I also organised and led a demonstration of hundreds of people from all political and non political backgrounds on a Stop The Coup march in August 2019 with less than 24 hours notice.

I am regularly interviewed on local radio on a range of subjects from the budget to GP surgery closures, housing and MPs expenses and I’m quoted in the local and national press. I am a graduate of the Labour Women’s Network Aspiring Leaders and Candidates Training and I have also applied for the Jo Cox Leadership Programme. This training has given me a solid base for campaigning and leading a team.

It is 100 years since some women were able to vote and I am minded of their slogan – Deeds Not Words. I am a candidate who doesn’t just say the right words, I go out there and do the right deeds too and will win for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn at the next General Election.

For The Many Not The Few 🌹’

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