Originally from the North of Ireland, where she grew up, Mary moved to England many years ago and chose to make Portsmouth her home because, she says, it’s a great place with lovely people.
She’s a qualified teacher of adults, worked in community regeneration for 5 years and is currently a community development worker in one of the most economically deprived estates in the UK. Seeing people in poverty on a daily basis has moved her to stand as a council candidate in the city. She’s passionate about the need for change from top to bottom.
She’s worked for Women’s Aid and is committed to highlighting issues like domestic abuse, where she uses all her networks to collect clothes, money, and household goods for people in dire circumstances who need to build a household from scratch. She also volunteers in a food bank and in a mental health charity to help and lend support. She also accompanies people to housing offices, Citizens Advice Bureaux and food banks in a voluntary capacity to help and lend support. Mary says: ‘I’m not unusual in this, we all help out because we need to.’
She’s worked in a variety of different areas in Portsmouth throughout her career here and is well informed on local issues. She believes that whoever is in charge at the top, it’s vital as a local councillor to keep focused on the issues that people who live here feel strongly about and matter most to them. She’s seen many vulnerable people with low aspirations, poor literacy and numeracy skills, learning difficulties, often living in debt, depressed and physically ill, who have little hope for the future. She wants to help people improve their lives and work to find solutions to issues that pull them in a downward spiral that can last for generations.
Mary wants to be a councillor to be a people’s advocate she says: ‘The people are our greatest asset let them know how powerful they can be, how powerful we can all be, working together.’