RACHAEL
BLAKE

4South Yorkshire

My Home, Our Community


︎

What I didn’t realise – when I became the first black woman councillor to be elected to Doncaster Council, was the role model that I became for so many different people for many different reasons.


People who usually think that politics  and politicians aren’t for them, and  aren’t like them.  This is my 2nd reason  for running.  We need politicians who  reflect our communities. 



My 3rd reason is that this I believe in the value of local government and a combined authority is essentially a partnership between neighbouring councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership and other stakeholders to enable joint working on certain policies and services affecting the whole locality.

I have never stood to be an MP due to my passion for local government and this role would allow me to really champion local government and lead our South Yorkshire response.


About me


Aside from working in Asda on the checkouts  when I was 16 and delivering a weekly paper round since the age of 13 , my career started on 10 December 1984 when I went off to London to start my student nurse training.  I qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 1988 and since then have worked in local government, the voluntary and community sector, the NHS and the private sector in many varied jobs. But all about people, listening and working with them and improving services and support and community wellbeing.

I was born and grew up in Cleethorpes – my Mum was from Grimsby and my Dad like many other men from the Commonwealth responded to the call from Britain to help with the war efforts and came here in 1944 and was in the RAF working in the stores until the early 1950s and then made Cleethorpes his home working on Grimsby docks all his life.

Growing up in Cleethorpes I was very aware of the difficulties that some people face for many different reasons and the gross inequality of the UK was brought home to me even more when I started nursing in Westminster a borough that has the most affluent and most deprived living next to each other.  Nursing also taught me the importance of advocacy and having a responsibility to speak up for people – something I have done in every job and every voluntary organisation I have been involved with.  I qualified as an RGN and worked for a year as a staff nurse and then started a 30+ year varied career in local government, the voluntary and community sector and the private sector.

In addition I have always volunteered – sometimes being a Chair of a CVS or Vice Chair of a Carers organisations, other times managing an under 10s football team or being the welfare officer at a sports club – currently I am involved in 6 voluntary groups.

For the last 20 years I have worked at a senior level in my organisation.  I was a Service Manager in both adults and children’s services, Chief Officer of the Community Health Council, Area Manager, and Director for Stakeholder Engagement. 

I have been the CLP secretary and currently branch secretary and in 2015 I stood in the elections in my ward – Rossington and Bawtry.  This was a new ward – in Rossington, independents were often elected, in Bawtry Conservatives so I was delighted to be elected but the only Labour councillor so I made it my mission to make sure that didn’t happen again.  In 2017, 2 Labour councillors elected and in May this year – all 3 now Labour, particularly important as our Tory MP elected in 2019 lives in my ward.

Since 2017 I have been a cabinet member, 4 years as adult social care lead and since May for Children’s’ Social Care, equalities and communities.

This experience of politics, strategic policy making, leading organisations, people, projects and programmes I believe gives me the experience and leadership skills needed to be an effective Mayor.