by Bridget Smith on 8 May, 2017
I was born in Durham, and lived in West Africa as a young child and in Belfast during ‘The Troubles’.
I left Ireland to take A levels in Bristol, then read psychology at Durham University.
After graduating, I trained for the new profession of Hearing Therapist, and entered the NHS as a practitioner at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
After 2 years, I moved to the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge to undertake a 3-year research project in communication techniques for adults with acquired deafness.
At the culmination of this project, I studied for a Postgraduate Certificate in Primary Education at Cambridge University. Once qualified, I taught for 3 years at my local Middle School, specialising in IT and music. I then became Head of Upper School at a large Cambridgeshire Primary.
I took time out from work to look after my 3 sons born between 1990 and 1998.
During this time I wrote and had published 2 books and worked part-time as a music teacher and sports coach whilst tutoring excluded young people.
I also established the very successful community development charity, Forward Gamlingay which has in the past 13 years delivered youth work, capital build projects, arts events and more recently a 2 year programme of economic development and business support.
I became interested in local politics and in campaigning for improvements to local community support provision and in 2004 became District Councillor for Gamlingay in South Cambridgeshire. In the same year I was employed to project manage and to raise the required £2.3 million for a new community centre in Gamlingay.
The success of the resultant award-winning Gamlingay Eco Hub project encouraged me to work as a consultant in community development and fundraising which I have done ever since.
After serving in a wide range of roles as a District Councillor, I became South Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrat group leader in 2014.
I enjoy a very high profile as a member of the controversial Greater Cambridge City Deal Assembly and manage a successful blog which takes a critical view of the Deal and the 3 partner Councils.
I am passionate about mitigating for climate change and protecting the Green Belt against wanton development and in supporting communities to become self sufficient.
I continue to be gravely concerned by Brexit and its potential to deny the sorts of freedoms and equalities to the next generation which I have benefitted from as a European citizen.