5 minutes with Dan Beard — Merthyr Council candidate & UNISON member

Dan being interviewed by ITV Wales on the UNISON USW living wage campaign

Hi Dan — thanks for fitting us in to your increasingly busy schedule. Can you bring us up to speed on your bid to become a Councillor?

Hi! Yes — I’ve been busy. As well as being the UNISON branch secretary at the University of South Wales I decided to put myself forward as a candidate for Penydarren and Galon Uchaf. I’ve now been selected so am officially standing as a councillor for the first time.

Congratulations! How is the campaign going so far?

Thanks — it’s great. I know a lot of people locally so I’ve had a pretty warm reception so far. I’ve done some door-knocking and am planning to do quite a bit more. We’ll be delivering our new leaflet in the area at the end of the week, and have a run of campaign postcards with the printer as we speak. I’m also doing some campaign work on fly-tipping with fellow UNISON member Dawn Bowden, who is the AM for Merthyr.

What made you decide you wanted to stand as a Councillor?

I’ve been a UNISON member for 14 years and have seen first hand the importance of taking an active role in my community — whether that’s where I live or where I work. I really want to make a difference to the community I live in and so it came to the point where standing as a Councillor was the obvious next step for me.

Why do local government services matter?

They’re the foundation of our communities. They keep our streets clean, they deliver care to local residents, they educate our children, amongst many, many other things. They don’t just matter, they’re vital for each and every one of us.

Well said! Why are you supporting UNISON’s local government manifesto?

I’m a longstanding UNISON activist and I genuinely believe this manifesto talks sense. It is the best chance of ensuring services for future generations as well as minimising waste.

If elected as a Councillor, how will you measure your success?

Litter is a big problem in my ward, so that’s an issue I really want to sort out quickly. We also have problems with, to put it politely, dog mess — which is infuriating, so I hope to be able to get something sorted on that too.

More widely, I really want to be a part of ensuring the council connects to its’ contituents again and works in proper partnership with trade unions locally. I really want to reconnect the work of the council to local residents.

I’d like to mix it up a bit rather than just using traditional monthly drop in surgeries. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for surgeries, but I want to run street stalls, regular door-knocking, and use social media as a way to communicate aswell.

I’ve got lots of ideas, I just need to get elected now!

Finally, tell us something we didn’t already know about you

I’m an avid computer gamer. I’ve got two young boys who are 9 and 5 years old. The eldest is a keen gamer now too. Our favourite computer game to play together is Lego Dimensions.

Thanks Dan. Good luck with the campaign.