The New Year fired the starting gun for the 2015 General Election campaign. But voters won't only be asked to turn out on Thursday 7 May to elect their Member of Parliament - they will also be voting to elect their local representatives to the Borough Councils of Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester, and Town and Parish Councils across the county.
And the Cheshire Independent Network (CIN) is encouraging individuals to stand for election in May to represent their local communities. The CIN is a non-profit, volunteer run organisation that promotes and supports independent candidates and non-party politicians across Cheshire.
CIN chair and Middlewich Town Cllr Bernice Walmsley has been involved with the network since it was founded in 2011.
"The CIN supports individuals standing in elections by providing advice, expertise, and practical help," said Bernice.
"Independent politicians are an impassioned alternative to the status quo and often make the most credible and effective local candidates. Instead of representing a party, independents represent their electorate which means you can trust them to work hard for you."
As part of that support, the CIN is running a workshop for people considering standing as independent candidates in the May local elections.
"As the network comprises a range of current and former Councillors as well as members of the public who are interested in local democracy but don't support any of the national political parties, we have a lot of experience and encouragement to share with individuals who want to get involved with their local councils but are unsure where to start," said Bernice who is one of the key speakers at the workshop.
Also sharing their expertise will be Cheshire East Cllrs Paul Edwards and Brendan Murphy.
The workshop will give valuable insights into the work of a Councillor (what it entails, the commitment required), the rules and regulations relating to standing as a candidate, and how to mount a successful campaign.
The workshop will be held on Saturday 31st January 2015 from 9.30pm until 1pm at The Wych Centre, Civic Way, Middlewich, Cheshire, CW10 9BX. It will be followed by a light buffet lunch and networking opportunity.
Tickets cost just £5 (payable on the door). To reserve your place call 07802 200 494 or 01625 404363, or email firstname.lastname@example.org