As a result of covid-19, businesses across the country have faced a tough year, and it's so important for us as consumers to support them as they battle against the downturn in business and for politicians to seek to really understand the struggles they've been through since March as well as the challenges they face going forward. I was therefore delighted when I received an email from Lib Dem leader Ed Davey MP's office telling me that he'd like to visit Guildford as part of his listening tour of the UK, and could I suggest a local business he might be able to visit. Of course, my answer was "yes"! The challenge was then "which business?" as our community has so many brilliant local businesses to choose from!
After much discussion, we settled on finding a local hair salon for him to spend the afternoon visiting. You will remember that earlier on in the pandemic I raised questions about how Government decisions around covid were particularly impacting female-led businesses and I was keen to provide an opportunity for Ed to explore this further. I think there is also something unique about spaces like hair salons and beauticians. They're a place where conversation flows freely; about personal circumstances, concerns, frustrations, perhaps more freely than in any other circumstance. What better place then, for Ed to hear about what life has really been like over recent months.
So, on Friday 2nd October I was pleased to welcome Ed to Guildford and take him to visit Julia Lampard Hair Salon just off Guildford High Street.
Ed then spent nearly 2 hours speaking with clients, staff and Julia herself, hearing their stories and helping out around the salon, from sweeping up to refilling product bottles and taking client's temperatures upon arrival. I know that Ed really valued the time he spent at the salon and I want to say a huge thank you to Julia and team for being so welcoming.
It's so important for us politicians to listen to real people's personal stories and concerns. How can we possibly hope to shape the future for the better if we don't take that time? Ed's willingness to spend time listening to local people's concerns shows him to be the best kind of leader - one who takes time to listen before acting and one who genuinely cares. When we finished the day at a local pub mulling over what he had learned during his visit, he told me he felt deeply indebted to those who took the time to share with him what is worrying them. I'm glad to work alongside him on behalf of the residents of Guildford, Cranleigh and our Villages and I have a feeling he will be back before too long.
Read more about Ed's visit via the links below:
6th October 2020
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