Kofo David, 41, Labour Councillor for Clissold Ward

"I’ve been someone who has been very active in the community as well as being the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic officer for the Hackney North Labour Party, however, I felt there was more impact I could make. So I stood as a candidate for the by-election on December 12. 

My first six months have almost been a baptism of fire - I’m on the Health in Hackney scrutiny commission. We have to look at the plans, ask the questions and make sure things are going the right way.

As soon as things kicked off with coronavirus in January, we started to have weekly cabinet briefings with councillors where we looked at what we could do better and to ask questions.

I have family and friends who have been affected by the virus and we have lots of communication channels where different communities engage about it online. It’s got to a stage where a Whatsapp group became like an obituary notice board as pictures of people who passed away across the country kept springing up. I thought, ‘who was going to be next?’

Within these first six months, I’ve learnt a lot about how communities can come together and build up something from scratch. It’s not always the authorities that have the answers to everything. 

I’ve also learnt the complications involved in local government and how the role it plays can actually impact the outcome of things in a crisis. I take away the point that, yes there are lots of things involved in being a councillor in terms of representing constituents but it's a balancing act between collective responsibility and the ultimate aim of representing the constituents, which should take priority. But I've learnt there are lots of trade-offs, it’s quite a difficult balancing act. My fellow Clissold councillors, other councillors and staff in the council have been very supportive."