Meet Hackney's new Speaker
A Hackney resident for four decades, a former lecturer on economics and social policy and an enthusiastic singer, Cllr Rosemary Sales is looking forward to a busy year ahead as the new Speaker of Hackney.
The Stamford Hill West councillor’s top priorities this year are fund-raising for and promoting the aims of her two charities, increasing awareness of road safety and cycling and promoting music especially for young people.
Cllr Sales said: “I feel very privileged to have been elected Speaker. Hackney is a wonderfully diverse borough and I look forward to meeting with communities, organisations and schools across Hackney and to working together to help maintain our traditions of living peacefully and harmoniously together.
“I am especially looking forward to promoting music and musicians within Hackney. I have been a choir member myself for the last 15 years. Music is something that really brings people together. Making music with other people is a great experience and I want to support young musicians to perform and share their talent.”
Another issue the Speaker feels passionately about is road safety and cycling. She is keen to use her time in office to encourage all Hackney road users to consider the safety of pedestrians and cyclists and to promote Hackney’s reputation as a place that is welcoming and safe place for all. To kick start this she will be getting on her bike along with over 800 Hackney school children to take part in this year’s ‘Bike Around the Borough’.
During her year in office, Cllr Sales will be promoting and raising money for the North London Action for the Homeless. The organisation runs a drop in session twice a week serving food and providing a social space for between 50 and 100 visitors. Open to everyone, the centre is a place where people can feel accepted and respected whatever their circumstances. The charity also hosts a garden project and, provides advice to assist in finding accommodation and outreach workers to help people overcome health and other problems.
She will also be supporting Hackney Migrant Centre, a charity which runs a drop in centre and gives free legal advice for asylum seekers, refugees and recent migrants. Having volunteered at the charity for the past four years, Cllr Sales has witnessed first-hand the great effect the centre has on people’s lives. She said: “Many visitors to the centre have told me it has provided them with hope, that they were listened to for the first time and it was a turning point when they could begin to turn their life around.”
Cllr Sales is also looking forward to continuing to preside at the borough’s citizenship ceremonies. She said: “The ceremony marks the new rights people have gained, but also gives a sense of belonging to our community, of being at home. It is wonderful to meet people from so many different countries whose language, culture and skills add to Hackney’s richness.”
“Hackney’s strength is in its diversity and it is this strength that I will be promoting both inside and outside of the borough during my time as Speaker.”
A new Speaker is elected every May at the Council’s Annual General Meeting by fellow councillors. Cllr Sales takes the mantle from Cllr Sade Etti. She will be supported this year by the Deputy Speaker, Cllr Soraya Adejare.