A recent Thatcher Scholar and Somerville graduate has been confirmed as one of five finalists in the NALC Star Council Awards 2023 Young Councillor of the Year category.

The Star Council Awards are run annually by the National Association of Local Councils. They are the only awards in England to recognise the positive impact made by local councils, councillors and young councillors to their communities, with the winners announced at a parliamentary reception in the House of Lords.

Luca Webb (2019, History) is a former Michael Bishop Foundation Thatcher Scholar at Somerville College, where he graduated with a First in History in 2022. He now works as a Head of Communications for a sustainable food network, but also as a Co-Opted Governor at his former junior school and a Councillor for Chepping Wycombe Parish Council in Buckinghamshire.

It is in the latter capacity that Luca’s energy and ideas have gained this recognition. He has led initiatives focused on food security, grassroots community engagement, regenerating a local sports area and facilitating dialogue on how constructively to resolve anti-social behaviour within the parish.

Speaking about Luca’s nomination, our Principal Jan Royall said, ‘The NALC’s profile of Luca is testament to the extraordinary way in which he’s serving the people of Chepping Wycombe. The role of parish councillors is important and too often overlooked, yet Luca exemplifies the difference they can make to the quality of life of their constituents.’

We wish Luca huge congratulations on gaining this well-deserved recognition, and on delivering so impressively on the potential for public service he showed at Somerville.

The results of the Star Council Awards will be announced on 29th November 2023. You can read the NALC’s full citation for Luca below.

Two students walking and talking through college archway

Luca with fellow Thatcher Scholar Emer Shell during their time at Somerville (socially distanced due to Covid-19)

NALC Citation for Luca Webb

Cllr Luca Webb, a young and dedicated Chepping Wycombe Parish Council member since 2021, has significantly impacted community engagement within the parish.

One of his notable achievements was his pivotal role in supporting the establishment of the community pantry, a local food bank affiliated with the Flackwell Heath church. He passionately advocated for the pantry’s grant application to the parish, successfully swaying initial hesitations and showcasing its unique and vital contribution to the community.

Cllr Webb initiated the council’s presence at the monthly local market and annual fete in Flackwell Heath to bolster community interaction. He actively engages with residents, addressing their concerns and questions, further enhancing the council’s visibility and accessibility within the parish. Cllr Webb has been instrumental in revitalising the council’s social media outreach, leveraging platforms like Facebook to promote Council activities and engage with the community effectively.

Addressing the anti-social behaviour (ASB) issue within Flackwell Heath, Cllr Webb demonstrated proactive leadership. He engaged with the community to organise meetings with the police, fostering discussions about ASB and discouraging the formation of potentially divisive local vigilante groups. Through consistent updates on social media, Cllr Webb has kept residents informed about the ASB challenges, ensuring transparent communication about necessary repairs and replacements in affected community spaces.

Additionally, Cllr Webb is actively involved in rejuvenating a local sports area, a project laden with challenges related to green belt regulations and utilities. Undeterred, he has contributed several innovative ideas and solutions to overcome these challenges, demonstrating his commitment to community improvement and persistence in the face of obstacles.

Despite being the youngest council member, Cllr Webb has seamlessly integrated into the council’s operations, participating in various projects and working groups. His dedication to staying informed, even attending meetings via digital platforms while juggling academic and professional commitments showcases his passion for community service.

Through his involvement in the local history group and engagement with various aspects of parish life, Cllr Luca Webb has brought a fresh, younger perspective to the council, enriching the discourse and contributing to a more vibrant and dynamic local government.

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