A YOUNG councillor has received a national award nomination recognising his work in the community.
Andrew Gordon, only left his teenage years behind him in 2012, but has been the heartbeat of his ward, Nethermayne, since he was elected in 2011, aged only 18.
He played a key role in saving Knights Surgery, in Lee Chapel North, and has been fighting to protect green belt land at the Dry Street wildlife haven.
A staunch Labour man, Mr Gordon said the challenges he has faced as a young councillor have been considerable, but it is that scrutiny that has kept his focus on what matters – helping the people who voted him in as a councillor.
Mr Gordon, who lives off Long Riding, said he felt very humbled to have been shortlisted for the Local Government Information Unit and Churches and Charities and Local Authorities Achievement Awards .
He said: “I am very thankful to everyone who thought I was worth nominating and am thankful to the electorate for being given the opportunity to represent them.
“Being a relatively young person in politics is incredibly tough. You are far more open to scrutiny and challenges.
But for me, it keeps my focus on the now.
“People can dwell on what has happened in the past, Margaret Thatcher did this, or Gordon Brown did that.
What I ammore interested in, is what is happening now and what I can do to provide as best an outcome as possible for the residents I represent.”
However, Mr Gordon says none of it has been plain sailing.
He has battled back from depression, having been diagnosed aged 15, and spent a year in a psychiatric hospital.
He said it was his duty to help the residents who helped him fight back to full strength.
He said: “My first year of being a councillor was incredibly difficult.
“I struggled with my mental health and it was a huge challenge to fight on.
“Mental health is a huge part of my life and I am very open about my experiences.
This was why when the opportunity came up to become a local authorities mental health champion I grabbed it.”
Aside from his duties as a councillor, Mr Gordon says he has a bond with the town.
He explained: “Basildon is an amazing place. I have lived all my life in the town and spent my early life in Brooke House.
“It is a new town, and it can be whatever it wants to be, which is why I am so keen on working with the community.”
A select group of councillors and local government experts will decide the winner on Tuesday, February 25.