Cllr Shrobona Bhattacharya is a member of South Cambridgeshire District Council.
Being a councillor allows the chance for community leadership and public engagement. It is where my passion is. I was town councillor for few years and I have also founded a local Charity to run several community engagement projects through CamCare UK.
Before the CamCare UK was born, I continued to work through another registered charity I founded, Mudra Academy of Performing Arts UK (2011). Mudra Academy helps young people develop important lifelong skills to learn how to deal with everyday challenges. These children are also learning how to make the best use of their talents as evident by Cambourne Science Fair and Family Arts Day. I am also a passionate ambassador of STEM. I, therefore, take every opportunity to work with the youth to unfold their potential interest in STEM and facilitate their skills of becoming more collaborative, critical and creative thinkers.
Through running the Science Festivals, Electronics and Robotics Club I have seen these children starting to “think like a scientist and an engineer”. They are already flourishing in preparing presentations, mentoring other peers and even presenting their work on TV. I am proud of the ability of these children to work together as a team to conduct workshops, participate in competitions and volunteer for their local community. These initiatives are helping to make these children into an invaluable member of the society and leaders for the coming generations.
Another important aim of mine is to work to remove loneliness and social isolation in our community. For this initiative, I run several community-based projects. I am running more than 18 people-oriented activities through CamCare UK and Mudra Academy to bridge the gap between different communities and further integrate the local community.
I believe integrating with your local community alongside maintaining one’s own identity and culture, are the definition of a multicultural society and one which we must all work to achieve. Putting effort through CamCare UK to address different ethnic community groups to be heard, acknowledged and respected is, therefore, an important part of my job. This includes organising cultural awareness events and sensitization programmes on cultural differences to encourage the community to take the important steps of inclusiveness. It has been a privilege to help local communities celebrate their festivals such as the Chinese New Year for the Chinese community, Pancake festival, Maslenitsa for the Baltic and Russian communities. Throughout the year, I also enjoy organising many South Asian cultural events like Cambourne Mela, Festivals of colours, Festival of lights and Festival of languages to integrate South Asians and other international communities together. My charity CamCare UK runs the Cambourne Mela since 2016 where she includes several states of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and SriLanka and has been received very well by the local community.
I also run the Experimental Cookery club and workshops, Fundraisings, digital inclusion programmes International dinners, Cam Talks and interfaith dialogues through CamCare UK. These projects also give others opportunities to connect with each other. A sense of community further helps to eradicate the feeling of isolation. These services additionally help to develop a sense of social responsibility, a global view of society and a heart for giving back and helping others. I also like to keep all my events and activities free for the people and the community.
It was a pleasure to see that the Cambourne Experimental Cookery Club initiative was adapted by South Cambridgeshire District Council as a tool kit for removing loneliness. Experimental Cookery Club brings families together in Cambourne for shared meals on a regular basis. This club is a fun way of meeting new friends and making different food from around the world. Food brings people closer, thus she designed her project accordingly. New learning, volunteering and charity are also the other three elements. Every year the entire club comes together for one big dinner to raise funds for a local important issue.
I have also helped to launch the roll-out of timebanking in South Cambridgeshire. It follows the initiative by the Council’s Conservative leadership last year to include two new pilot timebanks in the 2018-2019 corporate plan, which the new administration at SCDC has picked up and is now rolling out.
Organising the various events, working with the district councillors alongside my everyday job and being a mother of two kids keeps me busy.
I am excited to help Cambourne become even more welcoming and attractive to young people. Cambourne has the highest density of children in the district and the youth is the future asset of our nation.
I further believe that communication technologies have great potential in tackling loneliness. It improves the quality of life and helps tackle isolation especially faced in the elderly population by enabling them to stay in touch with their loved ones. I want to ensure that the senior people of the community get as much help as possible to adapt to the technological changes and fit into the digital community. My initiative of organising the Digital Surgery welcomes any 60+ resident to overcome the hurdles of the new generation technologies.
I have also been very humbled to have been short-listed twice in 2018, 2019 by LGiU & CCLA Cllr Achievement Awards and won the Commendable Leadership Award by the Luminus Group in 2017. I was also selected for the Community Champion by the South Cambridgeshire Conservative Group.