How are Itchen’s Student Union giving other students a taste of the real world?

The Itchen Student Union (ISU) at Itchen Sixth Form College in Southampton is giving students a taste of voting and being candidates in an election. This idea was thought of by me after my experiences in local politics throughout 2013 and 2014. Last year the ISU was led by two teachers – a rather odd idea considering it is the students’ union. This year however, the students have taken back control of what they do and how they wish to operate. Last year, the Chair was chosen by way of an interview – something that is undemocratic and unfair to the students that attend the college. This year, we have used our power to make sure that we choose what is on our agendas, we choose what we want to do.

2015 is the year of the General Election for the United Kingdom, times are changing and the government may well be too. So the ISU has given students a chance to get a taste of voting (even those who are unable to vote) and stand for election to become the next Chair. The ISU has been so hard at work, booking a polling station, working out what voting method we will use to decide who becomes the chair, creating the system to nominate candidates and regulate their expenses. We have worked with Fareham Borough Council to give us an idea how to run the election and also lend some support and materials to use to make sure the day runs smoothly.

(left to right) Me , Elaine Wildig from Fareham Borough Council and Gregory Smith who is the current chair of the ISU

(left to right) Me , Elaine Wildig from Fareham Borough Council and Gregory Smith who is the current chair of the ISU.

A bit much for a college you may say? Definitely not. This gives students the chance to experience what happens outside their college life, what affects not just their outside life but what happens in college to.  One thing I often hear from people who run businesses is the people who have just left education who, yes have the education, but are lacking in real life experience – this is part of the solution.

So today, March the 23rd, we have closed nominations. We have four candidates that students have nominated to run, now we just have to wait and see who wins the election.

Well done to Itchen College for working with the ISU to make this happen and thanks to Fareham Borough Council (and Elaine!) for their support.

Thanks for reading,


Going Green? Go Grindey!

We need to talk about mental health.

I am backing calls for better provision of support for local people in mental health crisis. Mind, the mental health charity, is calling for local services to deliver on their promise to improve the support for people who are suicidal, self-harming or in psychosis.

Last year, national and local governments, and leaders of key services in England, including health, police, and voluntary organisations, signed the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat, an agreement that sets national standards for the care of people in mental health crisis. The Concordat aims to make sure that no matter where someone turns, they get the help they need and don’t fall through the cracks between different services. Key organisations in Fareham have since come together to sign their own local declaration agreeing to achieve the Concordat standards and are now preparing a local action plan to deliver them. [NB a small number of local areas have already done action plans – you can check progress on your local area here:]

Mental health is an issue that is often overlooked and brushed aside.  One in four constituents will experience a mental health problem this year and countless more will be affected through friends, family, work colleagues and other people in their lives. More needs to be done to ensure those who suffer from mental health problems get the appropriate treatment they need. Just look at the amount of young people going through and coming out of the educational system with mental health problems, it’s disgraceful.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “In a mental health crisis, your mind is at melting point. You may experience extreme anxiety, have suicidal thoughts or even a psychotic episode. It can happen to anyone. When you’re in crisis you need compassion and understanding, no matter who you turn to for help – whether it’s health and ambulance services, the police, social care or voluntary organisations.

“Signing a local Concordat is the first step in improving services but we need to see these good intentions translated into better services for everyone in crisis. We need the next government, and the next set of MPs, to provide clear leadership and resources to make sure the Concordat’s standards are achieved and local action plans delivered so that excellent crisis care is available everywhere.”

Thanks for reading,



Another one down, gains made!

I’d like to thank the people of Warsash for voting for me, all 170 of them. We have made significant progress since last year, where I only received 6% of the vote and only managed to beat the Lib Dems. This year I have recieved 8% of the vote and have not only beaten the Lib Dems, but also Labour too!


The response I’ve had since canvassing in November has been immensely wonderful – the people of my hometown were very welcoming and agreed with The Green Party’s ‘bottom-up’ approach to local politics! Canvassing has also really helped my confidence in public speaking (although some of my friends may argue I’ve always been confident, or just not willing to stop!) and I would like to also thank the Portsmouth News and their team of reporters for giving me an impressive amount of media coverage as of lately.

All I can really say is that this is not the last Warsash, or even Fareham, has seen the last of me! I’ll most definitely be back in 2016 to stand again. Although someone mentioned standing as a parliamentary candidate, a tempting idea to keep me busy over next year indeed…


I’m not going to stop campaigning for local buses, an end to parking issues and also fight for better crossings in Warsash. These issues, although appear small to some, are big to many. I would like to take the time to congratulate Cllr Cartwright for his victory and I’d like to thank him and the other candidates for keeping the campaign clean and also his wife Ruth for her lovely home-baked banana bread she gave me yesterday!

I think I’ll take a week off, perfect timing too – it’s half term, though some revision for my World Development exam will be done as well.

Thanks for reading,



Miles Grindey

The base has been set

It has been over a week and I am obviously disappointed about the result but I am grateful for the opportunity and the chance to represent The Green Party in this election, my congratulations go to Keith Evans.  I almost didn’t make it to the polls, campaigning can be more dangerous than I thought!

Thank you though, to everyone who supported me and worked tirelessly in my campaign (which includes the staff at QA Hospital on D6 Ward who got me back in time for the election) and thank you to those who did vote for me.  I spoke to many people and I am thankful that they were very kind to me and they took the time to speak about what they felt would be good for their community.

Rest assured this will not deter me from running in elections again, and I look forward to next year when I hope to be running again for The Green Party. 

Thank you very much.


Miles Grindey.