I’ve witnessed at first hand the crumbling community support services for learning disabled children and adults, and it’s strengthened my commitment to bring about positive change Moira Cunningham
I am passionately committed to social justice, and have been involved in the UK voluntary/ community sector all my life, paid and unpaid, with 50 years of experience in various capacities and at different levels of organisation – from volunteer worker to Executive Director and Chair. Now retired from paid work, I currently volunteer at a local hospice, and am a trustee of two local charities. As ‘retirement’ approached, I retrained as a complementary therapist and qualified in Clinical Aromatherapy and Reiki. I am also very proud to have qualified as a Yoga Master and Meditation Teacher in my sixties, in Delhi, India.
I’m committed to bring about positive change in our NHS hospitals, welfare benefits system, and crumbling community support services for learning disabled children and adults.
My three (now adult) children have been a major influence on my life and beliefs, in particular my son, who has Down’s Syndrome, and who I continue to care for part-time. He has taught me many lessons – including valuing people regardless of who or how they are – and a lot of patience. One of my daughters has had many painful knee operations over the last few years, and struggled to walk – nonetheless she campaigned for her Derbyshire County Council seat on crutches, and won. My other daughter is a single parent with four children, the oldest of whom also has Down’s Syndrome and epilepsy. I have supported her both practically, and in battling the welfare and support services. Between them they have given me opportunities to witness at first hand the workings of our NHS hospitals, welfare benefits system, and crumbling community support services for learning disabled children and adults, and strengthen my commitment to bring about positive change.
I was born in Glasgow, grew up in Wiltshire and Somerset, lived in many parts of England – including Whitby in the 1980s – and returned to live in Scarborough, which I love, in 2017. My earliest experience of campaigning for the Labour Party was as a ‘runner’ between Polling Station and Committee Rooms aged 8 – my father was Chair of the constituency Labour Party in a rural area of Wiltshire. I have been involved in politics in various ways for most of my life, having served on both Branch and CLP Executives, and been a candidate in borough council elections. I am currently the Womens Officer for Scarborough Branch, and have been actively working to engage more women in our local Labour Party.
Other passions are the coast and countryside, getting my boots on and getting walking – an activity I value, as for many years as a carer I was unable to get out. I used to do a bit of folk singing, and love live music and theatre.