The new mayor of Brighton and Hove mucked in on her first official engagement at a community centre in her ward.
Councillor Jackie O’Quinn became mayor at a ceremony at Brighton Town Hall 10 days ago.
She attended an event at the Vallance Community Centre, in Conway Court, on the corner Sackville Road and Clarendon Villas, where she could be spotted helping out with some weeding just days later.
Councillor O’Quinn planted “Jubilee Flowers in Bloom” in a flower bed outside the community centre for the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee a year ago.
While the mayor – a ceremonial role – remains politically neutral, the lack of weeding on the Clarendon and Ellen estate in the year since the jubilee did not go unremarked by some.
Councillor O’Quinn said: “The Clarendon and Ellen estate is in Goldsmid ward where I have been a councillor for eight years.
“I have worked hard to initiate schemes that will help local residents as it’s been blighted itself by scaffolding and the issues of a major build next to it for the past few years.
“I was delighted to be asked by Corridor Projects to attend their fabulous and free art/photo project.
“The event was just one of a series of events held at the community centre by Corridor Projects, commissioned by Ginkgo Projects, and called ‘In this Place’.
“Residents from the Hove Gardens development area have been involved in creating a collaborative photo wall reflecting what makes this community special and distinctive.
“I missed the dog photography session the weekend before, much to my disappointment.
“It was a fun event with people of all ages attending and all from the local community. There was a lot of photography, interspersed with free tea and cakes.
“We were lucky enough to have a stunning sunny day which made it even more fun.”
Today (Saturday 3 June) there was another workshop at the community centre, with artist Arpita Shah and Corridor asking people to dig out their family albums.
Residents were invited to bring down their vintage photos from the area to scan and include as part of a final summer exhibition.
The mayor added: “It was my pleasure to attend my very first mayoral event at Vallance Community Centre.”
She said that the community centre was “very dear to my heart”. It was where she first met two of the Labour councillors who inspired her – Frieda Warman-Brown and Betty Walshe.
Frieda Warman-Brown was the daughter of the former Deputy Prime Minister George Brown and Betty Walshe was the first mayor of Brighton and Hove when the council was created in the 1990s.
Councillor O’Quinn said: “They were two extraordinary and highly capable women and many Labour and community events were held at the centre over the years.”
The mayor’s job includes chairing Brighton and Hove City Council meetings over the coming year and representing the city and the council here and elsewhere.
Unlike the mayor of London or Manchester, the mayor of Brighton and Hove does not have any substantial political power.
Each year, though, the mayor raises money for local charities as well as carrying out hundreds of ceremonial duties over their year in office.