Back in the summer of 2023, I thought it would be a great idea to strengthen the communication between local politicians and my fellow students at Franklin Sixth Form College in Grimsby.

I believed that it was crucial that people my age had a say in what was happening in our local area, as we would be the ones who would grow up and hopefully flourish here.

So that is why I contacted both Labour Candidate for Grimsby, Melanie Onn, and Lia Nici, our current Conservative MP, and would interview them both with questions supplied to me from the student body.

First on my schedule was Mrs. Onn, the former Labour MP and current Labour candidate for Grimsby.

We discussed a myriad of topics, covering her ambitions to “level up” Grimsby and T-levels, but first up on the docket was what she planned to do if she won back the seat of MP for Grimsby.

Mrs. Onn said that she felt that “people in Grimsby don’t feel like they are being properly represented."

Mrs. Onn then adds: “They don’t feel that they’ve got a member of parliament who is visible, or who is accessible, or who is raising the issues that they want to hear being raised at a parliamentary level.”

With that in mind, Melanie Onn plans to bring change to Grimsby with ambitions to attract more investment into educational facilities in the area, with a particular focus on skills for people who have been out of employment for a time or wish to change their career so that they can grow further and have more opportunities ahead of them.

She also detailed Labour’s close connections with teaching unions and sympathised with teaching staff at every level and the unique challenges they face.

She elaborated that Labour aims to ensure that “everybody who is working in the public sector is paid fairly” as she wishes to reduce strikes and the detriment to learning that can often accompany them.

Mrs. Onn, a former worker of the trade union “Unison'' who represents teaching assistants across the UK, said that “teaching assistants are some of the most undervalued people working in education” who are “paid a fraction and are often expected to step up to teaching levels without getting the recognition or the reward”. She explained that she wishes that they were “properly remunerated for the work they do, the skills they have, and the knowledge that they are sharing."

However, as I mentioned earlier, Melanie Onn was not the only politician I would be speaking with. Next up was Lia Nici, Grimsby’s current Conservative MP.

Appointed in 2019, Ms. Nici, a former Grimsby Institute for Higher Education student, has aimed to provide Grimsby with the position on the political map that it deserves and to attract investment from not only the government but also big business.

When I asked her what her best achievement was for our area, she stated, “I think so far it's getting the regeneration money and actually, politically, starting to get us on the map."

This is crucial for Grimsby, as the town has been in decline since the death of the local fishing industry from events such as “The Cod Wars." However, there are projects being introduced, such as the Grimsby Masterplan, that aims to turn this around. 

The Masterplan was born from the Town Deal between central and local government and has introduced a plan to reinvigorate the local area. Plans for youth zones overlooking the river Freshney, a facelift for the Freshney Place shopping centre, and a new lick of paint for the town centre that so many Grimbarians are proud to call home.

Hopefully, both individuals will continue to deliver the great work they have been doing and that our paths will cross again in the future, as it is always important to engage with your local community and those who represent you.