Monday, 23 November 2020

Councillors want to see more for youngsters

GORING’S newest parish councillors say they want to improve amenities for young people.

Emma McCorkell, who owns a public relations firm, and Tony Virgo-Harris, who runs the Virgo Beauty salon in High Street with his wife Sarah Virgo, were co-opted on to the council at a meeting earlier this month.

Councillor McCorkell, 43, who lives in West Way with her partner Cheryl Mayer, has lived in the area for four years and has two children, aged 12 and 10, from a previous relationship.

She has spent most of her career in publicity for the entertainment industry. Her first employer was the Columbia Tristar studio and she was director of film publicity for US streaming giant Netflix before she founded Team PR in 2016.

Cllr McCorkell was already friends with several councillors who wanted her to join and she did so after following the debate on the re-opening of the village’s two playgrounds.

Like many parents, she didn’t understand why the council wouldn’t open them sooner but now accepts it was a complex decision because of insurance issues.

She said: “The council was keen to have someone younger on board and I was a good fit because I run a business and love the village.

“The playground issue was causing frustration but unless you’re on the council you don’t appreciate the ins and outs.

“Now I get it but I’m also concerned about their long-term condition. One of my daughters is autistic and I’d love to see how we can make them more inclusive for children with special needs.

“A lot of families now live in Goring but its amenities don’t always reflect that.”

Councillor Virgo-Harris, 54, grew up in Reading and has lived in Goring for more than 20 years.

He and his wife opened their salon at the former Nappers grocer’s in 2014 and it was later crowned best boutique outlet in the South-West and Wales region of the Professional Beauty Awards.

He previously worked in sales and recruitment, both for other firms and as director of his own agency.

He also wants to improve Goring’s play facilities as the couple’s children, aged 12 and 15, are often at a loose end.

Cllr Virgo-Harris said: “I’d been aware of the vacancy for some time but the coronavirus disruption allowed me to finally stop and get my head around it.

“As a business owner and long-standing resident, it was a great opportunity to protect and improve the beautiful place we live and work in.

“It’s great that our children have such a safe environment but there isn’t much to do, especially as they get older.

“I’d like to start a conversation about how we can create an environment where they flourish. There’s good sports provision but we need more activities for those who aren’t so sporty.”

Earlier this year, Cllr Virgo-Harris addressed a Black Lives Matter protest on the village recreation ground in which he shared his experiences of being black in a mostly white area and encouraged people to examine their unconscious biases.

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