Stokes councillor becomes first black Cabinet member

Photo of Cllr Franklin Owusu-Antwi.
Cllr Franklin Owusu-Antwi.

A Bradley Stoke councillor and former soldier has been appointed South Gloucestershire Council’s first black Cabinet member.

Cllr Franklin Owusu-Antwi will be a ‘champion for equality of opportunity’ in a newly created portfolio position which also includes public health. Prior to this, Cllr Owusu-Antwi had served as the Cabinet assistant for community safety.

He has pledged to encourage and celebrate diversity and will work closely with the voluntary community sector, as well as taking responsibility for the local authority’s Armed Forces Covenant.

As a former soldier in the British Army, serving in Afghanistan before being redeployed to the MoD at Abbey Wood, Cllr Owusu-Antwi has worked as a logistics consultant since returning to civilian life, advising the MoD, NATO, the United Nations and other organisations on a range of international projects in aid of developing and newly independent nations.

Outside of this, he founded the charity Assistplus CIC, which supports veterans in the community, and he is also an active member of the Stoke Gifford branch of the Royal British Legion.

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Commenting on his Cabinet appointment, Cllr Owusu-Antwi said:

“Being given the chance to serve on this administration is nothing short of a privilege and I am delighted to begin work on this portfolio. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, South Gloucestershire Council has had to adapt with pace to ensure we are best placed to protect our residents, our communities and our local way of life, and I am pleased that the emphasised role of public health is enshrined within the new cabinet position.”

“Locally, we have been affected to a lesser extent by Covid-19 than some other parts of the country, but there is no room for complacency as every infection poses a risk and every death is a tragedy. It impacts both physical and mental health, personal relationships, jobs and our environment and, nationally, has had a disproportionate effect on people from the BAME community and has the potential to widen the existing gap of inequalities. Something that needs to be addressed with a focused yet holistic approach.”

“As a Conservative, I am proud to be part of the most diverse group in the council’s history and as its first black Cabinet member, I am keen to further that work to support, encourage and celebrate diversity across South Gloucestershire. This applies not just to race, but to gender, sexuality and every other feature that makes each of us unique. I also want to ensure we promote diversity of thought, and the sentiment that everyone doesn’t have to think the same for us to be a welcoming and respectful society.”

Cllr Toby Savage, leader of South Gloucestershire Council, commented:

“Franklin will be an asset within the Cabinet and a benefit to the people of South Gloucestershire. I know that with his wealth of experience and positive attitude, this new role will give the administration a fantastic opportunity to tackle some of the biggest and most delicate challenges we face in our communities.”

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 18). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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