TWO Bolton councillors have been shortlisted for a national award for their campaign against Bolton Wanderers’ controversial sponsorship deal with a pay day loan firm.
Labour councillor for Westhoughton North and Chew Moor, Christopher Peacock, and Cllr Kate Lewis, for Breightmet ward, are both up for Young Councillor of the Year in the LGiU and CCLA C’llr Achievement Awards 2014.
The annual awards recognise councillors who go over and above what is expected of them and show dedication to their communities.
In May last year the pair, who are both Bolton Wanderers supporters, challenged Whites’ decision to have QuickQuid as its main sponsor through a campaign and petition.
Wanderers later pulled out of the £500,000 shirt sponsorship agreement, instead signing a deal with Fibrlec, a technology partner with the University of Bolton.
The club said at the time that it had taken on board feedback from fans and had discussions with local and national politicians. Cllr Lewis says that she has seen the impact that pay day loan companies have on vulnerable people in her ward.
She said: “Breightmet is one of the most deprived wards in Bolton, and the amount spent by organisations like the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Bolton at Home advising people about how to get out of debt is high.
“It’s a real honour to be up for this award and it’s really good for the issue to have national attention.”
Cllr Peacock, aged 30, added: “Both Kate and I are passionate about the dangers of legal loan sharks and the practices that they use to trap people into a circle of debt that they can’t get out of.
“It is an incredible honour to be shortlisted, it came as a complete surprise.
“For Bolton to be recognised in a national award is great.
“It was never my intention to get into politics when I was younger, although I had an interest in it.
“But I love helping people and making a difference.
“I would recommend it to anyone who cares about the area that they live in.
“There’s no better feeling than having an effect on something in your own town.”
Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony, which takes place on February 25.