Honiton representative Jake, 20, is finalist for national Young Councillor of the Year award

A 20-year-old Honiton representative has been named as a finalist for a prestigious national Young Councillor of the Year award.

Jake Bonetta says he is ‘honoured and humbled’ at being nominated after serving on the town council for just over a year.

Councillor Bonetta, elected May 2021, is in the running for a gong at the National Association of Local Councils’ (NALC) Star Council Awards 2022.

He is one of five people nominated in his category – with rivals from Great Dawley, Greatham, Rothersthorpe and Godalming.

The awards are the only of their kind in England; recognising the parish and town council sector.

“I’m honoured and humbled to be a finalist for this prestigious award, and I want to thank everyone who has supported me in my role over the last 13 months,” said Cllr Bonetta.

“I am so proud to be a part of our hard-working and inclusive team.”

Cllr Bonetta is also a district councillor for the Honiton St Michael’s ward.

His NALC nomination says he ‘participates in several community activities’.

It adds: “He works with all councillors and council staff through full council meetings and with the majority of councillors and officers on several committees, working groups and outside bodies.

“Cllr Bonnetta also has special responsibility for arts, culture and heritage issues.

“Local services for the community have been improved through Cllr Bonnetta’s leadership of Food Save.

“Cllr Bonnetta has established and manages daily operating processes, including setting strategic direction, securing grants, including sixth form volunteers and working to provide longer-term community support services.

“Cllr Bonnetta has also set up community fridges for anyone to donate or receive food in Honiton and surrounding areas.

“Cllr Bonnetta is working with a collective endeavour to take on high street premises as a one-stop shop for TRIP and other community support organisations.

“Cllr Bonnetta is currently working with Citizens Advice concerning the setting up of a local office and co-operation on Food Save. Citizens Advice also refer residents to Cllr Bonnetta for casework issues.

“Cllr Bonnetta is a committee member of TRIP and is working closely with their community engagement manager to boost interaction with the public.

“Cllr Bonnetta has assisted with grant applicants for The Fairtrade Steering Group and recently on a street stall.

“Following concern over parking, Cllr Bonnetta, with another councillor, visited every property in the street. After consultation at the district council level, they provided feedback to residents to allay their concerns.

“Cllr Bonnetta entered a successful motion to pause all non-essential committee work. Instead, policies, standing orders and the structure of council documentation were reviewed to ensure compliance with legislation, proper working and benefit for the community.

“As a district councillor, Cllr Bonnetta is a link with Honiton Town Council, providing a communication channel. Cllr Bonnetta has lobbied to keep local toilet facilities open and ensure a proper transfer of ownership to the Honiton Town Council.

“Consulting school children and residents, Cllr Bonnetta has gathered ideas on the renovation of Honiton’s play areas, including the children’s design for their ideal parks.”

Winners will be announced at an online ceremony later this year.

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