Coilla lives on a small farm in Westray, one of Orkney's Outer North Isles. She spent twelve years as full time carer for her husband and for six years of that time also her father, both with Dementia and multiple other health issues. During this time she had much to do with the Health, Social Care and Welfare systems. Previously she was a Lecturer in Further Education, including teaching students with learning disabilities, and a Veterinary Nurse.
She joined the Labour Party shortly after the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader in 2015. Because of her role as a carer she was restricted to mostly online campaigning. She was involved with founding, and still helps with running, one of the large Corbyn Supporting Facebook groups, which does a lot of canvassing and spreading of information online via Facebook and Twitter. During the second Leadership election she played an important part in the local Labour Party in nominating Jeremy Corbyn, and then last year in nominating Richard Leonard for the Scottish Leadership. This year she became the Chair of the local Party.
Since her caring role came to a close at the end of 2017, she has been able to be more involved in campaigning and politics offline too. Attending the last two Scottish Labour Conferences in Dundee as a delegate, and also as delegate to National Conference in Liverpool last year. She spoke at both Scottish and National Conference about Social Care, and at Dundee also about Equality and Diversity.
She was elected to the Scottish Labour Policy Forum last year, and then Health and Care Commission of the SPF, and has raised important issues for isles and remote communities, Health and Social Care, and several other areas
She was very involved with last year's visit of Richard Leonard to Orkney, and found that truly inspirational. Locally she has been involved with a campaign on Orkney Ferries Fare structure, been involved with protests against Donald Trump's visit, against Climate Change, and very recently spoke at a protest against the prorogation of Parliament.
Now she is looking forward to contributing further as the Labour Candidate for Orkney and Shetland. She will be raising issues both local to Orkney and Shetland, such as transport, fishing, agriculture and renewable energy, as well as issues of a national nature. She has particular interests in the areas of Health, Social Care, Education, Environment and Agriculture. She is anti Austerity and pro investment in our people, industries, councils and infrastructure, she is also in favour of devolution of power to our Nations and Regions. She believes we need a welfare system that is a true safety net, which it is not at present, having had personal experience of dealing with the DWP for her husband, her father and herself. Since her husband passed she has experienced claiming JSA, the worry of the threat of sanctions, the fear of not being able to pay for heating and so not turning it on in the middle of Winter, and low paid and insecure work. She believes we need people with experience of life as it is for ordinary working people in public life, this is why she is standing as the Labour and Cooperative candidate in the coming General Election.
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