Hi, I'm Jonny Adamson, and I'm the Scottish Liberal Democrat standing in Leaderdale & Melrose for election to Scottish Borders Council.
What makes you get involved?
I joined the party in 2014 upon returning to the Borders after graduating from university and shortly before the independence referendum. I'd always been a supporter of the Liberal Democrats and had a strong connection with the party's values and aims; namely, social justice and fairness, equal opportunities for everyone, freedom of choice and expression and empowering local communities.
2014 saw the political debate in Scotland, and probably across the UK, shift considerably on both a national and local level. For me, the values that the Liberal Democrats championed became even more important in that moment and have continued to be in the years since then. It's what pushed me to take the next step and become more involved so that I could, fundamentally, play my part in improving our area and helping people.
Since becoming involved with the Liberal Democrats, I've had a platform in which to meet people, hear their stories and work with them to make a difference, however big or small. It's an incredibly rewarding and uplifting experience and it's made me learn more about myself and my home and to understand and appreciate the role that we can all play to help others.
I'm now determined to get more Liberal Democrats elected across our region again because I know that, with more Lib Dems elected, we'll have an even greater opportunity to put the policies in place to make the Borders an even better place to live.
What are your main areas of focus?
Opportunities for Young People - A Good Start for Adulthood
I'm passionate about creating more opportunities for young people in the Borders. I got involved as a Youth Worker whilst at university and since then have been heavily involved in developing youth sport in the Borders. I know the importance and value of having opportunities at a young age and, while I was fortunate to have those myself and I'm grateful for what it provided me growing up, I'm acutely aware that not everyone does. Of course, it's not just sport, but in a whole range of areas, including closing the attainment gap to ensure everyone maximises their potential in education and having a pathway in which young people can continue to work in our region without being forced to move away. Giving children and young people the best start in life and then journey into adulthood is crucial and I want the Borders to be somewhere that can happen for everyone.
Having opportunities in life shouldn't be limited to young people though and I'm also a strong advocate for fairness and social justice. The Borders isn't immune from poverty and there is a much greater number of families and individuals who are struggling than we realise. This isn't a problem confined to urban areas. We simply shouldn't have a country where people have to depend on foodbanks to get by, have inadequate living conditions or be forced to choose between heating their home or putting food on the table. I think there needs to be a national recognition and focus on ending poverty across our country.
Ending Mental Health Stigma - Focus on Wellbeing
I believe that we're at a critical moment in removing the stigma of mental health and ensuring that we're a healthier society when it comes to our mental health and wellbeing. Again, through my work I've seen first hand the need and importance of getting this right and, even before the covid-19 pandemic, I thought we were at a moment where this can really improve. Better investment in mental health services to widen accessibility and availability, more focus on wellbeing in all aspects of life and improvements to and protection of our green spaces must be high on the political agenda.
Dignity in End of Life
I have always been a strong supporter of assisted dying and hope that one day Scotland and the rest of the UK will pass legislation to bring our outdated legal system in this area into the 21st century. Our current laws are uncompassionate and we're letting down thousands of people end up suffering towards the end of their lives. People deserve a choice in those situations and nobody has any right to deny them. I hope we can change this soon and one of my personal aims is to get more involved in this campaign going forward!
And before getting involved in politics?
I began getting some experience in tennis coaching when I was 17, went on to do my various coaching qualifications and then worked my way up from club to district and then a county coach for the area. I also spent a year working in Perthshire at an academy and had the privilege of working with some excellent players. I still do a lot of coaching today and I'm heavily involved in a lot of voluntary aspects of running junior programmes. I really enjoy it and I don't think it will ever leave me!
I also got involved as a Youth Worker during university for a small charity in Stirling where I supported children and young people with disabilities. The charity does exceptional caring work across the central belt and helps a lot of families and I really enjoyed being part of it. Again, it's something that I'd love to go back to at some point as it's quite incredible to see first hand the difference that youth work can make in people's lives.
And when it's time to relax?
Sport still plays a big part in my down time; whether watching, coaching, playing or even reading! I have a collection of sport autobiographies and biographies that is always growing with new sports! I've recently become really fascinated with sport psychology in particular, so could read about that type of stuff for days! In terms of playing, racket sports such as tennis and padel are my favourites. I'm also a really keen walker and I need to set myself some targets for bagging more munros!