Here is my Wardmote speech to the electorate on 23rd July 2019, the day before polling day:
"I’m David Barker, 47 years old and live in the City of London on the Middlesex Street Estate with my wife Sofia. I also work in the ward of Farringdon Within on Farringdon Street with my company Techcentre, The Social Innovation Agency.
I believe an effective Common Councillor for our ward needs to have a blend of experience as we have a high number of businesses and residents living within. Indeed, our businesses range from small retail outlets and tech start-ups to law firms and global financial institutions. I stand before you as a person I believe has the required experience to be your effective common councilman.
For example, on the community and residents side, I’m actively involved in a range of community projects and initiatives in the City of London, including:
- Co-founder and chair of a local community chess club
- Board director of City of London Community Energy
- Member of the City of London Police Scrutiny panel
- Board Director of Aldgate Community Events
- A school governor
- Chair of the Education & Training Committee of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists Livery Company, also based in Farringdon Within
With regards my business experience, I was one of the UK’s first internet entrepreneurs in 1994, 25 years ago, and over the next ten years worked with global corporations such as Intel, Microsoft and Cisco to drive the globalisation of the internet. I’m a firm believer that business growth with effective government can lead to positive social change and stronger communities. However, at present, society is not really achieving this.
Therefore after ten years in my business, I decided to exit and became a social entrepreneur because I felt that unemployment, homelessness and lack of social mobility was rising and that I had to get involved. I volunteered with different charities in London to learn what was going wrong in society, leading me to work on projects with young people in street gangs, families living in work poverty and with homeless people seeking refuge in soup kitchens in the cold of winter.
Out of this research I started to innovate new social enterprises to tackle these problems. To-date I have created 5 social enterprises, including pop-up academies training long-term unemployed people into work, such as Sheila who was unemployed for 19 years but now works as a business administrator after graduating one of our training programmes. I would have stayed just being a social entrepreneur but I realised some of the social issues I was trying to tackle were caused by ineffective local or central government policies. That’s why I decided to go into politics.
Becoming a councillor, I believe I have the skills and experience to not just scrutinise policies and spending with my fellow councillors but to contribute towards effective policy ideas for business growth, social prosperity and to tackle the critical environmental issues we are facing today in our climate emergency.
This year I’ve been attending City of London committee meetings, including Community and Children’s Services, the Education Board and the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Sub-committee. I know from watching and listening I can help – however it’s frustrating that as a member of the public, I can’t say anything at these meetings. But if you elect me tomorrow I can have a seat around the table and start to focus my skills and energy to work with our Alderman, fellow councillors, residents, businesses and council officers to create a better Farringdon Within and a better City of London for all.
I would love to hear from you and discuss how I can best represent you in Farringdon Within. I am very happy to have a call or arrange a face-to-face meeting. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my mobile is 07510 674 359.
I look forward to hearing from you and speaking soon.
David Barker FRSA,
Some of the projects I volunteer with include:
Co-founder of community chess club Portsoken Ward, City of London where we meet every Saturday in a local cafe.
An excellent way for elderly local people to stay mentally active whilst engaging and supporting our youth to develop new skills!
Board Director of City of London Community Energy (CoLCE) working in partnership with the housing estates.
CoLCE, started by Councilman Jason Pritchard and Repowering London, will see solar panels on Middlesex Street Estate by 2020, scaling up to other estates soon after!
Director of Aldgate Community Events, bringing arts, performances and activities to the Aldgate area.
We have successfully launched projects including a community play, Exhibitions in a Suitcase and Winter Wonderland.
Governor of Ada Lovelace School, a new school launched in 2018 with a special focus on technology.
City of London Police Community Scrutiny Panel Member as a resident of the Middlesex Street Estate.
Chair of Education & Training Committee at Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.
I created Techcentre to innovate new social enterprise start-ups in partnership with clients to tackle issues we face in society. Example innovations to-date include:
After researching why so many people are trapped in unemployment, I invested in developing popup skills academies that can open anywhere in the UK and train people long-term unemployed into work.
So far the popup academies have opened in 7 UK towns and cities.
Too many students graduate into unemployment or underemployment. Placer has innovated a new business model in partnership with universities to scale up work experience to increase student employability to move into worthwhile work.
Find out more here: www.placer.co.uk.
The Volunteering Platform brings together volunteers from Livery Companies, membership organisations and employers to help schools with career talks, employability days, extracurricular activities and school governance.
Find out more here: www.thevp.org.uk.
Read testimonials from people who have got to know me and what I stand for:
“David is tireless, connected, strategic, astute, positive, purposeful and principled. For me, it’s a joy and privilege to know David Barker.
Jon Brewer, Director of Development at Global Cyber Alliance
"David is mindful of the importance of community and what really matters. He is a great contributor - a valuable asset and I am honoured to be a fellow director."
Rose Naigaga, Golden Lane Estate / Director of Aldgate Community Events
"David worked tirelessly as a business mentor with our sixth form students, inspiring them to challenge themselves to transform their life chances"
Jon Wilson, Lilian Baylis Technology School, London
"David's energy and drive has enabled a greater number of Special Needs students access to technology, training and first class teaching opportunities."
Helen Simon, Chair of Special Educational Needs Committee
"David contributes a lot to our community and through his charity work. He is a great chess player, a man of his word and very honest!"
Mohammed El Baaj, Mansell Street Estate, City of London
"As a couple, we are blessed we can support each other in our mission to tackle issues in our community and the City of London."
Sofia Barker, Middlesex Street Estate, City of London
"After six months of unemployment, no money, and living at home on handouts, my motivation and confidence were at their lowest and my vision of a career was becoming more of a dream than a reality.
David gave me a chance when no-one would and will be forever grateful to you for shaping me into the professional I am today!"
“After being made redundant, I was signing on one day when I was told about David’s training programmes for people long-term unemployed. I applied immediately and was accepted!
I really felt a sense of belonging again. My abilities were recognised, and because of that, I now believe in myself. I can’t thank you enough for that!”
"Before David found me, I was on Jobseeker’s Allowance, and getting a real job seemed like a far-off fantasy. Day after day, I’d apply for countless jobs, only to hear back from none.
David risked his life savings and more developing his popup skills academies for people unemployed and they worked – I now run my own business!"
My autobiography was published recently and you may wish to read the Amazon reader reviews for insights into my journey trying to improve society for others.
“I met David recently. I was immediately impressed by his steely determination to tackle the injustices he sees in society and willingness to make the world a better place.”Darryl Howes
“The passion for development, justice and young people seen in his story is amazing and can serve as a hope for many of us.”Amal Shakeel
David Barker, standing as an independent candidate for Common Councilman in Farringdon Within.