Hairdressers and taxi drivers from across the region have been helping to promote the Tees Valley Mayoral Election as Monday, 19 April at 11:59pm marks the deadline to register to vote.
On Thursday, 6 May, people from Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees can vote for their Tees Valley Mayor.
The Mayor is responsible for so many aspects of life in the Tees Valley, including attracting investment, supporting business to create jobs, developing transport links, tourism and skills in the region.
To make sure the importance of the vote is understood, two professions well known for talking to their customers – hair stylists and taxi drivers – have been speaking directly to local people encouraging them to go to the polls.
Chris Bainbridge, Managing Director at Darlington’s 1AB Taxis, and Steve Robinson, owner of Saks Hair Middlesbrough, have been encouraging their staff to highlight the election now that coronavirus restrictions have relaxed, and people are getting out more, including for that much-needed haircut.
Chris said: “Our taxi drivers reach so many different people from across our five towns, of all ages and from all different backgrounds – and our message to all of them is to go out and vote.
“We don’t want the Covid pandemic to discourage people, but the easing of lockdown is showing that we’re slowly coming out of the other side. So if shops and pubs are reopening, those who are healthy and can go out should head to their local polling station – and there’s still time to register for a postal or proxy vote too.
“One of my big priorities is delivering a service in linking and further improving the excellent transportation networks we have in Darlington and the Tees Valley and to see further improvements to our roads. Clearly everyone will have their own ideas of what’s important, many of which the Mayor will be involved in, and voting in this election is a chance for all of us to get that across.”
Steve said: “I’ve been at Saks for more than 40 years, and at the Middlesbrough franchise since 1995 so I’ve seen a lot of change in the town and across the whole area in that time. The role of the Mayor is to drive even more transformation and deliver the kind of change we want to see.
“I’ve also listened to a lot of opinions from people getting their hair styled about what could be done to improve the Tees Valley and where money should be spent. The Mayor’s roles and responsibilities are exactly this. They are wide-ranging, impacting our day-to-day lives, and include decisions over Government funding.
“Since lockdown restrictions have eased and we’ve been able to reopen this week, we’ve had floods of people through our doors and while it’s fine talking about these things in the salon, to get their voices heard on our future, people need to go out and vote.”
If you are registered to vote and want a postal vote, your application must arrive at your local Electoral Registration Office by 5pm on 20 April. If you need a proxy vote, it must arrive at 5pm on 27 April.
For more information, visit www.teesvalleymayor.co.uk