Meet your new Town Mayor of Diss: Cllr Sonia Browne!
- Please could you introduce yourself
Hello all, I am Sonia Browne your newly elected Town Mayor. My family have lived in in the town for nearly eight years and I work with the Citizens Advice with Help Through Crisis Project, where I wear many hats in the organisation. I also carry out other voluntary work in our community.
- How long have you been a town councillor and what do you most enjoy about the role?
I have been volunteering as a Town Councillor for almost two years. I have sat on the Facilites and Executive committee, (where I was Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee) and was also elected Deputy Town Mayor of Diss prior to becoming Mayor. I like the fact that I will be getting more involved in the community, as well representing so many different communities of Diss. As the only woman on the council and of minority, I feel it important to show that our town council is evolving to reflect our beautiful town. I am also looking forward to raising money for my chosen charities.
- Congratulations on becoming the new Diss Town Mayor! How do you feel?
Thank you! I feel very proud, if at first in a bit of shock – but also immensely happy. The role of Mayor is one that I take seriously, and one which I hope will help to promote the best of Diss. I will try not let it change me too much, as with all my other paid and voluntary work it is all about supporting all in our community – and that is how I see my Mayoral Role.
- What charities have you chosen to raise money for throughout your Mayoral year?
I had thought long and hard about my chosen charities and have narrowed them down to Papyrus and The Big C. I chose Papyrus, which is a special charity that supports the prevention of young suicide and supports those who are affected by suicide. I believe that suicide is something which is happening more, the effects are far reaching and people may not know what help is available.
My other chosen charity is the Big C, a Norfolk and Waveney charity – which supports those who are impacted by cancer. As a cancer survivor myself and someone who has lost family and friends from cancer, I wanted to reflect this in some way. I have also had some working knowledge of the Big C, after shadowing a benefits specialist in the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital ensuring those affected by cancer know their rights and are in receipt of their benefits entitlements. I have liaised with medical professionals and am astounded by the work carried out. Should anyone need any further information or support, or wish to donate to either of these charities, please find the links below – https://papyrus-uk.org/ http://www.big-c.co.uk/
- What are you most looking forward to about being Diss Town Mayor?
Continuing my work with the council, all the fantastic events to come this year (Diss Carnival was a highlight), connecting with local communities, making connections with other dignitaries, representing Diss at events, fundraising, working with fellow councillors and our hard working staff members of staff, without whom the council would not function. I am also looking forward to co-opting new councillors to our town council.
- When not busy with council business what are you doing?
As I mentioned above I work with the Citizens advice and support people in crisis, I am debt specialist, DRO Intermediary, Mental Health Navigator, Domestic Abuse Champion and also work as a Consultant. I am a governor at our local high school sitting on the Curriculum Committee where I am the Responsible Officer.
I am also a part time law student, which helps to bring my knowledge and other experience together.
Any spare time I have leftover, I enjoy baking cakes for my family, friends and colleagues. I love to crochet and have made various blankets, cardigans, and scarves (I made a West Ham scarf a while back?!). l am quite artistic and love the arts and crafts. There is always music playing in my home and I love a good dance, I always try to be positive and believe that laughter is integral to who I am!
- What’s a typical day like for you?
Wow, see above question. No two days are alike, I may be contacting or liaising with other councillors, supporting many aspects of the council, dealing with ongoing issues within the community. I work closely with the Carnival Committee, The Christmas Lights Committee, The Diss Youth Town Councillors and I can occasionally be seen helping to clean rubbish and planting seeds and plants in town. As Mayor I have the responsibility to chair full council meetings.
- What do you love most about Diss?
The community! I have met and spoken with many of our community and believe that there is such a great vibe and community feeling. Other things I love include our beautiful Mere, our local traders, our big businesses, The Cornhall, our events, our local community radio, our artisans, and all those who volunteer and make Diss the lovely place it is today! If I have forgotten anything or anyone – apologies. But there is so much I can say, I am very proud of our beautiful town and her community.