Councillor and Candidate Rachael King - West Mainland
I moved to Orkney over 24 years ago and the islands have become home to myself and my family. There is nowhere else on earth that I would wish to work, live and raise a family.
Whilst my background is in the visual arts, I realised at an early stage that I needed to use my skills to work with people and my career evolved through voluntary and sessional work with community groups, ranging from adults with physical disabilities, adults with learning difficulties, children with autism within an educational setting, projects with the Royal National Institute for the Blind as well as learning sign language and working with the Deaf Community. The more I became involved, the more I realised that this was the direction that made sense to me, so I applied to train as an Art Psychotherapist. I moved into acute and community mental health work and progressed to being employed within NHS Psychotherapy working with adults with complex psychological presentations as well as establishing a therapy service for under-18 substance misuse.
I initially worked in Orkney to help set up a Mental Health Resource Centre and outreach service in the early 1990s. I returned in 1999 to establish a psychological therapy and clinical supervision service, working closely with NHS Orkney. Alongside this work, I served on the council for my UK professional body for 10 years as Scottish Representative, Vice Chair and subsequently Chair. I was invited to lead the Allied Health Professions Federation (Scotland) and held the position of Convenor. This body represents all allied health professions registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) from Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Radiographers, Podiatrists, Paramedics to Biomedical Scientists - and Arts Therapists. I stood down from this role when I was elected to Orkney Islands Council at the by election in 2015. I have been external reviewer for the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) for Non Pharmacological Interventions in Depression and Schizophrenia. Due to changes nationally in the commissioning of psychological therapies, I currently work on a private basis.
I am married to Nick Card, who works for Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology within Orkney College UHI and directs the Ness of Brodgar archaeological dig. We have two daughters who were both born at the Balfour and attended Stenness Community School before moving on to Stromness Academy.
I was approached by the Orkney Manifesto Group in 2013 to become a member following my involvement with the Commission on Rural Education around the time of the proposed school closures. I saw this as an opportunity to contribute to local debates and to assist in both the work of the OMG and in broadening its base, making it more representative of the community which it seeks to serve.
Following the by-election in August 2015, I was honoured to be elected to serve the West Mainland.
The last 18 months has been a steep learning curve despite my previous experience but I have always embraced new experiences, new knowledge and hard work. Local politics has given me an opportunity to utilise my existing skills and experience but has rightly challenged me to develop new skills, knowledge and understanding across a wide range of subjects.
I believe that the role of local councillor is a privilege and should be respected by those who hold that position. Aside from the Senior Management Team and Chief Executive, few other members of council have the opportunity to have such a detailed oversight of all council services. Therefore, as councillors, we have a responsibility to ensure that the decisions we take are informed by each and every aspect of the work that the council undertakes on behalf of our community. I can only make informed decisions if people talk to me, give me information which guides my judgement and invite to me attend as many forums as possible. I will always do my best to be available and whilst my family has to come first, they have given and demonstrated their full support.
The more you know about how your councillor will vote on the important issues that concern you, the better placed you are to vote for someone who will represent you in the chamber.
Where I stand on the important issues can be seen in our detailed Manifesto published on this website.