Sharon Thompson: Birmingham's rising political star


Here at OBV, we love celebrating the many astounding achievements of our graduates, which are a testament to the positive progress BME members have been making with us in their civic and political journeys for the last 17 years.

One such individual is Sharon Thompson. Since her time with us; Thompson has most notably become a magistrate, fervently encouraging others to get involved in civic life and now, even more admirably, has successfully secured the Labour candidacy for the Soho ward in the 2014 Council elections. Since beginning her time with OBV in 2007, Thompson hasn’t stopped climbing.

Coming from a grassroots background of single motherhood and council housing Thompson is very much in touch with the plight of the average citizen. She is a refreshingly relatable candidate having always engaged with local people through voluntary work and also through her role as a community worker for many years. Always encouraging others to get involved in civic life, she was encouraged to put her money where her mouth was and to become active herself, prompting her move to OBV and later the magistracy.

Thompson always knew that where she is now is where she wanted to be as she has had a serious interest in politics. She was the campaign manager for a friend who decided to stand for councillor and found the whole process incredibly addictive. As a result, she decided she had to find out more and experience all she could about it.

In 2011 Thompson was accepted onto Labour’s Future Candidate’s Programme and was mentored by county councillor turned peer, Baroness Angela Smith, who has been very supportive of her. In fact she acclimated so well that she established many strong connections with a number of politicians who have been incredibly helpful and supportive. Thompson also mentioned the continued support from OBV citing our Deputy Director Francine Fernandes as a particular pillar of support and encouragement.

Although her ward is a strong Labour seat, Thompson is determined to take the considerable transferable skills she has gleaned from her time as a magistrate and apply them just as avidly in her campaign and further should she be elected. She has resolved to do her honest best and undertakes the role with integrity as anything less, she believes, would be arrogance. It is this attitude which has helped Thompson to become a role model to her son and if elected hopes to become a role model to many others as well. Local issues she feels would be among the first she would tackle including; supporting local police with issues, attracting apprenticeships, schemes and contracts to her ward to help bolster confidence and the economy in the area and dealing generally with local issues and supporting local groups.

The campaign continues, with Thompson herself both attending and speaking at ‘Bring out the Vote’ concerts, speaking to others about her personal journey to where she is now, the responsibility we hold for our youth and future generations. She is one of those rare and beautiful people (of whom, quite frankly, we need more) who are more than willing to hold the door open for others to follow in their positive footsteps, reiterating several times during our interview that she continues to support OBV up in Birmingham and is quite open to mentorship opportunities. We wish you luck Sharon – you deserve it and Birmingham deserves you.

Ashlea Williams