There is an informal saying in the Lighthouse, the community hub in Woking where the Trussell Trust foodbank is based. The saying goes: “We’re faith-based, not faith-biased". And it truly shows.

Every day I work in the foodbank on behalf of Citizens Advice Woking (CAW) alongside volunteers and staff; people from all faiths and, like myself, those who subscribe to no formal religion.

We are all bound together by the principle of “welcoming the stranger” – the idea that every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and kindness, no matter who they are or where they may come from.

These volunteers and staff give their time to some of our community’s most vulnerable, whether it’s organising charitable support or providing practical advice, because they view helping those less fortunate than themselves as a social and moral necessity.

Being both Easter and Ramadan, this April is a very special one for many in our area. It’s a time when Christians and Muslims alike come together to reflect on the importance of community, charity, and the need to make personal sacrifices to pursue something bigger than ourselves.

Sadly, however, it feels harder than ever before to find these principles at work in our local and national administrations. At CAW we see the impact of people working to support and empower others, but we also see the impact of self-interested and out-of-touch politicians.

Danny Sampson, Labour candidate for Knaphill ward
Danny Sampson, Labour candidate for Knaphill ward (Danny Sampson)

How can we justify the single parent doing everything they should be – working a full-time job, paying their bills, caring for their child - but still being unable to afford to pay for food? How can we turn away from the parents of children with additional needs, waiting for over a year to get diagnoses and NHS help for what their children may require? I see cases such as these every day.

A moral government that followed the values upheld by our communities would be putting funding and energy into fixing these structural problems. But if the last decade has shown us anything, it is that we have not had responsible governments.

Our religious communities lift people up. The Conservatives have brought them down.

The Conservatives are more interested in rhetoric which divides our communities than it unites them, local authorities and services are going bankrupt, and the taxpayer has lost billions in dodgy contracts handed to the Tories' friends. Our local Conservatives, backed by the local Liberal Democrats, took the national pattern to an extreme, wasting billions of taxpayers’ money on projects that did not have the welfare of Woking’s people at heart.

The work of principled local people makes such a difference to our town’s residents. But they need to be supported by leaders who will work to combat the structural problems local groups can’t fix themselves.

Real change will come not just through swapping political parties, but through electing politicians who both represent the values we hold so dear and have the stomach to fight for them.

By Danny Sampson, Labour candidate for Knaphill ward