Erin McAuley was one of the Scottish attendees at a Labour young activists academy at the weekend. She says it gave her practical skills and the motivation to put them into practice in her community.
Travelling down to Nottingham to take part in the Labour Party’s Young Activist and Community Organising Academy at such an uncertain time for our party, and the UK, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In the end I left inspired, motivated and equipped with the skills to make a difference in my community.
The weekend consisted of young members and community activists from across the regions and nations of the UK coming together to pitch campaign ideas and learn campaign techniques and skills. The academy was bursting with inspiration, energy and enthusiasm – three traits that will be crucial as we build towards next year’s council elections.
One of the best things about the weekend was the opportunity to learn and be empowered by those who have been campaign activists for a long time. Soaking up their skills and experiences has motivated me to come back and put what I learned into action here, with the determination to keep developing as an activist and empower others the way I have felt empowered and welcomed since joining Scottish Labour.
A recurring theme identified at the academy was the huge importance of blending those with years of experience and skills with those who are new but have fresh ideas and drive, in order to strengthen and take our party forward.
Working in smaller groups provided the opportunity to seek a better understanding and insight into how to structure and frame a campaign and put campaigning ideas and skills into action.
The academy highlighted that the best and most successful campaigning must be achievable and have a clearly defined outcome in mind. Getting results has a bigger influence on communities, and will help reconnect those communities with Labour rather than over-promising and under-delivering.
However, what struck me most was that across the party the best and most effective campaigns are those that started locally, at the grassroots of our towns and communities. Local campaigning first got me active in politics, and I am determined to have Scottish Labour at the heart of more local campaigns, because it is here that we will be able to identify future leaders and strengthen our party.
Right across our communities and towns there are leaders with passion, expertise and interest in particular issues but they don’t associate themselves with Labour or indeed any political party. This weekend made me think about how much more we should be reaching into communities, championing Labour values in our message and ensuring we are at the forefront of local campaigns.
Overall the academy provided us with the confidence and ambition to play our part in empowering and inspiring people across communities, and demonstrated why we need a Labour government and Labour Party representation at all levels.
If you want to find out more about Labour Party training opportunities please email Scotland@labour.org.uk