The Party Conference Journal Pt. 4 – #CPC15
FaithAction has been at another party conference this week, and it’s been another great opportunity to highlight the difference that faith makes.
Being at a party conference is interesting… especially this week’s one! You have probably seen a lot of news coverage around the protests, and the speeches that have taken place. I wanted to spend a few minutes letting you know what being at a party conference is like from my perspective!
I arrive at the party conference venue. There are a few protestors outside, but to be honest, it’s okay and nothing major. Everyone is upbeat and I set up the stand. This year, we are part of a larger Conservative Christian Fellowship stand… we’ve found sharing a stand a great way to connect with other faith-based organisations and to keep costs down. We have a quiz to make people think about the impact that faith has in the UK and mugs to give out to those who have completed it. I’m the lucky one of the team… Daniel Singleton, National Executive Director and David Taylor, Membership and Communications Officer have both been at breakfast fringe events that started at 7:30!
The exhibition area opens and I try to catch people as they come into the venue to do our quiz and chat about FaithAction. I’ve found that just saying hello to people has a good effect and many stopped by the stand. There is a real buzz around this conference and a lot of people are up for a chat – and a free mug!
We are also keen to catch MPs, parliamentarians and counsellors to sign our Friendly Places pledge – we’ve already had some good signatures.
We start taking our breaks around this time; 30 mins each, and to be honest, we don’t want to go outside. The protestor crowds have grown and, with the security, it’s quite difficult to get in again!
I head off to my break and I’m also going to a fringe meeting on public health: Jane Ellison MP is speaking about Public Health England’s work and is keen to highlight how Local Authorities and others now need to have a joined-up method because of cuts etc. FaithAction is funded by Public Health England and we’re keen to highlight how important faith communities are in being cornerstones of communities. Have a look at our health and social care work.
I head back into the conference venue. The protest is very loud and there are helicopters going overhead. I’m not yelled at though, or anything else they say goes on. It might be to do with the fact I chose a different entrance!
I’m straight back on the stand. The interest is quite high now as people are on their lunch breaks and mugs are seeming popular.
I’m at another fringe! This one is about young people and volunteering. It’s interesting to hear that volunteering contributes £30billion to our economy and there are moves to make employers of businesses over a certain size make volunteering compulsory for their staff – even three days a week. There is a nod to faith communities – but it isn’t necessarily highlighted enough. Faith communities do so much – but it’s often under the radar, or as we like to say: it’s what lies beneath!
I’m back at the stand. David and I are packing up and heading out to have dinner with a FaithAction member, Community Revival. Daniel is off for some evening meetings, and once we all get out of the conference zone, it’s a mad rush to get to our dinner in time!
I’m done for the day! Back in my accommodation… well, close. Daniel is still out and David and I are waiting for him to get back so we can have a team debrief. In the morning, we have to pack, and get to the conference venue before 8:30am with our stuff… I haven’t looked at the morning fringe events yet though!
More in the series
- Part 1, Labour, by Daniel Singleton
- Part 2, Labour, by Daniel Singleton
- Part 3, Labour, by Rodie Garland