Gloucester PPC and LWN graduate Sophy Gardner tells us why the Future Candidates Programme was an invaluable step on her journey to becoming a candidate
After deciding to leave the RAF, I joined the Labour Party and at my first Labour Party conference I joined the Labour’s Women’s Network. I attended the fantastic training and it encouraged me to follow my political aspirations and gave me the focus I needed to start taking action to achieve them.
So, I began to seek out more experience within the Labour Party. Having been a member but not active for so many years (I was permitted from being active in politics while a I was a serving RAF Officer) I wanted to get more involved, but I wasn’t sure where to start. When I learnt about the Future Candidates’ Programme from Labour and after following the advice of the LWN, I applied.
To my delight, I was successful in getting onto the programme. I cannot recommend the training enough. It gave me the practical skills and knowledge I so desperately needed to take the next big step and start putting myself forward for selections. During the Future Candidates’ Programme I learned about selections processes, how to run a successful selection campaign, build a campaigning team and community organise in local CLPs. I also met other Future Candidates with truly diverse backgrounds, most with no formal experience or knowledge of being a candidate, and I so value the friendships that came from those early days of training – we support each other.
I am now proud to tell you that I am the Labour Party parliamentary candidate for Gloucester. I was selected, in an open selection, in April and have been campaigning in Gloucester ever since to give the people in Gloucester a Labour voice and to win back the seat in 2015.
If you feel you have something unique to offer a community and the Labour Party, I would urge you to apply now to the Future Candidates’ Programme before 9 am Monday 15 July 2013. Information and application details can be found www.labour.org.uk/nextgeneration