Why I'd urge every woman to apply for the Future Candidates Programme

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

Sophy Gardner