On Wednesday 22nd November I attended an informative, interesting and enjoyable local Party Policy Party Forum at Warndon Community Centre hosted by Joy Squires and organised by Bev Morris, Adrian Gregson and Chris Cawthorne.
A variety of lively and engaging discussions were held around several tables, covering a number of different topics broadly relating to the Manifesto. I personally decided to get involved with discussions on homelessness, the NHS, social care, mental health and education - areas which interest me the most and where I have some personal and professional experience. I would've taken part in more but alas we only had 2 hours which included a break and refreshments. Other areas of general discussion included pensions and benefits, community safety and cohesion, environment, tourism, emissions, parking, business, a fairer deal at work and creating a more equal society. Other issues within the remit of the City Council were also discussed.
We spoke about local campaigning for the year ahead and issues which matter to Worcester people. I became so involved and focused on our group discussions that, as usual, I forgot to write any post-it notes for the flip charts! My usual scrambling towards the end to fill the flip charts on the wall then ensued. During these challenging times we managed to consider some workable, realistic and positive ways of responding to local areas of need such as whether private landlords ought to have licenses, building more social housing, mental health awareness in schools amongst teachers and young people, promotion of adult education via the libraries and information service, improving public transport, providing hubs of IT support for those forced to migrate onto Universal Credit and areas where we should be focusing our campaigning efforts.
The atmosphere was one of quiet optimism and enthusiasm - even after the Tories predictably dire, repetitive and uninspired Budget announcements during the day. I urge all Members to attend these Policy Forum sessions in future and I hope that you will find them to be as encouraging, sociable and inspiring as I did.