Kickstart is the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors (ALDC) flagship training event. Held twice a year, it is a residential training course over two days. It includes a training session on all aspects of campaigning as well as team-by-team mentoring to ‘kick-start’ your campaign into action.
Being a relatively new Liberal Democrat, and having only recently decided I may like to stand in the next council elections, I decided that this Kickstart weekend would be a great place to start. I did attend some of the ALDC training sessions and conference and got a lot from them, but they seemed to be aimed towards areas with big local parties, dedicated campaigner bases, and some councillors already in post. Therefore it was the mentoring that I was most looking forward to a kickstart, well that and the political conversation with likeminded individuals.
The mentoring did not disappoint. The Eddisbury and Weaver Vale team (of 4) were mentored by Councillor Heather Kidd. A councillor for Shropshire she was originally elected in 2009 and re-elected with 81% of the vote in 2013, and again in 2017 with 78% of the vote, so we were in very capable hands. Heather discussed with me the issues in my local ward, where I hope to stand, and talked me through some ideas. First and foremost fundraising so that we can start putting out focuses. I came away with a clear idea of what I wanted to do to start my campaign, and with some ideas of how I could do that. In fact, within a couple of hours of getting home, I started getting involved with a local campaign with my local resident’s group. Not for political purposes but because I could see it was the right thing to do, and now I had some ideas of how to take it forward.
Between the 4 of us, we attended as many training sessions as we could, including ‘Focus and Campaign Literature’, “Being an Agent’, ‘Social Media and Online Campaigns’, ‘Fundraising’, ‘Knocking on Doors’ and ‘Community Campaigning’. For me, all of these training sessions brought new ideas, and tried and tested ideas for effective campaigns. For more experienced campaigners I was told it was reassuring to know they were doing the right thing, picking up new ideas, and an opportunity to discuss theirs with other Lib Dems.
I took an awful lot away from Kickstart that I hope to put into practice in the coming months. However for me, there was one clear highlight, I was lucky enough to win a bottle of Champagne in the raffle which Tim Farron (see picture) very kindly signed for me. He said to me “Make sure you save that to celebrate your first election win”, and I very much hope that I get that opportunity. Kickstart was certainly the first step on that road.
If you are interested in supporting any of our local campaigns please do not hesitate to contact me on [email protected]. Alternatively, come and find me at our AGM on 7th December, or at the next Policy in the Pub or Liber-tea events. All of these events will be emailed to you or found on the local Facebook page or in the regular local Newsletter.