26th Oct 2018
What makes a good campaign? That was the theme of our latest #WENMentoring day session, during which we heard from an Assembly Member, a charity campaigner and a local councillor about their campaign experience.
After starting the day in Llandudno with what made us proud since starting the Women’s Equality Network Wales mentoring scheme in March, our first speaker was Sian Gwenllian, Assembly Member for Arfon.
Sian shared her experience of her political life explaining how political debates with her father around the dinner table shaped her political awareness and thinking and led her into politics, which started in local politics.
Sian shared her advice, which included starting local and only campaigning for things you really care about. She spoke inspirationally about having a vision and persisting when others may tell you otherwise.
Another key point was doing your research and she explained the important role research had to play in her campaign successes in the past. This included getting 20 medical training places established at Bangor University to help support the recruitment of doctors in North Wales.
After Sian, we turned to environmental campaigning with our next speaker Haf Elgar, the Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru. Drawing on her 10 years of campaigning with the charity, Haf spoke about defining the issue and being able to explain it in a minute to start a successful campaign.
She told us about having clear objectives, having solutions to the issue and getting your facts right.
She talked about how important it is to bring people on board with your campaign, knowing your allies and collaborating with people and organisations who want to achieve the same thing.
Campaigning for what you care about was another strong theme and she reminded us that empathy is important to reach the people you may want to reach.
In the afternoon, it was the mentees’ time to take the floor when we presented our ideas for campaigns for change or how to stand for election. The well-researched ideas spanned transport, the impact of welfare reform and supporting the nation’s mental health. Each group was given constructive feedback on their presentation by some of the speakers and the group.
By then, it was time to hear from our last speaker of the day, Councillor Anne McCaffrey from Conwy County Borough Council. She spoke about how local campaigning led her to stand as a councillor and how she has worked with colleagues to achieve a better gender balance in the council’s Cabinet.
All in all, it was an excellent, inspiring day which taught us lots about campaigning for what you believe in and garnering support to make your campaign a reality.