Lewisham East: Why I came for an afternoon and stayed for the whole campaign

Great atmosphere, great training, great opportunity

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks volunteering on the Lewisham East campaign. There is a tremendous buzz at the by-election HQ, with more and more volunteers passing through the doors every day. I came down to volunteer for an afternoon, but saw the impact we were having and have stayed for the remainder of the campaign. 

Members and activists are still clearly on a high following this year’s successful local elections – our best in over a decade. They’re bringing optimism, good humour and a real sense of fun to this campaign on a daily basis.

Best of all, there’s been a really good mix of helpers: Young, old. MPs, peers. Seasoned campaigners and newbies like myself. Regardless of their experience, the team here are offering unmissable hands-on training opportunities – so that volunteers are not only having a great time and making a difference, they’re also developing their skills and returning to their seats equipped with extra tools to help them win.

Thankfully, the days of simply treating volunteers like delivery machines have gone. You’re guaranteed a warm welcome, a decent coffee and more cake than you can imagine!

It is our wonderful candidate, Lucy Salek, at the centre of it all, setting the tone. Always smiling, always listening and always buzzing with energy.

This by-election represents a huge opportunity for the party. Not only can we make a considerable dent in Labour’s majority, but we can send a clear message on Brexit, putting real pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to do the right thing on the biggest issue we have faced since World War II. 

As a new volunteer it has been amazing to see the effect the energy and enthusiasm of the campaign is having on the doorstep – with even some “die hard” Labour voters coming round to support us. 

So, if you have any spare time between now and polling day (Thursday 14 June), please come and join the team in Lewisham to be a part of something special.

* Peter Barton is a volunteer on Lucy Salek's campaign in Lewisham East

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