Liberal Youth: a successful Bootcamp weekend

After our most successful Freshers on record, with nearly 900 new people recruited to the party, Liberal Youth this weekend took a group of our new recruits and branch chairs to Malvern for Bootcamp. The event was designed to make sure that our activists were given the skills they’ll need to get through the General Election. We covered everything from time management to direct mail to the basics of campaigning. It was an intense weekend with delegates from Portsmouth to Glasgow and everywhere in between!

Alex Royden, Chair of Liverpool Liberal Youth and General Executive Member for national Liberal Youth, thought the event was fantastic: “It was great to have so many people who had joined up at Freshers looking to find out more about the Lib Dems and how they can get involved with the General Election Campaign. Everyone could share their experiences and my team and I definitely came away with lots of ideas, and new skills that we want to use in Liverpool.”

Some of the delegates at Bootcamp had only been party members for about a month, having joined at Freshers. For our trainers, it was inspiring to see so many bright young activists getting involved, as Jon Neal points out: “It’s always great to train members of Liberal Youth, and particularly some who are new to the party and completely new to campaigning. They’ve joined the best party, with the best policies and the best youth and student wing” and Neil Fawcett, was equally impressed: “It was great to see so much enthusiasm and talent amongst Liberal Youth activists. They will be a huge asset to the party for the General Election.”

For myself as national Chair, it’s incredibly important that Liberal Youth and the Lib Dems continue to engage and inspire our activists like this. Liberal Youth’s success at Freshers had Conservative Future and Labour Students running for the hills. They simply can’t keep up with our energy, enthusiasm and commitment to our cause. We’re determined to make sure the party goes back to Parliament after the General Election with more MPs than we’ve ever had before, and more events like this will be happening in the run-up to the General Election kick-off to make sure we make this happen.

Elaine Bagshaw is Chair of Liberal Youth.

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  • It’s nice to see Liberal Youth finally doing something. Now keep in touch with these new activists and give them the tools and continual support so that they start campaigning on their own. The event is only value-for-money if it produces ore activism than the money it costs to run this thing.

  • After a few years of going “Oh god what are that bunch of useless disorganised gits doing to a once proud organisation” its great to see some good news from LY.

    And looking at your freshers recruitment for once it’s nice to say “it wasn’t like that in my day” 🙂

    “The event is only value-for-money if it produces ore activism than the money it costs to run this thing.”

    Yes but you need to measure that over a very long term. The first Activate probably cost about £2,000 (plus staff time). I doubt it produced that much activism in the first year afterwards – though it did meet its main objective in that 75% of the people attending went to some subsequent party or LDYS event. However it got Jo Swinson (among others but that’s the headline) involved in the party.

    If we look at training as demanding a short term return we’d never invest in it – particularly at providing training that is accessible (The first activate covered transport costs as well so the only cost of attending was the £5 we charged – AFAIK the only party training scheme to do that.)

    Over the years LDYS/Liberal Youth has been responsible for starting the party careers of myself, Neil Fawcett, Rob Banks, Richard Grayson and countless others so I think the investment has produced sufficient returns 🙂

  • Richard Huzzey 10th Nov '09 - 9:58pm

    I echo Hywel’s sentiments about a well-developed Liberal Youth paying massive dividends over time… although I don’t know who that “Neil Fawcett” chap is. 😉

  • The key issue for Liberal Youth is ensuring that there’s always a “next generation” coming through, given that the very nature of the organisation means that the activists tend to turn over every four years or so. It’s where we in Scotland fell down in the mid 1990s, and Liberal Youth Scotland are well aware of these pitfalls!

    It’s great to see the youth organisations north and south of the border becoming active again, and as long as they keep asking the usual awkward questions of the party as well as playing a vital role in campaigning they should go from strength to strength.

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