The Conference Access fund is up and running for Brighton …


… but would like to help even more people this time. The Conference Access fund was set up at the beginning of the year to provide financial support to people who otherwise might not be able to afford to attend Federal Conference.

The fund supported 19 people at the Spring Conference in York.  A good proportion of these were first-timers, one of whom wrote about the experience here on Lib Dem Voice.

Registrations for the Autumn Conference in Brighton are well underway. Once again, when you register you are asked whether you would be willing to make a donation to the fund, and a good number of generous people have already contributed. Watch out for the request if you haven’t yet registered – the more money donated, the more people can be supported.

So how do you apply for a grant?

You can be given support with:

  • Childcare
  • Accommodation (up to £50 per night) and travel (cheapest available)
  • Disability access
  • Other costs may be considered

As the party website says: “All applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If there is high demand, priority will be given to members who are attending Conference for the first time and members from underrepresented sections of society.”

You can apply online, or download a form, from this page which has more information about the fund.

If interested, think about applying now. The Conference Office will start allocating the fund after 3rd June, and if you leave it too late it may have all been used up.

If you would like to make a donation and either can’t attend Brighton yourself, or have already registered, then you can also find how to do it on this page. All donations to the fund will be ringfenced for this purpose, and any surplus will be held for the next Conference.



* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • Ruth Bright 20th May '16 - 8:26am

    A quick update on my open letter to Tim on LDV about the loss of the conference crèche after nearly 40 years. I have have now, after four months received a reply. Yay! Only the reply just gives the the title of my letter (no answer) and thanks me for my support. It was followed up by an e-mail survey asking for feedback about the quality of the (non) reply!

    The idea of a conference crèche is still a good one. Disabled delgates with access needs should not have to compete for funds with those with childcare costs.

  • With my FCC hat on … fortunately we had sufficient funds to respond to all the requests for York, with a sum carried forward to Brighton. If we had paid for both a creche and the disability access needs then there would have been no funds left for the other applicants. Of course, we could reach the point where the number of applications for childcare support would make it viable to provide a creche instead of making individual grants, but the usage of the creche has not been at that level for a long time.

  • Ruth Bright 22nd May '16 - 7:14pm

    Mary I sympathise greatly with current conference committee members who have doubtless had to make certain unwelcome decisions for budgetary reasons. It is great that a creche might be considered again in the future.

    It is still, however, very hard to understand why the costs of cancelling the crèche (when there was no demand) were so punitively high when it was a book first (rather than drop-in) crèche and organisers would have therefore known weeks in advance whether or not it would be required.

    The Labour party and (presumably) impecunious Green party continue to fund conference crèches. The trouble with crèches of course is that, like rural buses, everyone moans that no-one uses them but people don’t use them because they’re too occasional to rely upon.

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