Update on Network of Experience

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKEarlier this year I floated up the idea of setting up Network of Experience for Lib Dems who had either lost their seats or decided to stand down and asked if anyone would be interested. I am pleased to say the reaction to the idea was good and it was felt that there was a need there for something like this. We have now set up a steering committee of myself, Mary Reid, Fiona White and Kay Barnard.

We have decided to launch the Network in January as there is so much else happening over the next few months. In particular I thought it was much better to wait until the Presidential election is over with.

The aim of the network is twofold to offer help and support to those people who have lost their seats or stood down whether they were Councillors, MPs, MEPs AMs or MSPs. It can be a devastating experience and it is important that the support is there. It can feel like a kick in the teeth when you feel you have worked so hard for the electors. Most people seek elected office in order to be able to help to change things for other people and when that goes, there can be a sense of lack of purpose.

The second aim is to retain that wealth of experience that elected representatives have gained. One way to do this is for people to act as mentors for people coming up behind them.

There is very little hands on advice for those people who want to be councillors, or parliamentarians. Quite often it is a question of learning as you go. It would be much more helpful if we can put people who are starting out in touch with people who have gained the experience of doing the job before. It might be just the need for someone on the end of a phone or email to answer simple queries or the person might want someone to talk through with them exactly what the role would entail.

Once we have this up and running, I hope we can find a way of extending the network to encompass more people so that the wealth of experience we have in the Party can be utilised whether someone has held elected office or not.

We are continuing to set up the database of people who want to be involved so if you haven’t done so already please contact us at [email protected] .

* Liz Lynne is former MEP for the West Midlands and is a board member of EEF - the Manufacturers’ Organisation.

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