Every member of the Labour Party wants Labour to be in power. This aim requires time, effort, skills and funds but we know that we can achieve it if we work together. If every member makes a contribution, we will have a Labour government for the many, not the few.
“The purpose of WCLP is to campaign …”
— WCLP Standing Orders
Other than a small amount of administrative support, WCLP is powered entirely by volunteers. Its success depends on the energy, passion and skills of the whole membership, not just on the CLP and Branch officers (who are also just members, elected by other members, who carry out their responsibilities in addition to their already busy lives).
Everyone has their part to play, and any time you can spare will be appreciated. There really is a job for everyone, and your Branch secretary will be glad to point you in the right direction. Opportunities are listed on the Events page of the website and in the WCLP email, and there are also WhatsApp groups that help activists keep in touch.
Here are just some of the ways you can help.
It’s not as scary as you might think!
Knocking on doors is a tried and tested way of connecting with residents. It’s often said that the only time politicians care is during an election campaign, but that’s not true of the Labour Party.
We need to be out there as often as possible, being a visible presence in our community and listening to the concerns of its constituents.
Find out more at:
We hold regular stalls which provide an opportunity to talk to local people about their concerns, win new supporters and convert supporters into members. We might have flyers or posters for a campaign or an event, or a petition to sign, both of which are great conversation starters.
You don’t need to be an expert on policy or issues – just be friendly and approachable, there will always be other members there for support.
Every so often there will be a newsletter or leaflet to be delivered to every address in your ward, and during an election campaign there will be many. Delivering a round of leaflets usually takes around an hour or so for one person, and your batch and map is delivered to your door.
It can be done during the day or evening, or at weekends and is one of the key methods we rely on for spreading the message. It’s perfect for members who are pressed for time, as it can be done at a time that suits you.
Spread the Word
We each have our reasons for being a Labour Party member, and those reasons are important. Sharing your point of view with friends, family and colleagues is a great way for them to learn about our values.
- Social Media is a great tool. Read an article that you agree with or think is important? Liking it and sharing it are fast and effective ways of amplifying our message. Follow other WCLP members, and share and comment on each other’s posts to help reach the widest audience.
- Events are organised by WCLP all the time. They provide a platform for ideas to be shared and discussed, are usually open to the public, and are always interesting. Show your support by helping us promote them, by attending, or even better – bring a friend.
- Friends Do you know someone who shares our values and might like to join? Share your story of why you joined, and they might be persuaded to do the same.
Campaigning requires not only time but also funds and every sum, no matter its size, will help us to spread our message and help us win elections.
If every member in Wimbledon contributed just £1 a week or £5 a month, our finances would be completely transformed.
- If you are interested in how the CLP is funded, you can see the detail in our Annual Accounts which come to the AGM in February.
- If you have a great fundraising idea, we’d love to hear it.
- If you are fortunate enough to be able to support us with a one-off or regular donation, you can do so at https://donate.labour.org.uk/wimbledon/1.
Attend a Meeting
Attending a Labour Party meeting gives you the opportunity you the opportunity to be involved in decision-making at grassroots level and ensure your views are represented. They’re often lively, and you can contribute as much or as little as you wish. They are a necessary cog in the Labour Party machine, but only function if enough people attend, as only quorate meetings are allowed to make decisions.
Your branch is your first port of call for getting involved. Attending a branch meeting provides an opportunity to meet neighbours who are members, discuss local and national issues, and identify ways you can contribute.
A branch may decide to send a motion to a General Meeting, requesting the CLP takes action on a particular issue. A branch selects its candidates for local elections from an approved shortlist.
Branches usually meet in a rented hall or are hosted in the home of one of its members. Its officers are elected by members at the AGM.
Branches depend on the attendance and participation of members to thrive, and you will be assured of a warm welcome. Our diversity makes us stronger. The more people who attend and contribute to meetings, the better equipped we are to win Wimbledon for Labour. We appreciate that it’s not always possible to attend, but please come when you can.
Minutes and agendas are distributed by email in advance – if you don’t receive them, please let your Branch Secretary know. It’s not necessary to tell us if you plan to attend, but it’s helpful if you do. If you are then unable to come, please send your apologies to the Secretary.
New memberships are considered provisional for the first eight weeks. Provisional members can attend branch meetings but are not permitted to vote.
General Meetings (GMs) are open to all members of WCLP and feature discussions of policies and issues, as well as updates from officers and other invited speakers. It is here that motions are voted on, delegates are elected to regional and national conferences, and candidates for national elections are selected.
GMs are monthly (except August and December) and take place at William Morris House. WCLP currently operates a One Member One Vote system, where the meeting is open to all members and each can vote with each vote carrying equal weight. If the turnout to a meeting is too low, decisions can’t be made – so it’s important that you attend whenever you can. Provisional members are unable to attend GMs.
Join a Working Group
In order to achieve the goals in our Development Action Plan we have a number of working groups which bring together members with the time, skills and experience to contribute to a particular objective (e.g. on IT or working with the local community). These only meet for as long as they are needed – once an objective is achieved the group has done its work!
Local meetings are an opportunity to hear about the concerns of residents first hand. We might be able to help, or it might reveal an important issue we should be campaigning on locally.
If you’re a member of a local organisation such as:
- a residents’ association
- friends of a park, open space or allotment
- local business association
please let us know of any meetings or events that should be on our radar.
During election campaigns, there are other roles for which we need volunteers, including:
- Telephone canvassing
- Being a teller at a polling station
- Giving lifts to polling stations
- Helping run the committee room
- Additional leafleting and door-knocking to get out the vote
Of course, you can also help by showing your support for Labour and putting up a stake in your garden or a poster in your window.
Stand as a Conference Delegate
Represent WCLP at Annual Conference, or at a London Region or the Women’s conference by attending as a delegate.
These opportunities will be in the newsletter, and members choose their delegates at an All Members’ Meeting.
Stand as a Branch or CLP Officer
WCLP and your branch are led by officers elected each year at their AGMs. Fresh ideas and energy enable us to thrive, and all members are encouraged to consider becoming an officer. You can nominate yourself at the AGM and are welcome to discuss the roles in more detail with your Branch or CLP secretary in advance.
Stand as a Councillor
Each ward has three councillors who are elected for four-year terms to represent the views of their constituents and to take up matters of council business on their behalf as well as guiding the overall policies of Merton council.
The councillors make policy decisions, taking into account public opinion and officer advice. Council staff put these policies into effect. The council also carries out consultation with local people on a range of issues and works closely with other local organisations.
You can stand in any ward so long as you can demonstrate a real connection to the area and understand the local issues. You will need to meet eligibility criteria and there are a number of steps in the process before you can be shortlisted for selection by a branch.
You can learn more about the role at https://beacouncillor.co.uk and there is a Labour Party guide at https://labour.org.uk/members/councillor-applications.
We do have fun, too! Social events run throughout the year: quiz nights, coffee mornings, Christmas parties, Burns Night celebrations, summer picnics all represent a chance to get to know other members in a relaxed and friendly setting.
On Sundays, our Sunday Socialists Cycle Club meets for a leisurely ride, a coffee and a chat.
Our Book Group meets on Facebook to discuss the (light- and heavier-weight) political books they’re reading.
We are always looking for activities that might appeal to our wide range of members, so all ideas or offers to organise are gratefully received.