Parliamentary Reception – October 2017
On the 17th October, Our branch headed to Westminster for the MND Associations Parliamentary reception!
Greg went as our branch campaigner, and was joined by Charlotte Layton, Sue Thompson and Lindsey Lonsborough, and we joined forces on the train to London, and of course there was a little Selfie to document our journey to Westminster!
Once in London, we found our way to the venue, got set up with our friends from the Central Lanc’s branch to speak to MP’s and discuss the costs of living with MND, and the newly launched report into Personal Independence Payment (PIP) by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on MND.
MP’s started arriving and we quickly got into action, setting about conversations, both with MP’s we have become familiar with, such as Barbara Keeley, Kate Green, Cat Smith and Andrew Gwynne, but also those we met for the first time like Jim McMahon, Jo Platt, Graham Brady, Yvonne Fovargue and Ruth George. We were very busy, and it was interesting to hear some MP’s also mention their own connections to MND.
We also heard powerful speeches from Rob Owens, Charlotte Hawkins, and Chris Evans, and also heard from Penny Mordaunt, who addressed the reception as a minister for the Department for Work and Pensions. You can see all speeches via the MND Associations website here.
The day was very productive, and we asked Sue, Lindsey and Charlotte to summarise their thoughts, read below!
A very emotional day at the parliamentary reception in London. Lovely to meet people who you speak to on social media. Amazing to meet Charlotte Hawkins who greeted everyone and made everyone feel special, Charlotte gave a very emotional speech about her father and what her life was like living with the effects of losing her father to MND. I’m hoping the mps took on board everything that was said about benefits and living with MND. A very successful day.
Every year I’ve watched members of our branch attend the Parliamentary Reception and always in awe of Greg’s report on return so when the opportunity arose to attend I was so excited which quickly turned to nerves….. I know nothing about politics!!! Or so I thought. What I did understand was the need for change and quickly.
Rob Owen’s horrendous and unnecessary experience of being awarded PIP, Charlotte Hawkins loss of her father to MND, added to my own personal experience was all the politics I needed to know.
I’ve never seen so many blue t-shirts in one room. I’m so glad I attended and hope between us all we made a difference.
If you are thinking about going next year, do it, it was a day I will never forget.
I had been asked to attend the PR in my capacity as Trustee and was delighted to accompany the MND Manchester branch at their PR table. I guess most people would be slightly daunted by a room full of people but my advice to anyone considering attending future years is this, talk to anyone that will listen to you!!
The association will prepare you with the key messages for the day but your personal story and experiences are what influences most. That’s when you see the change in the way the MP is listening to you. You create a connection, they see for those few minutes your journey and your story. It’s then for them to take that away and influence the change because you have played your part and role and supported the #MNDfamily.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day and sharing it with so many amazing volunteers and families and of course the 3 musketeers from Manchester. Once again I found myself learning even more about the illness and what we need to change. So get your name down for next year!!
Huge thanks to Charlotte, Lindsey and Sue from us as the branch, and to Jenna Jordan who came down from Manchester to join us, the combined efforts of all were fantastic!
In summary, a fantastic day, with lots achieved, and our final comment is from our lead branch campaigner!
The overall day was fantastic, the team who helped me out, both from our own branch and Central Lanc’s did an amazing job, with me knowing how busy it would be. I enjoyed seeing others launch into conversations, telling their story, in addition to the conversations I had with MP’s about the policy asks around the event.
I’d like to thank volunteers from both branches for their superb efforts, and from conversations with MP’s, I certainly had follow up’s afterwards! I enjoyed meeting some of the newer MP’s for the first time to build new connections, which makes future campaigning easier. Some MP’s mentioned their own experiences, and how they want to help, which I really appreciate!
It was also good to catch up with MP’s I know, and also see Katy Styles (a fellow campaigns volunteer) and Barbara Keeley (MP) connect up, knowing how much respect the two have for each other, with Barbara’s deep interest in Carers. Katy got a mention in a commons debate afterwards!
Rob’s story about his issues with benefits made for shocking listening, and Charlotte Hawkins gave a heartfelt speech about her Dad, both powerful speeches. Jim McMahon MP mentioned he found the speeches moving. It was interesting to hear Penny mention she wants to start connecting departmental dots better, to have DWP and Dept of Health inform each other, make it slicker in future and avoid the issues we hear about. I managed to grab a few words with Penny at the end.
It was also a great chance to see some other volunteers from across the UK, who I know well, and see some I’ve known via social media for the first time in person. In summary, a worthwhile experience, a great day, and if anyone fancies it next year, let me know!
Info and Links:
To see the MND Association report into Personal Independence Payments, click here.
To see more on the MND Costs campaign, click here.