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June 2017: campaign training

When people complain but are not heard, it is time to campaign. But effective campaigning skills, knowledge, contacts and confidence as well as passion.

People deserve more opportunities to develop the ability to influence decisions that affect their lives.

Disasters can be prevented, problems solved and lives improved when people have a stronger voice.

As the Prime Minister said “politics can be an incredible force for good. Conducted in the right way it can be how we resolve our differences, how we deal with injustices and how we take, not shirk the big decisions” (Hansard 13/6/17).

But to achieve this we need “a democracy that works for everyone”.

The hung Parliament gives small groups of MPs considerable power, if they have support across parties and focus on opportunities to influence decisions. The Ulster Unionists (DUP) are in pole position to win concessions, but any group can promote their priorities in Parliament. Including communities you work with.

In this context,

  • MPs and candidates in over 100 marginal seats will pay even more attention to constituents, in case there is another election soon (find details of your seat here).
  • Political parties will review their manifestos.
  • Devolved assemblies, city mayors and local government could gain more power than before.
  • Community groups, tenants’ associations, civil society organisations and wider political movements can also have more influence.

It takes contacts, knowledge, skill and persistence to bring about lasting change, whether through a political party or other organisations.

The growing number of courses and materials for learning advocacy, campaigning, citizenship and political literacy make it possible for more people to take part in creating a world that works for everyone.

Some of these are listed below: do tell people about them.

Democracy Matters does not take sides on issues, but we connect organisations and encourage citizens to learn how the system works to bring about changes they want.


  1. Good Lobby launch event on 22 June
  2. Learning practical politics in mainstream education
  3. Apprenticeships for social change
  4. Lots more opportunities for campaign training
  5. Practitioners’ Guide Community Engagement
  6. Act Conference: Transformative Citizenship Teaching
  7. Phoenix Education Trust: How do you democratise education?
  8. European Democratic Education Community Conference
  9. CoVi: What are your ideas for the Party Conferences?
  10. Festival of Politics 2017
  11. Learning for Democracy Consultation
  12. World Forum for Democracy 2017
  13. Make the most of Parliament Week, 13 – 19 November
  14. Follow-up from the general election
  15. Running Democracy Matters

Please share relevant items with your colleagues and networks.

  1. The Good Lobby: training for citizens’ action

Cover-page-book-Lobbying-for-Change_largeLobbying for Change is a brilliant new book by Alberto Alemanno on how citizens can make a difference. It includes case studies, the policy process and a ten-step practical guide to successful lobbying.

Alemanno is launching The Good Lobby to support citizen campaigners on Thurs 22 June between 6 and 8.30 pm in Brussels at which EU officials, civil society actors and academics will build a case for pro bono in Europe. The keynote speech will be given by the EU Ombudsman, Ms. Emily O’Reilly. (Register here to attend).

The linked EU Pro Bono Awards will celebrate the most successful instances of pro bono co-operation between citizen experts and civil society organizations at the EU level within the past twelve months. The Awards are supported by the EU Parliament and European Bars Association. Book here to attend.

The Good Lobby Advocacy School is on Friday 23 June 2017, from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm in Brussels, with workshops, discussions and role-plays on how to set up a campaign, lodge a complaint or start a European Citizens’ Initiative to influence national and EU policy process.

  1. Learning practical politics in mainstream education

Lobbying for Change is a good example of how to teach practical politics, as advocated by my book. Practical Politics: lessons in power and democracy aims to show why and how every education institution can teach political skills. Students and teachers should find it particularly useful, but it is also relevant for civil society, the media and local government. To read more, download free extracts.

My 20% online discount code is: Democracy17, valid until 30 Nov 2017 from the publisher’s page.

  1. Can you help create apprenticeships for social change?

The new Apprentice Levy is an opportunity to create an 18 to 24-month development programme in advocacy and campaigning for charities, voluntary organisations, local authorities, trades unions, think tanks and public service staff. Organisations with a payroll above £3 million (over 100 staff) pay into the Apprenticeship Levy and can use this to fund apprenticeships for existing or new staff. Organisations whose payroll is less than £3 million are likely to get a 90% subsidy from the Skills Funding Agency. The programme will be based on a high-level apprenticeship standard, suitable for new and experienced staff who want to take their skills and knowledge to a new level.

What do you think would make a great programme? Please click here to let us know: the survey takes five minutes.

For more information please email

  1. Lots more campaign training …

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett wrote an article in the Guardian about three inspiring projects offering training for activists:

Advocacy Academy is a Social Justice Fellowship for young people in South London in Year 12 or 13 who are passionate about making a difference. Applications are now open for eight months of residential weekends, placements, coaching and support, starting in August 2017.

Campaign Bootcamp offers skills, community and confidence to run the campaigns you want. It starts with a week-long residential, followed by a year of mentoring, training and support. Applications for the next Bootcamp open soon.

Bootcamp is launching Everyday Activism programme to train 400-600 people in Yorkshire, for people who can’t access existing campaign training, particularly from refugees and migrants, mental health service users and people with working class parents.

Reclaim is a grassroots leadership programme for working class young people based in Greater Manchester, for teenagers age 12-15 to develop the skills, experience and networks enjoyed by their richer peers.

And there are more:

SMK’s People Powered Change one-day workshop shows beginner campaigners how to develop the strategy, tactics and skills for an effective campaign, as well as meet other campaigners and develop your network.

BRISTOL: 13 July 2017 | 10.00-17.00 |  YHA Bristol, 14 Narrow Quay, Avon, Bristol, BS1 4QA BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE or  contact Sheila McKechnie Foundation (SMK)

The Influencing Change five-day programme give more depth: for notifications, please sign up to SMK’s e-bulletin

Campaigner Awards: SMK celebrates the best campaigns and campaigners every year, to recognise people who have made change happen – most effectively, creatively and courageously. Entries usually open in the new year.

Campaign LabCampaign Lab is a six-month programme for economic, environmental and social justice campaigners: see details here.


citizens-uk-logoCitizens UK launched campaigns for the Living Wage, Refugees Welcome, affordable homes and many issues identified by communities where they work. Their six-day training is for people from civic institutions who want to increase their capacity to make change at the local and national level. It combines theory, practical tools, stories and action in eight modules: Power, Self-Interest, Negotiation, Building Relationships, Leadership, Developing Institutions, Culture, and The Case for Broad-Based Organising. The Six-Day Training is primarily for leaders from member institutions. If you are not from a member institution, and are interested in attending this training, please contact Citizens UK .

Next training: September 17 –  22, 2017 in Newcastle TBC

UprisingUpRising Leadership Programme is a FREE nine month programme for people aged 19 – 25 who want to transform their communities, in seven UK cities:  – London;  Bedford & Luton; BirminghamManchester (all starting Oct 2017); Liverpool; Stoke-on-Trent and Cardiff (tbc).

It offers participants ‘behind the scenes’ sessions with senior leaders to learn how political, business, public sector and community organisations work. Each participant is matched with a coach and a mentor to support them one to one.

Participants work together to design and deliver a social action campaign on a local issue they are passionate about.  As well as forming networks with senior figures, participants also build strong networks amongst their peers on the programme.

Applications open now: Click here to apply now!

TEESNET logoMaking the Sustainable Development Goals Real: The Role of Teacher Education

The annual TEESNet conference on 14 Sep 2017 at Liverpool Hope University will explore Education for Sustainable Development / Global Citizenship Education in teacher education in divergent local, national and global contexts. Cost: £90 – £165  Book online via Eventbrite.

BOND logoBond, the international development network, is running two courses: Developing an advocacy strategy (3 Oct) on robust advocacy campaigns; How change happens (4-5 October) helps experienced campaigners increase clarity, effectiveness and impact. View all BOND courses

Politics-ProjectThe Politics Project runs workshops in schools for young people to understand power, use their voice and make a difference.

They also offer free resources for teachers to download, including many about the general election and parliament.

  1. Guide to Community Engagement

Guide to Community EngagementMae Shaw and Jim Crowther of Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, have produced Community Engagement: A Critical Guide for Practitioners. Its ten chapters are designed to be used as freestanding sessions or as a coherent educational programme, to be modified for activists and groups in different situations.

At the heart of this project is the practitioner as an educational agent, not simply an agent of policy. This creates tensions and dilemmas at the interface between the state and civil society: “This terrain should be seen as an ‘incubator for politics’: the site in which grievances are generated and opposition organised; where local activists and politicians develop; where struggles for social justice grow and recede, and where inter-communal conflicts can erupt and be resolved.”

The Guide discusses the differences between ‘education for citizenship’ and ‘learning for democracy’, and explores the educators’ role, values and practices for empowering local communities.

  1. Transformative Citizenship Teaching

act-quoteACT Conference for Teachers and Education Professionals

Tue, 4 July, 10:00am – 4:30pm at Middlesex University London, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT, UK

Please register via online booking form.

  1. How do you democratise education?

Phoenix Education TrustPhoenix Education Trust are reviewing their strategy and invite anyone interested in democratising education to do a short survey.

People are also invited to share and celebrate good practice and explore ways of working together to accelerate the movement on Saturday 15th July, at Hackney Community College, London. To contribute, get more information or book, please email

  1. European Democratic Education Community Conference

The European Democratic Education Community (EUDEC) meets annually in a different city. This year, it’s on ‘Diversity in Democratic Education’ in Paris from 19th – 27th August, with participants from around the world in a caring and cooperative space. Phoenix Education Trust are giving away two free tickets, including travel: see here. The conference costs €290 (EUDEC members) or €330 (non members). Membership is €60.

Details on the EUDEC website:

  1. What are your ideas for the Party Conferences?

Covi invites suggestions for topics and speakers at the party conferences, as well as help finding the best new policy talent. You can also join the discussion online @covithinktank #POLICYFACTOR Email CoVi your idea for a topic or speaker suggestion

  1. Festival of Politics

Festival of Politics 2017 logoFestival of Politics in the Scottish Parliament and across Edinburgh @FoP2017

Thurs 19 October – Saturday 21 October Details will be announced later.


  1. Learning for Democracy Consultation

We are working with St George’s House, Windsor Castle, on a residential consultation on Learning for Democracy in October, aimed at building momentum for political literacy. If you can help gather evidence and spread the word, please email me.

 12.  World Forum for Democracy 8 – 10 Nov 2017

World Forum logo-2Titus Alexander has been invited to facilitate a whole day on promoting practical political education at the World Forum for Democracy 2017 in Strasbourg, to encourage civil society and educators to create more opportunities for people to learn how to make a difference. It is free to take part, but you need to cover your own travel and accommodation costs.  For last year’s event, see these inspiring videos for highlights.

The Council of Europe’s Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture is a valuable analysis of curriculum frameworks for education in citizenship and political literacy. Worth reading – and using!

13   Make the most of Parliament Week

Parliament Week (13 – 17 November) is a great way to connect people with power and learn how to use the political system for causes they care about. If you want to host an event sign up to the Partners’ newsletter.

The Parliamentary Education and Outreach services provide and wide range of resources and support for people doing democracy across the UK, as does the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly.

Download our free guide on How to make the most of your Parliament, with five ‘top tips’ and 29 ways you can use Parliament for your cause.

  1. Follow-up from the general election

Democracy Matters wrote to all party leaders to ask what they will do to make democracy work for everyone. Caroline Lucas, Green Party Co-Leader, was the only one to replay. The Green Party was also the only one committed to non-biased political education and active citizenship in their manifesto. The Liberal Democrats are the only other party to support citizenship as a curriculum entitlement. The Conservative and Labour party manifestos outlined very different approaches to democracy, but neither mentioned political education.

We have frankly failed to get our message to political leaders and parties over the past seven years and need a better strategy.

Common Vision (CoVi) produced a manifesto for millennials, covering a wide range of issues that concern younger voters, which they will develop over the next few years.

Talk Politics’ manifesto, 10 Steps to a Better Democracy, presents ten policies on which they are keen to lobby government.

Spread the word

Do pass this information to your networks.

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