Conference Social Action with Thrive!
At our 2013 Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, members prepared gardening packs in partnership with the charity Thrive UK
During the Conference delegates joined together with Members of Parliament, Ministers and Prime Minister David Cameron to create the special gardening packs whilst also learning a bit more about the work Thrive do in harnessing the power of gardening to improve emotional wellbeing, social isolation and to build skills.
Wendy Morton, Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for Social Action said; "I am absolutely delighted that we were able to partner with Thrive for this project and in doing so highlight the crucial role that they as an organisation play in tackling the ever increasing issue of elderly isolation. Gardening is a proven therapeutic tool and the packs we created are an excellent and practical way of helping to make gardening more accessible for those unable to get into the garden”
2012 Party Conference: Packing parcels for troops
At the 2012 Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, members volunteered to help pack boxes for serving soldiers in Afghanistan. Together with Members of Parliament, Ministers and Prime Minister David Cameron they made time to pack a box with a selection of items, and to include a personal handwritten note of thanks to our soldiers.
It was a tremendous success and over 1300 boxes were packed with donated items including biscuits, sweets, crisps, playing cards and toiletries. These will be sent out to our troops in early 2013 to provide a little cheer for the New Year.
The project took place within the Social Action Zone in partnership with Support Our Soldiers, a charity set up in 2003 by two mothers whose son’s were about to be deployed to the Gulf.
Nicola Blackwood Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party with responsibility for Social Action said, “Social Action is about doing the small things which together can add up to make a real difference and a positive change for the society that we live in. SOS, our partner charity for this project, represent exactly that and I was delighted that so many of our delegates participated.
If you would like to run this project in your area, please email firstname.lastname@example.org who will be happy to send you a pack with all the tools you need.
2012 Party Conference: Welcome
Social Action has been a regular feature at Party Conferences since 2006, allowing delegates to give something back to the local community, leaving a lasting legacy from each Conference. Conservative Party Conference 2012 was no exception and just prior to the Conference a two day Social Action project took place in Chelmsley Wood, Solihull.
This project saw volunteers including Members of Parliament and a wide range of Conservative Party Members set to work rejuvenating the garden at Welcome, a rehabilitation hub for those trying to rebuild their lives after drug abuse. Volunteers cleared the garden of rubbish and debris, shovelled earth and helped weed the flower beds, as well as built a chicken coop for the residents to house their pet chickens in, a fantastic tool for recovering addicts.
It was messy and hard work but the transformation was incredible and the Welcome team and their clients so hospitable and grateful, the end result was very satisfying.
Aminah Mehboob - Solihull Conservative Future
2011 Party Conference: Creating an Audio Library
At the 2011 Conservative Party Conference, hundreds of volunteers read stories and poems for the visually impaired at the Conference's 'Social Action Zone'. Ministers, Members of Parliament, Party staff, journalists and delegates all helped to record stories – including Prime Minister David Cameron, Samantha Cameron, and Education Secretary Michael Gove.
The Zone was the first time which the Conference's social action project was held inside the Conference's secure zone and the reaction from attendees was extraordinary. The stories and poems were recorded for Calibre Audio Library, a self-funded charity that operates an audio library for visually impaired people, free of charge.
Nicola Blackwood Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, with responsibility for Social Action said, "Generations of Conservative MPs, Councillors and local members have been active in their communities as volunteers, governors, fundraisers and community leaders. This event was absolutely important for the Party to show conference attendees firsthand how they can be contributing to their local communities in a variety of ways. This week we saw party members, Members of Parliament, and even the Prime Minister help give visually impaired people access to audible books and help show that Social Action is in the DNA of the Conservative Party.
"At a time when public disenchantment with politics and politicians is at an all time high, not only do social action projects break down barriers in and between communities but they also confound prejudices about politicians who are all talk and no action and give Conservative members and politicians a chance to understand more fully the way government policy is affecting people on the ground."
2011 Spring Forum: Project Green Fingers
In 2011 Conservative Spring Forum combined with Welsh Party Conference at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff. Since 2006 a Social Action project has been run at all Party Conferences to provide delegates with the opportunity to give something back to the local community, leaving a lasting legacy of our time in the area.
The location for the Social Action project was St Peter’s Church Community Hall gardens in the Fairwater area of Cardiff. The Community Hall is a hub of community activity ranging from dance groups, coffee mornings, brownie, youth clubs and local community meetings. The land surrounding the hall however was overgrown and a haven for brambles and overgrown weeds up to 10 feet tall.
Enter Ian Thompson, local community leader and now project manager for the renovation of the hall and surrounding garden. He has a vision of rejuvenating the hall and completely over hauling the garden so that local community groups and residents could not only use the hall but also enjoy the outdoor space.
Ian organised for various groups such as the British Trust Conservation Volunteers, TY-Bronna (a group for people with learning difficulties), and the young offenders programme to help with this renovation and when the Conservative Party got in touch to see if there was anything we could do to assist. Ian was only too happy to work with us.
Over the few days leading up to and during Spring Forum/Welsh Party Conference a large number of delegates including Ministers, Members of Parliament, Assembly Members, local and National Party members from across the UK, all pitched in with laying turf, installing fences, putting in and filling raised flower beds, shovelling and barrowing earth, and planting a large number of plants.
There was a lot of dirt, sweat and hard work but the transformation over the short while we were there was extremely satisfying and the benefit for the local community will be long lasting.