Local Elections 2021: Now is the time to contact your candidates
Local elections for mayors, councillors and police commissioners take place in every corner of the country. There has never been a better time for Homeless Link members to reach out and engage in local politics.
Candidates standing for election are in listening mode - they need to be seen to listen during an election campaign. If you can build a relationship with them now, this will be helpful in the future when they are elected.
- How do I contact my candidates? To find your local candidates, just put your postcode into this website: https://whocanivotefor.co.uk/ This will tell you all the elections taking place in your area and list all the candidates. For some you can find contact details, and for others you can contact them through their local political party. Remember that if your service covers more than one ward, you can also contact candidates standing elsewhere in the town or city.
- What do I say to them? Tell them about your work and the challenges that you face locally. You can also invite them to visit your service after COVID. You can do this by email or ask them if they have time for a chat on the phone or by video call.
- Ask them to sign the pledge: Homeless Link has prepared a pledge document which you can find at https://www.homeless.org.uk/sites/default/files/site-attachments/hl_election-manifesto-2021_FINAL-FULL%20(1).pdf This has some high-level policy commitments that we would like all candidates to sign up to. Candidates across the country have already signed up by taking a selfie with the pledge to share with voters. There is a version on our website where you can your own logo.
- What else can I do? If you would prefer a different option from writing to all the candidates, you could contact them through your local paper. Here is a standard letter that you can adapt: https://www.homeless.org.uk/sites/default/files/letter%20to%20the%20editor%20final.docx You could also get together with other organisations and organise a virtual hustings meeting where all the candidates can come and share their views on housing and homelessness . This guide tells you how to go about organising a hustings: https://www.homeless.org.uk/sites/default/files/site-attachments/organising%20a%20hustings%20final_0.pdf
Once candidates get elected, they will be in control of local policy and funding decisions that could impact your service. If you need any help, please get in touch. We appreciate that everyone is very busy at the moment, but taking a few minutes now to make contact with candidates may prove to be really worthwhile.
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Campaigns and Communications Manager
Rob Cartridge is a Campaigns and Communications Manager at Homeless Link.