Rachel Mander works for Hope for the Future and delivered some training on political engagement at a recent Wild Christian event. Root & Branchcaught up with her to find out more.
Hope for the Future (hftf.org.uk) is a charity which was set up by a group of Yorkshire churches ahead of the 2015 general election, with the aim of helping churches build relationships with their local politicians – specifically around climate change. It now has multiple project areas, but the focus is always to equip and resource citizens to be able to effectively approach their local politicians about climate issues.
As Church Outreach Officer, I see church members going through the process of political engagement with us, and coming out overflowing with enthusiasm and confidence. I’ve recently been writing a report on some of our church work, and undertaking a series of interviews. The best part has been hearing people tell me that they never thought they’d be able to have a productive conversation with an MP – but now they can’t wait for the next opportunity!
My top tips would be:
I am working on getting church members in every constituency to meet with their MP to voice their support for stronger climate policies, and to let MPs know what they can do in their parliamentary capacity to ensure the success of COP26. This is crucial and relevant whether the summit goes ahead in Glasgow in November or is postponed into 2021. Whenever it happens, it’s a huge opportunity for the UK to show leadership on environmental issues.
I only have church contacts in 50 constituencies at the moment, so there’s a way to go! I would love to hear from people who could be supported through the process of meeting with their MP. The best way to do this is by emailing me at email@example.com