10 easy ways you can get involved in local politics.

Granted local politics isn’t as sexy as national or even international politics but it is so, so, so important- yes I am a little bit bias here. But we can agree the closer something is to you the more impact and influence it will have on you right? That’s exactly the same for local politics. If we look at how far right groups increase their political power they start of with gaining as many local council seats as possible, local politics is super important. Groups like young women, particularly women of colour, the disabled are underrepresented in politics and for democracy to truly work our democracy, our parliament, our assemblies and our councils must reflect our diverse society- at the very least the other 50% of the UK population.

Many people say they want to get involved in local politics but are unsure how to. So here are 10 easy ways you can. Let me know how you get on.

1) Go on to your local council website (Google is your helpful friend).

2) Find out which ward you live in. You can usually find out by entering your postcode on the Council’s website.

3) Find out which councillors represent you. In Newham and in most wards in London there are three councillors representing a ward.

4) Follow your local councillors and Member of Parliament (MP) on social media, get clued up on what they are doing. Do they have a blog or Facebook page communicating what they are up to?

5) Email your local councillor and MP and introduce yourself – network, get on their radar and go meet them. Councillors have drop in surgeries or you can email them and ask to meet with them for coffee. I would ask them what they have been doing on the council over the last few years and what their priorities are.

6) What’s one local policy topic you are interested in or would like to know more about? If you’re a young person and you’re concerned about the closure of libraries and youth clubs ask your councillors what their opinion on this is and what they are going to do about it. If you’re concerned about the environment, ask your councillors what your council is doing to reduce fly-tipping and littering. If you’re concerned about health services such as mental health, ask your councillors how they are going to ensure the Conservative Government funding cuts will not impact on local mental health services.

Also ask your councillors about community forum meetings that you can attend so you can stay plugged into what’s happening locally, meet your neighbours and stay in the loop with what your representatives are doing.

7) Send this challenge to one friend to do.

8) Submit a question on a topic important to you to your council leader/ Mayor to be answered at a full council meeting.

9) Register to vote. As soon as you turn 18, register to vote. Encourage family members over the age of 18 to register to vote. If you don’t register to vote you’re not on local political parties’ radar so many political activists/ councillors/ MPs won’t bother to knock on your door to ask our things are going in your area.

10) Explore the top 3 political parties website, what their policy priorities, do you agree? Why? Be brave to share on your thoughts online.

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