Young and Winning is a program of training, support, and resources dedicated to helping young people in the Liberal Democrats get elected at all levels of political office. It’s designed to find out what would help an individual most throughout their campaign – whether that’s some help delivering leaflets, some help paying for literature, or getting to grips with the selection process.
So far, Young Liberals have rolled out two thirds of Young and Winning after having introduced training designed specifically with the idea of walking young people through the process in mind. From the very moment you consider standing for election to your hopeful victory, our training provides a step-by-step survival guide to candidacy with some tips from young candidates. In particular, in dealing with ageism in the party, it forms a crucial part of the training in attempting to eradicate barriers to candidacy for young people in the party based on their age.
Not only have we tried to provide a guide for young people throughout the duration of their candidacy, but we’ve also committed to providing young people with the skills necessary to support their experience. So far, we’ve run social media training and campaigning top tips training alongside the incredible ALDC, in addition to public speaking training that will prepare younger candidates for hustings and other such events. We’ve even had our Honorary President Tessa Munt (the once and future MP for Wells) address our conference to deliver some canvassing training in her uniquely energetic fashion.
Young and Winning Action Days across the country have seen young councillors elected to serve on Town and City councils in their local area, putting Young Liberals UK’s goals of supporting young people into action with tangible results on which to look back and improve upon. Young people are staggeringly underrepresented in Parliament, on councils of all levels, and in devolved legislative bodies – it is crucial that we do what we can to address this because with it will come a greater diversity of ideas and more innovative solutions to the problems facing our communities.
We’re seeing more and more young people become politically active and engaged, and so it is only right that we see more and more young people making decisions for their communities as representatives. As Liberal Democrats, it is vital that we appeal to a wider audience than we currently do, and the best way to do that is by highlighting the young talent of our party and the new ideas and experiences they bring with them.
I won’t be leading the Young Liberals next year but I hope to see the Young and Winning scheme that we started continue long into the future, and for many more people to take up the scheme to help them get elected.
Charlie Kingsbury is the outgoing Chair of the Young Liberals. He is Councillor for Penparcau Ward, and Liberal Democrat Group Leader on Aberystwyth Town Council. Find him on Facebook and Twitter. You can also support the Young Liberals with a donation here.