Campaigning for deaf children at the Labour party conference: day 1

There is a cloud hanging over the Labour party conference in Manchester. But that’s what you get when you hold a party conference up north, rather than by the seaside. Today was day one for us at the Labour party conference, being held amidst lots of gloom about Labour’s future prospects. There is also, of course, that metaphorical cloud hanging over the conference. That said, day one has gone much better than I thought it might.

We don’t have a Laura anymore, but we do have a Jan, our campaigns officer for Scotland who has been busy telling everyone about her work for NDCS Scotland. Collectively, we had arranged meetings with 2 MPs and managed to accost a further three, plus the Children’s Commissioner for England, Sir Al Aynsley-Green, and the Head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips. Result.

Highlight of the day was Anne McGuire, who is Minister for Disabled People. Warm and friendly, she seemed very interested in our campaign work, across UK and in Scotland. She took away a copy of our campaign report, Must do better! and promised to support our campaign work in Scotland. One we’ll be following up.

We also went to a very inspiring fringe meeting held by Every Disabled Child Matters, where two Ministers spoke, plus two MPs. But, as always, the star of the show was a Corey Scott, a young disabled person who spoke about his own perspectives.

But party conferences are not just about meeting MPs and attending fringe meetings. They are also about collecting as much kitsch as you can. A lot of exhibitors are giving away lots of free stuff and, with my latent magpie tendencies, I have been collecting as much of it as I can. When the party conferences are all done, I’ll do a rundown of the best freebies from the party conferences.

More meetings tomorrow and a ridiculously early start for a 8am fringe meeting…


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