The CAF team has made it back to London after a busy week in Manchester, the venue for Labour Party conference this year. Over the past few days we’ve been extremely active, with a packed programme of activity designed to ensure that politicians are thinking about charities in the months ahead.
Our stand was a great success, with many of the party’s best-known politicians coming along to find out more about our work, and to see which famous faces they could spot attending our street party. We were visited by the likes of Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan MP and Emily Thornberry MP, Shadow Attorney General.
On the stand we were promoting our recent ‘Charity Street’ report – produced in partnership with IPPR – which looks in detail at the value that charities bring to communities. MPs and PPCs (candidates standing at the next election) often work closely with charities in their constituency, and were eager to get a better understanding of just how important a role charity plays in society. Of course, visitors to the stand also received a customary CAF teddy bear!
We were also handing out copies of the Red Book of the Voluntary Sector, which we launched at a joint fringe event with ACEVO on the Sunday night. A packed room heard from a range of speakers including Shadow Civil Society Minister Lisa Nandy MP, as well as Shadow Ministers Steve Reed MP and Chi Onwurah MP. The essay collection contains a number of interesting essays featuring a range of policy suggestions, many of which might make it into Labour’s manifesto for the election next year. You can download a copy here, and read a summary of the event here.
The foreword to the Red Book was written by Labour Leader Ed Miliband, and his positive words about charities within his contribution were echoed in his speech to conference, in which he declared: “I say to every charity: we admire your spirit and we want to hear your voice.” We’ll be watching with interest to see how those warm words are translated into policy proposals over the coming months.
We’re now resting our feet for a couple of days before we make the journey to Birmingham, where the Conservative Party will be gathering for their final conference before the election. Follow what we’re up to on twitter @cafonline, and see what kind of reception The Blue Book of the Voluntary Sector gets!