Whenever I think back to my first time knocking on someone’s door to canvass them for the Labour Party all those years ago, I laugh remembering how nervous I was.
I remember standing in the doorway of a Harrow resident’s house as it poured with rain, with Councillor Sue Anderson, who had kindly volunteered to teach me the ropes of door knocking, by my side. It was cold and I was trying to balance my umbrella and the sheet that had been given to me, to read from.
When the door finally opened, Sue took lead, chatting away – having a normal conversation about life – as I watched her, the fear that I wouldn’t be able to effectively elaborate all of the Labour Party’s policies faded away. I realised in that moment, as I know now – it’s not about the complicated policies – it’s about how Labour can connect to people’s everyday lives locally and make a difference for them.
Over the last decade, I have knocked on thousands of doors, helped win multiple elections for the party, campaigned to support working families and grown confident in defining Labour values and Labour policies – even winning my own Council seat in 2018!
I got into politics because I saw how devastating Conservative policies were in Harrow and I didn’t want yet another generation of working class kids struggling for basic human rights like housing, jobs and healthcare.
But I realised that I was on my own in developing my skills and understanding – there was no formal way of being trained locally. I thought about how this impacts power at the top – making it less diverse in age, gender and race or embedded in the working class. I decided that would change.
When I became Chair of the Local Campaigns Forum for the party back in 2015, I created the Harrow Labour Training and Mentoring programme so that all of us – regardless of political experience, gender, race, religion or position could develop our skills in campaigning, communications and political education, to get more involved in the party locally and one day stand for public office.
The 2016/17 programme was so successful that a fifth of participants got elected to the Council in the 2018 Local Elections – including women, young people under 30 and Labour’s only current Black elected Councillor.
We changed not only the face of the Council, but we proved to people in our community that they can see themselves in the Labour Party in Harrow.
In such challenging political times, with the COVID-19 pandemic and protests worldwide – we are now looking for a new class of Harrow members to train and support – virtually. After much deliberation, the application process is now open for the programme, which starts at the end of March 2021.
So whether you seek to represent your local community, lobby representatives or simply understand how politics works so you can have a say, this programme was designed with you in mind.
Learning never stops, no matter your age, or your level of political involvement. Now is the time to come together and learn the best way of keeping Harrow Labour.
If you wish to take part in the Harrow Training and Mentoring Programme 2021, please read the attached Outline of the programme and send a completed application form along with a CV and our diversity form and return it to us by email to: HLPtraining@outlook.com by Midnight 19th March 2021.
Cllr Peymana Assad
Founder Harrow Training and Mentoring Programme