Every year, politicians and members of each political party gather to discuss policy and announce their big decisions for the year(s) ahead. These party conferences are generally four or five days long, and are attended by up to 10,000 people, including politicians, party members, journalists and representatives from charities and businesses.
For Prostate Cancer UK, having all the local and national decision makers for each party in one place, at one time, is an unmissable opportunity to get their attention and support for men with prostate cancer. We meet the movers and shakers of each party, which means that when we approach them with future campaigns, they already know who we are and what we’re about.
As well as politicians, newspaper and TV journalists attend the conferences, so it’s a really good time for us to try to raise awareness of prostate cancer and the issues surrounding it through the media – this year, you may have spotted our stand at the Lib Dem conference on the BBC’s Sunday Politics show.
The message we took to the conferences this year was that care for men with prostate cancer varies across the UK, and it shouldn’t. All men should have access to the same high quality care set out in our Quality Checklist. We want politicians to use their local influence with the NHS to help us get the Checklist adopted across the UK and so improve care for men with prostate cancer.
We asked politicians to support our Quality Checklist. This means that they might send out a press release to their local papers publically supporting us, write to their local clinical commissioning group or health board to encourage them to adopt our Checklist or even invite us to promote it at their local council meetings. Politicians represent the whole constituency that elected them, so they have a lot of influence, which is why we want their support for our campaigns!
This year, we also had a table football table at our stand to link in with our partnership with the football league, and spoke to over 260 politicians, including over 30 members of the Westminster Government and Shadow Cabinet and 15 members of the Scottish Government.
Secretary of State for Health in England Jeremy Hunt MP had a go on the table football table.
And then spoke to our Campaigns Manager, Alexis about the Checklist.
At the SNP conference, Deputy First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon MSP had a go.
The party conferences this year helped us build important relationships to support our influencing work in the year ahead.
Help us lead change. You can sign up to volunteer with us. Read about how volunteer Ann Howe got on when she came with us to the Lib Dem conference.
And show your support for our Checklist by signing our petition.