Jeremy Middleton: Building a sustainable and influential voluntary party is my main priority as the new chairman of the National Conservative Convention
This is a very exciting time to become Chairman of the National Conservative Convention.
Don Porter was an outstanding Chairman. Under his leadership our Party has become more united and more professional than at any time in our recent history. After nine years on the Board, we owe Don a debt of thanks for his hard work, his loyalty and his leadership.
Now we need to build on what Don achieved to make sure that the Party is in the best possible shape for the General Election... and beyond. Above all, we need to build a voluntary party that is sustainable long term, has credibility and influence, and is supported by a strong, professional organisation.
I am pleased to say that we have a strong, new National Convention Officer team, consisting of a new President, Emma Pidding, and three Vice Presidents, Charles Barwell, Fiona Hodgson and Paul Swaddle.
They join George Kynoch (Deputy Chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party), Catrin Edwards (Chairman of the Welsh Conservatives) and Merrick Cockell (Chairman of the Conservative Councillors Association), as the volunteer team on the Board of the Conservative Party.
The new team are currently fully focused on the campaign 2009 elections next month. However, I can tell you that the key priorities for the team include:
- Attracting more supporters
- Improving our training and support for the Voluntary Party
- Developing our national mutual aid capability
- Regenerating a policy forum
- Improving Conference and National Convention meetings
- Getting involved to help with Merlin
The National Officers will be leading initiatives that will strengthen our Party and to be most successful they will need support from other volunteers, and so we plan to establish a National Volunteer Advisory Council.
The National Officers will be asking talented Volunteers who are willing to help the Party develop ideas and help implement them to join this team. Plans for this will be announced after the June elections.
The team also wants to reach out to attract more supporters and to build understanding of the role of the National Convention amongst activists. Therefore, as my colleagues and I develop initiatives aimed at strengthening the Party organisation, we will hope to explain these to the readers of ConservativeHome, as well as using our normal communication channels to members of the National Conservative Convention.
I hope that this will help us do our jobs, help the Party and be of interest to ConservativeHome readers.