The General Election is five weeks away and we are busy encouraging our clients to get involved. The first step is to register to vote and with the deadline just 20 days away, we’re planning lots of activities, workshops and information sessions to get everyone who is eligible to vote, to sign up.
However, when talking about the Election, voting, and politics in general, a common theme often emerges: a feeling of disillusionment with the political process, and scepticism that voting will make any difference. We know many of our clients have high levels of contact with public services but low levels of engagement with those who can change how these services are run. We want to encourage people to realise their influence and use their vote.
To get ideas for engagement activities, several members of staff from the Centre attended a ‘Your Vote Matters’ event last Friday organised by Homeless Link. Agencies such as New Horizon and SHP talked about what they are doing to engage and empower people in the run-up to the Election and Homeless Link shared some excellent resources that they’ve developed.
The system for registering to vote has changed so that every individual is responsible for their own registration. It’s a very straightforward process, that can be done online or by paper form; Centre staff are able to provide information and help with filling out the form itself and deal with any queries such as how to register without a permanent address or how to avoid appearing on the publicly available electoral register when anonymity is essential for your safety.
The most important part of this work for the Centre is to ensure that the voices of the people we work with are heard and ultimately, that their experiences can influence public opinion and public policy.