As part of our campaign to secure investment in affordable homes, we’re asking our supporters to meet their MP. Here’s our step-by-step guide to doing it:
Find out who your MP is
Just put your postcode in at www.theyworkforyou.com
Arrange the meeting
You don’t have to travel to Westminster! In fact, you won’t have to travel far at all. MPs usually hold ‘surgeries’ or appointments with their constituents on Fridays or the weekend. The meetings last around 10-15 minutes.
To arrange one, either just call their office in your area or visit their website and find out who to contact on their behalf and send them an e-mail. Here’s an example:
Dear <staff name>,
I’d like to meet with my MP <MP name> to talk about the lack of affordable homes and how I hope they can help. Would you please be able to let me know when their next available appointment is?
Once it’s in the diary, make sure to tell us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The meeting will go by quickly, so a little preparation will help make sure you can get all your key messages across.
Check out our handy toolkit, which clearly explains our campaign on the lack of affordable homes, and provides some tips on meeting your MP.
It can help to do some basic research on your MP – perhaps they grew up in council housing? Maybe they worked for a Housing Association before becoming an MP? Or maybe you even went to the same school? Understanding how your MP might come at this issue can help you start the conversation – and maybe find common ground.
Drawing on your personal experience can really help bring the issue to life – maybe you’ve been homeless before, maybe you’re sick of rent rises, or maybe you’re getting anxious about your children’s prospects of ever owning their own home.
If you have personal experience of the housing crisis or homelessness make sure to rehearse your story in a succinct way, so that your MP remembers all the key points.
See our toolkit for top tips on what to say during the meeting, and take a copy of this leave-behind with you to give to your MP.
Have the meeting
Fear not – you don’t need to wear a suit! Meetings are very conversational, so be confident. It’s your MP’s job to listen to you after all. Here’s a useful structure for your meeting:
- Introduce yourself as a Shelter supporter and say you’re there to talk about the need to build more affordable homes
- If your research has shown something interesting about your MP’s involvement in housing, it’s a good way to shape the conversation
- Tell your personal story of housing/homelessness
- Ask your MP to write to George Osborne and urge him to use the November Comprehensive Spending Review to invest in affordable housing
- Ask if they have any questions. They don’t expect you to be a policy expert at all, and don’t worry if you don’t know something – it’s a good reason to follow up with them afterwards.
Remember to leave the ‘leave-behind’ document with them, so they have a record of all Shelter’s key messages after you’ve gone.
Take a photo with your MP and send it in to us – and your MP!
When you go and meet with them on behalf of this campaign, take a photo with them and send it to us at email@example.com
It’s a normal thing that they’ll be used to doing, and there will usually be a member of their team around who can take the photo for you.
Following up with your MP is a good way to keep your meeting fresh in their mind – sending them a quick ‘thank you’ email with the photo is a nice way of doing this.
Good luck! If you have any questions about going to meet your MP, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear how you get on!
And if you’re not able to meet them, you can still join the campaign by adding your name to our wall of support.