The Green Party is growing fast. Nationally membership has grown by 40%. In every month since May, between 70 and 100 people have joined the party in Oxfordshire.
We are responding to this welcome surge, and have already had a new members meeting.
Growth in 2014
As of 1 January 2015, the Oxfordshire Green Party has 700 members, up from 400 on 1 Jan. 2014. We have another 400 signed up supporters. 300 people have signed up to volunteer. 4600 people are following us on Twitter or Facebook.
During the year, we have raised £3000 in online donations, held 84 events, sent out 230 e-mails, contested 60 elections, won 3 council seats and re-elected a Green MEP. in particular:
- We have 2 new councillors in Oxford, Ruthi Brandt (Carfax) and David Thomas (Holywell), bringing us up to 8 city and county councillors.
- Hundreds of people came to the Green Fair, public meetings in Oxford, Witney and Banbury, and visited our stalls.
Welcoming new members and supporters
We have upped our game. We used to just send an information pack to new members, and invite them to our next business meeting. People could easily sign up to volunteer, but we didn't respond quickly enough.
Now things are different. Since September, our volunteer co-ordinator e-mails or telephones new members and volunteers within a week of joining. New members get introduced to an experienced member near to where they live. Offers of help get forwarded to those needing their help.
We organised a new members meeting in Oxford in November. 60 came. Councillor Elise Benjamin said:
It was an amazing evening and there was definitely a buzz both during the meeting and afterwards in the pub. It was so exciting to hear so many people giving the same or similar reasons why they joined and listing key issues that make us stand out on social and environmental justice (including immigration) and clearly reflects the general trend which has pushed membership up by almost 90% since January! In my 26 (blimey!) years in the party I've never experienced a level of interest quite like this!
WE have been organising more interesting public meetings. 200 people came to a public meeting in Oxford Town Hall on reinstating the NHS, while in Witney there was a meeting on the effects of austerity on the vulnerable, Austerity Kills. In September there was a Green gathering in Banbury, where we handed out awards for the best Green Party campaigners in 2014, and discussed fracking and real farming.
In rural areas, we are putting new members in touch with local members. They are organising small get togethers, in places like Henley or Wantage, or in house meetings.
So you have joined and met fellow Greens. How can we work together to change Oxfordshire? We need help, in:
- the Green Party General Election campaign. We have 6 candidates standing in Oxfordshire.
- fund raising. The Green Party does not get money from big businesses, unlike the old grey parties.
- building a party machine that can welcome and engage all our new supporters.
- local elections outside Oxford. We need candidates for every ward.
Let us know how you can help, on our volunteer page. We will be sending out information to groups who have offered to help in the same way, as opportunities arise. Check the calendar and the member's blog for the dates of action days, meetings and training events. There will be an elections training day in Oxford on 7 February, action days in Oxford East every fortnight, and trips to Brighton to campaign for Caroline Lucas MP every month.
Finally, we plan to improve our communications to better meet the needs of all our members and supporters. If you are an Oxfordshire Green Party member or signed up supporter, please complete our communications survey.