Chantal Lee Equalities Officer 16th March 2021 Blog Share Tweet Photo by Amy Elting on Unsplash One of the ambitions of our Party has long been to reflect the communities that we serve, and with over 12,500 members across the United Kingdom, there are certainly a lot of communities to reflect. One of our aims for this year is to ensure that our local government candidates are more diverse than ever before and able to truly represent the wealth of experiences held within our Party. We understand that members of our equalities networks may face additional barriers to seeking selection and we therefore wanted to ensure those members felt informed and supported throughout the process. Since February we have held four training sessions specifically for members of our BAME, Youth, dis(Ability) and Women’s Networks, with a fifth being planned alongside our LGBTQ+ Network. Members were able to hear from our inspirational panel members made up of current Co-operative Councillors and candidates, belonging to their networks; and find out more about the processes of being a Co-operative candidate. With over 160 members of our networks signing up to take part, it was important that our panels reflected underrepresented communities and I am proud to say that of our 11 panel members, 9 have been women and 8 have been BAME*. The events have been a real success and with offers to mentor others, support with candidate statements and practice selection speeches, from our panellists, these sessions have showcased our co-operative values in action. As we continue along our equalities journey we plan to hold more of these events to further advance our equalities agenda, so do keep an eye out. *Number of panellists identifying as LGBTQ+ or a having a (dis)Ability not listed to uphold the confidentiality of those involved.