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Apr 22nd, 2011

Visit your MP about the NHS

By 38 Degrees team

Islington 38 Degrees Members hand in the petition to their MP

Photograph by 38 Degrees

Tens of thousands of us have emailed our MPs urging them to protect our NHS. Now we need to start organising visits so we can talk to them face-to-face and hand in the petition which over 260,000 of us have signed.

It’s pretty easy to organise a visit your MP. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide explaining how to do it:

1. Sign up with 38 Degrees to organise a visit to your MP

It’s important to let staff and volunteers in the 38 Degrees office know that you are organising a visit, so we can be in touch with updates. Take 30 seconds to fill in this quick form. 38 Degrees is a non-party political organisation, so if you represent a political party (for example, if you’re a local councillor, or hold a position within a local party group), please don’t sign up to host an event.

2. Arrange the visit (a few weeks before the visit)

Use the 38 Degrees phone your MP tool to find the name and number of your MP. Then book an appointment, and politely notify your MP’s office that you intend to hand in a petition, and that the press are invited.  There’s more advice on arranging a meeting with an MP here.

3. Pick a good meeting spot nearby

Once you know where and when you are meeting your MP, you need to find a location nearby where you can meet up with other 38 Degrees members before hand. A pub, a cafe, or community centre would be ideal.

Make it somewhere easy to find, and not too busy. If nowhere instantly springs to mind, try searching on the Internet – for example, using a site like Beer in the evening or the Yellow Pages.

4. Tell other 38 Degrees members (ideally at least two weeks before the visit)

Now you need to tell other 38 Degrees members about your visit to your MP – so you’re not alone when you go. It’s quick and easy to do that. Just:

  • Go to the 38 Degrees events hub and enter in the details of when and where you’re visiting your MP and where you should meet beforehand.
  • If you do this the Monday at least 4 days before your visit the 38 Degrees office will be able to email other 38 Degrees members near you and invite them to come with you.
  • Once you’ve added your event to our ‘hub’, we will be in touch with some extra advice  and some materials you might find useful.

5. Confirm the details (a few days before)
It might be worth calling your MP’s office again (using the easy to use 38 Degrees tool to find the name and number) to confirm that you’re coming, to let them know the media might be there, and to confirm that you want to hand in the petition.

6. Tell the local press (optional – a few days before)

  1. MPs pay a lot of attention to local newspapers and radio. So it’s a good idea to invite them to come.
    1. To make this easier we’ve produced a press release you can use.  Some details will need to be amended but it will help you on your way. Or if you are feeling creative you can write your own!
    2. Invite the media to come. Once you’ve got the press release written you can use google to find the websites of your local press – then find the “contact us” section and give them a ring and tell them what you’re doing. (more info below)
  2. Before the event the 38 Degrees office will contact you to let you know how many people in your constituency  have signed the petition
  3. Save Our NHS Poster

    24 hours before the event the 38 Degrees office will automatically email a reminder to everyone who has said they’ll come with you

7. On the day

  1. Meet up with the other 38 Degrees members at your agreed meeting spot
  2. Encourage everyone to introduce themselves and have a quick chat through what is going to happen. Make sure that people understand that they can be as involved as they are comfortable with – some people will want to talk to their MP, others might just want to be in the photo as the ptition is handed in, or to show moral support.
  3. Get to wherever you are meeting your MP ten minutes or so before the time you arranged, leaving plenty of time to liase with the MPs staff and say hello to the media.
  4. Talk to your MP, get photographs taken and talk to any journalists who are there!

8. After the event

  1. It’d be really helpful to share how it went. Post an update on the 38 Degrees blog or Facebook page. Send photos to emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk
  2. Phone or email journalists. If they covered the event, thank them. If they didn’t, ask politely if there is anything that might persuade them to do so next time.

If you have more questions about visiting your MP, why not visit our Frequently Asked Questions section?

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