Goodbye

This is my last week as part of the 38 Degrees office team. After four and a half years spent building our community, I’m leaving to go and try out some new things. But before I go, I wanted to say thank you so much for making the last few years so incredible.

In the very early days of 38 Degrees, I used to watch our membership grow, one by one. David and I would send out an email, and then we’d both sit and watch the numbers creep up, keeping our fingers crossed that we’d reach the next milestone we’d set for the campaign. It felt brilliant – and sometimes a bit of a miracle – every time someone signed a petition or sent an email.

Since then, 38 Degrees has grown to 1.7 million people. We’ve defeated the government’s plans to sell off our forests, protected our NHS, helped secure protections for trafficking victims and given tax dodgers and bankers a real run for their money.

But while the memories of victories and campaign breakthroughs will definitely be ones I take away, my favourite times at 38 Degrees haven’t been those moments of high drama. The best are the times when I’ve seen firsthand the sort of people who’ve become 38 Degrees members.

There was the day that we were leafleting the Lib Dem conference in Brighton and saw a confused-looking group of men on a stag do come wandering unsteadily down the seafront peering at our NHS leaflets, because no-one had escaped the attention of the 38 Degrees members handing out the flyers. The member who brought her dog into a meeting with the government’s forest panel. Seeing my mum wave at me excitedly as she watched a massive crowd of members speak to Nick Clegg about the NHS at his constituency office in Sheffield, the city I grew up in.

Those memories are precious because they’re proof positive of the movement we’ve built together. Independent from political parties and big business, with an agenda set by each one of us. And in my last week it’s been particularly lovely to see 38 Degrees members help take Jeremy Hunt to court and win.

I’ve been lucky to be involved with 38 Degrees since some of our earliest days. From today, I won’t be working in the 38 Degrees office each day, but I know I’ll still be joining in alongside thousands of other 38 Degrees members, sending emails, sharing news about our campaigns, and chipping in each month to make sure we can keep covering the day-to-day costs that keep us going.

Thank you so much,

Hannah Lownsbrough

PS One of the reasons I know 38 Degrees will continue to go from strength to strength is the generous direct debit donations from 38 Degrees members. It helps cover the costs of essentials like office rent, new computers and phone lines so the office team can make sure 38 Degrees keep on running effective campaigns.

If you don’t already, you might like to consider joining me in chipping in £2 or £3 to 38 Degrees each week. You can donate by clicking here.