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Campaigners eat lunch and chat in a large room at the LCC Community Skills Summit 2023

Skills Summit a big success

LCC Community Skills Summit won hearts and minds with over 100 attendees skilling up their campaigning, with 2023 theme 'emotional campaigning'.

Hearts and minds

The annual LCC Community Skills Summit took place Saturday 18 November on the very wet and rather windy UEL Docklands campus. The Summit saw a record number of registrants with over 100 turning up on the day (despite the weather, rather far-flung location and DLR train issues!) for a plenary, four workshop slots and a free lunch (turns out there is such a thing for London’s active travel campaigners).

The plenary saw Haringey active travel social media legend Carla Francome, Director of Innovation at climate charity Possible, Leo Murray and our new CEO, Tom Fyans, discuss ’emotional campaigning’ and winning hearts and minds – a central theme for the Summit. The core concept being that there is an increasingly large body of data to explain how and why schemes to enable active travel are good things – yet politicians and the public often refute such evidence with anecdotes to bolster prejudice, inertia and/or fear of change.

In other words, we know what works to decarbonise roads transport, reduce pollution, inactivity-related ill health and road collisions, we know how to design active travel schemes well and how to get more people in London cycling – but that hasn’t stopped the ‘culture war’ against cycle tracks, LTNs, ULEZ and more. Now we need to win hearts, as well as minds. We need to campaign not just with facts, data and studies on our side – but with positive, emotionally resonant appeal too.

While Leo talked about images and positive visions, Carla talked about using your face as a powerful way to connect to others – and all three, including Tom, talked about their children being motivational for them and their campaigning.

Skills, thrills and bellyaches

Plenary over, the Summit took in four slots of four workshops at a time, covering skills for those brand new to campaigning to new tricks for seasoned hands – topics included ‘upping pace & quality’ of scheme delivery in your area, building campaigns ‘for everyone’, dealing with politicians ‘wobbles and setbacks’ and looking ‘beyond the cycle network’. Further sessions included those specifically aimed at car-dominated outer London groups, and covered families as a cycle campaigning area, while our social media star Mel drew crowds for her comms masterclass with help from the legendary helmetcam and ‘Gandalf’s Corner’ star Cycling Mikey.

The results of all these workshops will also be fed into LCC’s new ‘campaigning resources’ pages (free to use, registration required) and added to our ongoing ‘Pathway approach’ pages there. So if you missed the Summit, you don’t have to miss out on brushing up on your campaigning skills.

Feedback from attendees has been really positive – so if you did miss this year, make next year’s event a priority! If you want to make sure you don’t miss next year, sign up to our newsletter below.

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Attendee at LCC Community Skills Summit 2023 looking at or discussing something important with LCC staff wearing red t-shirts.