Parliamentary events with a twist
Young People and Arthritis
Parliamentary events can be a great way to network, talk to decison-makers and directly involve a wide range of stakeholder groups in your cause or campaign. But the challenge can often be – how can we make this one different?
In recent years, HJCL has organised a variety of parliamentary events on behalf of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) and the All Party Parliamentary Inflammatory Arthritis Group (APPIAG). One such parliamentary reception focused on raising awareness of the treatment and care needs of young people with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). JIA affects between 10,000 and 15,000 children under 16 in the UK.
15 young people with JIA – ranging from 4 years old to 22 years old – were invited from every region of the UK to a tour and afternoon tea in the Palace of Westminster. Each one had been nominated by his or her health professional, all of whom accompanied the young people and their parents on the trip. The event was particularly successful; more than 20 MPs and Peers attended, keen to meet their young constituents and find out more about living with JIA. The children were just as keen on decorating their name badges with bright stickers and pulling Christmas crackers with MPs! The event generated a large amount of media coverage (including interviews on several television stations and GMTV), a mention in the Christmas adjournment debate and important opportunities to follow-up with key politicians on areas of concern.