Sunday, 30 December 2007

Social Action

I am delighted to let you know that the Social Action project undertaken by a small number of CF branches before Christmas is now open to all CF branches, and an e-mail has been sent to all CF Branch Chairmen.

Matt Richardson is running the project and says as follows:

It is with great pleasure that I invite every branch to take part in the second phase of the CF Hampers Project.

The idea is a simple one: Collect from each of your members canned and non-perishable goods put all of those goods in a hamper and donate the hamper to your local Salvation Army or local equivalent.

In order that I can track the scheme more effectively I would be very grateful if you could e-mail back to let me know:

*That your branch wishes to take part in the scheme
*The name, phone number and e-mail address of the person running the scheme
at your branch
*The name of the charity to which you will be donating the hamper or the
location of the Salvation Army branch nearest to you.

In order to spice it up a little and add that element of competition, which I hope will spur on all branches, there will be a fabulous prize for the branch which donates the most impressive hamper by the end of the scheme which will be the Friday 15th February 2008.

So CF lets see what we can really do.

Get collecting!

Friday, 28 December 2007

Missed the CF Social Action project ...

... If you didn't hear about the CF social action project of sending hampers to the Salvation Army, but wished you could have taken part, don't worry there is another great project which you can take part in. The Conservative Women's Organisation have sent details through of their current project, which is a fantastic cause. CWO, (like CF) do a fantastic job year round.

Surprise Supplies is a scheme which aims to send parcels to every single member of the Armed Forces currently serving in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. A lot of them receive little in the way of support parcels from home and they really do make all the difference. We are all aware of the disagreeable circumstances these soldiers are working in and this is a small way of our acknowledging what they do on our behalf.

The scheme is very simple and all you need to do is to put together a small parcel containing a few goodies and then send it in the post addressed with one of the attached mailing labels. It will mean such a lot to these wonderful men and women serving so far away from home to know that people are thinking about them and that we value and appreciate the sacrifices that they are making.

It would make even more of a difference if you could organise for a group of people (your friends, colleagues or staff for example) to put together as many parcels as you can. Please forward this email to all your friends and family and ask them to do the same. There are over 14,000 servicemen and women serving overseas in Afghanistan and the Middle East so the more parcels that we can send out the better.

Frequently Asked Questions:
How does it work?
All you need to do is to put together a parcel (or parcels) containing a few ‘goodies’ with a value of not more than £10, address the package with one of the attached mailing labels and then take it to the post office/put it in the post. Royal Mail will deliver the parcel free of charge to the British Forces Posting Office who will then ship it on to the relevant BFPO number.

Padded jiffy bags and old shoe boxes are the best for packing things in but any kind of old cardboard box or packet will do. Use tissue paper, newspaper, bubble wrap and anything light to stuff the package and stop things rolling around.
Postage is only free of charge if the parcel weighs less than 2kg and they are very strict about this so we recommend that you weigh your parcels before taking them to the post office.

There are lots of women serving out there too so although the mailing labels says ‘a Serviceman’ if you would like to put a parcel together for a woman please just amend the label accordingly and it will be given to a female.

What do I put inside?
One of the main elements of this scheme is to provide a bit of variety. Therefore if you can, use your imagination to the full and think of a cross between Christmas stockings and tuck boxes and you will be on the right track. It is very hot in Afghanistan so please do not send things that melt such as chocolate. Alcohol (and pornography!) are forbidden but this still leaves plenty of goodies such as:
Biscuits, cake - homemade wonderful but bought wonderful too – but think long life like fruitcake, gingerbread or malt loaf.
Anything in a tube, vacuum pack or tin to perk up their rather basic rations is great - toffee sauce, (M&S does a good range of savoury and sweet sauces in tubes) condensed milk, salsa dip and cheese straws, cream cheese, fish paste, chutneys, chorizo sausage, dried fruit and nuts, mint imperials, chewing gum and everyone loves Jelly Babies.
Suduko books and magazines – Nuts, Zoo and FHM we are reliably informed are the most popular but also the Week for current affairs and any kind of magazine will be very welcome, the more varied the better as there is lots of time for reading and magazines get swapped and shared around.
Candles (for illumination, not scent), lip salve, moisturiser, medicated talc, deodorant, toothpaste and cotton socks (M&S do a great range of cotton socks that are v. popular – black and olive green are good colours).
They also have to drink vast quantities of water so any powder flavourings in a package like Berocca, Vitamin C sachets etc. would be both light and immensely appreciated. Finally old fashioned pick ‘n mix sweets are particularly recommended but please keep the contents within £10 for the sake of equality.

Who will get my parcel?
Your parcel is being sent to one of two addresses in either Iraq or Afghanistan. From
there they will be distributed throughout theatre. You won’t know who has received your parcel but you can be sure that a deserving soldier will be very grateful. Please do write an encouraging message inside your card for your soldier but please sign with your Christian name only and do not give your address as we do not want the soldiers to feel obliged to write thank you letters.

What is Surprise Supplies?
Surprise Supplies came about because of an idea Lexi Douglas had whilst her son was serving in Afghanistan in 2007. She regularly sent him parcels stuffed full of cakes and other nice things and when Charlie wrote home he said how appreciated they
were but that not all of the boys received parcels from home so he would share his out with them. Lexi told her friends and they volunteered to send parcels and the idea grew from there. You can read more about it at

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all CFers and fellow Conservatives.

I am off skiing in Switzerland and will be having a (well-deserved) break. I will be back online in the new year.

Here's to a fabulous 2008!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Executive Meeting Tonight

Tonight we have a CF Executive meeting. If you have any comments or contributions, please let me know.

Last week's meeting was postponed as Michael Lunn's wife had just given birth to their second child. Many congratulations to him and his family.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

CF Christmas Party Success

Last night CF members from around the country gathered at the new Revolution bar in Leadenhall Street in the City of London. Karen Allen had organised the event getting the venue, and putting on the food, and a great job she did too. Fellow exec members, Ranil, Matt, Craig, and Mark Clarke attended. Christian sent his apologies as his work wouldn't let him leave to get there as theere were urgent matters to be done for Christmas deadlines!

It was a great opportunity for people to let their hair down and meet the Executive and other CFers. For example I was able to introduce James Morton, who is doing sterling work in Devon and Cornwall to Matt Lewis, who is doing sterling work in Staffordshire. Both James and Matt have come up through the ranks helping out their existing CF Area Chairman, and are helping to create sustainable areas, with a number of different branches.

Drinks events always give an opportunity for new members to come along and meet people in a relaxed environment, and to leave if they don't like it! Fortunately all our new members had a great time, and we were able to put them in touch with other local CFers who are able to keep them updated with what is going on.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Campaigning in Brentford and Isleworth

Yesterday I was out campaigning in Isleworth with fellow CF members and PPC Mary McLeod for Campaign Day 11. Met by Matt Richardson and local Conservatives at Hounslow Central at 10.30am we were sent off into the local pub car park to be sent out in our team for the morning, in what was a well organised and efficient operation by the local Assocation.

During the morning I was looked after by local Councillor, Brad, and went out with fellow CF attendees, Steve from CLWCF, and Nick Bennett. We ended up campaigning on the Frampton Road estate. It is comparative heaven for leafletters, as some of the flats have twelve post boxes outside, so you can do them all in one go - yippee!!!

I was only able to stay for the morning, but still managed to get in 2 1/2 hours of leafletting, and catching up with fellow CFers, and Mark Clarke over a quick lunch. Candidates for the CF election, Charlie Groome and Michael Rock were also there. There was time for a quick photograph. By lunch time there were about 20 CFers there.

The leaflets were campaigning against the further runway proposals at Heathrow, which will really affect the local residents. Additionally Mary was sending a survey to find out what local residents really thought about the issue. Mary is a fantastic candidate and she should be sat there on the green benches after the next election, and it was a real pleasure to campaign for her.