Down to Bournemouth we went. Here's some of our highlights.
4,000 of us Lib Dems descended on Bournemouth for a few days of debating, socialising and learning (some even ventured into the sea for a swim!). LDCF had a packed programme of events and we loved it.
Saturday saw us run our first training session for activists on campaigning effectively with faith communities. Myself and Lucy Salek from the Lib Dem Muslim Network trained a room full of campaigners from all over the country and from all different faith backgrounds. We built a wall of barriers to engaging with faith communities and then we overcame the wall looking at our shared values/policies. We can't wait to hear stories of campaigners putting their training into practice back in their constituencies. In the evening, LDCF members from far and wide joined together for dinner - a chance to catch up and make new friends.
On Sunday, we were warmly welcomed by St Swithun's Church for their morning service where our Chair, Lizzie Jewkes, shared a strong encouragement to get involved in politics with the congregation. In the evening we had a packed out room for our fringe 'Is there space for faith in liberalism?'. Nick Spencer from THEOS, Katie Harrison from ComRes Faith Research Centre, Tom Brake MP and Lucy Salek from the Lib Dem Muslim Network gave us fascinating food for thought on faith and liberalism with all four of them agreeing there definitely is space for faith in liberalism. Questions from the audience ranged from 'is the media obsessed with sex?' to 'are we just really bad, as a society, at debating this topic?'. We will be building on this discussion with more events and activities in the near future - watch this space.
Bright and early on Monday morning, 90+ of us turned up for breakfast with Tim Farron (sorry to those who didn't manage to get any food!). Tim gave an passionate talk on two of the gospels and what they mean to him and we were led in prayers by the local Salvation Army.
And Tuesday closed with a brilliant speech from our Leader, Vince Cable.
We had a great time catching up with old friends and making some new ones. Thanks to all of you who dropped by to say hi at our exhibition stand, to all the new members who signed up and all the existing members who came to chat.
We've left Bournemouth brimming with ideas for the year ahead so watch this space.