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We’ve just had Political Weekend – our biggest event of the year, and this year it was the biggest in over a decade. We had over 170 members from across the country come together for a weekend of debate, training and brilliant speakers – including for the first time in a number of years, the leader of the Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

The biggest Political Weekend comes after our biggest Freshers ever. Thousands of students have signed up to join Labour Students, we had queues at Freshers Fairs all over the country and events at our Labour Clubs on campuses have never been busier. Overall, since the General Election, our membership has increased by more than double, making us far and away the biggest student political organisation in the country.

We haven't just got bigger in terms of membership, but in terms of individual Labour Clubs too. We've had new clubs start up at West London, Leeds Beckett and Bath - institutions that haven't had a Labour Students presence in years. We've got new groups in the process of being created at Kingston, SOAS and many more; we're well on our way to meeting our goal of having a Labour Club at every campus in the country.

We've also seen Clubs that decided to disaffiliate previously begin to come back and actively choose to be a part of Labour Students; Warwick and York both re-affiliated during the last academic year, and this term we've already seen both Sheffield and UCL re-affiliate. This means that now nearly all of the clubs who disaffiliated in 2013 have now returned and we are stronger for it.

Our big priority for this year is membership and club development: after the general election and with a new leader, now is the perfect time to develop our members and continue to grow our Clubs. We've invested more than ever into our national events, with more training sessions and bigger events than ever before. Our job is to take the energy and enthusiasm of our new members and give them the tools to go into their campuses and their communities to make a difference.

Our priority campaign for this year - democratically decided by our members - is Unlock Education. With the Tories determined to lock even more students out of education by scrapping maintenance grants, it's even more important than ever that we do everything possible to make education as accessible as it can be. We don't need to wait 5 years till Labour are back in government to make a difference, with the Unlock Education campaign, Labour Students across the country are going to show the difference Labour values and the Labour party can make, even in opposition. From creating speaker schemes with local schools, lobbying for better bursaries or campaigning about the quality of housing, Labour Students will be tackling the barriers that stop students from entering and achieving in further and higher education.

With all of that, and much more, there's never been a better time to get involved in Labour Students. Click here to find your local club, or click here to find out more about our national events.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Michael, Erin and Alec

Labour's Student Movement

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Tomorrow is my second Freshers Fayre as a student at the University of Manchester and my first as Co-Chair of the Labour club. If someone had told me this time last year that I would be running a Labour Students stall this year I wouldn’t have believed them. I like most students, was caught up in the queue for dominoes and busy adding my name to mailing lists I’d spend months trying to unsubscribe from. But now that I’m involved I can’t imagine my university experience without Labour Students and the experiences it’s given me.

After joining Labour Students just eight months ago, I got stuck in straight away and started campaigning all over the country. Whether it was campaigning at NUS conference in Liverpool, or knocking on doors in Withington the best part of it all was making friends from across the country. Now’s a great time to be a Labour Student; we suffered a difficult defeat in May but we’re always ready to take the fight to the Tories not just at election time but year round on things like the cut to maintenance grants.

We’ve got a great year planned in Manchester, with tonnes of speakers, debates, trips, and of course, socials. I’m looking forward to attending my first Labour Students Political Weekend in November this year, and despite the blisters I’m also looking forward to May when we’ll be out on the doorsteps campaigning for Labour across the UK. The most exciting thing of all though is getting to welcome a new generation of Manchester Labour Students to the club and watching the club grow.

Ally Routledge is the Co-Chair of Manchester Labour Students.

An exciting year ahead

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Labour Students

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