Matt's Story: Meeting with my MP

One of the most effective ways you can make a difference is to talk to your MP. It's not as scary as it sounds.

Matt gives his top tips for a meeting with your MP...

The natural world has always been a source of awe and wonder for me. I spend as much time as I can enjoying it. Strapping on the walking boots and heading out to green spaces with friends and family is something that I just couldn’t live without.

However, I know that these pockets of wilderness and spaces to immerse yourself in nature are becoming harder to find. This disconnect from nature concerns me.

I heard about The Wildlife Trust’s Wilder Future campaign from my local Trust, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. It provided me the perfect platform to get my voice heard. They're calling for people to meet their MP to have a say on an Environment Act that can benefit their local area.

However, this is something I had never done before; feeling unsure, I knew that preparation would be key. My local MP is Richard Burgon, so I firstly requested a meeting with him via this easy form. Although I knew the name of my MP and the constituency that I lived in (Leeds East), it wouldn't have mattered if I didn't as the form did all the work!

My top tips

Research your MP and find out what they care about

I knew it would be a short meeting so I needed to pick the key messages I wanted to get across. TheyWorkForYou is a website that allows you to see how your MP has voted on various issues and get to know what's important for them.

I was able to see how Richard had voted and how his values matched my own. Using this, along with the useful information you receive from The Wildlife Trusts once you've requested a meeting, helped me focus what I wanted to say.

Have a clear vision

I found the most helpful thing was just to reflect on what really matters to me.

Try to paint the picture for your MP of what you want your wilder future to look like. Talk about local areas and wildlife that you really care about.

MPs often ask what they can actually do to help your cause. For this campaign, you can just urge them to support a strong Environment Act that will support and regenerate our natural world.

Read more about what The Wildlife Trust wants from the Environment Act.

Relax - it's just a conversation

Once in the room, the conversation was relaxed - it was as easy as having a conversation with anyone else about something that I care about.

Richard responded well, he agreed to pass on my views to his party as well as meet with local Wyke Beck Project to get an idea of what a Wilder Yorkshire could look like.

Afterwards...

I left feeling motivated that I had stood up for nature and that my views will be represented. Meeting your MP is not as daunting as you may think. They want to know what you think. Tell them that a strong Environment Act to recover our natural world matters to you. It's also a good idea to get in touch with them afterwards, just to keep your meeting fresh in their mind - you can just drop an email to say thank you for meeting me and maybe share a photo if you managed to get one!

Arrange a meeting with your MP

Richard Burgon MP and Matt Snelling

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust