UK General Election 2024 - A guide from Creative Lives

On Thursday 4 July 2024, voters in 650 constituencies across the UK will go to the polls to elect their new Members of Parliament. 

"We are all complex, creative people with histories that are local, national and global. These distinct features of each and every one of us ensures that our creativity is vibrant and relevant. The forthcoming elections offer us an opportunity to identify who will assist our local communities to affirm the value of local creativity and address local needs. 

"Millions of people across the country are driven to make music, sing, dance, make theatre, etc., and in the process find friendship, forge communities, create safe places and help indirectly reduce isolation and mental health. These endeavours should be recognised and invested in. 

"While many of us suffered during COVID, we also learnt a lot about ourselves and how we want to live. We are social beings and getting out and meeting people, sharing interests and making a difference or positive impact requires that we work with local community groups. 

"If we are to secure local investment and acknowledgement, creative groups need to have their voices heard."

David Bryan CBE, Chair, Creative Lives

Creative Lives' priorities

Creative Lives champions community and volunteer-led creative activity, and works to improve opportunities for everyone to be creative. 

Our Mission is Building Creative Communities

We champion, support, promote and nurture local creative groups in order to build more sustainable communities.

How you and your creative group can get involved

During the election, your group may wish to campaign on an important issue in your area, such as saving a local venue from closure or reversing a decision to cut funding for a local service. 

Under the Electoral Commission guidance, you will be seen as a non-party campaigner and this comes with some rules to follow. We’ve set out some of these rules below, but for more information please visit the Electoral Commission website for the most accurate and up-to-date information: Non-party campaigner | Electoral Commission

Hearing from local candidates

You may want to hear from (and quiz) those seeking election to represent your community. One way to do this is to invite all candidates to address a public meeting online or in person. This meeting is known as a ‘hustings’. To find out who your local candidates are, search with your postcode here: Elections in your area | Electoral Commission.

Once you’ve invited your candidates, you can find out more about how to run your hustings here: Are you holding a hustings? | Electoral Commission

If you’re a registered charity and want to hold a hustings, please remember that you cannot support or oppose a particular political party or candidate. For more information, check the guidance from the Charity regulator in your nation and visit Charities running a hustings | Electoral Commission

Campaign materials 

If you want to create a campaign leaflet or other material during the election you’ll need to include an imprint (details which show who is responsible for publishing the leaflet) on both physical and digital materials. You can read more about imprints here:

Other relevant guidance for non-party campaigners can be found here: Guidance for non-party campaigners at UK Parliament general elections.

Writing to your local candidates

You could consider writing to your local candidates and asking them to share their views on the importance of creativity in your community.

Here is a sample letter you could send to candidates asking them to be a champion for creativity. Please let us know about any responses you receive by emailing [email protected].  

Dear [Candidate's Name],

As a local candidate in the upcoming general election, we are writing to you to highlight the critical role that creative activities play in fostering wellbeing, community connection, and resilience in our community. Our group, [INSERT YOUR GROUP NAME], is deeply invested in enhancing the lives of individuals through creative expression and participation.

[Then describe your group's work, role, and local impact. For example: "Our organisation hosts weekly art workshops, organises community theatre productions, and runs a monthly craft event. Over the past year, we have engaged over 500 participants, offering them an opportunity to express themselves creatively, learn new skills, and build meaningful connections with their neighbours.”]

Creative expression in all its forms is a fundamental part of being human. However, for creativity to truly flourish, individuals and communities need access to opportunities and support. The activities we organise not only allow for creative expression but also contribute significantly to the improved wellbeing of our participants. Through creativity, we build more sustainable, resilient, and diverse communities.

We know that coming together to create, have fun, share experiences, and support each other can have a transformative impact on people’s lives. We urge you to recognise and champion the vital role that everyday creativity plays in our community and ask you to pledge your support for local creative groups like ours, advocating for policies and resources that will allow these groups to thrive. 

By doing so, you will be contributing to a more inclusive and vibrant community where everyone has the opportunity to participate in and benefit from creative activities.

Your support can make a substantial difference. We hope that you will join us in promoting the value of local creative initiatives and commit to being a champion for the role of everyday creativity in boosting wellbeing, connection, and community resilience.

Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]
On behalf of [group name]