Introducing Amanda Jeyaretnam, CLD’s new Membership Development Officer

December 18, 2021 3:18 AM

Amanda Jeyaretnam"I enjoy promoting diversity and inclusivity and good governance and would love to be part of the process of governance of the party. I hope that we fill all the positions available for representation from London.

I joined the LibDems after Remain lost the Referendum and was very active in the European election campaign, including being a counting agent, volunteered in various by-elections, became a canvassing team leader for Chuka Umunna's campaign in GE 2019 and worked on the LGA elections and our Pimlico by-election.

I was invited onto the executive committee of Westminster and Cities local party in December 2020 and became Events Officer in January 2021. I was also simultaneously acting Diversity Officer (until we were able to recently fill that role) and wrote the local party's diversity strategy, diversity achievement record and made contact with all our diversity associations as preparation for the PPC contest. In November this year I was elected at our AGM to a second term as ordinary member.

Before joining the Liberal Democrats officially, I had worked on local campaigns led by Lynne Featherstone when I lived in Highgate and various other local issues.

Since February 2021 I have been organising local party events for a wider London audience by zoom. This included a talk with Ellen Nicholson who is on the Liberal Democrats health research group and an event for the London Elections for which we invited Caroline Pidgeon and our West London Assembly candidates as speakers. Last month I organised our first physical event, a picnic in Regents Park, which was very well attended. I am particularly proud of our record of inclusivity for these events.

As a canvassing lead in Chuka's campaign I often led very large and varied groups of volunteers from all over London and beyond.

Groups were much smaller for the London elections and our Pimlico by-election due to Covid restrictions so I did most of my canvassing activity and phoning alone.

During the period that I was sheltering, I volunteered with our local council who put together a team to speak to residents by phone. This gave me a unique insight into the plight of our most vulnerable residents.

I come from Lincolnshire originally but my home life was very difficult and I had to leave home at 17 having finished 'A' levels a year early. I have supported myself financially since then, putting myself through The Hebrew University in Jerusalem by working as a cleaner and babysitter. I experienced a lot of the issues that accompany financial insecurity until I began to establish a career in Japan.

After returning to the UK with Hebrew and a Japanese added to the European languages I had keenly at school, I worked mostly in Japanese finance, leaving that sector in 1997 to focus on my family and my child. I returned to work in finance in 2005 but left again in 2007 and moved to the not-for-profit sector focussing on work with asylum-seekers.

I set up a training programme and safeguarding procedures for a charity in Westminster that works with asylum seekers who are survivors of torture in Sri Lanka, securing funding for the charity for a further two years.

In addition to that charity I have worked on individual asylum-seeker cases including that of a transgender person seeking asylum here in the UK. I helped a member working with asylum seekers from Hong Kong and seconded a motion for Hong Kong, put to Federal Conference. I also helped on a few other high profile but confidential cases liaising with Stonewall in London.

I hope my experience and the skills I developed in compliance, safe-guarding and regulatory environments combined with my very varied lived experiences and my love of making connections with people, will suit me for this role."

Editor: Welcome Amanda to the CLD core team! We are delighted to have you join us!