Monday, September 19, 2011

Young and determined: Rachel Rayner

Rachel Rayner is a young woman with conviction.  The chair of the East Coast Bays Labour Electorate Committee is, at just 24, one of  the youngest people  in the country to hold the post.
When I met with Rachel she had just taken over the role and things had been quiet so far – she had only run one or two meetings to date – but being an election year things will soon be getting busier.

“I took the role on for two reasons,” Rachel says. “ For a start, it’s something I believe in – I simply believe we cn do better tha the other guys.  Secondly, it’s fantastic real world experience nobody else is offering.”
The primary role of an electorate committee is to support candidates standing for election – in this case Vivienne Goldsmith – and Rachel is pouring her heart in to getting ‘her’ candidate up the list and into parliament.
“The first thing I organised was a clothing swap – we really needed to do a fundraiser and it seemed like a good way to get things started.”

Part of the attraction, Rachel says, was a clothing swap was a good way to attract people who were not Labour party members along.
Held late last year, Sunnynook Primary School Hall provided an easily found  location for the event and social networking site, Twitter  soon proved to be a formidable marketing platform.
“We had more people from Twitter than from anywhere by far,” Rachel says with a grin.

Ten dollars cash and two items of clothing secured entry to the swap and three chits that could be swapped for three new items of clothing.
Neatly folded and sorted piles of clothes lined the hall and dressing rooms were set up at one end, as was a café.
“I was really  pleased to see people didn’t just come in, find something and leave.  They stayed, had coffee and a good look around.  Most people stayed around an hour – and everyone took at least two articles of clothing away with them.  It was fantastic.”

Although the event raised several hundred dollars, its real value lay in raising the profile of both Ms Goldsmith and the committee.
“It was the wrong time of the year I think for a fundraiser so it wasn’t the most profitable but it was so good in terms of profile.  We had lots of non-members there and it was the easiest fundraiser I’ve ever done.  Everyone just jumped in and helped.  We did have clothes left over – we kept the best for the next event in March and donated the rest to the Child Cancer Foundation.”
Rachel has had  plenty to keep her busy even before the election – which is exactly how Rachel likes it.
“I get asked if I would like to stand but not at this stage –you know there are not a lot of young members and we’re trying to change that so I feel  I can do so much to help at this level, I’m happy doing that.”
©2010 Angelique Jurd – All Rights Reserved.  

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