I’ve dedicated my whole life to fighting poverty and making things fairer.

I was born in 1980 and from a fairly young age I knew about how badly my mum had been failed by the care system. You can learn more about that by listening to this podcast. I hope the other thing you hear is how fiercely proud I am to be her daughter – to have been raised by someone who was always ready to fight for fairness.

This sense that the world was full of injustice and inequality made me incredibly impatient to get going on changing things.

When I was 17 I went down south to study at Oxford. At 20 I became president of the Oxford University Student Union, representing thousands of students to government, the university and the national media.

At 25 I was a Labour parliamentary candidate and a year later I became a Labour councillor. I absolutely loved representing my neighbours. Even though Labour was in opposition on the council, the experience of winning change for people really shaped what I think is possible through being a committed local champion. 

I was 27 when Gordon Brown asked me to work with him in Downing Street. I’m so proud of everything the last Labour government achieved. So much so that I wrote a speech about it once.

Then in my 30s I focussed on trying to stop the worst impacts of Tory austerity and their agenda to divide people. I’ve done all sorts of projects, from training TUC organisers to becoming an active volunteer – regularly doing the Kiltwalk to fundraise for Who Cares? Scotland and volunteering on the boards of IPPR, The Center for Countering Digital Hate, The Labour Climate and Environment Forum, Larger Us, The Civic Power Fund and the Climate Coalition. 

In 2015 I joined one of the world’s biggest children’s charities.  I lead a team of 160 to deliver award-winning campaigns and our programmes supporting families across the UK. I know I’m lucky to absolutely love my job but I am completely sick of standing in food pantries watching people depending on charity to feed their families. Sick of having my arm around parents who can’t change their baby’s dirty nappy as they can’t afford more. Sick of hearing about people who work hard but can’t put on the heating because there’s too much month left at the end of the money.

There’s nothing I can do in my day job that will ever make as big a difference to our communities as Labour in government does. That’s what’s brought me back to politics. That’s what I’m here to do. And that’s why I’m asking for your support.

Better Angels with Sarah Brown is a podcast about how change happens. Listen to my interview here.


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Fiona Anderwood