Opening Doors for Parliament Week
Opening Doors indeed at Tottenham Hotspur for Parliament Week
The first day of Parliament Week was also my first day as a Young Trainee with the Smart School Councils Community (SSCC), so I was nervous and excited as it was also going to be my first day at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. Tottenham Hotspur Foundation had very kindly given us a venue to run a youth event for the amazing Parliament Week.
I didn’t actually know my way (I know its HUGE but don’t judge me I went to the wrong entrance) luckily I was kindly directed and walked there by a young man (about 16 yrs old) which seemed like nothing at the time but looking back, it goes to show that young people are thoughtful and truly are the heart and future of Tottenham and this was just an introduction for what I was about to be met with.
As soon as I opened the door (well actually the lift doors opened) I was greeted by the most amazing and shocking view!
Teachers running up and down panting frantically. What was this?
See – Run – Do. An interactive game that SSCC runs. They had every single person in the room taking part in the physically interactive game which developed communication, teamwork and ultimately gave a demonstration of the ways in which politics can work in schools and on a wider scale.
As I arrived an hour late, everyone was already in the thick of the game meaning that I felt left out but also this means I got to witness and observe which is great because now I get to tell you guys about it.
Honestly it was great, it was evident that the students LOVED seeing their teachers actively playing a role in an informative yet very fun and exciting game, literally everyone was involved and on the ball. It truly demonstrated democracy – EVERYONE was involved and everyone had a part to play.
I can’t give away the secrets of the game but it definitely had great feedback. One student said:
“Democracy sometimes means the man at the top doesn’t understand what the people at the other end are experiencing”
Powerful! – All in the form of GREAT FUN.
To be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve heard the views of young people as I’m the youngest child and haven’t had the opportunity to witness or attend a platform where young people take the lead. I was not only impressed and ‘wowed’ by what the young people had to say about what they had been doing, but I was truly inspired.
There were young people from 3 local schools; Northumberland Park, Gladesmore and Park View Academy. The level of maturity and concern for the representation of young people showed that the only missing piece was wider media coverage of what is happening for young people in Haringey, because believe it or not – these young people are making great change – starting right here in Haringey!
There were representatives from six great organisations that have all been doing amazing work in local communities – Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Smart School Councils Community, Godwin Lawson Foundation, Parliament Week, The Challenge and Team London. Sitting in a room where there were so many young leaders with so much positive ambition and current activity really made me wonder, how can we get MORE young people involved?
This was a great event with WONDERFUL ideas and initiatives and networking that could make Mark Zuckerberg tremble. But what will become of this?
Anything this great that involves our young people needs to be continued and widely supported in order for it to have real visible effect that can ripple throughout Haringey and London. We hope we can use this event to bring together more young people in 2015.
In my opinion connecting with young people should be done in the way in which they already connect with each other. Social media is a great way of doing this.
Hashtags – Hashtags are a quick and easy way of tying individual discussions online to one specific idea. They are cool, catchy and easy to use to refer to an event/idea/topic. This worked well for #DoDemocracy and #ParliamentWeek – Perhaps we should get the young people to come up with a hashtag for the event we have at Spurs (e.g. #YoungHaringey)
Pictures – High quality images of young people actively involved in events.
Videos – People want to feel the experience of being there. The online aspect means that even if people cannot make it, they can catch up online. They may not want to go to their school bulletin but if it’s online they can get involved at home or on their phones which is (if we’re gonna be honest) what most people are doing in 2014.
Advertising – It’s all well and good sending tweets and doing all the above (hashtags, posting pictures/videos), but in order for the tweets to be directed towards Young People and be SEEN on their timelines, promoted Tweets and Facebook advertising may prove beneficial.
Newsletters -Informative, well illustrated newsletters with write-ups and images from the last event. These should be addressed to all schools in Haringey and be written by the young people who attended the event. This will also act as good promotion for future events and will be an opportunity to spread the hash-tag, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Website so that people are aware of how to follow up and get involved.
Competitions – A fun interactive way of getting people involved. This can include simple competitions such as coming up with the hashtag for the hub of young people coming together in Haringey. Prizes can be things that help people get involved in something they like, such as:
Free Dance lesson with —
Free Recording Session with —
Free Workshop in —-
Day in Parliament?
These can be standard all around awareness flyers with information about the general opportunities available for young people, but also perhaps we can consider printing flyers that specifically promote the next event so it can reach more people.
Involve ‘cool people’
We know we’re cool, but really, there’s nothing like following someone you’re a fan of. Perhaps we should get some ‘famous’ cool people like artists, musicians, footballers and politicians to tweet, take pictures of, or say (on video) statements about the movement which we can use as part of our campaign. This will be a great way to get wider reach as well as using tools young people are familiar with. We could also have one or two attend the event?
Another event like this is needed but bigger and with the opportunity for more young people to learn about and get involved with these wonderful organisations that exist around Haringey. This should be a fun event that allows the young people to speak about/demonstrate what they’ve been doing and have a section dedicated to the opportunity to join these organisations.
In a nutshell, we think the next step is to reach more, support more and involve more young people. They know what they want and are actively making steps, to create change. We just need to support, promote and facilitate their need to connect.
If you’d like to help out with this, you can email me at [email protected] or leave a comment below.
By Margaret Olukoga, Young Trainee