19 / 03 / 15
Students on 3FF’s ParliaMentors leadership programme are bringing a wave of social change around the country with their social action projects. Aimed at bringing people from different backgrounds together and responding to the needs of local communities, the projects have been created and delivered by mixed-belief teams of students from six different University Campuses.
Under the guidance of 3FF staff and in collaboration with the British Council’s Active Citizens programme and other leading NGOs, ParliaMentors have worked hard to create and implement different kind of projects.
The Nottingham team used food to create better relations between students and Lenton’s local residents. Their event ‘We are Nottingham’ saw around 300 people participate in a day of food, music, and conversations, strengthening the ties within the community. The event was opened by MP Lilian Greenwood. Food from different traditions was offered by University societies and local businesses, satisfying every taste.
Birmingham-based ParliaMentors linked up local charities and student filmmakers to create documentaries about the work that is being done in the area. The project called ‘Hidden Birmingham’ culminated in a community event during which all the films were shown. The event also included a networking session with a photography and art exhibition. Many participants attended the event, including Councillor John Lines, the Deputy Lord Mayor of Birmingham.
At the University of Manchester campus, ParliaMentors project #BelieveMe set out to reduce religious stereotyping. The project included an online photo campaign where students were invited to share what faith or belief means to them. #BelieveMe culminated in ‘Religion on Trial’, a panel discussion event chaired by Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility at UoM. Many other important names contributed to the discussion, including Afzal Khan, MEP, Representing the North West in the EU Parliament; Dr Michael Hoelzl, Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion; Rvd Dr Terry Biddington, Chaplain of Higher Education; Dr Peter Lawler, Senior Politics Lecturer; and Tessy Maritim, Diversity Officer at the UoM Student Union.
Other projects are bringing social change to different communities. In the London area of Camden, the SOAS team has created a project to reduce elderly loneliness. Queen Mary ParliaMentors are bringing together young people of different backgrounds by organising sport workshops in Tower Hamlets and Mile End. Finally, the ParliaMentors team based at the University of Salford is responding to one of the most pressing needs of their community by organising employability workshops for local residents.
The ParliaMentors programme has given 30 young leaders from different backgrounds an opportunity to get together and make an impact across the country. From community events to workshop series, all the teams have worked hard to improve the lives of their local communities. The experienced gained managing their projects and the skills learnt from leading NGOs and professionals will surely stand these ParliaMentors in good stead for their continued careers.
Find out more about the ParliaMentors programme here.