Our Bright Future Youth Forum member, Rachel Sampara shares her experience of heading to London to meet with MPs. She is a beekeeping tutor at the Blackburne House project, BEE You.
The 5 March 2019 was a crisp spring day in London. The scene was set for Our Bright Future projects from across the UK to descend on Westminster.
Throughout the last year projects have attended regular meet-ups across the country, in preparation for this event. Decisions were made as to the three asks that we wanted to take to Parliament and how to best present these. Guest speakers at the recent Youth Forum meet-up in Manchester, included Friends of the Earth; who advised on the best ways to approach our MP to invite them to the event and how to articulate our asks on the day.
On the morning of the event; we were all given a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. The tour gave us the opportunity to look at the inner working of Parliament; from its historical beginnings to modern day. Not only was the tour an educational experience for us; but also set the tone, ready for the MP networking event that afternoon.
A sea of young people and Our Bright Future staff, in wildlife print attire; entered Westminster after lunch. We organised ourselves by project area so the MPs could find their local projects with ease. We presented our asks to our local MPs; asking for support, commitment and a follow-up of their progress.
Afternoon tea was provided, shortly after the initial introductions; this gave the room time to breathe and created a more relaxed environment in which to converse with MPs. Networking continued (with interludes of eating cake!) as the afternoon rolled on.
Both young people and MPs were engaged in conversations and the room was buzzing with positive energy! The networking was temporarily paused for speeches by Rushanara Ali (Labour MP and co-founder of Our Bright Future partner, UpRising); who gave an overview of the programme and special thanks to everyone involved; and also Peter Ainsworth (Chair of National Lottery Community Fund); who showed a short video, including our three asks:
  1. more time spent learning in and about nature
  2. support to get into environmental jobs
  3. Government, employers, businesses, schools and charities to pay more attention to the needs of young people and the environment
There were also speeches from two young people from different Our Bright Future projects: Amelia Fawcett, from Green Futures and Dara McAnulty from Grassroots Challenge. Drawing from their personal experiences; they were both so passionate and articulate about the importance of supporting young people in environmental education. They were both outstanding examples of what young people can accomplish, with the nurturing of Our Bright Future. Such a powerful and inspiring note to end the day on!