Jack Bloomfield is a second year politics student at the University of Sheffield. He has been volunteering with Hope for the Future since January 2018. As Jack's voluntary role, he offers support to local constituents, guiding them through the process of setting up a meeting with their MP and training them in Hope for the Future's approach to MP engagement. Early in May, Jack delivered his first training workshop to a group of young girls in Sheffield. Jack reports below.
On Friday 4th May, Jo and I ran a workshop for a group of schoolgirls on a residential trip at Whirlow Hall Farm with the Sheffield Environmental Movement. The Sheffield Environmental Movement is a charity that aims to promote health and well-being by working to provide Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic & Refugee (BAMER) communities in Sheffield access to the natural environment. I had met with Maxwell, Projects Manager of SEM, a couple of months ago when he had come to meet with HFTF to discuss how the two organisations might work together. This was my first opportunity to run a workshop and as SEM was the first organisation I met through HFTF, it was really exciting. It was also slightly nerve wracking sitting in silence with a group of 11-14 year olds before we got started.
The purpose of the workshop was to show the girls how they could engage with politics if they have concerns about the environment. We started with a discussion about what they already knew about climate change and the environment, and talked about topics ranging from pollution and the impact on air quality to plastic waste in the oceans. This was followed by a similar discussion about politics, which was a good starting point for our introduction to climate campaigning. Despite the fact that they found some of the politics slightly confusing, everyone enjoyed working in groups to plan an imaginary meeting with their MP about an environmental issue of their choice. By the end of the workshop some of the pupils were really engaged which was great to see, and after a chat with Maxwell afterwards we are hoping to arrange a similar workshop in a local school.
I really enjoyed delivering the workshop and look forward to helping out with more Hope for the Future events. I’m hoping we’ll be able to organise a workshop with the girls' local MP, so the pupils can learn more about their role and ask a few tough questions!