By Serena Lola
Today on the 23rd September 8 members of Heston West Big Local went to the Local Trust Young People Make A Difference event where many organisations juts like ours gathered together for a day of bonding, having fun and learning about other volunteers like us. After an hour journey in a cab we finally arrived at Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning and it was nothing like I expected the event would be. We were given a warm welcome and settled in before being put into groups and set off for some team building activities, which were really fun. The first activity for my group was we had a big ditch in which we had to get across without touching the bottom of the ditch and we only had 2 planks of wood. After a little conversation we went straight into it and managed to do it pretty well with only a couple of little screams! Just like this activity we managed to get through all of them pretty quick and had lots of laughs along the way and from observing the other groups they were having a great time as well working together and enjoying themselves. After a fun morning of activities we returned back to base and our lovely instructors read out the rules each team had made and we had a giant list including “don’t steal the pens” and “no mobile phones during activities”
Our own group then gave an inspiring speech about what we have done and how much of journey it has been for them, which was really amazing; we also filmed the whole thing. We then were moved into another room where another Big Local group from Hackney shared with us what they’ve done which was also inspiring and amazing to see what they’ve done to their community and it even gave us ideas for what we can do to make our area better. When all the inspiring talk was done we all enjoyed a great BBQ that was made for us along with pasta and salad and this really gave us a chance to talk to each other and just learn a bit more about one another. This was really important to spreading the message that young people’s voices need to be heard and even Big Local representative Sian Penner agrees as she said, “It was a brilliant day and I think more people should give time to listen to more young people”
Anjali Kumar, Simran Bangar, Abbie McFerran, Juhi Kumra, Megha Dahdrai and Serena Lola from Heston West Big Local Youth Action Team presented at the event.
We then proceeded to take part in one of two workshops I chose to go to the Social enterprise workshop in which I learnt a lot about what social enterprising is and what the group had actually done in their area, we eve heard some of their journeys and stories about volunteering and how they’ve created an enterprise called FREEDOM-E which was astonishing to see how much they’ve accomplished especially with primary school kids.
Then it was back to more fun activities, which ranged from things like archery and fencing to caving! We all picked our activity and headed off for some more fun. Id picked archery, which was really good and it was full of laughs and jokes and a bit of failing! We even had competition within the groups and other challenges one, which included balloons that was slightly deceiving. Also from what I saw and heard the other groups had a great time as well in their activities. Even the instructors thought today was a good day as Andrew (one of the activity instructors) said “It was a fun enjoyable time had by all”
Once that had all finished we headed back to the main hall to get to know each other’s organisations a bit more with a fun activity of choosing random postcards which represent us as a group which I found pretty interesting as at first glance all of them seemed irrelevant to us but by looking closer there were many interpretations to be found such as a all the colours representing us as a unity of all different types of people. I thought this was a really good exercise for really trying to understand what it is that we do as volunteers.
Today was an exciting day out for some of our big local volunteers and many other Big Local organisations from around the country. It was informative, inspirational and fun day and also something we would love to do again to do again; it was a huge success!
Serena Lola, 15 years old
Heston West Big Local Volunteer
Big thanks to Local Trust, Vicky Tedder, Wendy Sugarman, Sian Penner and staff at the Lambourne Outdoor Centre for Learning in Romford for organising a brilliant day out for our young people.
Photo credit: Vicky Tedder.
By Serena Lola
This is a short film was created by our MADE in HESTON WEST young film crew. The film was written by Abbie McFerran and Juhi Kumra and filmed at Cranford Community College on Sunday 26th March 2017. The short film highlights self-esteem and body image issues young people face.
The 'It's OK not to be OK' campaign is led by our Youth Action Team.
It’s OK not to be OK. As a society we have created these outrageous ideals of how a person should look and dress instead of looking at what matters and what makes them who they are. And, no matter what society says those ideals don’t matter because despite what we have been brought up to believe we are all beautiful and unique and that includes you, me and everyone around us. So if you ever feel you are not good enough remember that you are and talk to someone because at one point in our life we have all felt like there is something wrong with us when in reality there isn’t. Don’t be afraid to share your feelings because there is many just like you and if you’re not OK then the world is not OK.
It’s all right to feel nervous or scared when going to talk to someone but trust me it could make all the difference and there are many people out there who would be willing to listen to you whether that be friends, family or teachers there is always someone you can turn to for help even if you feel like you’re alone.
It doesn’t matter how small or big the problem is because there will always be someone to help and a problem is still a problem despite the size of it so all I can say to you is be happy with who you are because you are perfect and beautiful in every way and if you ever doubt that remember there is always someone you can turn to and there people out there who feel the same way you do because despite what we may look like on the outside we could be the complete opposite on the inside.
Also if you ever feel that a friend or relative or anyone doesn’t seem themselves or something doesn’t feel right you could be the one to say: “Hey are you OK?” because that lets them know they are not alone and it could change everything for them because you never know what might be going on in someone’s head. Be the one who helps them through a dark time to get them to a bright and happy place and remember It’s OK not to be OK.
By Serena Lola
Check out Serena Lola's amazing VLOG documenting our recent Big Local trip to Parliament!
By Serena Lola
On the 29th of August 2017: The Heston West Big Local Youth Action Team went to the UK Parliament to present their campaign idea to make politics more accessible to the younger demographic as well as implementing life skill courses/classes for youth in order to give them a kick-start in life so that they are ready for everyday problems they will face in the future. We believe this is very important and it was said by Mariam Quraishi that life skills/ politics are important “because we gain transferable skills we can use as well as opening up opportunities for ourselves.
The day started off with us meeting Seema Malhotra, the MP of Feltham and Heston and then being led into Parliament and to the café where we enjoyed some delicious food. After Seema then gave us a tour of Parliament as well telling us about some of the history of the place such as Spencer Perceval was assassinated in the House Of Commons and ancestors of him as well as from the murder are members of parliament to this day which I found pretty interesting as well as astonishing. Furthermore the Parliament building itself was really beautiful just like the outside of the building and I especially thought that the centre of the houses was amazing due to its stunning detail and astounding design.
Following that we were taken into a conference room where the select committee usually have their proceedings and to be in there was a huge privilege and an even bigger one was to sit in their seats while doing our presentation. We were joined also by Rupa Huq (MP of Ealing Central and Acton) we then proceeded to present our campaign which is all about getting the younger generation more involved in politics so they can gain a wider understanding along with leaning valuable life skills for the future which can help them not only once they’ve left school but also whilst in it. Moreover we not only want to engage the younger generation but the older generation as well because we feel that we can help build a stronger community through bridging the generation gap but also by doing this the older generation also stand to gain as they can have the correct information to help them decide when voting as most of the time they are influenced by what the media tells us as opposed to thinking for themselves.
Once we had concluded our presentation Seema and Rupa asked us questions to get a deeper understanding of what we were trying to do and after we were happy to hear that they would be happy to help us with the campaign and helping us to run things, so overall this trip was a success! Feeling pretty proud of inspirational day, and ourselves we took some photos in the conference room and left having had a fun day, which is the beginning of us doing something great for our community.
Anjali Parmar (age 13) said: “ Today was a really fun day” and she thinks “that more people should get involved with organisations like the Heston West Big Local as it helps to build confidence as well as getting to meet new people and having fun whilst making a change to our community in order to make It a happier and healthier place to live”
This highlights our message we want to push across as we want to inspire others to get involved and help make a difference.
I can also see that the other volunteers can see that we will make a difference as Rajan Sandhu said: “Today was really useful and motivating as it not only expanded his communication skills but it was also and bonding event for the team”
He then went on to add “that it is important for children to know about politics so they know that they have a voice that they can use to make a difference in the world”
Overall, today was a fantastic and once in a lifetime experience, which we as young volunteers are extremely proud of and hope we may be able, to do something like this again as we love to help people and make our community a better place. Now that we have done this we feel we can really make a change and we cannot wait to start work on our campaign and inspire more people to get involved.
The presentation was delivered by Anjali Parmar, Sharanjit Kaur, Serena Lola, Rajan Sandhu, Amadeus Lang, Saim, Mariam Quraishi and Mustapha.
We were also supported by our Youth Action Members: Iman Jaura , Subhan Jaura , Anjali Kumar, Caitlin Poon, Huzayma Khamis, Abbie McFerran, Rhys Jones, Cammeron Jones, Callum Willis, Amrita Tar, Megha Dahdrai, Ayushi, Harveer and Harpreet Kaur.
By Neha Soni
The Family Fun Picnic event took place on the 12th August at the Brabazon Centre and attracted over 180+ attendees. The event was planned a week in advance by Big Local Heston West and NCS The Challenge.
The event had many different activities taking place; Arts and crafts (provided by Feltham arts), face painting, free food, magic shows, football, a dance performance and a drum performance. Volunteers also interacted with community members and collected surveys to find out more about how attendees heard of Big Local Heston West and their views on politics. The survey revealed that attendees liked the Big Local initiative as it brings communities together in a fun and safe environment.
The NCS team helped deliver the football match and kindly donated resources for our walking football and PAN disability football sessions. Amadeus, a Big Local volunteer, enjoyed the magic show, adding “The magician did really cool tricks; especially the water cup trick where she spilt water… but it was still in the cup afterwards!” Rajan enjoyed the dance performance, saying Sharan and Layba were “really talented and brave.”
We would like to thank Sharan and Layba for their dance performance, Kapil for his drum performance, Feltham Arts for their arts and craft stall.
By Nadia Patel
Week 3: Tuesday 8th August 2017
The main focus of today’s session was to develop a survey to gather the opinions of local residents in relation to our campaign: Politics and Courses.
We started off the morning by going through the details for Saturday’s event. We discussed what the plan of action would be in the event that the weather does not go as planned so that we are prepared.
The team then moved on to discussing the survey that would be circulated at the event in order to gather information. They were split in to two groups so that a variety of questions could be created. The groups began by initially just discussing ideas and the information they would like to receive though the survey.
The campaign that is being created is focused on Politics and also Courses that will develop life skills. The aim of the surveys is to find out whether the community would be interested in this sort of project and if so what they would like to see.
The questions will find out what the most popular social media platforms are amongst the community in order to circulate information. The questions will also aim to uncover what the community opinion is on politics and whether or not people are actually interested and want to get involved in politics.
The survey will target a mixture of age groups in order to better understand the interests of a variety of the community to ensure that events organised appeal to them. The team is also particularly interested in the opinions of young people as they are the target demographic for the campaign.
The team then set off in to the community (Redwood Estate) to hand out leaflets and speak to members of the public about Saturday's Big Local Community event.
It was a productive session and the team is ready to move forward on to the next step of the campaign.
Photo credit: Haroon Lukka
By Anjali Parmar
Monday 7th August 2017
Today was a really good experience. We went to the BFI. BFI stands for British Film Institute.
We first got there and went to a tunnel, which had graffiti art all over. I got chosen to be director.
We took many photos of different groups and videos to make a story-line. After this, we went to different food stores to eat our lunch, as we were hungry.
Then we went back to the BFI and went to a studio where we interviewed people about Bollywood and we also met Ameet Chana (above) who was in Eastenders and Bend it Like Beckham.
We also had time to go to London and many places. My favourite part was going to the Water Fountain and running in and out.
Anjali Parmar, 13yrs old
Youth Action Team Member / Youth Film-making Participant
Photo credit: Haroon Lukka & Callum Willis
By Sharan Kaur
Saturday 5th August 2017
Today was so good! We started the day by going into groups with NCS The Challenge.
We were in groups and we were meant to jot down ideas for an ideal picnic.
There is going to be picnic on Saturday 12th August from 1 to 4pm at the Brabazon Centre and Redwood Estate. Both of the groups came up with really good ideas, such as:
By Nadia Patel
Week 2: Tuesday 1st August 2017
This week the Youth Social Action Team continued to develop on their idea from the previous week - Politics and Courses.
The day began with another ice-breaker so all the members of the team were able to continue getting to know each other. By the end of the summer the team will probably know more about each other than they’d ever expected to.
The main focus of the session this week was to understand what a campaign really is and clear up any misconceptions surrounding them. Taz Virdee began by asking the team what they thought a campaign is. There were a range of ideas including handing out leaflets and surveys and organising events. Taz then explained that these are all parts of what makes up a campaign.
To Campaign is to work in an organised and active way towards a goal.
The team was then split in to two small groups to create a time line on the campaign project. This involved identifying factors such as obstacles that could be faced and what the desired outcome would be. These included, constraints such as resources or a possible lack of interest by people in the area.
The target demographic for the campaign are 10-20 year olds, which means that the team themselves are the most ideal candidates for this task because they too fall into that bracket and are affected by the issues they hope to improve on.
The next task for the groups was to create an example of the ideal person that they would pitch their campaign to. Both groups had factors in common on their ideal candidate. This person would most likely be a teenager between 13-16 who is in education and wants to learn more about politics and life skills.
The team was very excited seeing how their idea is coming together and can’t wait to make a difference in their community.
Click here to read: Week 1: Developing our Big Local Youth Campaign Ideas
Photos by Haroon Lukka
By Neha Soni
Week 1: Tuesday 25th July 2017
The Youth Social Action Team was split into two groups and the day began with an icebreaker. This helped us find out more about the new volunteers and a bit too much about the existing volunteers! After getting to know each other better, the teams brainstormed different campaign ideas. Ideas ranged from; mental health awareness, acid attacks, helping people realise their full potential and littering.
Each group then had to pick their ‘top’ ideas and present why they chose them. After much debate and teamwork, the top ideas were anti-bullying, politics/life-skills and mental health/cultural integration. Team A chose anti-bulling because it made citizens feel unsafe in the community and often leads to depression. Team B chose politics and life-skills because there is a lack of community awareness on political issues and access to build on their life-skills. Team B also chose mental health and cultural integration as many people who do not speak English as their first language may find it difficult to do everyday tasks resulting in anxiety.
The groups then had to choose their final ideas (see below), expand on how they would put it into action and create a slogan. Team A’s anti-bullying campaign had the slogan “time to rise”. It aimed to encourage youths to speak out if they are being bullied by contacting the team via phone, email or directly. They would encourage youths to reach out by speaking in primary and secondary schools, designing a website, creating safe communication between the team and youths and running fun events with the community.
Team B’s final idea was politics and courses. Their slogan was “live, love and learn how to use your voice”. Their campaign targets 10 - 20 year olds and encourages active citizenship. Provisional session ideas included survival skills, debate night, suggestion box and issues of societal importance.
The Youth Social Action Team took a majority vote to decide which idea would be more viable. Nadia Patel counted the votes and announced that the politics and courses campaign had won. Both campaigns contained amazing ideas and hopefully the future courses can incorporate anti-bullying.
ANTI-BULLYING – Time to Rise