'Never too young to make a difference'
If London’s children could change one thing in their world, what would it be? On June 9th, London will find out, when 200 young Londoners present their ‘Make a Difference’ campaigns.Four months ago, 400 children from 9 primary schools took up the Go-Givers ‘Make a Difference Challenge'. They decided what needed changing - from knife crime to endangered animals - and have been working hard to make it happen ever since. On June 9th, 200 young campaigners will come together in Shoreditch to celebrate the Go-Givers ‘Make a Difference Challenge' with a special appearance from Ade Adepitan - TV presenter, Paralympian and campaigner.
Below, we hear from two schools on their work to date:
Brecknock School, Camden
Campaign: Respect Lives Not Knives
Following a democratic process, children at Brecknock School in Camden decided to run a campaign against knife crime.
"Ben Kinsella was stabbed and died opposite the school in late June 2008, his death naturally was very shocking and saddening for children at this school" Anna, class teacher
The children devised a performance highlighting the impact of knife crime which was performed to parents and received a standing ovation. Local MP Frank Dobson, who also attended a performance, was quizzed on his views on knife crime.
"When you speak to grown-up people, their purpose in asking questions is to show off. But these children genuinely wanted answers because they care about knife crime." Frank Dobson MP
"It is amazing to see the children so excited about their campaign. Even the students who generally find it harder to express themselves speak passionately and articulately about how important it is to raise awareness about knife crime" Anna, class teacher
The children gained coverage in three local papers and will be performing to 9 other primary schools later this year.
Kensington School, Newham
Campaign: Sibley Grove Bridge
"It feels great to be part of this project because it will make Sibley Grove Bridge a better place" Pupil, aged 9
The children at Kensington School identified a local pedestrian bridge as a source of antisocial behaviour and bullying in the area through research which showed that other pupils, teachers, parents and local residents felt the same way.
"They care a lot about the school and the community they live in and they want their community to be a safe one where every one is proud of the area they live and go to school in. They want to make a difference." Serin, class teacher
The children have alerted the council to the problems and are planning a demonstration against bullying at the bridge. Working with architects and a graffiti artist, the children are drawing up proposals for how the bridge could be improved. Their proposals will be presented to local MP, Rt Hon Stephen Timms later this year.
"I am proud of what we are doing. I hope there will be change" Pupil, aged 9
Other schools taking part in the ‘Make a Difference' Challenge are:
- Islington: Ashmount Primary School: Child Poverty in the UK
- Islington: St. Andrew's Primary School: Fundraising for the Rainbow Trust
- Southwark: St.George's CoE Primary School: Water in our world
- Southwark: Charlotte Sharman Primary School: The impact of HIV & Aids
- Waltham Forest: Roger Ascham Primary School: Endangered species
- Bromley: Bickley Park School: Cruelty to animals
- Lewisham: St.Matthew's Academy: Play facilities
Go-Givers is a Citizenship Foundation project for primary schools - it aims to develop responsible, caring citizens who have the skills and confidence to make a positive contribution to their communities, both locally and globally. In January 2009, Go-Givers launched the London ‘Make a Difference Challenge'; supporting children to run a campaign or social enterprise tackling an issue they care about.
To find out more about Go-Givers and the ‘Make a Difference Challenge' please contact Shez Sutton.