Participants presenting their case to Shaun Bailey

On the 26th and 27th November Forward Thinking facilitated a political literacy and media training weekend aimed at empowering and building the capacity of young activists. The training – run by Emily Buchanan (former BBC World and Religious Affairs Correspondent) and Grant Fisher (Director of Model Westminster) – was delivered over the course of a weekend to, young Muslim and care leaver participants. At the weekend, participants learnt transferable skills, such as debating and video making skills. They also learnt how and who to contact in politics in order for them to start being heard and listened to. This all forms part of Forward Thinking’s UK Programme of ‘Building Bridges’ between marginalised communities and the establishment.

The weekend of training was then followed by a regional roundtable on the 17th January. This was to enable the participants from the weekend to engage with a policy maker and discuss proposed solutions whilst putting into practice the skills they developed over the training weekend. The participants met with Shaun Bailey, a Conservative member of the General London Assembly (GLA). They put to him the identity crisis that young Muslims are having in the UK and how supplementary schools could be used to ease that identity crisis. The participants presented a strong case to Shaun who responded with his thoughts and ideas for moving forward. Participants have already visibly started to take initiative with one having a piece of work published in The Middle East Eye and others forming bridges between their communities to come together and work on common issues.