Over the past three weeks twelve young people across Newham have been spending their summer holidays learning about politics and public service on the first Stephen Timms Summer School.
The initiative, run by Stephen Timms MP and funded by London City Airport, is the first of its kind in Newham. The programme enabled students to find out how politics works in Westminster, Newham Council and the political sphere more broadly.
The students, who were drawn from schools across Newham, spent a week learning about politics and picking up new skills. They then went on to apply what they had learnt with two charities based in Newham for two weeks, where they experienced how charities work and helped with the organisations’ operations. The two charities were Aston Mansfield and Newham All Star Sports Academy.
During the first week the students had the opportunity to meet and question MPs and politicians, such as Stella Creasy MP and Sir Robin Wales. They got to see debates first hand in the House of Commons, visit Newham Council and the Treasury, and spend a day around Newham learning about regeneration and changes in our borough. They also participated in interactive sessions on public speaking, running campaigns and on advocating for constituents. The highlight for several students was a visit to the Sky News studios where they discussed current affairs with veteran political editor Adam Boulton.
Stephen Timms MP said: “We have very talented young people in East Ham and it has been wonderful to see how much the students have learnt and how much they have thrown themselves into their charitable projects during the summer school. Students have already told me that they have been inspired to pursue careers in politics. I very much hope to see them active in our community and standing for public positions in the future!”
The students completed the programme last Friday and received certificates presented by Stephen Timms MP and from Liam McKay, Head of CSR and Public Affairs at London City Airport. For many students, the opportunity to understand how politics works and meet a wide range of professionals from different backgrounds in the political sphere has been an invaluable experience and has inspired them to become more active. One student said the summer school had been “Amazing! Every day we had something to do and the chance to meet so many new people. I learnt everyone has a different route into entering politics.”