Have you heard about our Young Campaigners Programme?
It’s an amazing programme that starts with a two-day residential event, which sees Stonewall campaigners teach you how to run a campaign to tackle LGBTQ inequality in your local school, college, university or community.
Then, with the support of an e-mentor, you spend five months planning, delivering and evaluating your own campaign on whatever LGBT-related issue that YOU think is relevant.
This programme is open to anyone aged 16 - 21, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and is FREE to take part, thanks to the support of Lloyds Banking Group.
What do our Young Campaigners think?
AJ Selfridge, Beaconsfield
My advice for future Young Campaigners is to do what you love.
Starting the Young Campaigners Programme back in October 2015, I could not have anticipated what was to come. The opportunities that this programme opened up are endless, and the experiences were unforgettable.
I never appreciated the residential weekend we had until I started my campaign – the people you meet are fantastic and some have become friends for life. The training the staff give you is unique, and the support they show you is so heart-warming. I went into that weekend already a confident person, but I left more reassured and determined than ever.
The idea for my campaign was non-existent until the last hour of the trip. I decided to replicate the work I had already done in my school and to create an original LGBT programme that could be implemented in other schools in my area. I created lesson plans and workshops, as well as safeguarding policies and a formal guide to creating an LGBT student-led community – which can be found on my website. Currently, I am working with five other schools for them to adopt my programme.
There were a few difficulties, lots of hard work and, ultimately, a huge amount of success. This programme taught me perseverance, dedication, and acceptance. It also taught me a lot about myself. I was personally humbled to be win one of the Youth Volunteer of the year awards and the opportunities that have come from it have opened many doors for my future.
My advice for future Young Campaigners is to do what you love. Because what was most significant about the programme was the realisation that this is what I want to do – fight for equality. This is my purpose, and I have Stonewall and the Young Campaigners Programme to thank for that. I am forever grateful.
Mitch Price, Reading
We have the power to make change ourselves...
Whilst significant progress has been made in recent years to improve equal rights for LGBT people in Britain, such as marriage equality, there is still much to be done before we can truly say that LGBT individuals are fully and equally integrated into society. Britain is still a location for attacks and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and HBT (homophobic, biphobic and transphobic) bullying is still prevalent in schools.
But we have the power to make change ourselves and Stonewall’s Young Campaigners Programme is a prime example of how young people like me can have a huge impact on their local or wider communities. The programme gave me the platform, confidence and support to go back to my old secondary school and train teachers and educate students about issues facing LGBT people; a school that was previously reluctant to address LGBT issues.
We make around 500 decisions every day, many of them minor. But to lots of people, choosing to stand up against LGBT victimisation or choosing not to be a bystander to bullying can be a difficult choice to make when you feel like you're standing alone.
I would strongly recommend applying for the Young Campaigners Programme to any young person (whether they are LGBT themselves or an ally to the community) who feels passionately about discrimination. Before going on the residential weekend at the beginning of my campaign, I wouldn't have believed the amount of training and support I received from Stonewall, not to mention the number of connections I made. Whether it is meeting amazing young people, doing truly beneficial and rewarding things for your local community or bolstering your CV, the programme is such a worthwhile thing to participate in.
*This programme was previously known as the Youth Volunteering Programme.