Charitable Trust

HOPE not hate

Sheila: My experience of HOPE Camp

posted by: Tom Godwin | on: Friday, 9 December 2016, 15:47


Sheila talks about her time at HOPE Camp 2016, and how she put the skills into practice, in Caerphilly, South Wales.

As a political campaigner I have become increasingly concerned about the anti-immigrant rhetoric in my area of Caerphilly, South Wales. I wanted to gain skills to challenge this and also, as a teacher, I wanted to know what was available for use in schools. This led me to applying for Hope Camp this year. It was a life changing experience.

Sheila with the South Wales team at HOPE Camp 2016.

Sheila with the South Wales team at HOPE Camp 2016.

I arrived at the Camp with a little trepidation as I was not sure of what to expect or what I could contribute. The course was well planned, intensive and extremely interesting. It covered everything I wanted to know. Everyone was warm and welcoming. It was an amazing experience. I learned so much from the trainers and my fellow attendees. I am keeping in contact with many of them.

All the workshops were extremely useful and in particular the one about the use of Empathetic Listening and Socratic Questioning gave great insight into challenging views, learning to ask open ended questions about feelings rather than simply providing facts, and to spend much more time in listening than talking. We were placed in groups from our own area and we used this to move towards strategic planning on how we could make a difference on our return.

Sheila introduces her upcoming community event at a HNH training event in Cardiff.

Sheila introduces her upcoming community event at a HNH training event in Cardiff.

I started by identifying local allies, and bringing them together for a meeting at my house. I invited the chairperson of the local community group. She brought a representative of GAVO and a representative from Unite Community.

We decided on running a family fun day for people on the estate. We wanted to give the kids and families something to do and bring people together for a dance display, face painting, hair braiding, badge making, a range of multicultural art and craft activities and making a #MoreInCommon banner. I also approached the local conservation group to have a stall. HOPE not hate, Unite Community and United Welsh were each to have a stall providing information to the public. Health and Well Being agreed to make fruit smoothies. We went on to leaflet the local area and used social media to promote the event.

#MoreInCommon in Caerphilly.

#MoreInCommon in Caerphilly.

The chairperson of the local group was delighted with how the day had gone and how the community had come together. We got positive feedback from both the people involved with the stalls and the general public. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hope to organise more events in the future with the partnerships I have made.



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