On Monday 16th December, young people from four Luton schools (Beechwood Primary, Chantry Primary, Riverbank Primary and Tennyson Road Primary) took to the stage in front of an invited audience of over 100 people at Venue 360.
The young people were showcasing the work that they had undertaken with equalities organisation EqualiTeach (www.equaliteach.co.uk) as part of a six-month project that they participated in alongside Stopsley High School and Evolve Learning Centre.
Throughout the six-month project funded by the Building a Stronger Britain Together programme, young people have created resources and delivered workshops and assemblies to educate others about the harm of Islamophobia. Staff in the schools have undertaken training to help them respond effectively to Islamophobic incidents. Examples of the work undertaken include:
Working with local artist Sophie Gresswell to produce posters which will be displayed at venues throughout Luton, including the Luton Mall and Libraries.
Young people at Beechwood Primary have produced a kindness tree for their school.
The young people at Chantry Primary have made an amazing film, which is available to watch here.
Cllr Hazel Simmons, Leader of Luton Council, said:
“The Agents for Change project is a great example of how Luton’s young people are standing up for the values of Luton in Harmony in action, and rejecting all forms of prejudice, hatred and extremism. Challenging Islamophobia is an essential part of this.
“The work led by Equaliteach with children and staff from some Luton schools examined culture change and positive campaigning and has achieved some great results.
“We are hoping to continue working with Equaliteach to give even more schools the opportunity to take part in this important initiative so that the children’s message of “No to Islamophobia – Yes to Unity” is heard loud and clear across the Town”
The young people also took to the stage to talk about their time working on the project and the difference it had made to them and their schools, before being presented with awards as ‘Agents for Change’
A Pupil from Beechwood Primary School said:
“This project has been an amazing experience, working together with others to learn and spread the word. Together we can change the world!”
The Awards were presented by PC Karanjit Sanghera from the Community Cohesion Unit at Bedfordshire Police and by Maeve O’Neill from M&C Saatchi, lead partner for the Building Stronger Britain Together Fund. Maeve said:
“The Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT) programme supports civil society and community organisations who work to create more resilient communities, stand up to extremism in all its forms and offer vulnerable individuals a positive alternative, regardless of race, faith, sexuality, age and gender.
Equaliteach are a fantastic example of an organisation standing up to Islamophobia through their Agents for Change programme. I was delighted to attend the awards ceremony on December 16th and award the young people with their well-deserved certificates and trophies on behalf of BSBT.”
EqualiTeach’s Co-founder, Sarah Soyei, said:
“Working with the young Agents for Change has been inspirational. All the young people are passionate about making a difference for others. They have produced some truly fantastic work, which will be of great help in reducing Islamophobia and working towards ensuring that Luton is a place where everyone feels safe and included ”