In January 2015 the first phase of the E14 Community Leadership Development program was launched. Run through the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London, this program worked with 22 people who lived, worked or studied in the E14 postcode of Tower Hamlets to develop them as leaders for change in their community by teaching them the arts of listening and story-telling.
The group reflected the diversity of this part of the East End, being made up of men and women aged 16 to 69, from Muslim, Christian, Jewish and non-faith backgrounds, and representing 11 nationalities. The aim of the project is to bring people together to celebrate their achievements, find the issues that matter most to local people, and then create campaigns and projects to address these and make change
Participants developed their skills through workshops and training sessions, learning how to tell their own story of where they have come from and where they want to go, before practising how to draw out the stories of others. They were then tasked with speaking to 5 people from their community over the course of 3 weeks to gather stories of hope that show people from the E14 area ‘doing the right thing’. These stories were combined to create the story of E14, and the diverse communities that call this place home.
These stories have been collated into a book, launched on the 30th May 2015 at George Green’s School on the Isle of Dogs. The book is available online and at local Idea Stores, schools and community centres across the E14 area.
The second phase of this project will begin in late September 2015 and will take the issues already identified by the community: unemployment; housing; a lack of opportunities for young people; and community tensions, and work towards implementing achievable solutions to these through campaigns and social action projects.
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