Marvin is a Active Citizen in London
Why did you want to become an Active Citizen?
In my local community there is an issue with youth unemployment and its associated problems. I used to be unemployed myself and wanted to help others find work, but I had no idea how to go about it. The Active Citizens programme offered me the skills I needed to make a change, as well as provide a boost to my own career prospects.
How did you get involved with the programme?
The charity I work for was delivering the Active Citizens programme and recommended that I receive the training, so I signed up through them.
Describe the experience of going through the Active Citizens training.
It was a journey of learning, sharing, understanding, appreciating and valuing the differences between myself and the other participants who took part in the course. It has opened up a whole new network of people and organisations who want to take part in social action projects.
“It was a journey of learning, sharing, understanding, appreciating and valuing the differences between myself and the other participants”
What skills did the Active Citizens programme give you?
It enhanced my verbal and written communication skills, my interpersonal skills and my confidence. Now, when I conduct interviews or am talking to colleagues at work, I know which questions to ask to get the information I need.
What was the biggest change you noticed in yourself from going through the programme?
I’ve become much more aware of the issues that affect my own community. As part of the programme I went on an International Study Visit to Serbia which allowed me to compare and contrast them with those in another country.
What have you achieved since participating in the programme?
I have helped the development of The Social Action Hub in the Shoreditch Trust, which is a creative workspace for setting up social action projects, some of which tackle issues such as youth unemployment. I have also been given a new role within the Trust as Programme Engagement and Training Coordinator.
How do you think Active Citizens benefits the local community?
The programme empowers local people to become leaders and pioneers of change where it’s needed. The social action projects that happen off the back of the programme are where the real impact occurs, with lots of activities, such as volunteering and free workshops.
What advice would you give to anyone who is considering becoming an Active Citizen?
If you approach this programme with an open and respectful mind you will break down all barriers regardless of gender, age, religion or cultural differences. Be prepared to take action after you have gone through the training, and keep the momentum going on to your social action project.
What’s next? What are your plans for the future?
I want to share the knowledge and skills I’ve picked up with a new batch of Active Citizens through being an Active Citizens Facilitator. I also want to continue to develop social action projects in the local community.