Finding your voice – a workshop on active citizenship. The aim of the session was to provide an understanding of the different opportunities that could help you find a voice for an issue and develop you as an active citizen. It was a good chance to properly meet other Mentees and get some ideas on how to become more involved with issues within his area. The session clarified the roles of the Welsh Assembly Government and the National Assembly for Wales. I think for people in many communities there is still confusion about the different roles and I would like to see more sessions like this delivered within under-represented communities.
Introduction to local government, local health and social care-workshop. It was particularly interesting to hear about the ways in which the voluntary and community sectors can engage with and influence government. This was the sort of information that I really wanted to gain from the Step-up Cymru programme and I think the mix of training and mentoring has made me much more aware of the opportunities that my community group can take to influence policy for the benefit of my community.
Illuminating the Corridors of Parliament – Operation Black Vote - I was looking forward to meeting Simon Woolley, Director of OBV and hearing him speak on the challenges and progress that his organisation has made for minority representation in Parliament since the late 90s to present. I was also looking forward to meeting senior representatives from all four parties so that I could get a better feel for their perspective on the involvement and front line party representation of people from all equality strands within their parties. The representatives from each party provided an overview of the ‘route to elected office’ – and the processes that one must go through in order to be eligible/approved to stand for elected office. This was both informative and useful as I may one day stand as a local councillor. The day’s discussion also revolved about racial and gender inclusion within the parties. The experience was very substantive. The speakers not only informed us but challenged us (the mentees) to realise that we do have the potential to not only run for office but to actually have a good chance of winning.
Finding your Voice training - We were given information and advice about not only finding your voice but how to use your voice to make a difference to your community, the process of petitioning and lobbying was discussed and a little bit was talked about regarding the difference between the national assembly and the assembly government.