Last night there were about 70 people graduating and probably another 70 family and friends there to see them graduate - a full house! It was one of the most heart–warming events you could imagine. There were beautiful tributes made by tutors about their students which were reciprocated by students about their tutors and fellow students. In fact, I’m not even sure they think of themselves as tutors and students – just really really good friends. Hugging and kissing and hugging-some-more was the norm – you couldn’t help but get swept up in it.
There is no doubt that the students regarded the programme as a life-changing experience and that certainly was the view of the tutors I spoke with. Just one example – one tutorial group of 14 from Renfrewshire came en masse to the ceremony: none of them had ever been to Glasgow before, let alone to the University. Now they speak with confidence to officials and professionals when they need to negotiate their needs and those of their communities. Now they agitate for the rights of the homeless, the poorly housed, the disabled, the abused. Some brought their grandparents, others came with carers, others brought their children. Imagine the impact on a young life seeing that sort of thing the first time they set foot on a university campus. I spoke to one young 8 year old boy who wants to be a film director – perhaps inspired by our Harry Potter film set. Inspiring People indeed! There are many ways in which to change the world – Activate is one of them.
I was immensely proud to be there last night and humbled by the work that Helen and her team do. I am sure you would have felt the same. Congratulations Helen for last night and for all the work your team do. Please pass on our sincere thanks to all and also to Activate’s partners (e.g. Women & Children First, Ng homes, Playbusters, Glasgow Disability Agency) which support the program financially, with accommodation and in lots of other ways.
Building Safer Communities
The Building Safer Communities initiative promotes work which makes best use of the strengths that exist within communities (assets based) and engages with people in communities to develop their skills, knowledge and capacity to make the changes that will make a difference to their communities (co-production). Our evidence (What Works to Reduce Crime?) tells us that investing in building social capital in this way is one of the things that helps to reduce crime.