Our internship manager Tom Daggett blogs about yet another successful cohort of Jellicoe interns making their way through a month of community organising…
The 2013 Jellicoe internship has come to an end with another group of young people having taken part in our community organising summer internship programmes. Our church-based interns – from a range of educational institutions, and different backgrounds – return to their homes having been immersed in local churches and communities in east and south London.
Our interns have used the tools of community organising to empower local people to talk about the need for change in their areas. For some of this year’s intake, this has meant working on the CTC/London Citizens-led campaign ‘Just Money’, of particular relevance given the recent media interest in ‘payday’ lenders and financial justice. For others, this has meant exploring the staggering issues surrounding unaffordable housing and the impact on family and community life. Also on the agenda has been food poverty – its causes, effects, and solutions in relation to Tower Hamlets Foodbank. Still others have animated intergenerational dialogue between school students and pensioners.
This year, the seventh in which we have run an internship programme, has been as dynamic as ever. Whilst we have expanded the scope of our ongoing relationships with partner churches in Stepney, Bethnal Green, and Manor Park, we have also forged new relationships with churches in Hoxton, Brixton, and Stoke Newington.
The interns presented their inspiring work to their peers at the end of their time. Amidst significant outputs, including ‘money walks’, ‘house’ meetings, investigative reports, mystery shopping in financial institutions, community days, listening campaigns on estates adjoining local churches, and a huge number of ‘one-to-ones’ conversations, has been evidence of huge personal growth. We feel privileged to have introduced to the next generation of young leaders, the missional and political benefits of churches being outward-looking. We feel as confident as ever that community organising is a powerful vehicle for developing sustainable local relationships and effective change.
Perhaps above all, we’re proud to help churches step out into the public sphere and speak confidently into local and national justice issues, building stronger grassroots relationships along the way. Churches have often been at the heart of change and development in London, in many different ways. Faith communities certainly remain an important driving force behind redressing the balance between ‘the world as it is’ and ‘the world as it should be’.
CTC is grateful to all of the graduates and students who have carried out placements with us, as well as to the churches which have hosted and nurtured them as they have found their own voices in the public sphere.