“I wanted to develop my existing skills and discover new ones. I wanted to try something new and be stretched. I wanted to discover more of my calling. I have experienced all of the above and some extra too!” Selina Stone, Buxton intern 2013-14.

What is the Buxton Leadership Programme?

Thomas Fowell Buxton MP

Thomas Fowell Buxton MP

The Buxton Leadership Programme (BLP) aims to develop a new generation of Christian leaders who can bring the experiences of inner-city communities into dialogue with Westminster. The programme will help these leaders to develop:

– A vision for a renewal of politics based on relationships, community and the common good.
– A realistic understanding of how politics and power currently operate and how this affects ordinary people and their communities.
– A relational network of leaders who are committed to transforming their communities and society.

The year-long programme involves a unique combination of a Parliamentary placement alongside an opportunity to practice church-based community organising in a diverse and economically deprived area. This allows us to develop leaders who understand Parliament and yet are not trapped by the ‘Westminster bubble.’ Instead they have deep roots in a community and understand the potential for transformation to happen through civil society and local initiatives.

“Having Sarah working with us on the Buxton programme has been great. She has been a very valuable addition to my team in Parliament, and I have no hesitation in recommending the scheme to others in Westminster.” Stephen Timms MP

The Programme

The Buxton Leadership Programme combines three key elements – a Parliamentary placement, a church-based community organising placement and training/development sessions.

The Parliamentary placement is for two/three days per week (this will vary according to the nature of the placement and the needs of the Westminster host). The Westminster host employs the Buxton participant as a member of staff and is responsible for paying (at least London Living Wage) and supervising them. Whilst in Westminster participants may perform a number of different roles as decided by their host, with the intention of making a positive contribution whilst gaining a greater understanding of how Parliament works. Participants will at no time be asked to lobby on behalf of CTC or any other organisation.

The community organising placement is also for two/three days per week, and is paid for and supervised by CTC. Participants are expected to develop deep roots in their host church and the community, and to work towards positive and practical change on an issue of importance to local people.

The training and development part of the programme includes high-quality theological and leadership input from a range of thinkers and practitioners as well as opportunities for reflection and spiritual mentoring with the CTC Chaplain.

“Hosting a Buxton intern worked very well for me and my office. Caitlin was motivated, capable of working on her own and produced very good work. I would highly recommend the scheme to my colleagues.” Andrew Selous MP

This year’s participants

Marta picture

Marta Corti grew up in Italy and has been an active Catholic from a young age. She studied International Relations at the University of Sussex before completing a Masters at the School of Oriental and African Studies. She is working in the International Department of the Conservative Party, whilst her Church placement is with St George-in-the-East where she is living as part of an intentional community in the Rectory.

David LawrenceDavid Lawrence grew up in Winchester where he attended an evangelical church, before studying PPE at Oxford. He has been working for the Keep Sunday Special campaign in Westminster, and his community organising placement has been with St Mary-the-Virgin Church in Primrose Hill. There he is working particularly on a debt signposting campaign as well as developing a project on mental health in the community.

Samuel YungSam Yung was inspired to engage in politics by his father, who was influential in campaigning for the rights of Hong Kong residents during the handover negotiations in the 1980’s and 90’s. Sam studied Government at LSE, whilst attending All Souls Church in Langham Place. On the Buxton Programme he is working for the Conservative Christian Fellowship and at Christ Church Highbury.

Why Buxton?

The programme takes inspiration from the life and work of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton. Buxton lived in the east end of London (near to CTC’s home in Shadwell) in the early 19th century. He was inspired to enter politics by witnessing the horrific conditions in Newgate prison where his sister-in-law Elizabeth Fry was working. As an MP he took over the leadership of the Abolition movement from William Wilberforce, spearheading the campaign which led to the banning of slavery in the British Empire in 1833 and the emancipation of over 800,000 people.

As a profoundly influential Christian in public life, and a man who spanned the worlds of east London and Westminster, Buxton provides a great role model for the kind of innovative and effective engagement that the programme seeks to promote.

The Buxton Leadership Programme is made possible with the generous support of the Sir Halley Stewart Trust.

If you are interested in applying, please contact Programme Co-ordinator Selina Stone via selinas@theology-centre.org

Join the Buxton 180 Club!

The Buxton Leadership Programme is revitalising Christian engagement in politics by giving talented young leaders a unique combination of experience in Parliament alongside church-based community organising. The Programme was established exactly 180 years after Buxton’s motion in Parliament finally freed the over 800,000 slaves in the British Empire. To celebrate this, and to put the Programme on a sustainable footing for the future, we have created the Buxton 180 club for people who would like to contribute £180 a year (£15 a month) towards the costs of running the programme.

To join the Buxton 180 Club simply click here and choose a regular donation of £15 per month, or £180 per year.

Members of the Buxton 180 Club will get regular updates from interns and the Programme Co-ordinator, as well as invitations to events.


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