“In many ways my experience has exceeded my expectations. I have definitely broadened my networks through both of my placements. I feel like I have gained a lot from this year and have developed personally and professionally” Marta Corti, Buxton intern 2015-16
The Buxton Leadership Programme (BLP) aims to develop a new generation of Christian leaders who can engage politically to bring about change both in local communities and nationally.
The programme combines three key elements – a Westminster placement, a church- based community organising placement and training/development sessions. Participants spend half a week in each placement and are paid at least the London Living Wage.
The Westminster placement allows participants to work in an office or organisation that deals directly with Parliament and national politics. Previous interns have worked in the House of Lords, with MPs from all major parties, as well as at Conservative Party Headquarters, Christians in Politics and the Good Faith Partnership. 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 paid for and supervised by CTC and the local church. Participants are expected to develop deep roots in their host church and the inner city community it belongs to. They will be trained as community organisers and will 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 throughout the year at the monthly Buxton Seminars. There are also opportunities for reflection and spiritual mentoring with the CTC Chaplain.
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
This allows us to develop leaders who understand national political issues without being trapped in the “Westminster bubble”. Instead they have deep roots in a community and understand the potential for transformation to also 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 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 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.