Creche facility gives mothers opportunity to take part in parliamentary training

Voice4Change England (V4CE) ran a policy and parliamentary training session in partnership with the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) and the Parliamentary Outreach Service team on Wednesday 26 March in Sheffield.

V4CE had an excellent turn out from groups in the Sheffield and South Yorkshire area. The session was initially addressed by Joe Irwin CEO of NAVCA who reinforced the importance of gaining training in parliamentary processes and how important it was for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups to participate. 
Organisations such as Sheffield BME Network, Keighley and Ilkley Voluntary and Community Action and Well Being Works also attended. Many of the participants who attended the session were mothers with young children, therefore V4CE worked with NAVCA and Apna Haq, one of our members of a Women's organisation in Rotherham whose staff and volunteers attended the session, to provide a crèche facility so that they could take part in the training.
V4CE Development Officer Saqib Deshmukh who welcomed the crèche facility said: “We feel it is vital that we recognise the barriers that exist to people taking part in training events like this. If we want more BME women participating in courses and in civil society as a whole we need to ensure that we provide crèches and other support mechanisms. It is important that mainstream organisations re-orientate their services to ensure that this happens more regularly and becomes part and parcel of how we operate.”
Daniel Wood from the Parliamentary Outreach Service ran the morning slot and gave a good overview of how Parliament operates, after which Saqib and Lester Holloway the Policy Officer for V4CE contributed to the afternoon session which included updates on lobbying councillors and MP's as well as an update on the controversial Lobbying Act. Saqib gave a vivid example of campaigning around policing issues which engaged the group and they took part in an exercise planning their own campaigns around their own projects and issues in their areas.
Eva Nyandoro, V4CE’s Administrative Officer, who helped to plan the training said: “We had a great turnout of attendees. Spending time with the groups in Yorkshire provided a great insight in to the real need to support and collaborate with the BME communities in Yorkshire. The parliament training sessions are becoming very popular and we hope to build on that continued success.”
Lester shared that the feedback received following the session was extremely positive.  “The event made a positive difference in building an insight into how MPs work and how to influence them. If big businesses and other commercial interests can lobby parliament  there’s no reason why the voluntary and community sector should not make more use of this as well, after all we voted them in and they need to work for us!,” he explained.
To see more pictures from the event click here