On 23 June there is a vote (for the registered and legitimate) on the future of what can be said is the UK’s formal commitment to being European – a commitment to being more commercial, legal and political Europeans. It will, whatever way, change our lives. And these votes do change things. The French only just voted for the Maastricht Treaty  which set off this critical process that a united states of Europe was not the end objective for everyone. Critical thinking is allowed. When the French and Dutch voted against a formal European Constitution  – the youth vote strongly against – a more self-aware political atmosphere emerged in Brussels. Point made: the UK is not alone in negotiating the best for its people.
We don’t do referenda (the plural, I trust) a lot. We don’t vote much. We are usually one quarter minimum of us who could vote, not bothered.
Being part of Europe – certainly as seen from the Mir space station – we are going to make a decision in June based on what future we can see in this. For the older section of society, there are strong historic memories, made real by stories from relatives and friends, of the anarchic misery of world war and bitter armed conflict; masses of refugees and abject poverty. Not the current demise of Syria and its surrounding devastated neighbours, but the highways, lanes and rubble of Germany, France , Poland, other states, and many British cities. That memory may be rapidly fading, but it was a harsh reality from which the current ‘European Project’ grew. Apparently the key architect in it all Robert Schumann once said ‘if I could do it again I would have started, not with trade, but with education’.
Current perceptions clash – Europe a capitalist playground quick to exploit and ignore rights; or a hamstrung, bloated bureaucracy full of idealism and lacking direction. And a variety of opinion in- between.
The raft of opinion polls seem to tell us that the biggest question for the voter is : What’s in it for me – for my family? Those polls also tell us that nearly 20% of us are committed internationalists; as much for European partnerships as we are for the UN, UNICEF and the rest of those complex, basically idealistic structures. So how do we form these opinions?
Most often from our own experience. Thousands of organisations – Momentum World strongly among them – are committed to offering young people a genuine understanding through practical encounters on what other Europeans think, know and feel about us, and us, about them. From that you can take your prejudice and opinion.
The coming Europeers programme will bring straight talking tales of real European experience delivered by those who have been and done it , to those who have not yet got there. Get involved; make a statement about your future. On June 23 – do it from what you know, not what you are told to fear.
Gordon Blakely, Momentum World Senior Adviser
Are you a young person aged 18-22? Have you finished or nearly finished your full-time education? Are you wondering how to improve your CV, succeed at interview, and find the right job?
This course will give you an engaging, focused and inspiring experience which mixes fun with a serious purpose. You will explore who you are, where you are going and what makes you interesting to employers. You’ll end up with a new CV and a new approach to job interviews. You’ll feel more focused, more confident and more professional. You’ll have a story to tell.
Throughout the week you’ll be working with other young people from all kinds of different places and backgrounds, but all in a similar situation as you. You’ll probably make some good friends along the way. And it doesn’t end there: after the course you will be a member of Momentum World’s international network, giving you access to further opportunities in Europe and beyond.
I would like to say a very big well done to our S-Factor into Eurovision teams from across Europe for completing the films with your young people, I know you have all had a busy time doing your normal work at your schools/projects on top of this.
The films you have made are all amazing and clearly illustrate the fun and learning that can take place with video cameras. Whoever wins the overall first prize doesn’t matter to me but every single one of the people involved in the making of these films is a winner.
As professionals working in the field of disability we are taking steps to show the world our young people are important, they might not have a voice as loud as some but will (through the use of film) we give them a voice.
A few months ago 7 countries were working in isolation of one another, now they are international group of friends and colleagues – many of which will stay friends for the rest of our lives and this can only benefit our young people.
Imagine after this summer we build on this even further and say lets do it again but bigger and better with more partners, more countries more sponsors? We then create a movement that has power to change things, a platform to challenge our short sighted decision makers and politicians who always cut services to the most vulnerable in society, let us shown them we care – so they in turn have to start listening to us.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing, for working in difficult times where decision makers and politicians don’t invest in this area of work or believe as much as we do.
I have been truly inspired by these films and by my new bunch of international friends, my respect for you and your work is indescribable. All I can say is I want to do more projects like this and Momentum World would love to explore future opportunities. Let us now enjoy the next phase which is to celebrate and show off these great films, but remember one thing don’t slow down and don’t stop making a noise through your video camera as those politicians are looking for the silent ones who don’t make a noise because then they can’t take away their funding. Stick together guys and fight for better resources, better facilities as by doing this we will have a voice that is really heard
Once again well done and thank you xxx Paul
This year S-Factor promises to be an amazing project. We have two international projects running involving professionals from12 countries and four secondary schools as well as Kelford and Hilltop School.
S-Factor is a highlight of the Momentum year and the demand from previous Momentum participants to be involved is always high, everybody wants to get involved and it’s not surprising because it the activity is full of energy, learning, emotion and fun.
Our S-Factor into Eurovision international project has already started sending us their film entries for the evening and voting will begin at the beginning of June.
Why not watch the films and vote yourself, visit the website: www.momentum-interactive.co.uk
I feel very privileged to be involved with such an amazing project, it makes my job at Momentum very exciting and interesting.
As well as S-Factor we have:
our International leadership course
Into Europe the course
artners for inclusion
centres of excellence
One step ahead
Maybe it’s time you got involved? email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
After a week of potholes in Buckinghamshire the Momentum van has seen better days!
Off to Keswick for two days of strategic planning and training with whole team
Momentum Directors Paul Oxborough and Trevor Keough have just completed a three day research visit to Cologne. The purpose was to research new venues and catch up with our German partners
Visit To Jugendherberge Youth Hostel in Cologne (10-11/2/15)
The first stop was the Jegendherberge Youth Hostel, up until a few years ago you wouldn’t associate hostels as a venue for training, but Germany sets the standard for bringing the two together. The hostel is directly opposite the train station and is ideally situated for getting into Cologne on foot. The bedrooms were spotlessly clean and well appointed for a hostel (separate toilet, shower). Each person gets a lockable cupboard/wardrobe and small safe. There is a choice of 2 or 4 person bedrooms and the venue is superb for wheelchair access. Breakfast was outstanding, warm fresh bread and a real continent selection of fresh quality food.
The conference facilities here were excellent with a wide range of rooms available covering every size. There is also a dedicated conference team so deals can be negotiated and there is a quick response to any problems. Both trevor and I were seriously impressed by this setup.
Next stop was a visit to our friends in Hot Sinzig (11/2/15)
We were very well looked after by Anja, Anna and her mum. The Hot Sinzig project clearly has a big impact in the local community and area. Working with minority groups, disaffected young people, families, they offer food banks, clothes banks, and community teaching. After hearing so much about Hot we finally got to see the amazing work Petra Klein does and we were impressed. We also had a great tour guide Anna our friend from Inclusion TV Austria. Coffee, cakes and lunch led to us feeling very welcome – thanks guys.
Visit To Janusz Korczak School in Sinzig (11/2/15)
Anna (being the great host) then took us to meet with Janina who is trainee teacher at this special needs school. Our plan is to kidnap her and bring her to the UK in April to be part of S-Factor into Eurovision. We briefly met the Director Karsten Scholzel of the school who seemed very supportive of the project and keen to be involved. So looking forward to developing this link. The school is for pupils with learning difficulties and behavioral issues so disabilities are not obvious at first glance. It was great to see this school and start the process of building new links in Germany.
Time to head off into the hills with a visit to the Eifeldorf centre in Bad Breisig (11/2/15)
The aim of this visit was to catch up with our trainer friend Ramon and observe one of his programmes in action, as well as checking out a residential venue in a rural location.
The venue is very interesting one on the side of the mountain over looking the River Rhine, great views. The location half a mile up a dirt track opens into a small settlement of triangular residential huts and main building consisting of a bar space, and dining space and outdoor spaces. The buildings have been there since 2000 but have a unusual quirkiness. We m
et some very interesting trainers – we got involved in a Living Books session which was good fun. Then Trevor and I did some networking. I came across a Romanian visual artist called Paul Dumitru
) his work was of a very high standard and he can actively involve young people in working with him to record a conference. Lara from our recent Education Inspirations in Finland was on the course – she was very pleased to see us.
Planning in a spa Hotel Maravilla (12/2/15)
The morning was spent not in the sauna or having a massage but bashing out ideas for our new Momentum Effect course. This is a course we are designing to enable more experienced trainers to work with us over the next few years. A full article will follow shortly.
Overall thoughts of the trip
Very worthwhile. We reestablished contact with old friends and got to know the area much better. There is great potential to use facilities in this area. Good and efficient transport links and some great venues. Just need to now get creative with writing the programmes
See you soon Germany and thank you for your amazing hospitality x
YOUTH AGAINST EXTREMISM
We are off to Greece for part 3 of this exciting project involved ex-gang members from London, the volunteer police cadets (VPC) and partners from Greece and Hungary.
We will use the week to catch up on research done by the 3 countries and then it will culminate in a one day conference for invited guests at the Thessaloniki City Municipality.
Our friends from Hustlebucks (based in Brixton) are running a photography competition alongside this project – why not join in?
You can follow the progress of this project on the interactive live blog