Friday, October 30, 2009

The awkward squad

Had a great time yesterday giving a presentation on Merton Parents as part of an "Influencing Change" course for Shelia McKecknie Foundation (or SMK as they seem to be known now.)

They were a delightful crowd who all have a wealth of campaigning experience between them. Many of them work in fields where it is much tougher to get public opinion on side. Listening to them describe the work they currently do is very humbling.

Given the problems and difficulties facing so many in our society I am so glad these campaigners exist.

I was really struck by a comment one of the participants made in describing her campaign. She used the expression - "its not fair" which gets to the real heart of campaigning.

We need to create a climate where anyone who comes across an injustice - a lack of fairness - can get up and do something about it!

School food in merton wasn't improved by a few professionals who decided to make some changes. It was the nameless mums, dads and governors who wrote letters, went to meetings, collected signatures and demonstrated that made it happen. I am certain everyone who took part was motivated by a sense of fairness.

I really wish I had been able to meet Shelia Mckecknie - the person in whose memory SMK was set up. She was happy to describe herself as a "fully paid up member of the awkward squad" - I think we need badges!