In the final blog post from our July interns, Jaya Carrier (Balliol College intern at St John-at-Hackney) describes the ‘community walk’ she and fellow intern Jim Barlow (Ripon College, Cuddesdon) arranged with local people to promote TELCO’s CitySafe campaign for safer strets
After four weeks of working at St. John’s, our community walk was organised on our very last day. Intended to be a reflective walk, it offered the chance for members of St. John’s to come with us to four designated places that had been the focus of local concerns in our one-to-one meeting. In a month that had been hectic and always throwing up the unexpected (!), the walk was a wonderful way for all to pause and be together.
Getting the walk together was tense at times; we were continually unsure of even a few people turning up, despite our bribes of tea and cake at the end! Also, in order to truly reflect our work overall, we were keen for there to be a representative spread of people across the parish. Therefore, we were really delighted to see that this all came together, with a sizeable and representative group coming along with us. What was especially heartening was the presence of young people and children; as something that was of such major concern to almost everyone we had spoken to, it was great to have their participation. The children were particularly engaged with the process; we created ‘wish tags’ that we had prepared to tie at each sight, that offered words of reflection. We invited the children to tie these, as well as offering the group to write on blank ones their own wishes and prayers. On what was a reflection of things that were occasionally rather solemn in tone, it was wonderful to have joy, excitement and participation in this way.
The feedback we received from those joining us on the walk was fantastic, and really allowed us to leave Hackney on a high. Perhaps the most uplifting aspect of the walk, however, was that the participants all stayed for tea and cake afterwards – some for some hours – just talking, catching up, laughing and reflection. This, for me, is what it is all about; togetherness.