It was a special day for One Vision charity and Stanborough Primary School on Monday, 13 March, as MP Mims Davies, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression, visited with them. Other dignitaries were MP for Watford Dean Russell and Deputy Lieutenant Akhtar Zaman.
Minister Mims Davies's visit focused on hearing about One Vision charity's work and the impact of their community outreach.
Hosting the event was Adventist member Enoch Kanagaraj, founder and CEO of One Vision charity, who is also a governor of the School.
Minister Mims Davies
On arrival, the MP looked around the school hall and commented on the various scriptures she saw exhibited. Pointing to the Bible verse – Jeremiah 29:11 on a large poster, she revealed that it was one of her favourite scriptures. She expressed her delight at the welcoming environment of the school and the excellent motivational and inspirational displays.
MP Mims Davies's role spans several areas. Her portfolio has a diverse range of responsibilities which includes the following:
- Support for disadvantaged groups
- Youth Offer
- Government Equalities Office (GEO) lead, Women, and the Menopause
- Military Covenant
- Poverty and cost of living
- Housing Benefit strategy and delivery, including Support for Mortgage Interest and supported accommodation
- Health & Safety Executive
- Shadow Lords Minister
Speaking to some of the areas covered in the Minister's role, One Vision charity members, volunteers, and school staff presented aspects of their work. Here is a selection of some segments covered:
One Vision Youth Council
Representing One Vision Youth Council were attendees Teereth Kaur and Daya Kaur. Teereth, who leads the Youth Council, spoke about neurodiversity and disability. She explained the youth's challenges, such as dyslexia, and the importance of adequate support to progress through their educational career.
Daya highlighted other issues, like fear of standing out, and lack of confidence, that can impact young people's decision to volunteer. She recounted her journey of being comfortable about who she was and what her faith and culture represented to those she interacted with. This enabled her to volunteer with confidence.
Children and Volunteering Opportunities
Headteacher Mrs Tiann Madden shared some of the volunteering opportunities the pupils have been involved in. She explained their external activities, such as the pupils painting the Peace Garden on the grounds of the British Union Conference (BUC) and helping with filling shopping bags at ASDA. Internally, with the school, she spoke of activities where the children look out for each other's wellbeing and participate in 'acts of kindness' exercises.
Highlighting the importance of volunteering, Madden explains:
"At Stanborough Primary School, we are committed to ensuring that all children, regardless of their background, can succeed in life. One way to do this is by cultivating a love of volunteering in children from an early age. Volunteering not only benefits the wider community but also profoundly impacts children's personal development. By giving their time and energy to others, children can develop essential skills such as empathy, teamwork, and leadership, which will serve them well throughout their lives."
Speaking of the broad and continued impact of volunteering, she further states:
"Additionally, volunteering can help children build self-confidence and a sense of purpose as they see the positive impact they can have on the world around them. By encouraging children to volunteer and instilling a love of service, we can help create a more compassionate, engaged, and socially mobile society."
Dr Jude Jeanville, a One Vision team member, explained the importance of valuing young people:
"One of the ways to enhance youth engagement is through youth encouragement. This comes through observation and conversations with young people. Observe their hairstyles, facial make-up, and nails, and commend their appearance. As we connect with our youth, we would discover their interest, and when we ask them relevant questions about their life or things that are important to them, they will open up to us and form bonds. It becomes much easier for them to say yes when asked to be involved in meaningful activities like volunteering."
Further explaining the ripple effect of encouragement, Jeanville says: "Youth follow youth, so find the leaders of the groups, connect with them, and their friends will mobilise the others. Rewarding young people is also important. Organising fun events, sponsoring a pizza night or afternoon, or even playing games with them is impactful. At Tottenham Lighthouse, our team leaders and pastor look out for our teens and youth, and we invest financially in them without partiality."
Community Connectors Initiative
One Vision trustee Sharon Platt-McDonald was invited to share the latest One Vision project – captioned Community Connectors. Seeking to increase the engagement of individuals from African and Caribbean backgrounds in the uptake of mental health services, One Vision is working with Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust to create more culturally specific interventions to deliver more holistic and relevant care. This will entail four key mental wellbeing segments – nutrition, exercise, culture, and faith.
Adventist member Eve Rickets, CEO of Meeting Needs, will be the project manager for the Community Connectors initiative.
Giving an overview of the visit, Enoch states:
"It is great for Minister Mims Davies MP to see and hear about One Vision's work in Watford and beyond. I am so glad to have the opportunity to discuss the benefits of young people volunteering and how to attract more young people to volunteer. We also discussed the One Vision Community Connectors programme and how that will impact mental health services in Hertfordshire."
A special cake was made for the MP's visit, and she invited individuals to cut the cake with her. The session ended with refreshments and, of course, everyone enjoying a piece of the occasion cake.