The days were baking and something was stirring at the Hanne & Co office. The Challenge Network were arriving with twelve young Challengers who had come to hear about what was involved in becoming a lawyer and to take on the Hanne & Co dragons.
In the run up to their arrival at our doors in August 2013, The Challenge Network has been working with groups of young people as part of their summer holiday ‘The Challenge’ programme for 16-17 year olds. The Challenge Network believes, as we do at Hanne & Co, that difference should not divide communities. We share a belief in the importance of developing communities where people trust one another and feel comfortable living and working alongside one another irrespective of age, income or ethnicity. This is something that The Challenge Network tries to instil in young people at a young age as it draws them together in diverse groups to work together on a central project.
‘The Challenge’ is an intense four part programme for 16 and 17 year olds delivered as part of the government’s National Citizen Service. The programme comprises physical and team challenges and social action projects that help to develop both confidence and a community spirit in the young people. The third part of this challenge is to design a community project as a group and pitch it to a team of dragons in order to gain funding for the project. Hanne & Co were delighted to be asked to be part such a great programme for young people in London and solicitors here have stepped in to play the practice dragons for two groups so that they had a chance to practice their pitches.
On each occasion a panel of three different Hanne & Co solicitors chatted to the young people about their routes into law. Some talked about how they were the first in their families to go to University, others discussed the financial struggles and all discussed the cases that had made the struggles worthwhile. It was brilliant to see how the young people responded attentively asking questions about the cases that the solicitors discussed. The interactions were exciting and for some, possibly life-changing.
Then the time came for the Challengers to take on the Hanne & Co practice dragons. Each side squared their shoulders and prepared for the onslaught. It was so exciting to see the Challengers really working together and really encouraging one another through linguistic barriers, disabilities and confidence issues. The groups worked as a whole displaying unity, passion and interest in the subjects that they had been researching. Each group provided results and analysis of surveys that they had carried out on the street and displayed a growing understanding of the factors that cause disunity between people of different ages, cultures and races within their communities. Feedback was well received and we were later informed that both groups had secured funding for their projects, so watch out now for the Challengers coming to a space near you!