In the early evening of Tuesday 11 June 2013, I made my way through the doors of the Battersea Arts Centre and negotiated my way through throngs of eager and excited parents and pupils waiting for the final performance of “Laika in Lambeth” to begin. This was no ordinary school play but an opera about a space dog arriving in Lambeth. It was the end-result of a year-long collaboration between this primary school’s principal, Sarah Botchway, and the English Touring Opera who wrote the score and taught it to the children. The Royal Academy of Music provided a puppeteer and musicians and 160 children from every racial and income background took part in the telling of the space dog’s adventures. In every way it was an example of the energy and delight that is created when community comes together.
At Hanne & Co, we are delighted to be partnered this year with The Challenge Network. The Challenge Network is the UK’s leading charity for building a more integrated society. They work on a local level to connect people together across all ages and walks of life. One way that they seek to do this is through “The Challenge”, which is an intense four-part programme for 16 – 17 year olds delivered as part of the government’s National Citizen Service. The programme is comprised of physical and team challenges and social action projects.
A key aspect of the Challenge Programme is to see teams of young people designing and delivering a campaign focused on a community issue that they care about. In order to help ensure that teams design an engaging and practical campaign they visit a local business for a professional visit. During this visit, the young people will have time to share their campaign ideas and practice selling these ideas to a panel in a Dragon’s Den pitch.
In early August, we will be welcoming two teams through our doors. They will meet solicitors from all our different departments (family, crime, employment, commercial, housing, conveyancing, wills and probate and notary public) and be able to see what working as a local solicitor really looks like. We hope that through this exchange that we will be building trust between ourselves and the next generation and also developing skills of teamwork, communication and leadership in them.
It was clear to me on Tuesday night as I watched a young pupil of Reay Primary School approach Mayor of Lambeth, Councillor Mark Bennett for a photo with him that building a strong community across generational, social and racial lines is not only desirable but it is also necessary if we are to have a strong society for the future. At Hanne & Co we are committed to playing our part in practical ways to see this happen and we cannot wait to see where our partnership with the Challenge Network takes us in the future.
At Hanne & Co, serving the local community is at the heart of what we aim to do. If you have any matters that you would like us to take a look at, please do get in touch.
Rachel Cooper – Trainee Solicitor