Social Action Project in Brighton

Me and My Community-Social Action Project in Brighton, the UK (2-9 March 2017)

It was a great pleasure to spend a week in Brighton as part of the voluntary work project organized by Medway Youth Trust. There were 5 young people (aged 17-25) representing each participating country, so altogether there were 40 volunteers from the UK, Romania, Georgia, Turkey, Egypt, Bulgaria, Belgium and Hungary. This was the most inspiring and best organized project I’ve ever taken part in. There were 3 social action projects-’One Church’, promoting a local farmers’ market, ‘Hummingbird’, an arts project helping refugees and ‘The Orchard’, building a community garden for people in need. All the projects were organized to help local people who worked together with the volunteers in each project.

During the week we started every day with energizers and ice-breaking activities. Everybody stayed in the same hostel, at a beautiful place on the seaside, which also helped building a very strong community for the participants. We shared our past experiences about voluntary work done in each country and this was linked to our future hopes reagarding what type of social action is needed most in our countries. At night we had cultural evenings to share our traditional dances, music and songs. We could even prepare a few traditional dishes for each other. These evenings turned out to be so exciting for everybody that many times people simply didn’t want to finish dancing or teaching each other local games. We made very good friends and decided to continue the project as soon as we can find opportunities, hopefully next year in Hungary.

Edina Szakács

Volunteering in Brighton

I had one of my best experiences in Brighton, where I could participate in a volunteering programme called ‘Me and My Community’. We spent a week together along with participants coming from Romania, Georgia, Turkey, Egypt, Bulgaria, Belgium and the UK. We got introduced to local organizations, and we could work along with them, helping the minorities and smaller communities in the area. It was so amazing to work with these kind-hearted and tolerant people. I chose the ‘Hummingbird project’ as my social action, which mostly focused on raising awareness of refugees. We painted posters, talked about the refugee crises in our own country and brainstormed ideas that could help. We also made banners, which we took out to the city, took pictures with strangers and asked them about their opinion on refugees. It was really nice to see how positive everyone’s attitude was towards this topic. We also helped to clean out the Brighton Youth Centre. Apart from the social actions we had lots of interesting programmes where we talked about social actions, and went sightseeing, treasure-hunting. Also, every day we had a cultural evening where each country had the opportunity to show their own culture. The best part about these nights was teaching each other traditional folk dances. I met some amazing people during this project and I am really thankful that I could participate and experience so much social action work in a truly breath-taking city.

Károlyi Bori

It was my best Erasmus project. I’ve participated in 5 different projects, but there was none which was that eventful. According to my observations the most typical problem in these kinds of projects is that the activities always start with a boring brainstorming process to  do something. The thing is that we don’t even know each other but we have to think together while we’re sitting on chairs in small groups. I think that method is good for nothing.

However, this one was brilliant. We spent only one day to break the ice and get more information about the project. On the second or the third day we already started to work in our social action team. I was pleased that we didn’t have to start with the definition of volunteering in small groups or talking about why it is so important to the world of ours. In my group we had to cut flyers and laminate posters and do a little bit of gardening work. Then we put the flyers into letter boxes, gave them to people in the streets, tied the posters around trees, etc. With this I had the opportunity to see the residential areas in the city not just the tourist sights. We advertised a farmer’s market where the people who work are marginalized . The other task was to sell coffee and waffles for free and give flyers to the people in the centre. For first I was very pessimistic, and I thought that nobody will care about us, but then I saw people’s reactions and it was really fascinating compared to Budapest. Everyone was smiling and saying something even if she/he didn’t want coffee or waffles. They were excited when we told them about our projects and the market. I enjoyed all the positive, bright and optimistic attitudes.

Otherwise the most fantastic element was the diversity of Brighton. There were people from all around the world anywhere I went. I like the fact that this community accepts everyone and tolerates any kind of social background, moreover they stand up for these people and help them in so many ways (for example, Hummingbird, One Church).

Mályi Bori

My Memories about Me and My Community

We spent a week between 2-9 March in Brighton because of an Erasmus + project called ‘Me and My Community’. It was organised by the youth organisation Medway Youth Trust which is based in West, East and South Essex. The participants were youth organisations and non-government organisations from Turkey, Egypt, Bulgaria, Romania, Belgium, Georgia and our school from Hungary.

Our topic was local social action. Our goal was to make social action more popular in Brighton and in our country.

We had three social action projects, the first called One Church was about making this organisation more popular and advertising it in local places. One Church is an organisation for a farmers’ market, but it’s not a usual farmers’ market because the sellers were former prisoners, former homeless and people who dropped out of school. The second called Hummingbird was a youth organisation in which they worked with refugees. They had an arts project and our volunteers worked there. They painted signs and then they took pictures with locals and asked them about refugees. The third was working in a community garden called Orchard. That was my social action project. We cut the grass and cleaned the way to the fruit trees. This is a fruit tree community garden on a hill in front of the sea next to the poorest area of Brighton, it was made for the poorest people of the city. Now there is no fruit because the trees are too young but this is a community garden which is more sustainable than gardens with vegetables because they need less care and water. All of the projects were very useful for the local community and I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to participate in this project.

We had a very international company and we tried to use all of its benefits e.g. we learned each other’s languages, we had cultural evenings and we danced a lot of traditional dances. That was my favourite part of the whole project.

We stayed in a hostel together and we spent most of our time downstairs in the hall with people from everywhere. It was good to see that we have been friends since the first day of the project and after the second day we had serious conversations and we could speak with each other like we have known each other for ages. Usually we were awake until 2 a.m. because we spoke and played games, therefore I never slept enough, however, I never felt the next morning that I don’t want to wake up because every day gave me new experience and of course coffee always helps.

I’m really glad that I was part of this fantastic project with these interesting and exciting people and I hope we will find the way to make this project alive. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, especially to Medway Youth Trust. I’ve never seen a project organised as well as this was.

Horváth Flóra

Me & My Community

I was in Brighton for seven days and I was participating in a project called Orchard. We had an opportunity to choose from three different projects. There was a project called ‘One Church’ which helped the youth creating a place for them, and helped old people without a home. The other project was Hummingbird, they were talking to strangers about migration and refugees, which is a serious issue in the UK as well.

Last but not least there was the third project called Orchard. It was about a community garden at the edge of Brighton. There were many fruit trees there and those trees’ only purpose was to give food to people in need. But it’s not that simple as it sounds, because these trees need a special care while they are growing until they produce fruits. These trees were quite young so this was the period when they needed this special care.

One of our tasks was to make this place a bit friendlier than it looked before. We had to clear the area from weed, we called it ‘check-check’, because of the sounds that scissors made. The other part was to make paths around the place.

The other job was to put mulch around the trees. The problem was, that this whole place was on a hill. So we had to level the ground with the trees, that’s why we have put mulch around them, and sometimes we even put dam, made from sticks.

The main reason why I have chosen this project was to learn the methods and help by physical work. The whole programme was about ‘social action’, so I thought this is a project where you can really do something which has a good effect on the community.

The team was really good. We were laughing a lot and we were having fun. I had memorable days with them that I never gonna forget.

Neuman Félix

So this is all I can tell about the week that brought me a lot of happiness and inspiration in my life. Brighton is a beautiful city, I think we all know that. I mean everything you could dream of is there. Amazing pastel coloured houses, comic book stores, vinyl stores (that I adore with all my heart), a Pier full of little games that light up every time you win a few pennies back and of course the sea side. Talking about the sea side, when we first arrived the sun already settled and we saw the water in the dark while the light of the Pier reflected back on the big waves. A fascinating scene I know. We walked on the shore with other participants who that time I never suspected would become my friends after the week. But we all ended up friends after all. The last day we left the town with inside jokes and the feeling that we did something so valuable and helped so many people in a community some of us will never even meet again. We even had a dance that we actually closed our days with. I think it tells a lot when I say that we already started to organize our own project so we can see these people again as soon as it is humanly possible.

I remember the people with their faces being red from dancing the dances of the different cultures. Their eyes glowed from happiness even though it was really tiring to do all these but they were all energized. I remember people saying this was the best week of their lives. Honestly, this made me so glad. Just to see those persons who have never been abroad feeling secure in a totally new environment. I’d like to claim part of their feelings for myself because this wouldn’t have been possible without all of us who were so joyful to make this their week. There were others in the group who were socially insecure and thought they would hate being with new people but by the end of the week their spirit changed and they loved talking to us. I remember our cultural night when some folks thought we are greasing new-borns with egg at Easter. I remember when we danced together and we sang folk songs to them and they patiently listened to us. I’ve never seen the faces, I was so scared to look up (I have an awful voice you need to forgive me that) but I know they calmly listened to us and that they were really enthusiastic to know everything about Hungary.

I remember singing ‘City of Stars’ on the way back to our hostel after the closing event. It was our last evening in Brighton. The sun again already settled down. We were chatting, trying to make some future plans for the night. We ended up on the beach again. The sea-coast was foggy which made it such a dream-like place that I’ve only seen in movies before. It was the perfect night to say good-bye to something so important and so monumental after all.                           

Fábián Fanni

Tájékoztatjuk, hogy a megfelelő működés érdekében a honlap sütiket használ. A sütik útján végzett adatkezelésről bővebben itt tájékozódhat: Adatkezelési Szabályzat

A süti beállítások ennél a honlapnál engedélyezett a legjobb felhasználói élmény érdekében. Amennyiben a beállítás változtatása nélkül kerül sor a honlap használatára, vagy az "Elfogadás" gombra történik kattintás, azzal a felhasználó elfogadja a sütik használatát.