Our first European visits
‘A Tale of Two Cities: Young People and Local Democracy’
Our first European visit was to Prague 7 in December 2006, it was through the Youth in Action Programme which was administrated by the British council with money given by the European Union.The project was called ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Young People and Local Democracy’
We developed a partnership with our counterpart in Prague 7 council called Stanislav Vaclavovic, who we came to know as Josef. Josef works in Prague 7 Town Hall. Prague 7 is a part of Prague much like Lewisham is a borough of London.
Originally a working cass neighbourhood where people lived and worked with a short travelling distance to the Old Town and central Prague.
Having a reliable partner to work with is one of the most important elements of a successful exchange programme. Prague 7 had a youth council where we had a Young Mayor and Young Advisors.
Between us and with help from Paul Chapman, who was the European Officer at Lewisham Council at the time we wrote an application for some funding to go on the visit. There is always a programme which needs to be developed and planned as part of the application process. What you are going to do an why. the is visit was to be able to share the work of the Young Mayor and Advisors with the Prague Youth Council and see what we could learn from each other. It was also to have a different cultural experience and think about what it mean to be European.
On the visit we were with Josef and a group of Czech young people who became our friends, we visited their school and cultural centres, and did workshops to find out more about each other. The young people started work on a Joint Declaration of common interests, areas and issues that both groups thought were important. There was also a dictionary of popular slang words from each country! We also visited the historic Prague Town Centre and other landmarks.
We travelled on trams as that is one of the main transport in Prague, as it was near Christmas we also took part in a traditional parade (as you will see from the photographs!) and visited the Christmas market.
'Our Mutual Friends project'
We made another application for our colleagues and young people from Prague 7 to visit Lewisham in August 2007. The project was called "Our mutual friends" and was the first time we hosted a group here in Lewisham.
This project built on the previous project ‘A Tale of Two Cities: Young People and Local Democracy’ which took place in Prague in December 2006. The exchange supported a return visit of 18 representatives of the Youth Parliament in Prague 7 to the London Borough of Lewisham. The visit built on the relationships formed and work already carried out by the young people focused around their previously Joint Declaration of common concerns and actions with a notable focus on environmental issues and youth democracy.
There were two key themes; of European Citizenship and Environmental awareness with related visits, activities and events planned, to explore these aims as well as visits to the UK Youth Parliament and the Youth section of the Greater London Authority.
The visiting group stayed in Catford at the Glenthurston apartments on Canadian avenue and got to visit Lewisham Shopping centre! and local restaurants as well as meeting in the civic suite and going to central London.