Parliament Week 2016 – #dodemocracy

Our commitment to the Parliament Week initiative since 2013 delivers an annual event to the senior schools of Bournemouth, bringing 60+ students into the Town Hall to practice and nurture their debating skills with the support of local, national and European politicians. The students prepare extensively and overcome nerves to participate in debates on current key topics. This year they discussed the validity and role of referendums in the UK and debated the speed at which article 50 should be activated in the matter of Brexit. The student’s performances and clarity of delivery were beyond their years and impressed all the politicians giving everyone renewed hope and energy for the electorate and leaders of tomorrow.

Domestic Angels were approached in 2013 to take the role of Partner to Parliament Week in the Bournemouth area as a direct result of the work we had been doing, and still carry out, to help women into work and empower them in the workplace. As Partners, we chose to focus on engaging pre-voting young people to show them that their voice does count and that they can make it heard. These 2 key messages will bring us the business and political leaders of tomorrow. Empowering the next generation in this way directly reflects the Domestic Angels ethos counteracting apathy and disenfranchisement.

Read the Daily Echo Article Here

Parliamentary Reception for Female Entrepreneurs

Not your average Monday in the office for Domestic Angels on 12th September! Sam from Domestic Angels attended the All Party Parliamentary Group for Women & Enterprise Reception celebrating female entrepreneurship.

Hosted by Craig Tracey MP, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Women and Enterprise, the discussion circled around the findings from of the NatWest Entrepreneurship Monitor.

The event finished with also featured a keynote speech from Helen Pattinson, founder of Montezuma London (their chocolate is a guilty pleasure at Angels HQ!) She spoke passionately about the need for female role models.

There was also a speech from Caroline Dinenage MP, Secretary of State for Women, Equalities and Early Years Caroline who discussed the economic importance for the UK of increasing support for female entrepreneurs.

As well as Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise at NatWest, presented who ran through the results of the Entrepreneurship Monitor, which clearly showed the type of what support entrepreneurial women need but also what and more importantly the scale of the massive latent potential they have.

The Parliament event and seminar attracted a handpicked crowd of 100 female entrepreneurs and MPs from around the country to Portcullis House, Westminster.

Reflecting on the event, Sam commented “The findings of the monitor and the words from the Secretary of State and Craig Tracey MP gave me confidence that this government is on track to connect with the needs, and therefore potential, of the female entrepreneur sector and in particular growing sophistication and power of home based businesses.”

Parliament Week 2014

Samantha Acton, Operations Director at Domestic Angels a local cleaning company, hosted her second Parliament Week event at Bournemouth Town Hall on Friday. This event was attended by over 50 Bournemouth senior school students and teachers from, the following schools Bournemouth School, Bournemouth School for Girls, St Peters, Winton & Glenmoor Schools, Bournemouth Collegiate School, and The Bourne Academy. The event was Chaired by The Mayor beginning with a workshop delivered by a member of the Parliamentary Outreach Team who presented a comprehensive explanation of how Parliament works.
This was followed by a debating session involving a panel of 5 local political figures and the students who used the electronic voting system in the Council Chamber to conclude each debate.

The panel introduced themselves, their current and past roles in the political arena. They were: Julie Girling MEP for SW England & Gibraltar (Cons), Annette Brooke MP (Lib Dem) for North Poole & Mid Dorset, Tobias Ellwood MP Bournemouth East (Cons), Cllr Jane Kelly (Cons), Vikki Slade, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Poole & Mid Dorset (Lib Dem) 

Parliament Week is a national programme of events and activities, co-ordinated by the House of Commons and House of Lords, which aims to raise awareness of Parliament and encourage people to engage with the UK’s democratic system and its institutions.

This year’s event was the second hosted by Samantha Acton with the structure and content based on feedback entirely on last year’s inaugural event.  Last year students requested more information on how Parliament works and more opportunity to interact with MP’s. They also requested to choose the content of the debates, the students of Bournemouth School choose the questions which were circulated in advance to participating schools. The questions debated and the voting outcome was:

European – Should we have a referendum on EU membership?  Result on debate:  YES – 32   NO – 18       ABSTAIN – 1

National – The response of the main parties to the growth of UKIP, has it been sufficient/appropriate? Result on debate: YES – 7    NO –  39  ABSTAIN – 5

Local – Homelessness in the Bournemouth area, what are the possible remedies and is it being handled properly? Result on debate: YES – 21  NO – 20    ABSTAIN – 10

The event was supported throughout by a live twitter feed which reported proceedings, interacted with the students and gained much recognition in re-tweets from across the country.

Samantha Acton commented after the event “Partnering Parliament Week is a privilege and an opportunity. It is of great benefit to the senior school students of Bournemouth. Each year, theirs and their teachers input are helping to find the right formula for the future hopefully guaranteeing that this valuable event becomes a fixed event in the Bournemouth calendar. This event wouldn’t be possible without the support of volunteers, our sponsors Morgan Sindall, and our stakeholders Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Bournemouth Council whose staff in democratic services and economic regeneration ensured the event ran smoothly and that the students had a positive experience”

Jim Attridge of Glenmoor School commented after the event “The opportunity to meet local MPs and hear their ideas about local, national and European issues was eye-opening for all of the students who attended from The Academies of Glenmoor and Winton. The Year 10 and Year 11 students who participated have become more aware of the differences in Party politics and the event has definitely inspired greater involvements in politics as a whole. We would like to thank Samantha Acton and her colleagues for organising this event.

After the event the students were invited to network with the panel and local Councillors giving them a chance to ask more questions. When asked for their reaction to the event, students were really positive:

Adam, Bournemouth Collegiate – “It was very interesting. It gave me a lot of information and has changed my views. It was good having a vote at the end of each debate.  It was very engaging, listening to others’ views in the local community and I now feel that my vote matters.”

James Kravos, St Peter’s School– “Generally liked the event. It was good seeing MP’s in the flesh. I am surprised how little they are worried about the rise of UKIP.  The whole event was a good idea.”

Bethany & Wilf, St Peter’s – both thought the event was very good and felt that more time for questions were preferable.

Zak & Liam, St Peter’s – “a great experience, hearing different views.  Joined-up thinking was obvious between the Conservative MEP, MP and Councillor.”

Chair of the event, Cllr Chris Mayne, Mayor of Bournemouth – “Fascinating group.  Interesting comments from the students and interesting input from the politicians.”

Barry Bonds, Politics Teacher at Bournemouth School, – “It was engaging and enjoyable for the students.  A unique opportunity to see the practical implications of the theories and models we study in class.”

The programme included more than 100 activities around the UK, each designed to spark thought and discussion about politics and democracy, and to look at how Parliament affects people’s lives. Over 300 external partners, including charities, schools, museums and community groups, are joining with Parliament to host events and online activities demonstrating how people can engage with different aspects of democracy in the UK.

MPs and Peers were be taking part in Parliament Week events, providing the public with the opportunity to engage with key decision-makers at the centre of British politics, as well as with the institution that makes it all happen.

Parliament Week 2014 also launched the “Do Democracy” social media campaign, encouraging young people to share issues important to them under the hashtag #DoDemocracy. The campaign will run on TwitterInstagram and Facebook, and featured a number of live Twitter Q&As with Parliamentarians during the week.

This year voting on ballots was introduced using the Town Hall electrical ballot system providing this opportunity to interact with MPs and MEPs on the subjects they consider to be important.

Amber Williams a BSG pupil asked the question of the panel “It seems that we don’t have influence in Europe now.  David Cameron wants to cap immigration but is not allowed to.  What influence do we have if our own PM can’t make decisions?” The replies were very varied but it opened up the floor for a lively debate

Parliament Week 2014 – Democracy in Action

Parliament Week is an annual programme of events and activities that connect people with parliamentary democracy in the UK. There’s something for everyone, whether you attend or organise an event or simply take part in the conversation online. Local Business Owner Samantha Acton Operations Director at Domestic Angels is running her second
consecutive Parliament Week event aiming at engaging with local students of sixth form age on 14th November 2014.

You can find out more about Parliament Week via this link https://www.parliamentweek.org/about/.

The invited guests this year are around 60 students representing the senior schools of the Bournemouth conurbation, their teachers and representatives from Bournemouth Borough Council and the private sector. Mr Bonds head of History and Politics at Bournemouth School commented “We at Bournemouth School are very much looking forward to being part of Parliament Week, which gives our students the unique experience of taking part in a live debate covering local, national and international issues. This should provide a fantastic chance for our students to see how the work covered in class really translates into the real world.”

This year’s event has a full timetable starting at 1.15pm for arrival and registration of guests at Bournemouth Town Hall then the itinerary of events starts with Our Constitution presented by The Parliamentary Outreach Team who will run a workshop designed to challenge and enlighten our perception and understanding of the British constitution. This team are experts on how Parliament works conducting lively interactive experiences to increase the audiences understanding of the processes and relevance of Parliament. You can find out more about them and their work at http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/outreach-and-training/

The Parliamentary panel will be Annette Brook MP, Conor Burns MP, Julie Girling MEP and Cllr Jane Kelly. The panel will be chaired by Bournemouth Mayor Cllr Chris Mayne. Amongst the audience will be representatives of the Bournemouth Chamber of Trade, Bournemouth Council, local businesses and Event Sponsors Morgan Sindall.
topics as chosen by the students of Bournemouth School for debate are:

1 – European – Should we have a referendum on EU membership?

2 – National – The response of the main parties to the growth of UKIP, has it been sufficient/appropriate?

3 – Local – Homelessness in the Bournemouth area, what are the possible remedies?

Event organiser and Partner to Parliament Week Samantha Acton, Operations Director of local cleaning firm Domestic Angels, commented of her involvement “I am interested in supporting students to get a better understanding of how Parliament works and demonstrating to them that they have the ability to make a difference to be empowered and to use their voices to be heard.

Kate Pix head of Business Development from Morgan Sindall commented ““Morgan Sindall Investments Limited (MSIL) is delighted to be sponsoring this event with Bournemouth Borough Council. Education is a key priority for both Bournemouth and MSIL and we are excited to be part of Parliament Week. A week which will allow students to contribute and learn about democracy on a European, national and local level”

Samantha clarified her involvement saying “I am personally involved because I have found myself in a position where I can make this kind of thing happen, I can contribute to my community in a positive manner, hopefully creating a legacy for the future. This isn’t about business promotion, this is about business giving me the connections and ability to deliver a significant event in the senior school student annual calendar that wasn’t happening previously. Over the generations, we have witnessed changes within our society which have been prompted by people being galvanised and motivated to create pressure on Councils and Parliaments. Apathy and disenfranchisement have been seeping through our society for a while now, Parliament Week engages the audience and requires them to connect with democracy on its 3 significant public platforms. Hopefully these students will remain connected throughout their lives and not hesitate to participate in shaping the world in the public arena.”

Community and corporate social responsibility rolled into one

PW Partner logo web version

If you have a business delivering products, services or employing the local community then you should consider partnering Parliament Week 2014. Corporate Social Responsibility comes in many forms providing PR platforms for your brand. Parliament Week combines the two elements and additionally delivers enforced credibility. It is evidence that your corporate ethos believes in the empowerment of the individual and the wider democratic community. Continue reading

Denise Buchan of Classic Consulting on Sam Roddick for Parliament Week 2013

“Businesses have the power to do good.” That was a firm belief of the late Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop. Her daughter, Sam, passionate activist and founder of Coco de Mer has certainly inherited her mother’s spirit for the pursuit of business success as well as social and environmental change. Continue reading