Thirst for change, five days to go: St Peters School got to know their MP

Chaplain David Beresford and the campaign group of St Peter’s school, Guildford got their MP on board with the Thirst for change campaign. There are five days to go before we hand your action cards to Prime Minister David Cameron – who can you encourage to get on board with the campaign?

Anne Milton MP with student from St Peter’s School, Guildford.

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“I set up a group at school to do justice campaigns. I asked Alex, a 6th former who is chair of the parish Justice & Peace group, to work with me in setting up and running the group. He was very happy to be involved.

The aim of the group is to support campaigns and make change happen. Here the students can develop the skills they need to make a difference in the world, beyond this one campaign.

I presented information about Thirst for change to the group and they thought we should do something about it. They had lots of creative ideas – turning off the water in the school or giving everyone dirty water to drink!

We decided to go into Guildford town centre and ask people to sign the campaign cards on the street. Some people blanked us, but others were interested and engaged. It was so good for the students – two of whom were wearing water droplet costumes – because when you talk to people, you realise how important it is to keep going deeper into the issues. They did so well.

Anne Milton MP came to the town centre event. She was great with the students and they told her all about the group. She’s coming in to school to meet them again this term and has invited us to visit her in parliament in October.

Next we did a series of assemblies. The first one I headed up, but by the fifth, they were doing it all themselves. We collected around about 800 signatures and gave students cards to take home.

There are two principles I work on for this group: it’s not overtly religious, in that you don’t need to be a person of faith to join, and it’s not about raising money. Although many of the students currently in the group do have a deep faith, it’s there for those who don’t want to do churchy stuff too.

I say to the students, ‘The world should be a better place because we exist as a Catholic School; we are supposed to make a difference.’ I feel this kind of campaigning is essential to the Catholic identity of the school.

We’re still learning. We can’t have the mentality that once we’ve completed the action, we feel like that’s it, the problem is sorted. We’ve not dealt with this. We’ve taken one step. It’s not as simple as saying ‘David Cameron will just sort this out’. We need to keep on.”

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