Hi I’m Eimear.
I met up with Aoife, Louise, Emily, Amy and Abigail for a weekend of fun and excitement at the Use Your Voice weekend in London. This is what we got up to:
After a short drive through London we arrived at YHA St. Pauls where we would be staying for the weekend at around 9:30pm. After quickly dropping our bags and logging onto the Wi-Fi we headed out for dinner.
However, after strolling along the streets of London for about five minutes, we discovered that most places in London where we could get
However, after standing there looking confused for only a few moments, our knight in shining armour arrived (well, he was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt but you know what I mean). He quickly drew out his iPhone from its scabbard and, after looking up several Asian and Chinese fast foods that were all closed, he eventually managed to direct us to an Express Pizza that was open till 11:30pm. Thanking him, we hurried off and were soon digging into some delicious pizzas.
We then sleepily made our way back to the hostel only to discover there had been a Pizza Express just around the corner from it all along. After that we all quickly climbed into bed and dropped off to sleep with the sound of the bells from St. Paul’s Cathedral ringing in our heads.
Next up it was ‘Your campaigner toolkit’ where we were equipped with what we needed to enter the world of activism and campaigning. After that I attended a talk on ‘Three inspiring campaigns’. The campaigns we learnt about were all really different. There were big ones such as Greenpeace and its campaign against Shell where it targeted Lego but then there were also smaller ones such as the greenheart campaign that demonstrated that by doing something as small as wearing a badge that you can support a campaign and create a conversation about it without the need to jump in to far too fast.
When the tour was finished we set off for a bite to eat. Then full up, we all made our way to the top of City Hall for the ‘Live from the Living Room’ event. If we were full before we came we were bursting by the time we left. I don’t even want to think about the amount of chocolate I ate. We were treated to a powerful speech from a suffragette, a short concert by Eva Supertramp, a poetry recital by the youth mayor of London as well as a talk from WAGGGs chair Nicola Grinstead. They were all very inspiring women who had a powerful message to share with us: that we could change the world. In between these talks we had ‘mingle’ periods during which we collected badges, ate canapés and even did a radio interview for GENE. It was a tiring but rewarding day and, safe to say, we had absolutely no trouble falling asleep that night.
Leaving slightly early, I went off to a yoga session. This was a great time to just relax and stretch out your body. Finally, after a hurried lunch, it was time for our last workshop of the event.
Then it was a quick drive to the airport, some shopping and then at long last it was time for goodbyes, for me anyway as I was going on a different flight with Clare. I had an amazing few days in London; I met so many people and learnt so much. My advice to anyone who ever sees an opportunity that they would like to do but aren’t quite sure about is to just do it. You will never know how much you would have discovered if you don’t go.
~ Eimear O’Sullivan, Bishopstown Senior Branch, Cork