Big Ideas is a community engagement organisation specialising in innovative youth programming across the UK.  We supported Barnet Council’s delivery of their Holiday Activities programming in the summer of 2021. Young people across Barnet took part in two of our flagship programmes:

  • Foundation Stones is a partnership between Big Ideas and the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation. The Foundation Stones programme invites everyone to paint a stone to become part of the new UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London. Inspired by the Jewish custom of laying stones on graves, every stone painted is a commitment to build a future free from hate.

  • No Barriers is run by Big Ideas as the official Mayor of London’s social action programme to celebrate the UEFA EUROs in London. It combines football with inclusion by celebrating a team of 11 No Barriers Champions, footballers of the past and present who have overcome adversity.

Both programmes combine creative fun and engagement with important education outcomes around celebrating difference, embracing inclusion and standing up against hate.

“Overall the feedback received from our sites was very positive and the important messages behind these two projects were welcomed and promoted to the young people who attended.” Joseph Jackson, BACE Holidays and Positive Activities Coordinator

Bespoke programme adaption and delivery support

Working in partnership with Barnet Council from the outset, Big Ideas adapted both the Foundation Stones and No Barriers programmes into flexible one hour sessions appropriate for delivery across the wide range of community settings where holiday activities were taking place.

Foundation Stones workshops centred around the story of the Kindertransport exploring Britain as a place of refuge and local links to this story, such as the memorial garden for British hero of the Holocaust Sir Nicholas Winton in Princes Park, Golders Green.

Addressing concerns expressed by Barnet parents, No Barriers was also adapted to give the opportunity for young people to respond to the well publicised racist abuse of England players following the UEFA EUROs final. 

Big Ideas provided training sessions for facilitators running the summer camps in July and August. The aim of these sessions was to ‘train the trainer’, in other words to boost the confidence and capability of the facilitators running youth programming in Barnet to deliver both activities.

“This is really inspiring. I’m glad we are included.” Facilitator feedback during live training

In addition to the facilitator training, Big Ideas supplied step by step workshop plans and all the resources required to run the sessions, from stones and acrylic paint pens, to footballs and No Barriers packs.

Barnet kick starts the campaign for 10,000 stones to remember Jewish child refugees

More than 388 Foundation Stones were painted by young people in Barnet during the summer camps. These stones are the first of the new campaign to gather 10,000 stones from 10,000 children across the UK to remember the 10,000 unaccompanied Jewish child refugees who came to the UK on the Kindertransport. This is a fantastic contribution from Barnet’s young people to the new UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre to be built next to the Houses of Parliament.

“I have painted a boat to remember the children who were evacuated during the war to Britain.” Child, aged 11.

“It must have been really difficult for them to leave their families – Nicholas did an amazing job helping so many children and it was so nice of him to make sure all of the children travelled safe – it must of been very stressful having to arrange everything for so many children.” Participant from Parkfield School reflecting on Sir Nicolas Winton’s rescue of Jewish children

According to feedback there was little or no awareness of the new Memorial among young people in Barnet prior to the project. After the session, the majority of the young people who took part understood the significance of painting stones and how it is inspired by a Jewish custom and also learned about the new Memorial. The freedom of the creative sessions run by Barnet facilitators and the young people’s desire to reflect themselves and things that are important to them on their stones, is evident from their contributions.

One child, aged 7, drew her family as they are important to her and another child, aged 8, included different colours and images of nature on her stone.

Other young people’s stones carried messages of hope, love and equality demonstrating how well they had engaged with the subject and the message of the project to build a future free from all forms of hatred.

“I have painted my stone with love hearts because people should love each other.” Child, aged 5

“I have painted my stone with a rainbow because I love everyone equally.”  Child, aged 6

“I have painted different people in different colours of my stone”  Child, aged 9

Foundation Stones created by young people taking part in the Barnet Summer Camps 

Taking a stand against racism with No Barriers

Facilitators who delivered No Barriers unanimously agreed that the project gave the young people the opportunity to discuss their views and opinions relating to racism.

Using Tyrone Mings and the UEFA EURO qualifying match against Bulgaria in 2019 as an example, the session plans guided facilitators to have a conversation with the young people about standing up to racism, and young people’s thoughts about England players’ decision to ‘take the knee’ before their matches. 

The No Barriers champions provided role models for young people to think about how they can overcome barriers in their own lives and support those around them. From racism to gender equality, the young people thought about their own resilience and how they could be an ally and support others.

Messages of gender empowerment for girls in sport

“It has been so nice to see and read about anti-discrimination and unity from the viewpoint of the young people of Barnet.” Joseph Jackson, BACE Holidays and Positive Activities Coordinator, after reading No Barriers cards

Advice from a participant, aged 9

The young people were also inspired by the mural created in support of Marcus Rashford after he, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho suffered racist abuse online following the UEFA EUROs final. Young people in Barnet were encouraged to write the messages of support they would have sent. The facilitator feedback was that this session was an effective response to what had happened. Giving young people the chance to respond positively and make a stand against racism produced some powerful messages of support for Marcus Rashford.

“It’s good that someone so young has done so much to stand up to what he believes in” Participant from Parkfield School

“There’s no room for racism.” Participant from Colindale Primary

“Stay Strong, Keep Going!” Participant from Church Hill

“We put a big cross over racism and hope it stops” Participant from Finchley Youth Centre

From thinking about the challenges faced by Jewish child refugees fleeing Nazism over 75 years ago to how to respond to recent online racist abuse directed at Black football players, young people in Barnet had the opportunity to come together in meaningful activity.