Thanks to everyone who attended our Official Launch yesterday! Here’s how it went:
On Thursday 26th February Central England Quakers celebrated the opening of Peace Hub with a special all-day launch event. School-children and the public joined with local figures, to celebrate with a Fairtrade cuppa and a slice of cake. In the evening NGOs and faith groups joined in a conversation about how Peace Hub can work with the community.
Peace Hub coordinator Peter Doubtfire said “we were delighted by the public response to our launch, and were pleased to welcome faith groups and NGOs working for peace and justice to join us, alongside public figures. The Hub is all about bringing together a community that cares.” Hugh Maw, a conscientious objector in WWII, helped introduce the Hub’s next theme: Conscientious Objection. Hugh signed copies of his new book about his experiences of being a relief-worker in the aftermath of the war.
Peacemakers invited children from local schools Fairway Primary and Erdington Hall Primary to attend workshops about Fairtrade at the Hub and design posters on the theme: what does peace mean to me? Lord Lieutenant for the West Midlands Paul Sabapthy and Deputy Lord Mayor Mike Leddy awarded a prize of Fairtade goodies to the winners from each school, courtesy of Carrs Lane Fairtrade Shop. Peacemakers director Sara Hagel said “the children were really interested in the issue of Fairtrade, and have written messages to local supermarkets to say why banana farmers deserve a fair price for what they produce.”
The day was rounded off by a thought-provoking and inspiring presentation about Peace Hub, hosted by The Priory Rooms . NGOs such as Responding to Conflict, local public figures including High Sheriff of West Midlands Tim Watts and representatives from several faith communities joined the conversation on how Peace Hub plans to promote peace and justice in Birmingham and work with the local community.
Matthew Burnett-Stuart gave a fascinating talk linking the Hub’s opening theme (the arms trade) with it’s upcoming theme (conscientious objectors). In 2014 Matthew was awarded one of three UK Peaceworker placements funded by Quaker Peace and Social Witness to support organisations working for peace at local, national and international level.
The Hub’s next theme, conscientious objectors, is supporting the Central England Quakers “Faith and Action” exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery: using original photographs, film, interviews and artefacts to tell the compelling stories of Quakers men and women during the First World War.