This unique talent development approach has a highly focussed and relevant aim based on addressing one major issue in UK life. That is that there are too few leaders in the UK, starting with the Houses of Parliament, who have direct experience of the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society – around 21% of our fellow citizens according to the Office of National Statistics. This lack of understanding handicaps the nation’s ability to change inner city engagement, education, health and social services. It also makes it hard to achieve the benefits of ‘One Nation’ thinking.
The Buxton aim is to increase the number of leaders in Parliament and elsewhere who have the character, intelligence, skills and effectiveness to earn peer group respect and combine that with real working knowledge of what is called ‘community organising’ across all that influences life in inner city areas.
The strategy is to attract high potential graduates who are likely to be successful in whatever career they chose and to provide an internship combining Parliamentary experience and hands on work in the community alongside local authorities, action groups and local churches. The programme also aims to offer high potential leaders from inner-city communities the chance to access Westminster whilst remaining rooted in those areas.
In 2016/17 Simon Barrow has been researching the practical aspect of the new approach (started in 2013 by the East London based Centre for Theology and Community) and has met with current interns, sponsoring business leaders and CTC management. His recommendations aim to improve the working experiences of interns, the greater engagement of sponsors and action to raise the profile of this work.
Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1786-1845
This programme reflects the feelings of Thomas Fowell Buxton, successful businessman (the brewers Truman Hanbury Buxton), social reformer in East London, and an MP. He is best known for his 26 year leadership of the campaign to free 800,000 slaves across the territories that formed the British Empire in 1833. Here’s a description from Sir George Stephen’s letter to Mrs Beecher Stowe in 1854:
In rapidity of perception Mr Buxton excelled most men…he was, though charitably liberal, rarely deceived in his estimate of men.