You will need
- Pens or pencils
- A4 paper
- Access to a computer
Before you begin
- Find your local MP by putting your postcode in on the website com. If people in your group have different MPs, that’s fine – work together to create one letter that you can send to all of the MPs that represent people in the group.
Plan a letter
- Everyone should split into about four groups.
- Each group should make a list of the challenges disabled people face in the community. They should try to think about real examples (rather than theoretical ones). If anyone knows anyone whose life is negatively impacted by barriers in the community, they could share their experiences.
- Everyone should gather back together and share their lists. Do any issues appear on more than one list?
- Everyone should think about how they could solve the challenges on the list. What needs to happen to make the barrier go away?
Write a letter
- The person leading the activity should explain that an MP is someone elected (voted in) to represent an area in the House of Commons – they can propose new laws and raise things that matter to the people they represent (sometimes called constituents), asking the people in charge questions about issues that affect their community. They should tell everyone the name of the MP (or MPs) that represents them.
- Each group should choose one issue from their list to write about. They should decide how they’ll explain the issue, why they want to tackle it, and what they want their MP to do about it.
- Each group should write their letter. They should be polite and formal – now isn’t the time for doodles or slang. They should end their letters by asking for something, for example, a meeting with their MP to discuss it further. They could even invite their MP to an event they’ve got planned in the future.
- Each group should send their letters, making sure they include a return address or email for the group so the MP (or MPs) can reply.
This activity helps contribute towards some of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. Find out more about the SDGs, and how Scouts across the world are getting involved, here.
This activity reminded everyone that they’re citizens. Writing to the MP is one way to let the people in power know when things aren’t right. How else might people speak up when change is needed? Sometimes they might call, start petitions, or protest. What do people think their MP should do about their letter? What makes a good MP?
This activity was also a chance for everyone to help their community. It’s important to take an active role and speak up when things aren’t right, including when the people affected don’t have the chance to speak up for themselves. It’s important to make their voices heard where possible, though. What are people hoping for as a result of writing to their MP? How will it make things better for others?
- Online safety
Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.
For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.
As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.