Billingshurst Community Partnership

Company No 5573204

A company limited by guarantee

Registered in England and Wales

Registered Office: 1st Floor, Atlantic House, Jengers Mead, Billingshurst, RH14 9PB


EU Democracy update

Democracy Project Information Summary Sheet

The Trip to London

At the beginning of this year the Billingshurst Community Partnership was approached by the Mountmellick Development Assoc, County Laois, Ireland with a view to partnering them on a project being part funded by the EU to promote European Citizenship, youth participation, cultural diversity and inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities.

We have now secured that funding and are in a position to engage with a suitable group of young people. We have ‘sourced’ individuals from our own knowledge of young people in Billingshurst who we associate with thorough the projects we run.

The main objectives from the EU funding perspective are:

1. To promote young people’s active citizenship in general (and their European citizenship in particular)
2. To promote tolerance among young people, in particular to foster social cohesion in the EU
3. To foster mutual understanding between young people in different countries
4. To develop an understanding of differing democracies around the world and what democracy means in Europe and how we (can) use it.

How we will fulfil the above criteria:

1. The project will run from October 2010 until May 2011
2. Participants will be expected to attend weekly workshops /activities. These will be as informal as possible and take place at varied venues.
3. Food will be a major part of the sessions
4. Both Billingshurst and Mountmellick will work to the same agenda sharing programme topics (these have already been agreed).
5. Programme participants will meet with their local, national and European representatives. We plan to take the group to HDC, W Sussex Council and the Houses of Parliament. (The budget, alas, does not cater for a trip to Brussels)!

What the young people participating will get out of it:

1. They will examine how Europeans get a voice in the world and where European’s have a voice
2. They will learn about European Institutions including the EU parliament
3. They will learn about leadership styles – current and historic – especially within Europe and examine their own styles and look at how to improve their own leadership skills
4. Establish learning links with partners in Ireland
5. They will participate in cultural learning experiences in both countries where learning is shared and cultures are experienced in a fun and respectful environment

Who would benefit from this project? People with:

1. physical, sensory or learning disabilities or mental health difficulties
2. Homeless
3. Living in geographically remote communities with poor transportation
4. members of the traveller community
5. at risk of being involved in anti social behaviour or substance misuse
6. young people who suffer from social exclusion
7. members of ethnic groups who suffer from social exclusion
8. young people who suffer from economic exclusion
9. young people threatened by long term unemployment, and have limited access to educational opportunities

The project funding will cover most of the cost but we will, as a group, have to do some fund raising to pay for a trip to Ireland in Feb 2011. This will be factored into the project programme. We acknowledge that potentially this project topic could be very boring and high brow with little appeal to your average teenager. However we are confidant that we can deliver an exciting, informal and informative sessions without the need for young people to realise they are ‘learning’. Frank Thompson and I have a vast experience of working with teenagers. Frank being a teacher and myself having worked on many informal community projects and, having run a youth group for the BCP Ltd since 2003. If you have any questions or queries please don’t hesitate to contact me on either 01403 783699 or

The Irish students at the Village Hall

Local Organisations

LOCAL EDUCATION (from 3 to Adult)
LOCAL AMENITIES (Religion, Library, Council Offices etc)

If you would like details of your club or organisation listed then please forward the information to us.

Send your information by Email: to webmaster@billingshurst.communityAlternatively, respond using our Comments form.

Report of EU youth exchange visit with Mountmellick Dev Assoc Oct 2010


From Sat 23rd until Monday 25th October Billingshurst Community Partnership hosted a group of 10 young people from Mountmellick Co Laois Ireland. The group, who are from similar social and economic backgrounds to the group we are working with in Billingshurst, range from ages 15 to 19 years old.

This was the first time the two groups had met. The Billingshurst young people, (8 in total – 6 boys and 2 girls), decided upon the week end activities based on what the Irish group had asked to do. As hosts, the Billingshurst group were expected to help prepare the meal for Saturday Lunchtime, chaperone their visitors around Billingshurst and generally engage with them to establish what the differences between being a teenager in Billingshurst and being a teenager in Mountmellick might mean.

Expected Outcomes (from a Leaders perspective)

Prior to the visit, we had as a group, discussed any concerns they might have had. These centred mainly round not being able to understand them because of different accents, and the Irish people’s expectations / pre conceived ideas about them.

Engaging with complete strangers could be quite un- nerving for our group despite the fact that they are rather boisterous and noisy when they are together as a group. Their lack of social and verbal skills would be apparent and despite their bravado they would find meeting new people quite difficult initially especially the Lunch time meal where Parish, District and County Councillors were present.

Actual Outcomes (from a Leaders Perspective)

We where pleasantly surprised how they organised themselves and really got into the spirit of preparing a meal for 30 people. They genuinely wanted to do their best and impress!
As the arrival of our Irish guests became closer, so their anxiety levels rose. Once they met, there was the usual posturing and performing that goes on with teenagers, but soon after they were engaging is the normal way.
The two groups didn’t engage much at the Fireworks display at Jubilee Fields (Saturday evening).

The trip to London was overall very successful (Sunday 24th). Our biggest fear was that some of them would decide to “go off and do their own thing”; a worry that didn’t materialise as they all behaved well overall.

Portsmouth Naval Dockyards and the Victory (Mon 25th) had mixed reviews. Some of the young people took a great deal of time looking round the Victory and were genuinely interested. Others didn’t see the point. The latter group were relieved to be allowed to go shopping in Gun Wharf Quays after the Victory tour. Others explored the Naval Dockyards. This was a short day as the Irish group had to be back at Gatwick for their return flight for 4.30pm.

We where very pleased that the Billlingshurst group, (who had to leave the train first), were very polite in their farewell gestures – taking time to shake hands with all members of the Irish party.

De-briefing / evaluation from the Young People

Things they liked best about the weekend:

  • Cooking and preparing the meal for Saturday
  • Tate Modern
  • London Eye

Things they liked least:

  • All the walking
  • Being told off a lot by female Irish Leader

When Denise found £20 note on the floor before them! (Now in EU Project fund - they would have spent it on cigarettes & alcohol)!

What they learnt from the week end:

The Irish are far more aware of religious differences (At one stage I was asked by one of our boys whether he was Catholic or Protestant – a fact that the Irish – adults included – found extraordinary he didn’t know).

The fact that the problems young people face in Ireland are the same as those affecting them in Billingshurst. (Boredom, not enough to do, negative adults etc).

That the Irish have stricter up-bringing. More influences from extended family ties and friends.