There was a shared moment of quiet concern when we walked into the crowded lecture hall and saw the slide promising a discussion of the challenges facing the National Trust in the 21st Century. We quickly assured ourselves that we were seeing an advertisement for March’s distinguished lecture and settled down to be introduced to listen to Alan Milburn explain the problem of social mobility and some the solutions proposed by Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. Alan’s lecture was global in scope, attempting to distil lessons on increasing social mobility from many different experiences.
He owned the actions of those who have governed the country and reflected on his generation’s comparative economic fortune. At the same time, his lecture was clearly speaking to that same generation and that same ruling class. A thorough and well thought out talk was brought to earth by the answer to the last question of the session, “What can I do to improve social mobility?” Alan reminded us that whilst large changes might be needed to change society, only small changes are needed to change lives, he encouraged us to take small improving actions and to remember that all change starts with an argument.
After this we took a short stroll down to The Peacock where we had a lovely meal (it looks like the sharing platter is value for money!), talked through the lecture and caught up on our lives. This was a good chance for me, new to Nottingham Young Quakers, to get to know everyone a bit better. The evening ended with a round of letter signing, as Jaz and George had written a bundle of letters to various MPs on behalf of the group expressing our concern over the premature cancelation of the “Dubs Amendment” resulting in hundreds of unaccompanied minors in Calais being refused entry into the UK. It is our hope that these letters might play a part in affecting a small change which would see a significant positive change in the lives of those children.