Students from Hackney last week grappled with issues such as gender equality and modern day slavery in hard-hitting speeches delivered at Parliament.

Pupils from Bridge Academy prepared for months with poets, creatives and filmmakers as part of the ‘Speak Up’ project run by Hackney-based education charity Ministry of Stories.

The group enjoyed a full tour of the Houses of Parliament, watched the Speaker’s procession and observed the Commons in full swing from the public gallery.

Suitably inspired, the students then delivered their speeches to Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali and an audience of political experts.

Ministry of Stories director Lucy Macnab said the visit was “an opportunity for students to see that their thoughts and words matter in the real world”.

She added: “We are proud to partner with Parliament’s Education Service to give these young citizens a platform from which to be heard.”

Students will have another opportunity to visit Parliament in April as part of the charity’s ongoing programme.

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team