A once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved in grass root politics has given a Bournemouth & Poole College student a confidence boost
19-year-old Cameron Whittingham is studying a BTEC in Business. Recently he joined the Patchwork Foundation. The voluntary organisation that helps engage under-represented, deprived and minority communities in Britain through exposure and engagement in politics.
“I have always had an interest in politics,” said Cameron. “I feel very privileged and lucky.”
Cameron says that being involved with the Patchwork Foundation has increased his confidence, given him more skills and helped him talk to people.
“I see changes in myself. I travel to London by myself three or four times a month and that’s a big step in itself and something I would have never have done before.”
With his new found confidence, Cameron has now applied to be a student governor at the Bournemouth & Poole College.
“Being involved in Patchwork has made me want to do more. It’s helped me with time management and my college work. “
One of the highlights so far for Cameron has been, along with 60 other 16-25-year-olds, visiting the US embassy and listening to the then Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Stephen Goldstein.
“It was completely different to what everyone has done before. The security was really tight, he was such a high profile person.”
Cameron also took part in various networking events with embassy staff and said he learnt a lot from them.
After his BTEC course Cameron hopes to go to university, not to study politics, but either charity development or event management.
“This opportunity has helped me find my way as well as broadening my horizons. I’m not so narrow-minded and I am more actively involved and I will give things a go.”
Kieran Angle, Masterclass Director, Patchwork Executive Team said: “Cameron joined the Patchwork Foundation Masterclass this February, after an extremely competitive application process. It has been a pleasure to watch him grow in confidence over the last several months. He was in one of the first groups of young people to visit the new US Embassy. He has learnt from leaders within politics through Masterclasses with Cabinet Ministers and the Civil Service Permanent Secretary Champion for Diversity.
“He will be shortly having the honour of attending a special Masterclass at Number 10 Downing Street. Cameron is a very kind and charismatic person that draws people to him. He is naturally a very strong leader and is able to be courageous, stepping up when the opportunities present themselves. I am looking forward to seeing Cameron Graduate from the Masterclass and go on to thrive in his future endeavours.”