On Friday, 9th November, two days before Armistice Day and the centenary of the end of First World War, a group of students from Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill, Oasis Academy Mayfield and Oasis Academy Sholing came together for an event at Central Hall, Southampton, to honour the sacrifice of previous generations by joining a movement of change for peace as part of a national day of INSPIRE events.
INSPIRE is a peace-making initiative for young people, schools and communities. Its aim is to commemorate those who have given their lives during conflict in response to the centenary of the ending of the ‘Great War’, by acting as the impetus to take positive action to work for peace in local communities and personal relationships.
Students and staff from the three academies joined nearly 6,000 others gathered together in 14 different venues across England, Wales and N Ireland, alongside hundreds of assemblies, local gatherings and projects in schools across the UK to participate in INSPIRE.
Students from Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill, Oasis Academy Mayfield and Oasis Academy Sholing performed some inspiring pieces of work including a bespoke drama called ‘Trench Hill, a First World War extract’, student statements on peace, and a military drum performance.
Rev Steve Chalke MBE, Founder of the Oasis group of charities and the INSPIRE movement added, 'For this generation, peace is history rather than reality. INSPIRE is changing that by empowering young people to not only learn from the past, but also actively engage with the present so that the future can be different.'
For too many young people, peace is an old-fashioned term that comes straight out of the history books. In their day-to-day lives, it is an irrelevance. Peace means very little to a young person who believes they need to carry a knife to protect themselves, or who are struggling to find a place to belong; a sense of who they or whether their lives matter.
'To take part in such a project takes courage and determination. I am very grateful to the young people of our Oasis Academies Lord’s Hill, Mayfield and Sholing, for heeding the call and using this year’s centenary of the end of World War One to take a stand for peace.'
On Sunday 11th November, Monsignor Vincent Harvey and the Venerable Dr Peter Rouch led the Annual Remembrance Service at the Southampton Cenotaph. Several thousand people attended marking the 100th anniversary since the end of the first world war. Prayers for healing, for the dead and for peace were said by young people from the Ba’hai, Buddhist, Christian Hindu, Humanist, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities.