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News16 March 2023

Young Clarion residents and social activists invited to Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey

On Monday [13 March], young people from London and Malta including several Clarion residents attended the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey, an event which celebrates the people and cultures of the Commonwealth nations.

The service was attended by around 2,000 guests from the UK and Commonwealth, including His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen Consort, the Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, politicians, faith leaders and athletes who had competed in the Commonwealth Games.

Guests enjoyed performances by the Choir of Westminster Abbey, The National Ballet of Rwanda – Urukerereza and MOBO award-winning artist YolanDa Brown OBE, and His Majesty the King addressed those present, highlighting how the Commonwealth can be a force for good, promoting values of tolerance, respect and solidarity.

The young people who attended are part of a project delivered by Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, in partnership with The Royal Commonwealth Society, bringing together young leaders aged 18-25 from across nations who develop and deliver action plans around the pressing issues faced by their communities.

Through an innovative youth exchange model, where young leaders travel to other countries to meet peers and collaborate, the programme aims to embed meaningful social action on a global scale.

As part of the programme, participants travelled to Malta to complete their final proposals that aim to influence public policies and regulations around eco-friendly sustainable travel and greener housing. The young people met His Excellency Dr George Vella KOM KCMG, President of the Republic of Malta, and proposed plans to raise awareness of climate and environmental issues locally, support changes in individual action and highlight implications of high-carbon lifestyles and carbon intensive activities. All participants received one-on-one advice on leadership and development.

The Commonwealth Day service was a chance for the young leaders to come together, celebrate youth, connect with community leaders and promote the values of the Commonwealth.

At the end of the service, the young ambassadors were invited to a private reception with the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh to discuss their environmental development plans further.

Phil Miles, Director of Clarion Futures, said:

“Our partnership with The Royal Commonwealth Society is a real source of pride for us, providing opportunities for young people to take part in social action projects that make a real difference in their communities and beyond. The Commonwealth Day service was a great chance for these young leaders to come together and celebrate their achievements, and we are delighted to be part of their social action journeys.”

Nicole, 19, took part in the project and attended the Commonwealth Day service. She said:

“The youth exchange project has made such a positive impact on me that I cannot fathom the person I was before. Having met dozens of people with different aspirations, yet the same goal of a better world, I can safely say that this community has given me much more than I can imagine to give it back – and that inspires me to work even harder!”