11 February 2016 | Guardian stories | Back to Blog

Spotlight on Sam and Drew

Since moving in with us over a year ago, Sam has spent over 160 hours volunteering for a variety of causes from working with pre-school children to oral history projects. Drew moved in with us in July 2015 and has given over 60 hours of his time to being an SEN Governor at a school and doing environmental work.    

Divest Bexley members with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell at the Climate March in November 2015

Divest Bexley members with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell at the Climate March in November 2015


In August 2015 Sam and Drew started Divest Bexley, a climate change campaign which calls on Bexley Council to stop investing its pension fund in fossil fuels. Their campaign has been featured in the media here. They gave us their top 5 tips for running a local campaign:



  1. Find a big brother: We are one of many local divestment campaigns supported by the international NGO 350.org. This gives us legitimacy, well-researched facts to back up our claims, social opportunities and vital moral support and solidarity. However local your cause is, there is probably a larger supportive network you can link up with.


  1. Practice karmic recruitment: Within days of starting the campaign we went to a social for Bexley Wildlife, a network of local conservationists. We then supported the launch of Bexley Green Party and we have joined the local campaign against new road crossings over the Thames. Our team was recruited largely from these groups.


  1. Go straight for the target: We coordinated several visits to councillor surgeries over autumn to raise awareness and persuade councillors onto our side. This led to a direct contact with the chair of the Pensions Committee to whom we were able to make our case. You will find it easier than you think to get access to those in power.


  1. …but also take a sideways approach: This spring we will go to churches and local groups to explain the campaign. This helps us pressure the council but just as importantly, educates and informs. Be ready to talk about your campaign anywhere – a night in the pub led to a successful impromptu petition signature gathering (but when we tried to repeat the trick, it flopped).


  1. ABC: That’s always be chronicling. Be the person who documents their entire life on social media, it’s for a good cause! Even the most mundane gathering is a photo opportunity you’ll look back on with pride, vital for the internal morale and confidence of your team. A Facebook page and regular email update help maintain a sense of momentum.

                                                 Sam Martin

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