Graduate Story:

Rachael Gibbons

Rachael is based in Manchester and works for Reclaim, an organisation supporting young people from working class backgrounds to develop their activism skills and become leaders of social change.

I was first introduced to Bootcamp through a new colleague; they’d heard of Bootcamp through their previous organisation. I work full time as a programme lead at Mancunian-based charity, RECLAIM, and I’m often working on campaigns.

Before coming on Bootcamp, I was working on my own activism programme named ‘Power at the Periphery’ – a six month training school for young people from working class backgrounds to develop their activism skills. I created this programme through my work at RECLAIM, as I believe that too few social change leaders come from the backgrounds of the problems they seek to address. Bootcamp was inspiring as it told exactly the same story, and highlighted to me all the wonderful grassroots work that is going on across the UK. I left feeling fulfilled and better connected. Through the learnings I gained from Bootcamp, I’ll be able to actively support more working class young people across my city to lead change on the social issues they care about, allowing them to mobilize and think strategically about their work.

Bootcamp encouraged me to think outside of the box, taking on new challenges (coding!) and taking time to reflect on my own achievements as well as what I could develop. Since Bootcamp, I’ve been in touch with fellow campers – connecting up all the vital work they do seems more important now than ever. I’ve connected myself and RECLAIM to amazing work going on in London and I highly recommend that people take this wonderful opportunity with both hands, bite the bullet and go for it – where else can you hear an inspirational speech from a leading figure of the Standing Rock movement?

What else was important to me was the level of support and pastoral care at Bootcamp. I recommend that if anyone is feeling anxious or reluctant to apply out of fear or lack of support, they needn’t worry, staff were always on hand.

You can find out more about Rachael and RECLAIM here: https://www.reclaim.org.uk/

Rachael Gibbons

My biggest activism pursuit focuses on issues around class, particularly the representation of working class people in Politics. I currently lead two programmes focusing on the importance of working class activism and working class heritage within Manchester.