Young people in Hammersmith & Fulham are tackling their greatest concerns in life – with an ambitious manifesto, setting out how they would fix the problems.
Members of the H&F Youth Council were elected earlier this year in a ballot of all secondary school pupils. They elected Scarlett Knowles as the H&F Youth Mayor and Ozan Erder as Member of Youth Parliament.
Now, the motivated young people have a packed agenda for the coming year. Their plans have been largely influenced by their annual Make Your Mark survey which recently gathered the views of more than 4,000 of local young people in the borough.
The youth council members are focusing on these five key issues:
Knife crime – their work will include asking young people about their experiences, using the UK Youth Parliament to get young people talking about the issue, and taking part in conferences.
Period poverty – this will include gathering views and experiences of young people to find out the impact on young women in H&F and running projects to support those who need help to obtain sanitary products.
Recycling and waste – the youth council will visit the borough’s recycling facilities to broaden their understanding, work with H&F Council’s recycling team to carry out an audit of the top ten single-use items that young people could cut down on, and advise schools on how they can do more.
Inclusivity and access to services – this will include ensuring the council is accessible to all young people, youth councillors getting out in the community more often, hosting the second Youth Achievement Awards, being trained as youth champions to help young people find the services and activities they need, and developing creative ways of engaging with young people.
Sexual health – the youth council will continue to work with healthcare experts to develop their healthy relationship programme in schools and work to gain an understanding of how young people use sexual health services to help change things for the better.
Scarlett said she spoke for the entire youth council when she said she couldn’t wait to start building on the successes of last year. “I believe strongly on our manifesto this year, because I know it represents the views of the youth within our borough,” she said.
“I would like to get the message across that the young people care, and want to change, grow and improve what life is like for children now, and in the future.
“It is an amazing honour to be chosen to represent my borough and with my dedication and that of the rest of the youth council, I truly believe we can make a difference.”
The past year’s successes have included founding H&F’s Youth Achievement Awards; organising a Coming Out Day; setting up a healthy relationships project to be piloted in schools; consulting thousands of young people on their mental health to help headteachers review their mental health policies and supporting a bid for NHS funding for mental health teams in schools.
Can you help?
If you want to help the youth council make a difference in H&F, they’d love to hear from you. Businesses, charities and individuals are already working with the youth council to increase and improve opportunities for young people in H&F.
If you you’d like to join them, email Brenda Whinnett at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to read more news stories like this? Subscribe to our weekly e-news bulletin.