What do young people want? H&F hears top four asks

Safety, jobs, mental health and life skills are the issues that are most important to local young people.

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Youth Council members Vince Bigas, Anastasia Odusanwo, Niamh Faleye and Ben Ruzbehan pictured with H&F Mayor Emma Apthorp and Cllr Trey Simon-Campbell at H&F Council’s AGM in May 2022

Safety, jobs, mental health and life skills are the issues that are most important to local young people.

That’s the word from members of the H&F Youth Council who presented to a Full Council meeting of Hammersmith & Fulham on Wednesday night (13 July).

Youth Council members – including Youth Mayor Ben Ruzbeham, Deputy Youth Mayor Niamh Faleye, Member of Youth Parliament Anastasia Odusanwo and Deputy Member of Youth Parliament Vince Bigas – presented these key aims for the youth of H&F during the meeting.

Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of H&F Council, commended the Youth Council on their ‘astonishingly well thought out, extremely precise and extremely relevant presentation that sets a path’ for the future.

Safety and skills

Ensuring safety for young people was one of the key issues. Youth Mayor Ben Ruzbeham talked about the importance of young people working with Crimestoppers and the new Fearless project to make the borough safer.

Youth Council members also highlighted a need for increased awareness around life skills, such as sexual health and relationship services. While Deputy Youth Mayor Niamh Faleye stressed the need to share other important life skills, such as financially literacy, cooking and cleaning, and career advice.

The Youth Council has called on secondary schools to expand curriculums to better reflect these issues, but also by introducing a digital life skills tool kit to be shared on the forthcoming Digital Youth Hub.

Employment and mental health

Anastasia Odusanwo, H&Fs Member of Youth Parliament, discussed the need to widen job opportunities for young people. She called for more career fairs to provide support for young people looking for jobs and work experience, as well as to work with the Ready Steady Connect mentoring project, who have a launch event on Tuesday (19 July).

The final key aim – presented by Deputy Member Vince Bigas – was to offer more help for young people struggling with mental health problems. This included successful mental health support for young people with charities and groups such as CW+ Best For You as well as working directly with schools.

Anastasia added: “It was a great opportunity to present our ideas and thoughts to the council. Everyone members seemed supportive with our aims. I’m looking forward to working with them to make life better for young people.”

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