“We have to make our communities better”
Over 100 Team London Young Ambassadors from 12 schools across London recently came together for a Safer Communities Youth Summit, held recently at City Hall. Young people took part in workshops around personal responsibility and connecting communities, before planning a social action project which they will run in their local area.
The day opened with a moving and inspirational keynote speech from Barry and Margaret Mizen, founders of For Jimmy and parents of Jimmy Mizen. Jimmy was murdered in May 2008 by a young person who had been cautioned by police several years earlier for harassing Jimmy’s brother.
Barry and Margaret hit national headlines when - immediately after the murder of their son - they spoke of compassion rather than revenge. It was in this vein that they spoke to the Young Ambassadors of the importance of using their voices and actions to bring about positive change.
The students then participated in workshops around a number of themes, including stereotyping, community divisions and speaking out against violence. These sessions then led to action plans, where the young people pledged to develop a project for their local area which would make it safer.
The summit ended with a thoughtful and inspiring talk by Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, who spoke of her own experiences of community. The schools then presented their planned social action projects, which included an idea to challenge young people to express themselves through art rather than crime, a ‘jazzy jumper’ fundraiser to subsidise a lack of young club provision in the local area, a rap and singing competition and a safe box concept, where young people could self-refer to a trusted adult when they felt unsafe.
The summit was delivered by WE Charity and For Jimmy as part of the Team London Young Ambassadors programme. To find out how your school can get started with social action and active citizenship projects download the toolkits here or contact WE Charity on [email protected].