“Take a chance on young people”

Young People’s Capital of the World?

Report launch, 20th March 2017

A cross-sector audience spanning the public, private and voluntary sector came together on 20th March 2017 to celebrate the launch of London Youth’s new report Young People’s Capital of the World?. This research into five London boroughs, carried out in partnership with UBS and Centre for London, was informed by interviews with young people by their peers and supplemented by further insights by youth professionals and analysis of data on how London is changing and the impact on young people.

Chaired by Richard Hardie of UBS, the discussion began with a presentation of the research findings from Phil Kerry, Programmes Director at London Youth who highlighted the need for strong leadership within the sector to develop a clear ‘offer’ for young people. He called for the “unsung heroes” of the young people’s workforce to be invested in, and set out a need for young people to have a voice in the future of the city.

Malachi Butt-Mukete, a peer researcher on the project, used the event to do just that, emphasising two key concerns of the young people he spoke to: getting a foot in the door in their desired career, and knowing where they will live in the future. Malachi called on those in the room to “take a chance on young people” and invest in their skills and talents, and spoke passionately about the drastic changes that had happened in his own community; changes that he felt weren’t for him or his peers, but for people moving into the area.

Chris Naylor, Chief Executive of the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, brought a local authority’s perspective to the panel, and began by setting out that whilst the context in which we are all operating has “fundamentally changed and changed forever”, there are also many reasons to be optimistic about what London can, and does, offer young people. He spoke of the council’s conscious and deliberate journey from being a delivery organisation to a convener; and the urgent need to think differently, and more long-term, about what public services are for and how we can deliver them.

Geraldine Blake, Projects Director at London Funders, the next panellist to speak, considered the role of funders in supporting greater collaboration in the sector, drawing on practical examples of how funders have designed programmes to encourage greater collaboration between delivery partners, and how funders are now collaborating with each other, and with others in the sector, to provide more consistent funding across London.

The final panellist to share their reflections was Silviya Barrett, Research Manager, at Centre for London. Silviya highlighted the significant changes affecting London, namely a rapidly growing and diverse population, and rising housing costs that significantly outstrip that the rest of the country. Silviya spoke of the trade off that many young people need to make between being in a city with lots of employment opportunities against the high cost of living, as well as emphasising the gap in funding that exists between school and post-16 education.

Through the discussion that followed, the panellists explored how the different stakeholders in the room could bring about the required changes to meet the needs of young people and the sector, with key themes emerging around leadership, the preventative role of early action, and partnership working with schools.

Summing up, Richard Hardie reflected on the optimism of the report and the need for us to collectively to take a long-term view in tackling some of the challenges identified through the research.

Next steps

The report is designed to give organisations and policy makers some clear pointers to how London can be a better place for young people, and we hope that it will act as a catalyst for action. London Youth will over the coming months take forward a number of parts of the agenda:

  1. Supporting local strategies – London Youth is already working with some Local Authorities and emerging infrastructure bodies to take forward local strategic support for community youth provision. Over the coming months we’ll be doing more of this and encouraging and supporting further partnerships.
  2. Working with Deputy Mayors and the GLA – as the London Plan develops, and the strategies around education, culture, health and wellbeing and community engagement develop, London Youth will be ensuring that the learning from this report, and from our network more generally, is fed into the relevant consultations to shape future policy.
  3. We will continue to work with London Funders, through its Children and Youth People’s group, and with other partners under the banner of the Vision for Young Londoners, to strengthen partnerships with those who can and want to invest in young people and community capacity
  4. And we will continue to offer support to the London youth network of organisations, to strengthen local networks, build capacity and improve provision for young people in London

We’d be delighted if others want to be part of this agenda and take up the challenge of making London the young people’s capital of the world.

Read the report here.