Connecting young people and decision-makers to drive positive change in Wandsworth

The Brief

Wandsworth Youth Council – facilitated by Participation People – is a group of young people who live, study or work in Wandsworth between 10 and 18.  They come together to represent the voice of young people in the borough. 

 

The broad aim is to improve Wandsworth through societal change, creating a place where young people are happy, safe and can live their best lives. The Youth Council aims to connect young people and decision makers, so that decision makers, councillors and council  leaders understand more about the concerns and barriers young people face. 


After the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement and seeing the huge impact it had on young people in the community, Wandsworth Youth Council partnered with Wandsworth Young Ambassadors to proactively drive positive change in the local community. 

Solution

As we were still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing young people together was especially challenging as everyone was restricted to their homes. The team had to think outside of the box with determination, creativity and energy. 

As a result, Wandsworth Youth Council decided to create a series of webinars, which would be a safe space for discussion and education around Black Lives Matter, discussing the movement, systemic racism and black history, with a focus on the importance of learning from one another. 

The webinars were free and available to all young people aged 11 to 18, who were invited to join via social media advertising giving details on how to register and attend. 

Whilst the webinars were a valuable learning experience for all the members of Wandsworth Youth Council, there were a number of new skills required to produce the project: writing, producing, advertising and delivering a webinar to a group of individuals. The webinars were then facilitated by four Youth Council members , with the valuable support of Manhood Academy.

After the webinars those attending made a pledge to keep the conversation going and keep spreading awareness and educating others. 

 They left promising to:

  • Learn more
  • Always speak up in the face of injustice, or stand up to people who are unfair and unjust 
  • Not be silent
  • Keep educating themselves 
  • Educate others and continue the conversation 
  • Never stop speaking and talking about racial inequality and striving for equality 
  • Try and achieve a better understanding of different cultures and communities 
  • Do their best to always listen to the experience of those who have suffered racism, without exception
  • Always fight against systemic and personal racist abuse, despite consequences 

Project top tip: When dealing with sensitive and painful topics, the key to getting the most out of your project is creating pyscholgoical safety – a safe space for discussion and education.

Results

This was a positive and impactful experience for the young people involved amidst a time of unprecedented unrest and collective pain in society. 

Young people in Wandsworth were offered a safe space, a place to learn, a platform to be heard and an opportunity to spread awareness and unity. 

The young people of Wandsworth Youth Council learnt a variety of skills through project managing the webinars, but also discovered powerful learnings sparked by the BLM movement, which started with one person who spoke from the heart.  

This resonated strongly with all those involved and all took away the importance of using whatever platform you have (social media, friends, family, colleagues…) to speak and be heard and to find healing and peace by helping others. 

Testimonial

Ana Popovici – Director of Children’s Services, London Borough of Wandsworth


“Participation People have such great expertise in engaging, developing and working with young people to ensure they feel confident in using their voices to ensure they have a platform to be heard. 


Participation People are able to bring together a collective and diverse range of youth voices through great projects across the country. 


They share best practice learning and really demonstrate the importance of getting young people involved and engaged.”

Impact

In a time when everyone was scared and confused, the young people of Wandsworth Youth Council came together to take proactive and decisive action  creating something productive and worthwhile that they could bring to their communities.  


These young people spoke up about something that matters to them. 


Speak to one of our experts about Youth Councils and how we can help you engage young people in your area to drive positive change in your community.