In 2010, we identified from our work with local families that a significant cohort of children and young people existed in our neighbourhood who were not being reached by any mainstream youth projects because they were not involved in any kind of youth offending or regarded as ‘at risk’. We found these children were part of Lozells’ unheard army of Young carers, good kids who because of poverty and other family hardships had to behave like mini adults. All they needed was some attention on themselves for a change and a chance to have a break from their circumstances.
With kind grant funding from BBC Children in Need, we have established a Junior & a Senior Youth Empowerment Forum who meet monthly to take part in workshops and activities decided and organised by themselves with facilitation from Shale Ahmed – our local Award Winning Head of Youth Services.
They have not only held some all inspiring confidence building workshops on their terms, but they planned and attended a variety of educational and recreational trips.
Shale explains: “some of the children carry the world on their shoulders from having to look after a parent with a long-term disability or cope with the strains put on their parents as a result of debt and tight family finances. Yet their resolve is inspiring to us all, as they get on with it without resorting to so many negative influences affecting kids their age on our door step”
“I am in no doubt that I am the one who is privileged to be in the company of our community’s next generation of Leaders.”