Young activists win Philip Lawrence Awards
The Stonebridge Road Estate Youth Act! group from Haringey was announced as one of the eight winners of the 2004 Philip Lawrence Awards today, hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald and Fiona McTaggart.Through the Citizenship Foundation’s Youth Act! project, the group has received training and mentoring to bring about significant changes to its estate and local community.
The group of seven boys, aged 13–17, initially joined together to improve safety, lighting and facilities on their estate and to give a voice to young people, naming their project Make a Change. It has had an excellent effect on the local area and their own experiences, encouraging others to join their campaign. They have been working with Youth Act! since July 2004.
"The whole Youth Act is a good idea, it gives you confidence to speak your mind and gives you better communication skills,” said Marcus, one of the group members.
Youth Act! has given the group more confidence to talk to people, which really helped when they carried out a survey on the estate and has really solidified the group.
- The project began by holding a fun day on the estate and inviting councillors, MPs and people from the local community in August. The aim was to show them what the estate was really like and ask them to provide support by helping to fund the project.
- On 13th November, 2004, the group ran a Community Clean Up day with council members and wardens to get rid of debris and weeds from the Back Park on the estate.
- They have been promised consultation meetings with the Council next year.
- Most of the things they asked for have been addressed by the Council and the NDC (New Deal for Communities).
- Following coverage on Newsnight, BBC filming was a major boost for their campaign, prompting Haringey Council to clean up rubbish dumped on the estate, including fridges and mattresses.
- They have secured £2400 from the Community Chest Grant for new basketball nets.
- The Council installed a new bright light by their football 'cage' so they can see and feel safer.
- All the dangerous/damaged play equipment has been removed from the Middle Park on the estate.
The 2004 Philip Lawrence Awards recognize outstanding achievements in good citizenship by young people (aged 11 – 20), supported by the Home Office and 4Children). The Awards were launched in 1997, following the murder of the headmaster Philip Lawrence, and focus on exceptionally praiseworthy activities rather than on the individuals concerned.
Youth Act! Is a project which focuses on the need for young people to practice democracy and focus on small-scale local action. It is an active citizenship/political literacy project for 11 – 18 year olds, funded by The Bridge House Estates Trust Fund, the European Commission and the Carnegie UK Trust. Ms. Dynamite has endorsed it (a real icon for young people).