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12 November, 2007

Youth Act Autumn Residential 2007

During the weekend of 19th October 2007, new Youth Act groups from Lewisham and Greenwich travelled north to Hebden Bridge to attend the residential section of the Youth Act training programme for young people learning to campaign for change in their communities.

Youth Act residentials are aimed at supporting new campaign groups to work intensively over three days on developing the skills, ideas and plans necessary to run successful campaigns for change in local communities. Youth Act residentials bring young people and their teachers, youth workers and other supportive adults together to learn and develop skills to support their campaigns through 3 full days of training, workshops, group presentations and outdoor activities in a supportive atmosphere where a strong emphasis is put on co-operation and learning from one another.

Training sessions on campaign planning, team work, decision making, negotiation and a range of sessions aimed at learning about communication through drama and outdoor activities were led by YoMo Training. YoMo training aims to inspire and support groups of young people to organise community projects in their local areas.

This autumn Youth Act is training two groups of young people from Eltham Green School in Greenwich and Youth Aid youth club in Lewisham, supporting them to develop their campaign ideas and projects for change.

Whilst at the residential, Year 8 students at Eltham Green School identified key issues that they feel most affect them and their community: crime, the lack of adequate transport provision and buses in the area, teenage pregnancy, violence within gangs and feeling unsafe were top on their list.

Through a range of skills and team building sessions, the group decided their specific aim would be to raise awareness of crime and safety. They plan to do this through drama: communicating key messages about crime and safety to other young people through comedy and drama-based role plays addressing crime and safety issues which they will present to different classes at the school.

What’s really good in Lewisham?

In training sessions at the residential, Lewisham’s Youth Aid, youth group recognised many positive and negative aspects of community life in Lewisham. They felt that some of the more negative issues faced particularly by young people in Lewisham included: high rates of teenage pregnancy, high rates of STIs, gangs, and a lack of positive young role models – aspects which they feel contribute to the creation of a negative image of young people in the area.

At the same time, the group feel that there are a number of possible opportunities available to them to contribute positively to their community helping young people to develop skills, self esteem and an awareness of the range of options available to them.

In looking at approaches to support other young people in Lewisham, the campaign group have decided to create a base called: What’s really good in Lewisham? where young people can contact them to showcase positive things which young people are doing in the community and from which they can tell other young people about different opportunities available to them in Lewisham. They also hope to create a film or drama highlighting the issues faced by young people.

Back in London, both campaign groups are currently attending Youth Act training sessions and working to refine their campaign aims and activities.

Youth Act works empowers young people to develop their campaigns for political and social change in their communities. For more information contact Ade Sofola, Youth Act Director on 0207 566 5033.


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