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10 January, 2008

New Youth Act campaign groups in Lewisham and Greenwich

In late 2007 groups of young people in the South London boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich trained with Youth Act to develop their campaigns for change in their local areas.

The two groups of young people from Lewisham’s Youth Aid youth group and Eltham Green school in Greenwich, are proving to be two excellent examples of youth-lead campaigns for community change.

Emerging from the eight week Youth Act training programme in November 2007, the two youth groups from Lewisham and Greenwich are currently launching campaigns for change addressing two key issues that the young people feel most affect the lives of people in their communities: negative perceptions of young people in the press and community and mobile phone theft amongst young people.

Lewisham: What’s really good in Lewisham?

Angered by the negative coverage of young people in the press and the group’s rising concern that people in the Lewisham community are afraid of young people, the group have set up the What’s really good in Lewisham? campaign to show people in Lewisham what indeed is really good about the place they live in and how young people are making Lewisham a better place to live in.

Following participation in their Youth Act residential and training sessions in October 2007, new Youth Act campaigners in Lewisham plan to run the Lewisham Challenge aimed at demonstrating the positive actions young people are involved in and in some cases are leading in Lewisham.

The Lewisham Challenge

Members of the Youth Aid youth group and What’s really good in Lewisham? team have created the Lewisham Challenge which aims to gather information from young people around Lewisham about the positive things they are doing to make a difference. They have gathered a range of examples from drugs awareness projects lead by young people in Lewisham to a group of young people setting up a football in the community programme. They are also developing plans to organise a talent show in 2008 to showcase some of the talents of young people in the Lewisham community.

The group also plan to train and work with a film production company to create a documentary about their area and are designing a website to display the results of the Lewisham Challenge. All of these efforts are part of their wider campaign to get the message out to people young and old, local councillors, local press and MPs that there are some really good things are going on and involving young people in Lewisham.

"I have a really good feeling about this campaign group," Yemi Akinfenwa, Youth Act session trainer explained.

"The team are made up of ten 17-20 year olds from Youth Aid, committed to making a difference. Their next step is to work on an action plan to meet the Lewisham Challenge, create their documentary and get the Challenge up on the web.

"I am looking forward to watching and supporting them to take this campaign forward."

Youth Act in Greenwich

A key element of the Youth Act training programme involves young people looking critically at their communities and identifying the issues that affect the lives of people living in the communities most. One of the biggest issues that Year 8 students at Eltham Green feel most affects young people in Greenwich is mobile phone mugging or 'gauging'.

Following eight weeks of Youth Act training, the group are now running an awareness raising campaign targeted at young people aimed at giving them information on how to protect their valuables. Their campaign is called 'Up Close' and will involve using drama and music to teach young people about how to be more careful on the way to and from school and when they are out and about.

As a first stage, the group are organising and presenting their campaign at an assembly to their whole school on 17 of December 2007. In addition, they plan to conduct a survey throughout the school to identify areas in the school and local area where young people are particularly vulnerable (have been attacked for phones etc) and their experiences of mobile phone and MP3 player theft.

Once gathered, this information will be passed on to the local police team as an attempt to present their findings and to lobby for more police presence in those areas that young people feel most vulnerable and need to be made safer.

Using drama to communicate safety messages features strongly in the young people’s campaign: they hope to take a play they have written about keeping safe to local primary schools and other secondary schools in the area to raise awareness.

They are also creating a leaflet to advise people on being safe and aware to accompany their drama sessions and the larger campaign.


Your comments

From andre - crip city blue borough
i would like to no more about the campain and hopefully promote awareness on certain subjects.

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