Second Southwark Youth Voice Summit meets

12 April 2019

Nearly 100 young people from 10 schools in Southwark came together to talk to council and police leaders about their views on the issues facing young people in Southwark.

The Youth Voice Summit gives young people the opportunity to share their experiences of knife crime, the impact of social media on their lives, gender roles and expectations.

This is the second Youth Voice Summit that the Southwark Young Advisors have held for the borough’s young people. The first half of the summit detailed what the council and others had done in the five months since the first event to act on concerns young people raised.

Young people said they find it easier to express themselves by texting, an app or social media so key among the actions is the commitment to develop a digital means for young people to report their concerns easier. Using funding from the Digital Innovation Fund the council will work with young people to design the most appropriate tool. 

A key concern raised at the last Youth Voice Summit was that young people did not always feel safe on their way to and from school.  In response, the council and police trialled the ‘Safer Routes’ programme around Peckham Rye to help make the journey from school to home safer. This included police focusing on the transport routes that children use to leave school. Teachers and community wardens were also present along various routes away from the school.  The scheme was incredibly successful and the council is looking at how this can be rolled out across the borough.

The event also saw the launch of the Positive Futures Fund, a scheme that gives charities and community groups the chance to bid for funding to set up initiatives for young people in the borough. The fund  is centred on young people and a key requirement of the funding criteria is that all schemes must be co-designed by young people. 

Mental health was a key concern raised during the round table discussions with some pupils suggesting the introduction of safe spaces in schools to talk about mental health in a non-judgemental way.

Young people also highlighted that they wanted to raise awareness of LGBTQ + issues in school as well as more education about relationships and sex.

Cllr Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for community safety and public health said: “Events like this are about listening and also showing young people that we act on what they tell us. I am proud to have been able to show young people that we have used what they told us last time and we are actively working on solutions.

“Too often young people’s voices are missing from the conversation on things that matter them. I am so proud that the Young Advisors put this summit together because this event really put young people’s voices at the centre of the conversation rather than politicians, police and council officers. ”

Page last updated: 12 April 2019