Luke Billingham is one of the co-authors of the Youth Violence Commission final report. He is a Youth & Community worker for Hackney Quest, an independent youth charity, and he is Head of Strategy for Reach Children’s Hub, an innovative new charity supporting young people and families in Feltham.
As far as we’re aware, no Cross-Party Parliamentary Commission has ever handed over its launch event to a team of young people. We’re excited to be the first.
There are many reasons that we’ve chosen to do this, including:
We need to be very clear about the role of the young people participating in the Final Word event on July 16th. They don’t speak for the Commission, they are not accountable for the Final Report, and they are not expected to passively present or parrot the Report: they are independent experts presenting their views on the Report’s findings and recommendations, and putting forward their views on the actions that are needed in order to effectively address the problems highlighted in the Report.
No doubt their perspectives will be challenging or even intimidating to some power-holders and decision-makers – that is precisely the point. As the Report makes clear, we are facing a crisis as a society when it comes to the lives of our young people. Far, far too many young people are growing up without the care, support and hope that every person deserves. To rectify this situation requires urgent, radical action, not talking shops or hang-wringing.
The young people are all being paid for their contribution, including for the preparation work they are undertaking with Keir Irwin-Rogers and myself (alongside youth workers from Hackney Account, Juvenis and Take Back the Power). We have been working with them over the past few weeks as a group and individually, to ensure that they have the chance to have their queries answered about the Commission and the Report , and to have our support in formulating the responses that they wish to present.
We very much look forward to handing over to them for the majority of the event, to hear their expert reflections and their deeply-considered calls to action. In my view, they’re the greatest asset we have for taking forward the findings of the Commission, and I expect that the country will be seeing a lot more of them in coming years – they are leaders of the future, and I’m excited to see what they will achieve. We will also be supporting them as a group and as individuals after the event, particularly in light of any media attention they may receive.
July 6, 2020 11:50 am Leave your thoughts