“A BIG task ahead of us” – getting to the heart of issues faced by young people in England
Blog post by Reanna Vernon, 21
A week after we kicked off the process, the design team met on Saturday 10 March with one clear task – to review evidence from all of the team and identify the key issues affecting young people in England.
As I set off on a very early train from Manchester, I thought about how this task wasn’t going to be easy, and if I’m honest, I thought it might be a little dull. But, hands-up, I was very wrong.
We started the day with each of us explaining the issues that young people in our area said they faced. These issues ranged from safety concerns in the South to car insurance worries in the North, and everything in between!
But this was more than a bullet-point feedback session. Each person delivered a clear presentation and explained the innovative approaches they had taken to get other young people to share their views. Through social media, face to face conversations and clever networking, we spoke to over 1,000 young people in just one week!
We were excited to be joined by Albert Tucker and Nalini Varma from BIG’s England Committee, who were able to hear first-hand about the issues that matter most to young people across the country. It was clear that many of the issues we identified interlink and impact each other, so we put them into six categories:
- Unemployment (including education and training)
- Leisure plus (having constructive places to go with good support services)
- Safety (violence and gangs)
- Young peoples’ portrayal in the media
- Young peoples’ self image and identity
- Health and wellbeing (mental health, stress, bullying, sexual health and substances)
During the afternoon, we spoke in more depth about the impact each issue can have on the life of a young person in England today. Many people in the team supported their findings with current research or stories from their experience which brought strong evidence and real personality to the discussions. It made me realise just how BIG our task is.
Young people – get involved
By the end of the day, it became clear that we still have lots of work to do – and we need your help! Our next task is to decide what the three most important issues are, so that we can focus our work and make sure we help achieve real, lasting impact for young people.
This is where you come in. Have your say and help us decide the three most important issues young people face today.
Hear from the team
I’m really enjoying being part of this process. Here’s how some of the rest of the team are finding it so far:
This was a really lively, engaging and thought provoking day. It’s helpful to learn about non-London concerns and cases – the session is making me leave motivated and keen to dig deeper.
The professionalism and commitment shown is admirable – the voices represented really show what young people can do.
I am very positive about the BIG process. The group are fantastic and we have all contributed really well to every conversation and piece of work.