Almost two-thirds of young people in Birmingham believe their future lies away from the city, according to a recent event aimed at helping to dispel myths about young people.
The Birmingham is..? debate at Villa Park, organised by youth education charity Envision and attended by more than 200 teenagers, saw 86 per cent of delegates say they were proud to be from Birmingham but were also worried about their employment prospects in the city and are frustrated at the lack of opportunity to voice their opinions and engage with local decision makers.
The panel included diversity consultant Joel Graham-Blake, city PR Suzie Branch, Lunar Society vice chair Waheed Saleem, BCU media lecturer Dave Harte and young entrepreneur and Envision graduate Talisha Johnson.
Regional manager of Envision, Cameron Nimmo, said: “As adults we all have a responsibility to respond to the concerns raised by the young people in attendance today.
‘‘Young people are facing some tough challenges and it is important now more than ever to get behind them and give them the inspiration, encouragement and support to help them realise their ambitions.
“This debate shows that young people want more open dialogue with city leaders, and events like this, and youth organisations such as Envision are the perfect opportunity to show young people that their opinions are valued.”
The event was part of the Co-operative Foundation’s Truth About Youth project which is being delivered by Envision in Birmingham and other charities elsewhere in the country.
To promote the project, the Co-operative has appointed a National Youth Advisory Panel to which a 19-year-old from the city has appointed.
Kashif Mehboob has been selected by The Co-operative Foundation from all those who have been actively involved in its Truth about Youth programme in Birmingham over the last two years.
These seven young people, aged between 17 and 22, will lead a series of new initiatives that will tackle the widespread negative perception of youth and show how inspiring young people are as well as the positive role they play in local communities and wider society through a range of youth-led initiatives and intergenerational activities.
* As part of The Co-operative Foundation’s Programme in Birmingham, Envision has launched a Truth about Youth survey through Orange’s Do Some Good app. The mobile phone app allows users to carry out five minute volunteer actions such as completing surveys, mapping environmental action or contributing to charitable actions.
The Do Some Good app is available on iphone, Android, Blackberry and Nokia and is free to download at http://dosomegood.orange.co.uk.