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Sandwell Young Advisor Lead Mohammed Rohim organised and facilitated Sandwell’s very own ‘Question Time’ event on Thursday 18th August 2011, in response to the UK riots.
The Panel included:
Adam Price – Joint Chair of Sandwell Shadow Youth Cabinet
Derrick Campbel – Government Advisor on Rights and Equality
Barbera Peacock – Director for 'people'
Councillor Bob Badham – Cabinet Member
Chief Inspector Bal Sidhu – West Midlands Police
The debate began by asking ‘what started the riots?’ which – owing to the very passionate and varied viewpoints of the young people and the panel members themselves – launched a great debate. Discussion focused particularly on the causes of rioting in Sandwell; whether this was ‘copycat’ behaviour of events in London or a deeper issue relating to services and opportunities available to young people.
Also discussed were:
• How the riots impacted on local communities;
• Cuts to youth services and whether further cuts would result in future riots;
• Corruption and racism in the police force. Stop and search policies and how they affect young people;
• Young people and ‘The Big Society’;
• The most appropriate services that should be available to young people – the ‘gap’ that exists between the ages of 14-17 years when parks and swimming pools are no longer appealing;
• Aspirations of young people – why some young people had a lack of aspiration and why;
• The National Citizen Service.
Rohim commented: “Young people were extremely passionate and gave responses, comments and questions in a very assertive manner, which made the panel members proud of the young people… Whilst we discussed what caused such events to happen we ended on a positive note on how we can move forward.”
For more information on the event, or on Young Advisors work in Sandwell, contact Rohim Mohammed (firstname.lastname@example.org), or visit the Sandwell Young Advisors website
Frustrated that you missed out on this event? Well, Rohim and his Sandwell team have helpfully put together a blow-by-blow account of what happened:
"A lot of the time young people are the victims, people think these events don’t affect young people but actually they affect young people the most!" Cllr Bob Badham, Cabinet Member for Children and Families (Sandwell MBC)