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Faces in da crowd - Photo Report

11 April 2007

On 19th March 2007, one hundred and fifty young people from across England arrived at The Peepul Centre in Leicester to take part in “Faces in da crowd”, a national youth conference charged with exploring the issues, such as community cohesion, integration and sustainable development, that young people face in their communities every day. The event was also attended by representatives from local and national government, youth and voluntary organisations.

“Today is about pushing against the barriers to cohesion and integration”, Hamza Vayani, Commission for integration and Cohesion

Organised by Youth Voice, with funding from the Sustainable Development Commission, Department of Communities and Local Government, Government Office East Midlands, Department of Education and Skills, the conference gave participants a chance to have their say in a variety of ways including a graffiti wall, Big Brother style diary room, drama, workshops and an anonymous e-voting system.

Rita Patel“As young people today, you need to understand how the system in which you live works, from local to national government, from the police to the NHS. Then, you need to believe that you have it within yourself to create change.” - Rita Patel, Chief Executive of the Peepul Centre

The objective of the day? To give a voice to young people that will be heard by government and to empower them to make their own decisions and choose their own (we hope sustainable) path.

Key Messages to Government

Throughout the day many topics were discussed; below are some that aroused the most passionate debate:

- The positive aspects of communities are often ignored, especially by press and media.
- Many young people find it easier to be represented by someone who has experienced first hand the problems they face.
- The lack of easily accessible information on how to get things done is as frustrating for young people as it is for adults.
- The issues faced by communities are extremely diverse as you move around the country and there is no one size fits all solution.

Aaron and group“The best part is telling adults what to do and that sometimes they're wrong.”Aaron (hiding), Northampton

Sarah and Luke“Today, it's about working out how we can mix religion and cultures into one community.” - Sarah and Luke, Burnley

Propositions for Change

- Empower people within their communities to make changes. Provide information and funding to those with good ideas.
- Encourage projects to become independent of government funding; it may not always be available.
- Get to the root cause of any problems within a neighbourhood through direct means such as interviews.
- Conferences such as this can be good, but only if we see real change as an outcome. Faith in the system can be damaged if you feel as though you’re not being listened to.

A group session at fidcThe workshops covered issues as diverse as empowering young people and sustainable communities and gave everyone a chance to have their say.

e-voting Results

Hand-held electronic keypads gave the organiser’s the ability to conduct real time votes whilst still in conference. The same questions were asked at the beginning and end of the day to ascertain whether any views had changed during the workshops and discussions.

» Voting results (Powerpoint)


Event DVD on Youtube:

» Faces in da crowd Part 1
» Faces in da crowd Part 2

A performance by some of the participants

A performance by some of the participants showed how the attitudes of young people from different cultures or with different beliefs can be misinterpreted.

Faces in da crowd was organised by youth VOICE with funding from the Sustainable Development Commission, Department of Communities and Local Government, Government Office East Midlands, Department of Education and Skills.

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