The riots across Britain last year felt like something that happened on a different planet – or at least a different country – to Secret Agent Marketing, working as we do in the middle of a forest in Wiltshire.
However we are all about supporting young people and social cohesion – we also work in two cooperatives after all, one of which, www.welovemarlborough.co.uk, often works with young people on arts and culture projects.
So we were excited to get involved in a Birmingham-based project positively affecting the post-riot lives of young people in Birmingham.
We’ve been working with a co-operative called The Future Melting Pot which is leading a couple of very innovative and extremely worthwhile projects.
In the first, a Prince’s Trust funded project called Outreach, their volunteers interviewing hard-to-reach teenagers and young adults about their perceptions of the riots.
They’re hoping to find out what led young people to take to the streets, vandalise their communities and commit acts of theft, arson and assault.
More importantly, they’ll be asking the young people what they think can be done to prevent more social disorder in the future.
The second project is a Citizen’s Inquiry, funded by West Midlands Police and hosted by Birmingham City Council.
What makes this Inquiry different is that the young people will be questioning the adults – some of the most influential officials and community leaders in Birmingham, including West Midlands chief constable Chris Sims, Dawn Roberts of the Justice Department and Paul Tilsley, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council.
The ethos of The Future Melting Pot is helping young people to help themselves. With this in mind, rather than taking a lead on the press campaign, by the power of Sykpe we’ve been mentoring and training 15 year old Alex Brown.
With our help he has created a press release for the local and national media. Over the next few days and weeks he’ll be interviewed, photographed and filmed about the initiative, in which he’s heavily involved – in fact, it was Alex who made the funding application to the Princes Trust.
We’re excited to see how it turns out, and, in our own small way, help a community heal.
Updated: See the coverage in the Birmingham Mail on Friday, February 10 here. Alex was also interviewed by BBC West Midlands on Saturday, February 11.