Riots survey and inquiry promise young people a voice

Rioters smash a window in Birmingham

Rioters smash a window in Birmingham

Young people in Birmingham are being given the opportunity to air their views about the riots which rocked the city six months ago.

The opinions of around 200 young people will be gathered via questionnaires as part of a Prince’s Trust-funded project called Outreach.

And on April 5, a dozen young people will question high-ranking officials and community leaders – including West Midlands chief constable Chris Sims, Dawn Roberts of the Justice Department and Paul Tilsley, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council – during a Citizens’ Inquiry.

The Inquiry, which will be held at Birmingham Council House, is funded by West Midlands Police, and will be hosted by the city council.

Both initiatives are being run by young people under the auspices of The Future Melting Pot, a social enterprise inspired and led by young people, for young people, which aims to to help them achieve their full potential through enterprise, combining social goals with financial success.

The Outreach project, which has seen Future Melting Pot volunteers and young people using their own social networks, as well as schools and youth centres, to survey hard-to-reach youngsters from a broad spectrum of society is being headed by a 15 year old.

Alex Brown, who attends King Edward VI Aston Grammar School, believes young people’s views need to be heard to prevent a repeat of the August riots.

“Young people feel frustrated and misunderstood. The survey and inquiry give them a unique opportunity to put their views across,” he said.

“The project is already having a positive impact on young people, who really appreciate being consulted about the issues that caused the riots and what can be done address the problems faced by some young people to prevent disorder in the future.”

A report outlining the findings of the Outreach survey and the inquiry will be published in early summer.

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