YOUNG SAY CAN YOU HEAR US? Listening to the voices of Newham’s young people about the issues they face as well as the things they need to stay safe and thrive is a key focus for Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz. The Mayor is keen for conversations to take place that focus on the abilities, achievements and talents of young people and she wants other organisations to join those discussions. She recently joined representatives from a range of organisations including the Metropolitan Police, University of East London, and Sexual Health in Newham (SHINE), for an event at Forest Gate Youth Zone called Can You Hear Us? More than 70 young people and the Mayor, together with Cabinet members Sarah Ruiz and James Beckles, Councillors Winston Vaughan and Lakmini Shah, and East Ham MP Stephen Timms, got together to address the current perception of young people and raise awareness of youth culture among professionals and local residents.
The event included information stalls on careers and education opportunities, workshops on health and drugs and alcohol abuse, and performances of dance and song. Youth worker Zahra Maalow said: “We wanted to address the current issue of young people in Newham and create a positive change by raising awareness about them among the wider population. We also wanted the professionals who come into contact with them to get a better understanding of our young people, directly from the young people themselves.” Mayor Fiaz, who praised the powerful event, said: “This is how we affect positive change - by confronting the negative stereotypes about young people and raising awareness about them among the rest of the community. We must also continue to give our young people a better understanding of how they can deal with the issues that affect them.”