We’re here live at the To The Power of 10 event at Loxley house Nottingham, where the young people of Nottingham will get the chance to put decision maker to the test!

Meet the panellists:

  1. Councillor Merlita Bryan, Lord Mayor of Nottingham
  2. Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council
  3. Natalie Robinson, European Youth Ambassador
  4. Steven Cooper, Divisional Commander (City), Nottinghamshire Police
  5. Paddy Tipping, Crime and Police Commissioner
  6. Dr Martin Glynn, Criminologist and public health researcher
  7. Dr Chris Kenny, Director of Public Health, Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire
  8. Kathy McArdle, Chief Executive of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter
  9. Councillor Nicola Heaton, Portfolio Holder for Equality and Communities
  10. John Yarham, Chief Executive of Futures Advice, Skills and Employment

 

We’re now hearing from Nigel Cooke, director of One Nottingham, who’s telling us all about Loxley house, the heart of Nottingham City Council. Many of the services based here work with the young people of Nottingham, so it’s great to have them hear having their say.

Kevin Brown is chatting to Jon Collins, who’s telling us about the savings they need to make from the council budget- each year council tax goes up, business rates go up, but the contribution from the government is massively decreasing by millions each year. Funding has had to be reduced in many areas. However, the council have not reduced funding in the areas of economic development and employment. The number of apprenticeships in the city is on the increase, which provides great opportunities for young people. However, the funding cuts have made things tight and some tough decisions have to be made.

Kevin asks about libraries and youth centres- why is funding towards these facilities being cut?

Jon says that they are working within the cuts as best they can and trying to avoid cutting these services.

A question from a young person: What are you saving up for?

Jon talks about the net budget and says that they’re not saving up for anything- the term ‘savings’ refers to cuts.

Another question: Why are you cutting housing benefits for under 25s?

Jon says that this was a national government decision which they were forced to implement, despite them disagreeing with it on a local level. Nottingham council also disagreed with the bedroom tax but they had no choice in implementing it sine it was a government policy.

Another question: Will Nottingham City Council freeze council tax?

Jon explains that this is not possible. If the government are making the cuts, the council have no choice but to take measures to increase their income. Otherwise the services which people rely on, including youth services, would have to go.

The government cuts hit the big cities the hardest.

Question: A lot of the budget is going towards the new tram lines. What percentage of money from the new parking levies is going towards the new tram lines?

Jon says that almost all of the parking levy money is going towards the tram improvements, but some also goes towards improvements to the train station and also to provide the Centrelink free bus service.

Jon says that a large proportion of the money for the new tram lines came from the government, on the condition that they raised the rest themselves. Rather than increasing council tax, the council chose to introduce the workplace parking levy system. The new tram lines will provide a great number of jobs and, although it is currently causing disruption, the work should be done by the summer and when it’s done things will be much better.

Question: Where can money to support the creative quarter be accessed?

Kathy McArdle explains that the creative quarter is a new initiative which has only been running for less than a year. The creative quarter is made up of the Lace Market, Hockley and Sneinton Market- about a third of a square mile in total.

It contains the Nottingham Contemporary art gallery, the Broadway cinema and the vintage shops of Hockley. It also contains New College Nottingham Adam’s Building.

The creative quarter project aims to generate jobs within this sector- check out http://www.creativenottingham.com/ for more information.

You can also find them on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/creativenottingham

The project aims to create opportunities and jobs especially for young people within businesses based in this part of the city, including shops and restaurants. It aims to look at creative industries, especially those using digital technologies. There are a number of apprenticeships available within this sector. There are even incentives and support for starting your own business.

There’s going to be a festival in May to support young entrepreneurs- details on the CQ website.

 

Question: Are there any plans to go into the community and meet young people in person and gather ideas?

At the moment the creative quarter is just made up of Kathy and a very small team. She says that she could look into a roadshow in partnerships with One Nottingham. You can also get in touch with Kathy and her team and they can then come out to see you to talk about creative quarter opportunities.

Nigel talks about the young creative awards.

http://www.youngcreativeawards.org/

Question: Are there any venues, platforms or stages that we can access to put on our own shows?

Kathy talks about showcasing talent. She talks about the young creative awards. Kathy says that young people should build up a relationship with local venues- the Broadway do youth film making and there are a few youth dance societies. You need to make connections with these groups.

Kevin Brown asks a question to the audience:  Do you feel, as young people of Nottingham, that you have access to these organisations?

Only 1 person raises their hand.

Kathy says that the creative quarter has only been running for 9 months so they haven’t yet had a chance to fully engage with all the young people of Nottingham. She is, however, shocked that only one person raised their hand. Kathy talks about her previous role as part of ‘Find Your Talent’ and how this programme worked to engage young people. She hopes that the creative quarter can engage young people in similar ways.

Kathy is looking for partner organisations to work with- she agrees to network with other groups here today.

Martin Glynn is now talking about his time in Baltimore. He talks about using hip hop, grime, drama and spoken word to engage young people and how successful this is within a prison environment.

Martin talks about using Twitter, Youtube and social media to engage with young people, as well as music.

Martin says that young people need to make their needs clear to those making the decisions.

He talks about the importance of education.

 

Question: How can I gain work experience if organisations won’t give me the work experience?

Martin talks about leadership courses. He says he’s happy to stay behind afterwards to talk more about this.

Presenter Kevin Brown now asks John Yarham to tell us about what ‘Futures’ is.

John says that they are a support service for young people across the east midlands, providing career advice and apprenticeships. They particularly support those who are NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training). Futures is supported by the city council and other organisations. They aim to reduce NEET levels in Nottingham.

Kevin Brown presses John to say more about the actual work that Futures is currently doing.

John responds- “A lot of our work is on a one to one basis…We target young people in schools who are most at risk of becoming NEET when they leave school…We also have a support scheme for over 16s to help them to move into employment…We also have a charity called Unity engaging with young people across different communities…We look for young people who’ve fallen below the radar and aren’t in contact with services who can help them…We work through social media to reach out and engage with young people.”

Kevin Brown asks the audience who has heard of Futures?

Quite a few young people raise their hands.

This is good, but Kevin says that more still needs to be done in terms of engagement.

 

Question: How are you helping to create young people who can leave school and go into the world with the skills needed to get a career?

Kevin talks about the improvements done to schools in Nottingham, he mentions the new Bulwell Academy.

Jon talks about the changes to the education system. It used to be the councils who ran schools but the government have now changed this so that schools are independent institutions, called ‘academies’.

Under the current government, there’s no influence on schools from local authorities. They don’t check if schools are up to the mark. All of this falls down to Ofsted.

Jon doesn’t think schools being responsible for themselves is the best way to go.

The reduction in pastoral care is a choice made by individual schools. The government cut the Connections service and then individual schools decided not the spend money on careers advice.

The questioner responds- “You haven’t really answered the question of how you can help those leaving schools to become more social and employable?”

Jon replies- “We can’t control the schools because the government’s changed the system…What we can do is work with Ofsted and set up a challenge board to offer advice and support to local schools to hold them accountable to the community.”

Natalie Robinson now talks about the UK Youth Parliament’s ‘Curriculum for Life’ campaign, which asks young people to challenge their schools to provide a curriculum which isn’t about league tables and grades and includes life skills like paying bills and cooking.

 

Steven Cooper now talks about the work the police did since the last Power of 10 to tackle the causes of the 2011 riots.

Question: What did the police do during the riots?

Steven says that the police’s aim was to keep as many people as safe as possible and to keep the young people who were rioting separate from each other and away from areas where they could cause damage.

Kevin Brown asks- Have the police improved their relationship with black young men?

Steven says that a lot of work has been done to tackle this issue, especially in relation to the ‘stop and search’ policy.

Question: What’s being changed internally within the police force to change attitudes?

Paddy Tipping answers that there needs to be more Black and Asian police officers and that progress is slowly being made. They’re currently coaching 50 BME people from the community to join the police force when they next recruit.

The use of stop and search in Nottingham has also been reduced.

Paddy says, “We need to treat black young people with respect.”

Nottinghamshire police are about to offer better equality training for existing police officers, as well as new recruits. Paddy says that his number one priority is to engage better with the black community.

Steven talks about the new stop search training, which talks about individual rights and respect and which has to be used correctly.

Kevin Brown challenges this- “Only 9% of arrests are made from stop search, do you truly think it’s a good method?”

Steven says that he believes it is a good method, particularly if a young person is believed to be carrying a weapon. “In 1 in 4 cases, drugs, stolen goods or weapons are found.”

 

Question: What are you doing about serious organised crime, rather than focusing on stop and search?

Steven says that police teams are working to tackle this. He also says that the police rely on the public to give them information so they can act on it.

In regards to stop and search, he believes that officers should have the diplomacy skills to talk in a respectful way. Officers should be reported if they do not do this. Everyone should be able to talk to everyone civilly and courteously.

He says that if a young person has a bad experience with a police officer being disrespectful, they should report it immediately.

Question: What is being done about people ending up in cells who need medical treatment?

Paddy talks about working closely with the NHS to ensure that people who should be in hospital are taken there and also working with community mental health nurses to tackle mental health issues.

Chris Kenny talks about the link between health, especially alcohol and drug abuse, and crime, and the work being done to tackle this.

Question: What work is being done to train people in the community?

The panel agree that training is often done internally within organisations / the police and that they need to focus more on training for community members in key skills.

Martin Glynn talks about community training for understanding the police. It is important for the police force to gain community trust.

He asks us to think about what role a perpetrator can place in defending themselves, even though they have a lawyer? He talks about individual responsibility and awareness.

Question: When are we gonna see more black and asian police officers on the street?

Paddy says that in the present financial year, there are more black and asian police officers in training than ever before but it’s still not equal, which is why they are training 50 black and asian community members to take up these positions.

 

Question: The military have open days where you can ask them questions, why don’t the police do this? What are you doing to engage better with the community?

Paddy says that a lot of work has been done in visiting community venues, including black churches and Hindu temples, as well as schools, but he recognises that this is not enough.

He says that there are a number of people who check up on the progress being made and they have found that more needs to be done to engage with certain groups, particularly Asain women

Steven says that more needs to be done to get everyone’s voice heard. He asks for suggestions as to how people would like to be engaged. Do you have any ideas? Comment on this blog post!

 

Question: Wouldn’t it make more sense to let go of the officers who keep making these offences rather than repeatedly re-training them? Then maybe more black and asian people would want to join the police force!

Paddy says that if any officers are found guilty of racism or gross misconduct they will be severely disciplined and / or sacked. New technologies are being used to monitor the behaviours of police officers. They are looking into officers who disproportionately stop and search.

Paddy says that the complaints service set up by the government is not up to scratch and they are currently campaigning for a better one.

Steven says training is only part of the answer. Officers have been sacked for misconduct.

They need to ask the questions- Why are officers stop and searching? Are they searching lots and not finding anything? What is the community’s response?

“We need to find the officers doing it really well and the officers using it badly…Young people should feel that they have the right to complain…This can be done online or by phone…We need to know that people are unhappy before we can change this…We receive a very small number of complaints regarding stop and search…It’s difficult for us to change this without the evidence so please feel free to complain if you’ve had a bad experience.”

On 26th feb there will be a debate in Nottingham with the detective chief inspector on stop on search

Martin Glynn says there’s a document which details how police should behave. If young people don’t know how police should behave, they can’t complain when the police get it wrong. There are 9 rules that the police sign up to and it’s important for young people to be aware of these rules. Education and knowledge can be empowering.

Kathy says that all the panel are doing their best to work within structures that aren’t really working, as well as trying to change these structures e.g. making the school curriculum more relevant.

Kathy asks the young people to think about what they can do to create a change? We all have individual power. Young people in schools can put pressure on their school and local councils. “We need to work together to generate change…If you don’t change the world for yourselves, it will only get worst for the next generation.”

 

 

Moving onto health now…

Question: New changes in legislation mean that GPs will be able to share patient data with third parties unless patients opt out. What is being done to make young people aware of these changes?

Chris says that there is a lot of debate about this and whether it infringes on human rights but work needs to be done to make the community, including young people, aware of changes being made and how it affects them.

Question: What is being done in regards to helping young people suffering from mental health distress?

Chris Kenny says- “We are aware of the statistics and are working to tackle this.”

Martin talks about offender mental health and children in care. These issues need to be raised and addressed.

Question: How are you working to create mentally stable young people and awareness of mental health within the community?

Chris talks about the importance of emotional health and wellbeing. This can start before people are born through working to help women through pregnancy.

“Good psychological wellbeing isn’t just about access to services, it’s about feeling empowered and able to express yourself.”

He suggests that more should be done in schools and colleges to raise awareness of mental health distress.

Martin Glynn talks about his time working with young people suffering from mental health distress.

 

 

Kevin Brown asks Merlita how she has engaged with the system, coming from a Jamaican background.

Merlita talks about her beginnings as a trade unionist.

As a local councillor she wants to engage with all sections of the local community.

Merlita talks about young people who don’t feel they can speak to their parents- A youth forum has been created where young people can talk to others about their problems.  Young people often open up more to people who they’re not directly connected with.

Young people can come to the forum to speak their mind and feel that people out there are listening and want to help them.

Merlita is also working with people from Nottingham University to engage better with young people:

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/community/communitypartnershipsteam/community-partnerships-team.aspx

 

Kevin Brown now asks Nicola Heaton about how to improve engagement.

Nicola says that young people need to raise their voices and ask for what they want. “Politicians hate to say no.” Young people need to state what services they need. Nicola also talks about the importance of young people voting and having a say. Many of the panel members here today were elected by the local community.

Nicola talks about her role and how it promotes equalities. “Things in society shouldn’t hit one group more than another; this includes women, BME communities and those with disabilities.”

 

Kevin Brown asks Natalie Robinson how she became European Youth Ambassador?

Natalie says that she knew it was the only way to get her voice heard. She joined the local youth council 7 years ago.

She has since set up her own website and runs workshops to engage with young people. She wants to hear from young people about what they want.

Any ideas about how Natalie could better help the young people of Nottingham? Comment on this post!

 

Unfortunately, due to technical problems, the live blog ends here but the key message to take away from the event was:

Better engagement strategies were needed from all panel members and they all pledged that they would do their best to rectify this in 2014!