Meeting the new members of the youth parliament

February 21st 2012- we all know what that means! No, not Pancake day! Well, actually it is… But more importantly, today we found out who the new UK Youth Parliament members are for Barnet! Congratulations to Nadine Gerashy, Sogand Shaker, Temi Mwale and Nicolas Lucas, Barnets new MYPs for this year! Fortunately, I got to chat with 3 out of 4 (and I’ll be catching up with Temi very soon, I assure you!). Here’s what they had to say! Nadine Gerashy, who came first place with 19% of the vote “Over the next year, I’d like to get more people having a say and I want to change bullying. I know you can’t stop bullying but you can decrease it- the answer to bullying is meeting people. I’ll help people by starting volunteer groups to get more people socialising. I think the UKYP achieves a lot, and I’m glad to be a part of it! No, I don’t want a career in politics! But if the Youth Parliament leads to other things for me, then that’s great too.” Nicolas Lucas, who came 4th with 12% of the vote “This year is going to be about teamwork for me and the other MYPs! I’m looking forward to it, and I’m sure we’ll get on! The other winners had similar ideas to my own, so I’m sure we’ll agree! No, we’re not going to move mountains this year, but we’re making babysteps in the right directions. We’re creating the foundations for new changes. I’m not sure I’d like a career in politics! For me, the UKYP is a taster of what...
Profiles of the Profiled; a film by the Stopwatch Youth Group*

Profiles of the Profiled; a film by the Stopwatch Youth Group*

How does it feel to be stopped and searched? This was the question young people asked when they went out to film their friends, families and people in the wider community. Profiles of the Profiled looks at a wide range of stories, opinions and feelings on the topic of stop and search. This film aims to help address a situation where young people, often on the receiving end of stop and search tactics, are overlooked in the stop and search debate. Profiles of the Profiled is brought to you by StopWatch Youth Group. www.stop-watch.org.uk *All views expressed in this article are the author’s. IARS accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any views expressed in these articles and will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information or any losses or damages arising from its display or...

Theatre performance at Pentonville Prison

Flight of Freedom By Paper Dog Productions A few weeks before Christmas a small group of young men from the Health Care Unit of HMP Pentonville attended a workshop under the illusion that they would be provided with some advice on how to develop their acting abilities. During the session they were informed that in fact in five days’ time they would be given the opportunity to explore, rehearse and perform a play in front of an audience. Five days to put on a play in an ordinary setting is actually quite achievable; however throw in the inflexibility of the prison environment, the strict time restrictions of contact time and the rigidity of what can physically be taken into the performance space, the task ahead must have seemed, at best, ambitious, at worst, a recipe for chaos. Not forgetting court dates, unexpected transfers and release dates…. Five days actually translated into four hours each day split into morning and afternoon sessions. Twenty hours to learn, rehearse and execute a play. Even the most dedicated and hopeful directors would surely approach such a challenge with caution. Having not previously been inside an adult male prison I was nervous as I arrived. Remembering some of the boys I have previously worked with discussing the anxious realisation that dawns upon them as they approach the landmark age of 18, because serving a sentence in an adult prison is like “playing a different ball game” compared to the supposed safety of the young offenders units. As we were escorted to the sports hall performance space I attempted to count the number of cells...

Solving youth unemployment is the responsibility of the whole society

According to the BBC news report, unemployment in the UK soared over the last three months and young people without jobs climbed above 1 million. “Levels of youth unemployment have reached a crisis point.” This message is spread by politicians, media and communities again and again these days. The Eurozone debt crisis threatens the UK economy and the flat economic growth causes the panic of youth unemployment. I went to the Southwark Jobcenter plus to find out how all of this impacts on ordinary lives. Young people were queuing for job consultancy. Many of them looked to be in their early twenties. A member of staff told me that the majority of these young people had dropped out of school or college and did not receive higher education. So lacking of higher education or practical skills is likely to be one of key factors in youth high unemployment rate. I have to say that it is not young people’s fault. Indeed, it is impossible for all young people to enter into university. We could excuse that limited education sources, grades or personal interest may reduce youth’s opportunities for receiving further education, but we have no excuse that the whole society ignores these people’s working right. Therefore, we should make an effort to provide further professional courses for them in another ways. Recently, there was good news from NBC that some mentoring programmes contributed to helping youth improve their practical skills in US. They helped young people make connections between school and real world. And as a result, these programmes made a difference to reducing local jobless rate. So on...

New Deal – a good deal?*

With youth unemployment having recently hit 1.02 million, 21.9% of 16-24 year olds are likely to be claiming Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) whilst looking for a job. The government have set up schemes and courses to encourage young people to get back into work, but these have recently come under scrutiny and criticism.The New Deal scheme is designed for people aged 18-24 who have been claiming JSA for six months. If work is not found there are four options. One of which came into play in May 2011, which consists of employment with a New Deal employer. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has said that jobseekers must carry out their work experience, or their £53 a week JSA benefit would be sanctioned. The DWP has said that jobseekers are given a “one week cooling off period” once they make any slight indication they agree to the scheme (even if they haven’t signed anything), but there have been reports that many jobseekers haven’t been informed that they could change their mind and have been made to carry out the work experience regardless. According to The Guardian, “young jobseekers are exempted from national minimum wage laws for up to eight weeks and are being offered placements in Tesco, Poundland, Argos, Sainsbury’s and a multitude of other big-name businesses”. PR News Wire, a business news website, has stated that Tesco has set a target of offering 1500 jobs for New Deal jobseekers. Working for the 30 hours a week set by DWP, a New Deal worker in London should get paid £249 per week, before tax and NI, based on the...