Members of Cleveland’s Youth Commission will tell local leaders what they want to see happen to improve community safety for the region’s young people.
The Commission hosts the Big Conversation conference at Cleveland Police’s Central Head Quarters, Hemlington, Middlesbrough, today.
Youth Commission members will tell civic leaders including senior members of Cleveland Police and partner organisations what they would like to see happen around their six priority areas.
Among their recommendations are plans to launch a joint campaign focussing on men’s mental health and work with police to find out why young people become involved in County Lines and gangs.
Youth Commission members also want to work with communities to break down stereotypes showing young people as responsible for most gang and antisocial activity across Cleveland.
This year’s six, identified priority areas for the commission were young people and their relationships with police, antisocial behaviour, mental health, drugs, alcohol and gang crime, abusive relationships and hate and online crime.
Research by members among their peer group showed that most young people felt lockdown had had a negative impact on their mental health.
They also found that young people did not understand many of the terms associated with County Lines – and most did not associate involvement with such gangs as a type of grooming.
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Steve Turner, whose office funds the Youth Commission, will introduce and close the event.
A fresh perspective
He said: “Cleveland Youth Commission shows the very best of what our young people can do – and I am proud to support it.
“They give a fresh perspective on some of the ongoing issues, which face our communities.
“Their responses will be considered alongside those of other key stakeholders when looking at crime, policing, community safety and services.”
University student Saiyra Khan, 20, of Middlesbrough, said; “I’ve had a positive experience with Cleveland Youth Commission this year. It was nice to be a part of its second year.
“It’s great to hear all of these different voices and views around significant social issues.
“I feel like my communication skills have vastly improved from the Commission being online last year to it being in person this year.
“I learnt a great amount of empathy with people, sharing their past difficult experiences.
“Both communication skills and empathy are highly transferable skills, useful in future career choices.”
There will be a chance for attendees to discuss both priorities and recommendations with Youth Commission members at today’s conference
At the end of the conference, everyone will have the opportunity to sign pledge cards to say what they are going to do to make Cleveland safer.
A final report on this year’s Big Conversation will be written and published following the event.
The Youth Commission is delivered by not-for-profit organisation Leaders Unlocked on behalf of the PCC.